San MIguel roof view
There is nothing nicer than to go onto the roof and sit under the Palapa as the sun comes up. Birds of all inclinations are twittering for attention, including the finches nesting in our bamboo; the bells of the surrounding churches (there are actually eight in this photo in the immediate vicinity) are summoning those who are easily induced; exploding rockets are summoning those who require a less subtle reminder; all setting the dogs off barking who probably just want to go to church as well if only to pee on the doorstep.
Scene in the Jardin, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Yesterday evening in the Jardin, with very few people around, a group of Rancheros (or possibly just some locals with enough money to own horses) came past the Parochia, and happened upon a group of Mariachis who were there and who spontaneously started playing a Ranchera for them. No audience, no money passed hands, just a typical Mexican opportunity for a bit of gaiety to happen.
Egg bonking in the Jardin, SMA
I had intended posting this at the beginning of February, but better late than never. Every year, for a couple of days before Lent, folks in San Miguel go nuts smashing confetti or ash-filled colored eggs, known as cascarones, on the heads of innocent bystanders. All around the perimeter of the Jardin, having spent an entire year eating nothing but omelettes, the overweight and cholesterol-infused cascarone vendors will sell you a bagfull for 20 pesos. Our friend Carmen directed us to this video about Cascarones, featuring her sister Maria.
Hot air balloon over San Miguel
Most mornings early, while the air is still cool, one hears the whoosh of the kerosine burner of a hot air balloon lofting intrepid visitors gently over the rooftops of El Centro. Seen here against the corner of our Palapa, this one roused me from my slumbers at around eight AM. One day I will summon up enough courage to do this although I am not sure my ancient joints will provide the necessary shock absorbance for the landing.
Helicam in the Jardin, SMA
This creepy little camcopter was floating around over us during our usual sojourn in the Jardin at dusk. Remote controlled and carrying its own lighting, it was filming the crowds milling around during Semana Santa.
Burros carrying dirt into El Centro
Burros weigh in at around 500 pounds and can comfortably carry about 250 pounds, the weight of the average gringo. But here in San Miguel, they are often seen carrying much greater loads without apparently getting too pissed off about it. Here, underneath our bedroom terrace this morning, a camposino is bringing dirt from down by the Presa to sell to whoever needs it for their plant pots or vegetable patches. These two burros are carrying 26 sacks of dirt between them, each weighing about 50 or 60 pounds – a load of probably around 750 pounds each – about one and a half times their own weight.
Puesto de taco on Insurgentes, SMA
On Good Friday here in San Miguel the local streets are closed to traffic and all the foodsellers, and even many householders, put out stalls selling all kinds of great Mexican street food. Still one of our favorites however is the local taco truck where here you can see skewered pork being blitzed before being carved off and blended with melted Oaxaca cheese to make delicious tacos or gringas. (we took four home for dinner). Don’t miss the pineapple on top, a slice of which is added to each gringa with a sprig of Cilantro and some lime juice for the final pièce de résistance.
Federal police officer in Uruapan
Last weekend we spent a couple of days in Uruapan, home of the annual Michoacan crafts festival. Just a few hours after I took this photo of a Federale on guard outside the hotel in the main square, seven bodies were discovered at a nearby traffic intersection, each with a bullet through their head and taped to plastic chairs. This time possibly a vigilante response to the drug trade. The problem here in Mexico is that there is still very little accountability, and this kind of thing can happen with apparent impunity despite the fact that at the time the town was full of heavily armed Federales. So what does it feel like to live here in Mexico? Just the same as anywhere in the States. It never really appears on your personal radar. The biggest danger you will ever encounter is your taxi ride to the airport. Unpleasant as it is, it is sad that people are so irrationally frightened of something that is way way down on the list of anything that can personally affect them. Not many folks live in fear in the USA where more people have died from gun violence since 1968, the year I emigrated from England, than have been killed in all the wars Americans have fought in all history, including the Civil War. Although this figure includes suicides, just look at the numbers and calculate the odds. I don’t buy lottery tickets either.
Raymond Massey in HG Wells’ s Things To Come.
Made in 1936, Things to Come (just released by Criterion in BluRay), in typical HG Wells form presaged everything from the Second World War to amazing flying machines, multi-level cities, and transparent elevators. Most interestingly, Raymond Massey is seen here using what appears to be an iPad, on which in the film moving images and text are being reproduced. It appears to be exactly the same size and thickness, but with an even cooler transparent border – although the dock seems a bit complicated. Sadly, Steve Jobs isn’t around to own up to this piece of patent plagiarism.
St.Jose Procession, the Oratorio, San Miguel de Allende
One of the great advantages of living in El Centro is that two or three times a week we bump into one of San Miguel’s wonderful religious processions or festivals. In this instance pilgrimage images from St. Jose at the Ex-Hacienda del Obraje are worn like hats and walked all the way to the Oratorio. Each of these pilgrims will stay the night with their images before returning them to St. Jose the following day.