Thursday, January 02, 2014

A long time coming

I spent a lot of time in Mexico in December - the first couple of days in Xalapa and Veracruz and then the last two weeks in San Miguel.   We had never been in Mexico for Christmas and it was fun.

As I said in the last post, I took a break from commenting on public policy issues because most of what I felt strongly about was the disaster they call Obamacare and I think all of my readers have a pretty good idea of what I think about that program.  The arrogance of the legislators who foisted this mess on the American people is monumental, matched only by their incompetence.

Like our month in San Miguel in November 2011 this time of year is pretty special.   The night before Christmas Eve a posada passed directly by our house.  The posada tradition runs for many of the nights before Christmas and in some places through 12th night.   The intent here is to symbolically search for the Christ child.
The Posada out our door in Centro
 The city began to fill up about a week before Christmas and stayed so for the full time we were there.

The Jardin (a Centro or Zocalo in other towns) is the meeting place in the city and it was full of vendors and people for all of the time we were there.    For a couple of nights there were street performers including a superb group of break dancers and a couple of clowns.  The one pictured above is very funny.  His act includes a couple of costume changes and a lot of audience participation.

We had three days of pretty intense rain for the last days we were there.   That confined us mostly to our house although we discovered a good steak restaurant in the town - which came from the mind of a serial restauranteur in San Miguel.   He only serves Certified Black Angus and ages his own meat. The place is called Hansen's.   We also had a chance to read a lot and to practice Spanish (I am using

Duolingo to sharpen my skills in Spanish (Estoy utilizando Duolingo para afilar mis habilidades españolas). The APP offers an interesting set of challenges.

Special items in Costco
The first week we were there we had my sister visit the place we rented.   We had the opportunity to take her to Querétaro.   I had not been there in about a decade - it is now a big city. (more than 2 million) but still has a charming downtown.   My wife had not been there either.    We also went to Costco - which for people from San Miguel is either in Celaya or Querétaro.

Costco is Costco - we also frequented Starbucks which is on the corner of the Jardin in San Miguel.    I am sure some of my readers will natter about both those visits.   But Mexicans like both outlets.   Costco has a couple of Mexican competitors including Chedarauri and there are obviously alternatives to Starbucks in every Mexican town.   But as a friend said to us a couple of years ago - she thought Starbucks was wonderful because she knew that both of her daughters had a place to hang out when they were teenagers which was safe and without alcohol.  It has become a place to meet people and relax - lots of internet use - just like in the US.

One day we also took my sister to Guanajuato.  I like the town although it is a bit big.   It has lots of history (The Aldondiga, the Quixote Museum and the Diego Museum - go back to the posts of November 2011 to hear about those - except the Diego Museum which I did not see in 2011).   All of them are worth the visit.   The Quixote Museum is a collection of Quixote paintings, books and other memorabilia.   It was started by a Spanish Expat who had been put in one of General Franco's concentration camps - he came in with a carton of cigarettes and traded it for a copy of Cervantes.   He then was let go and moved to Mexico and became a successful entrepreneur.   He said that he had been saved by the novel and so pursued all sorts of images of Quixote.    This is the second time we have been there and I would go again.  It has seventeen rooms which include a rotating collection of Quixote in all sorts of media as well as some painting from a range of artists.

The San Miguel Siquerios Mural
One of the highlights of this trip was the chance to see the Siquerios mural in San Miguel.   It is one he did not finish.  And several of the last times we had tried to go to the museum where it was designed and it was closed.    Thankfully on this trip it was restored.   I have a friend who had seen it before and she was not overly impressed. She is an artist but she must know something I do not.  Although the mural was not finished it has the power of some of his other works and more importantly you can see what he was trying to achieve.   Siquerios was an interesting person in that even more than Rivera he was a committed Stalinist.  He actually participated in the planning (and I believe execution) of the first attempt to murder Leon Trotsky.   The mural in San Miguel has some of the same elements as his big one in Guadalajara.   His use of color was amazing and this gives you an idea before he added the inevitable ideological wrap.

A preliminary form of a Diego in the museum
We had not been to the museum which was Diego Rivera's house as a child.   Rivera, whose full name was, Diego Maria de la Concepcion Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodriguez, born in the house.   It has some of the furniture which was in the place when he was there as well as some of the sketches he used in constructing some of his murals.    Perhaps most haunting was a series of new artists who used light extremely well in a photo exhibit at the back of the museum.   I got some pictures but have not yet downloaded them from my camera.

In the second week we switched guests and my brother and his wife came.   It was a lucky break - we had been looking for a house in San Miguel and my brother's wife is a realtor.   Unfortunately, it rained relatively steadily for most of three days that they were here.   We got to take them around the city, my brother and I would walk a couple of times a day, and to Atotonilco which is a pretty church with a lot of political significance about 10 miles out of San Miguel.  I've now been there a half dozen times and am inspired by it each time I go.

We ended up buying a house in the Balcones section of town - which as it sounds is above the city.   We look forward to spending time there after it closes.

1 comment:

C. Todd said...

Congratulations. That's fabulous. How many months a year are you intending to spend there?