Your search for Mexico found 45 posts. Select title from list or scroll down to see posts.
 
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Oct 26, 2018, Fri
Going for Pizza      Merida, Mexico  
Oct 26, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Oct 27, 2018, Sat
Merida dia uno      Merida, Mexico  
Oct 27, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Oct 28, 2018, Sun
Acclimatizing      Merida, Mexico  
Oct 28, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Oct 29, 2018, Mon
Our house in Merida      Merida, Mexico  
Oct 29, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Oct 30, 2018, Tue
Making tortillas      Merida, Mexico  
Oct 30, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Oct 31, 2018, Wed
First impressions of Merida      Merida, Mexico  
Oct 31, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 1, 2018, Thu
Grasshoppers      Merida, Mexico  
Nov 1, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 2, 2018, Fri
Three yellows and a pink      Merida, Mexico  
Nov 2, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 3, 2018, Sat
A rainy day      Merida, Mexico  
Nov 3, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 4, 2018, Sun
Around Merida      Merida, Mexico  
Nov 4, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 5, 2018, Mon
Uxmal      Mexico, Uxmal  
Nov 5, 2018
  Mexico, Uxmal  
Nov 7, 2018, Wed
Mad Max and Murals      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 7, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 8, 2018, Thu
Dia uno, San Miguel de Allende      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 8, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 9, 2018, Fri
Dia dos, San Miguel      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 9, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 10, 2018, Sat
Galeria Atotonilco      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 10, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 11, 2018, Sun
Sunday in San Miguel      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 11, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 12, 2018, Mon
Vicente Fox      Mexico, SMA, Politics, US Politics  
Nov 12, 2018
  Mexico, SMA, Politics, US Politics  
Nov 13, 2018, Tue
Casita del Maguey      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 13, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 14, 2018, Wed
Brrrr      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 14, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 14, 2018, Wed
La Parroquia de San Miguel      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 14, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 15, 2018, Thu
Mysteries      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 15, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 15, 2018, Thu
Bellas Artes      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 15, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 16, 2018, Fri
Nov 16, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 17, 2018, Sat
El Charco del Ingenio      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 17, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 17, 2018, Sat
Evening in San Miguel      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 17, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 18, 2018, Sun
Balloon      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 18, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 18, 2018, Sun
Flowers in their hair      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 18, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 19, 2018, Mon
Eighteen beetles      Cars, SMA, Mexico, Merida  
Nov 19, 2018
  Cars, SMA, Mexico, Merida  
Nov 19, 2018, Mon
Leatherwork      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 19, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 20, 2018, Tue
Come the revolution ...      Mexico  
Nov 20, 2018
  Mexico  
Nov 21, 2018, Wed
Infrastructure      SMA, Mexico  
Nov 21, 2018
  SMA, Mexico  
Nov 23, 2018, Fri
Nov 23, 2018
  Mexico, SMA, Canada politics  
Nov 24, 2018, Sat
More from the parade      Mexico, SMA  
Nov 24, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Nov 25, 2018, Sun
Casa de la Cultura Juridica      Merida, Mexico  
Nov 25, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 27, 2018, Tue
Direccion de Cultura      Merida, Mexico  
Nov 27, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 28, 2018, Wed
Catedral de Merida      Merida, Mexico  
Nov 28, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 29, 2018, Thu
Nov 29, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Nov 30, 2018, Fri
Music on the Paseo      Merida, Mexico  
Nov 30, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
Dec 1, 2018, Sat
Uxmal panoramas      Uxmal, Mexico  
Dec 1, 2018
  Uxmal, Mexico  
Dec 2, 2018, Sun
Hacienda Ochil      Mexico, Uxmal  
Dec 2, 2018
  Mexico, Uxmal  
Dec 3, 2018, Mon
Fixer upper      Mexico, Merida  
Dec 3, 2018
  Mexico, Merida  
Dec 4, 2018, Tue
Wired      Mexico, SMA  
Dec 4, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Dec 5, 2018, Wed
Orange on blue      Mexico, SMA  
Dec 5, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Dec 6, 2018, Thu
Orange on grey      Mexico, SMA  
Dec 6, 2018
  Mexico, SMA  
Dec 8, 2018, Sat
Cops in a leaf      Merida, Mexico  
Dec 8, 2018
  Merida, Mexico  
 
 
 

Going for Pizza

 
October 26, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
 

Drop Lucy at the dog resort. Pick up rental car at airport. Drive home. Drive back to airport. Wait at YYJ for flight to Vancouver. 15-minute flight is 1 hour late. Wait hours at YVR for flight to Mexico City. Five hour flight. Aeromexico serves light meal an hour in, at midnight, but nothing, not even coffee, before landing. Encounter a thousand people ahead of us in line for passport control. Take anti-stress pill. (Hey, I made it through two flights without one.) Wait hours at MEX for flight to Merida. 90-minute flight to Merida. Taxi to house in central town. Struggle with complicated door locks. Survey the colourful house. Take nap. Walk to store to buy drinking water (not needed, later we find the casa has potable water). Walk to restaurant to order pizza. Wait for pizza. Take picture of passing horse-drawn carriage. Carry dinner to house on Calle 54.

¡Finalmente, nosotros comemos pizza en Mexico!

 
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Horse-drawn carriage      

I shot this while waiting for our pizza. Wish I'd crouched and panned and maybe shortened the shutter, but I wasn't thinking much about technique, I was tired, sweaty (it's the Yucatan), and hungry, I'd not eaten all day.

As to the photo, there are lots of horse-drawn carriages on Merida's streets and while I like the clop clop clop soundtrack of the horse hooves on stone I don't know quite what to think about this, the horse-drawn carriage thing. Is it bad for the horse? Does it enjoy pulling a carriage in car traffic, or would it rather be out eating grass? I'd guess the latter so I won't encourage the practice but I will take the occasional picture.

 
Horse-drawn carriage      

I shot this while waiting for our pizza. Wish I'd crouched and panned and maybe shortened the shutter, but I wasn't thinking much about technique, I was tired, sweaty (it's the Yucatan), and hungry, I'd not eaten all day.

As to the photo, there are lots of horse-drawn carriages on Merida's streets and while I like the clop clop clop soundtrack of the horse hooves on stone I don't know quite what to think about this, the horse-drawn carriage thing. Is it bad for the horse? Does it enjoy pulling a carriage in car traffic, or would it rather be out eating grass? I'd guess the latter so I won't encourage the practice but I will take the occasional picture.

 
Horse-drawn carriage      

I shot this while waiting for our pizza. Wish I'd crouched and panned and maybe shortened the shutter, but I wasn't thinking much about technique, I was tired, sweaty (it's the Yucatan), and hungry, I'd not eaten all day.

As to the photo, there are lots of horse-drawn carriages on Merida's streets and while I like the clop clop clop soundtrack of the horse hooves on stone I don't know quite what to think about this, the horse-drawn carriage thing. Is it bad for the horse? Does it enjoy pulling a carriage in car traffic, or would it rather be out eating grass? I'd guess the latter so I won't encourage the practice but I will take the occasional picture.

 
Horse drawn carriage      
 
Horse drawn carriage      
 
Horse drawn carriage      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1159
 
 

Merida dia uno

 
October 27, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
 

After a good sleep we woke refreshed and spent the day exploring the town and picking up some groceries. We passed through the city's main square, Plaza Grande, where we caught a glimpse of the cathedral. We also saw a lot of colourful buildings along our way.

We looked at a couple of artisan markets featuring colourful items, many with a Dia de Muertos theme. We especially liked the wood and ceramic masks. Then, waiting at a traffic light, a fellow talked us into checking out another market, which seemed fine at first, except he quickly handed us off to another fellow who clearly wanted to see us take home some art by the end of the day. The whole experience soon began to remind me of a Ephesus carpet salesman who used everything from Van cats and flirts to get us into his store in hope of sending us home with a Turkish carpet. In both cases the salesmen were disappointed as we didn't buy anything.

For dinner we went to a neighborhood Mexican restaurant/bar that features botanero, which is like a Mexican version of tapas. In addition to our entrees Paul ordered a beer, and the beer order came with a tableful of small plates of food. When the waitress brought our order we thought she had the wrong table, it was so much food.

 
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Cathedral de Merida      
 
Cathedral de Merida      
 
Cathedral de Merida      
 
Colourful      
 
Colourful      
 
Colourful      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1166
 
 

Acclimatizing

 
October 28, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
 

This morning we had breakfast at a cafe on the Paseo de Montejo, a wide boulevard which was closed to traffic for bicycles, what they call Bici-Ruta and held every Sunday. There were bicycles (and bicyclists) of all shapes and sizes, tandems, tricycles, chrome cruisers, covered 4-wheelers, even a bathtub-like bike. Lots of families and lots of dogs being walked, too. Accompanying this was very good live jazz music.

Later in the day we were on the main square which was turned into a market. On one side of the square there was more live music with lots of dancing going on. I'm really liking the music.

 
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Casa de la Juridical Culture      
 
Casa de la Juridical Culture      
 
Casa de la Juridical Culture      
 
Dancing on the square      
Any reason for a party in Plaza Grande.
 
Dancing on the square      
Any reason for a party in Plaza Grande.
 
Dancing on the square      
Any reason for a party in Plaza Grande.
 
Paul at the new Palacio de la Musica      
The recently-completed Palacio de la Música in the Centro Histórico features a concert hall, museum, recording studios, and an academic program for popular and traditional Mexican music.
 
Paul at the new Palacio de la Musica      
The recently-completed Palacio de la Música in the Centro Histórico features a concert hall, museum, recording studios, and an academic program for popular and traditional Mexican music.
 
Paul at the new Palacio de la Musica      
The recently-completed Palacio de la Música in the Centro Histórico features a concert hall, museum, recording studios, and an academic program for popular and traditional Mexican music.
 
Salmon colored building      
 
Salmon colored building      
 
Salmon colored building      
 
Merida sign, Plaza Grande      
 
Merida sign, Plaza Grande      
 
Merida sign, Plaza Grande      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1168
 
 

Our house in Merida

 
October 29, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
 
Our house

Like most homes in Merida, our place, which is called Casa Iguana1, is flush to a narrow sidewalk with little street presence, just a door and a window. At least ours has some colour.

But inside is a different story. It's largely stone and polished cement, with tall ceilings, colourful art, attractive though not-very-comfortable furniture, and a swimming pool. In the unlikely event one wants to cook a complex meal, the kitchen is well equipped. There's potable water, laundry, built-in barbeque, three giant flatscreens, and what appears to be every television service on the planet.

The location is convenient though it is noisy late into the morning, especially on weekends and the days before weekends. A morning cappuccino is from a cafe within a minute's walk, and there are four delicious and trendy restaurants (grasshopper guacamole, anyone?) just as close. Merida's central square is about seven blocks walk.

1TripAdvisor listing for Casa Iguana .

 
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Living room and kitchen      
The 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house is well equipped, well located, and has a nice layout. The courtyard separates the kitchen and living room from the bedroom wing, so one person can stay up and watch tv while another sleeps. Each bedroom, nicely separated on different floors, has a large bathroom.
 
Living room and kitchen      
The 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house is well equipped, well located, and has a nice layout. The courtyard separates the kitchen and living room from the bedroom wing, so one person can stay up and watch tv while another sleeps. Each bedroom, nicely separated on different floors, has a large bathroom.
 
Living room and kitchen      
The 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house is well equipped, well located, and has a nice layout. The courtyard separates the kitchen and living room from the bedroom wing, so one person can stay up and watch tv while another sleeps. Each bedroom, nicely separated on different floors, has a large bathroom.
 
Casa Iguana      
 
Casa Iguana      
 
Casa Iguana      
 
Pool and bedroom wing      
 
Pool and bedroom wing      
 
Pool and bedroom wing      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1170
 
 

Making tortillas

 
October 30, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
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Making tortillas, La Chaya Maya      
I enjoyed my Yucatan food, especially the pibil, a spicy pork cooked in a hole.
 
Making tortillas, La Chaya Maya      
I enjoyed my Yucatan food, especially the pibil, a spicy pork cooked in a hole.
 
Making tortillas, La Chaya Maya      
I enjoyed my Yucatan food, especially the pibil, a spicy pork cooked in a hole.
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1174
 
 

First impressions of Merida

 
October 31, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
 

Merida didn't make a great first impression on me. It was like when our bus entered Atacama after crossing the Andes, I looked around and asked myself why am I here? I certainly didn't entertain my usual traveling thought, would I want to live here? But I have learned to give it time, to acknowledge first impressions but not hold them too tight.

It started as the plane appoached. Merida is tabletop flat, its roads ruler straight. Then there's the heat and humidity, it's not Bali but I was soon sweaty, even in my poly pros. And close up it's no better: most blocks look the same, a row of low, disheveled cement buildings punctuated by the occasional gentrified home, the narrow crumbling sidewalks, and the rusty collectivos spewing brown exhaust.

But my attitude is evolving. The Meridians are super friendly, even to gringos like me. The sidewalks may be uneven but there's little trash laying about. The drivers, while lacking Canadians' fervent respect for pedestrian crosswalks, stay in their lanes and stop at red lights. And the colours of the buildings and the details in their facades are helping to win me over.

 
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One of many bugs in Merida      
 
One of many bugs in Merida      
 
One of many bugs in Merida      
 
Colourful block      
 
Colourful block      
 
Colourful block      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1175
 
 

Grasshoppers

 
November 1, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
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Love the blue      
 
Love the blue      
 
Love the blue      
 
It's pibil time      
Pibil is the name of a dish of meat marinated then wrapped in banana leaves, placed in a pit over hot coals, and then covered and let to cook.
 
It's pibil time      
Pibil is the name of a dish of meat marinated then wrapped in banana leaves, placed in a pit over hot coals, and then covered and let to cook.
 
It's pibil time      
Pibil is the name of a dish of meat marinated then wrapped in banana leaves, placed in a pit over hot coals, and then covered and let to cook.
 
Mural at Catrin      
The large mural is behind the bar on the patio at Catrin, a restaurant that backs up to our house. Their grasshopper guacamole --- yep, real grasshoppers --- is very good.
 
Mural at Catrin      
The large mural is behind the bar on the patio at Catrin, a restaurant that backs up to our house. Their grasshopper guacamole --- yep, real grasshoppers --- is very good.
 
Mural at Catrin      
The large mural is behind the bar on the patio at Catrin, a restaurant that backs up to our house. Their grasshopper guacamole --- yep, real grasshoppers --- is very good.
 
Festival goers      
 
Festival goers      
 
Festival goers      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1177
 
 

Three yellows and a pink

 
November 2, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
 

We were drawn to Merida by a TV show, believe it or not; it introduced us to the local architecture. And it has certainly lived up to expectations. Lots of often-colourful old buildings fronting beautiful interiors with lush inner courtyards. This design language combines street-level privacy with a gradual reveal and then surprise as one enters a building. I like it.

We found our house, which follows this design, via Trip Advisor and we're happy with it. The one hiccup, no propane, was quickly addressed by the property manager. The gas company arrived the next morning and a plumber came soon after to re-light the pilots. You really appreciate hot water when you don't have it.

We are steps from several elegant restaurants, Oliva Enoteca for Italian, 130 Degrees for steak, Micaela Mar for seafood (ate there last night, excellent), Catrin for Mexican, Latte Quatro Setta for lattes and fresh pastry, and La Morena, a high end food court/bar. Wouldn't be surprised if there are more, hiding behind the stone and cement facades.

But there's one unfixable issue with the house and that's noise. It turns out at least two, Catrin and La Morena, have live music until the wee hours. And it's outdoors, in their courtyards. It's great music, but it is loud and some nights, like last night, we decided to close the windows and turn on the a/c just to get some sleep. Yeah, I know, first world problem. Now I understand why a few properties around here have hung signs saying "Basta de ruido. Queremos dormir. Necesitamos solucion hoy." So, it's a great neighborhod for our short visit, maybe not so much for a long term stay.

 
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Anthropology museum      
Would have liked to see the inside of this museum, but unfortunately it's closed due to a change in exhibits.
 
Anthropology museum      
Would have liked to see the inside of this museum, but unfortunately it's closed due to a change in exhibits.
 
Anthropology museum      
Would have liked to see the inside of this museum, but unfortunately it's closed due to a change in exhibits.
 
Parroquia Catholic church      
 
Parroquia Catholic church      
 
Parroquia Catholic church      
 
Yellow building on Paseo de Montejo      
 
Yellow building on Paseo de Montejo      
 
Yellow building on Paseo de Montejo      
 
Pink building      
 
Pink building      
 
Pink building      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1178
 
 

A rainy day

 
November 3, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
 

 
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Paul & Noema & purple building      
 
Paul & Noema & purple building      
 
Paul & Noema & purple building      
 
Universidad de Yucatan      
 
Universidad de Yucatan      
 
Universidad de Yucatan      
 
Paul & Noema      
 
Paul & Noema      
 
Paul & Noema      
 
Noema      
 
Noema      
 
Noema      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1179
 
 

Around Merida

 
November 4, 2018   Merida, Mexico
 
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Anthropology museum      
We ubered out to the new anthropology museum, which is well done though the exhibit space was pretty small.
 
Anthropology museum      
We ubered out to the new anthropology museum, which is well done though the exhibit space was pretty small.
 
Anthropology museum      
We ubered out to the new anthropology museum, which is well done though the exhibit space was pretty small.
 
Stopping for a treat      
 
Stopping for a treat      
 
Stopping for a treat      
 
Noema and Paul waiting for their marquesitas      
 
Noema and Paul waiting for their marquesitas      
 
Noema and Paul waiting for their marquesitas      
 
Dancers      
 
Dancers      
 
Dancers      
 

Walking down the street, just a couple blocks from our house, we bumped into a dance exhibit. The music and face paint was inspired by dia de muertos.

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1180
 
 

Uxmal

 
November 5, 2018   Mexico, Uxmal
 
 

Today we visited Uxmal, an ancient Mayan city about an hour out of Merida. We hired a driver, Alex, to take us. He and his wife Joanna own Destino Merida tours.

Alex picked us up early in the morning so we could see the ruins while temperatures are at their coolest (least warm might be more descriptive) and when there would be few visitors. As promised, when we arrived we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Once at Uxmal he handed us off to a local fellow who guided us through the town. Afterwards Alex drove us to the charming Hacienda Ochil for a Yucatan lunch. Ochil was once a working plantation and it is well preserved; it's complete with extensive beautiful grounds, artwork, railroad, and even a cenote. As we talked with Alex we learned more about Mexico and the Yucatan and, this being US-election eve, we even talked a little politics. Alex is very informative and we had a nice tour. I'd highly recommend him.

For dinner tonight we walked all the way to the end of our block --- in other words, we barely moved --- where we ate at the Italian restaurant Oliva Enoteca. It's the fourth restaurant we've visited on the block. Each has been stellar.

 
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The Pyramid of the Soothsayer      
This three-level pyramid greets you as you enter Uxmal. It has unexpectedly rounded corners. A steep staircase climbs the eastern side. If you clap in front of the pyramid it is said to emit a bird-like echo.
 
The Pyramid of the Soothsayer      
This three-level pyramid greets you as you enter Uxmal. It has unexpectedly rounded corners. A steep staircase climbs the eastern side. If you clap in front of the pyramid it is said to emit a bird-like echo.
 
The Pyramid of the Soothsayer      
This three-level pyramid greets you as you enter Uxmal. It has unexpectedly rounded corners. A steep staircase climbs the eastern side. If you clap in front of the pyramid it is said to emit a bird-like echo.
 
The Pyramid of the Soothsayer      
A very steep staircase embellished with carved masks climbs the west side.
 
The Pyramid of the Soothsayer      
A very steep staircase embellished with carved masks climbs the west side.
 
The Pyramid of the Soothsayer      
A very steep staircase embellished with carved masks climbs the west side.
 
The top of the pyramid      
At the top of the west side the stairs reaches a doorway carved to represent the mouth of a serpent.
 
The top of the pyramid      
At the top of the west side the stairs reaches a doorway carved to represent the mouth of a serpent.
 
The top of the pyramid      
At the top of the west side the stairs reaches a doorway carved to represent the mouth of a serpent.
 
Steep stairs      
 
Steep stairs      
 
Steep stairs      
 
Iguana      
The grounds of Uxmal feature a lot of Iguanas. This one's maybe a couple of feet long.
 
Iguana      
The grounds of Uxmal feature a lot of Iguanas. This one's maybe a couple of feet long.
 
Iguana      
The grounds of Uxmal feature a lot of Iguanas. This one's maybe a couple of feet long.
 
Stone detail      
The stone facades are covered with snakes and turtles, people, and representations of the water god, water being of special importance to the Mayans.
 
Stone detail      
The stone facades are covered with snakes and turtles, people, and representations of the water god, water being of special importance to the Mayans.
 
Stone detail      
The stone facades are covered with snakes and turtles, people, and representations of the water god, water being of special importance to the Mayans.
 
Stone detail      
 
Stone detail      
 
Stone detail      
 
Stone arch      
 
Stone arch      
 
Stone arch      
 
Uxmal      
 
Uxmal      
 
Uxmal      
 
Pyramid of the soothsayer      
 
Pyramid of the soothsayer      
 
Pyramid of the soothsayer      
 
Our guide, Gam      
 
Our guide, Gam      
 
Our guide, Gam      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1182
 
 

Mad Max and Murals

 
November 7, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
 

The nearest airports to San Miguel (SMA) are Leon (90 min) and Mexico City (4 hours). Reserving a shared shuttle to/from either airport is easy and the vans are, well, vans. The tradeoff is time at the airport versus time on the road.

While Leon's small airport looks pretty new the MEX airport is old, it's all drab cement grey alternating with garish screens. It's windowless, run down, and where I was lying on the bench seats I felt my eyes seared with an endless loop of annoying ads, I felt in a Black Mirror episode. Even the departure board loops with ads, and the useful information doesn't stay on long enough to find your flight. You have to keep watching the ads, the same f*ing ads. An ugly depressing place to spend time. A shame the new airport was cancelled.

We got up early, Ubered1 to the Merida airport, then flew to Mexico City. We waited for awhile at arrivals then I called the shuttle service. They apologized. We were met by a fellow from Bajiogo shuttle. We quickly discovered it was piloted by Mad Max. So I put in some earbuds, listened to the last chapters of a Trollope2, and kept my eyes averted from the road and threatened carnage ahead. After several hours of pedal to the metal, dodging between cars, trucks, and construction zones, Max suddenly slowed. We'd arrived in quaint, cobblestoned San Miguel. This is looking very different from Merida.

Our driver left us at the door of a striking ultra-modern glass and cement architectural delight. From what I've seen so far, of the house and the colourful city, it looks like San Miguel will be a visual feast.

In the meantime, we gotta eat. So we stocked up the fridge from a nearby grocery then headed out for dinner. Tired, hungry, we'd not eaten since breakfast at the airport, we resorted to our fave cuisine, pizza. Yeah, I know, pizza in Mexico, why would one eat pizza in Mexico, but why not? And they had my numero uno, a thin crust Margherita with anchovies.

Upon leaving the aptly named Neapolitan Pizza, which by the way was excellent, we found ourselves refreshed and surrounded with murals and I love murals. The first time any murals caught my attention was in Valparaiso. The colourful public art transformed the town, the seaside setting being beautiful but the architecture not. Turns out, San Miguel de Allende has murals, too, though they are just an added bonus to the charming architecture. I've a few mural photos below.


1We'd not used Uber prior to Merida. We quickly became fans of the no-cash-needed service.

2Trollope's stories of life in Victorian England are absolutely nothing like Mad Max.

 
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Neapolitan pizza      
The small door to the left of the mural leads to a second-floor pizza kitchen and from there a tiny winding staircase leads to a roof top patio.
 
Neapolitan pizza      
The small door to the left of the mural leads to a second-floor pizza kitchen and from there a tiny winding staircase leads to a roof top patio.
 
Neapolitan pizza      
The small door to the left of the mural leads to a second-floor pizza kitchen and from there a tiny winding staircase leads to a roof top patio.
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1185
 
 

Dia uno, San Miguel de Allende

 
November 8, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
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Yellow building      
 
Yellow building      
 
Yellow building      
 
Evening light      
 
Evening light      
 
Evening light      
 
Street scene      
 
Street scene      
 
Street scene      
 
One of many churches      
 
One of many churches      
 
One of many churches      
 
Street musicians      
 
Street musicians      
 
Street musicians      
 
Traditional puppet known as Mojiganga      

The Mojigangas of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, trace their origin to the tradition of The Giants (Los Gigantes) of Spain. The Spaniards brought this tradition to Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The tradition took hold in some places and not others. San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca are two locations where the tradition rooted and evolved to a different, more locally interpreted folk art form. The original Giant style was more apt to depict aristocratic figures that are symmetrical and more doll-like in appearance. In Latin America this tradition morphed into the more relaxed & burlesque art form seen in Las Mojigangas de San Miguel… A merging, at times, of the Sacred with the Profane. Spain continues with a strong tradition of The Giants in both their secular and religious culture. One example is their role in The Parade of the Giants during La Pamplonada. discoversma.com

 
Traditional puppet known as Mojiganga      

The Mojigangas of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, trace their origin to the tradition of The Giants (Los Gigantes) of Spain. The Spaniards brought this tradition to Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The tradition took hold in some places and not others. San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca are two locations where the tradition rooted and evolved to a different, more locally interpreted folk art form. The original Giant style was more apt to depict aristocratic figures that are symmetrical and more doll-like in appearance. In Latin America this tradition morphed into the more relaxed & burlesque art form seen in Las Mojigangas de San Miguel… A merging, at times, of the Sacred with the Profane. Spain continues with a strong tradition of The Giants in both their secular and religious culture. One example is their role in The Parade of the Giants during La Pamplonada. discoversma.com

 
Traditional puppet known as Mojiganga      

The Mojigangas of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, trace their origin to the tradition of The Giants (Los Gigantes) of Spain. The Spaniards brought this tradition to Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The tradition took hold in some places and not others. San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca are two locations where the tradition rooted and evolved to a different, more locally interpreted folk art form. The original Giant style was more apt to depict aristocratic figures that are symmetrical and more doll-like in appearance. In Latin America this tradition morphed into the more relaxed & burlesque art form seen in Las Mojigangas de San Miguel… A merging, at times, of the Sacred with the Profane. Spain continues with a strong tradition of The Giants in both their secular and religious culture. One example is their role in The Parade of the Giants during La Pamplonada. discoversma.com

 
Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel      
 
Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel      
 
Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel      
 
Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel      
 
Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel      
 
Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel      
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1188
 
 

Dia dos, San Miguel

 
November 9, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
 

Despite what many assume, civilized coexistence in a culture of tolerance is not always the norm, or even universally desired. Democracy is a hard-won, easily rolled-back state of affairs from which many secretly yearn to be released. Uki Goi, an Argentinian writer, in the New York Review of Books

A discouraging thought, but I figure it's better to face the reality that we aren't all on the same page as to how best we should live. The recent election has driven home the point. It should have been a blue blowout, instead it was a draw. I'm left wondering how half the electorate could be such idiots.

Anyway...

We're having a wonderful time in SMA (San Miguel de Allende). The weather is great, with clear skies and comfortably cooler than the Yucatan, the food is good and nicely priced, the music is everywhere and pleasing to the ears, and the town is full of eye candy. Topping it off, the house we are staying in is an architectural work of art --- we've even befriended the architects, but more on that in a future photo-filled post.

SMA has a reputation as a gringo town, and while there is a large community of ex-pats plus tourists, it's still overwhelmingly non-gringo, which is a good thing. As in Merida, the locals are very friendly and helpful, they are always ready with a smile and a buenos dias, and they take my feeble attempts at Spanish with good humor. This certainly contrasts with my experiences in France.

A couple more kudos which also apply to Meridians: they have the queueing thing down, all you have to do is see how they line up for the collectivos. And I rarely smell cigarettes, when I do the source is usually a gringo. A big contrast with, say, Italy and Greece where it feels like everyone chain smokes.

Complaints? Hmm, the sidewalks could be wider. But it's an old town, there's only so much space, so aside from banning cars I don't see a solution. At least the sidewalks here and in Merida are clean and in reasonable condition. As I've written previously, Buenos Aires retains the crown for crappiest sidewalks, both in terms of disrepair and dog poop.

I'm listening to War/No More Trouble by Playing for Change.

 
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View of SMA from Mirador      
 
View of SMA from Mirador      
 
View of SMA from Mirador      
 
Biblioteca store      
We stopped by the library to get tickets to a talk by former president Vicente Fox. But upon walking into the library store I was blown away by the eye-grabbing mural covering the ceiling and the upper walls. It's a really nice library and has an inner courtyard and garden.
 
Biblioteca store      
We stopped by the library to get tickets to a talk by former president Vicente Fox. But upon walking into the library store I was blown away by the eye-grabbing mural covering the ceiling and the upper walls. It's a really nice library and has an inner courtyard and garden.
 
Biblioteca store      
We stopped by the library to get tickets to a talk by former president Vicente Fox. But upon walking into the library store I was blown away by the eye-grabbing mural covering the ceiling and the upper walls. It's a really nice library and has an inner courtyard and garden.
 
Street vendors      
 
Street vendors      
 
Street vendors      
 
Students catch ride on passing truck      
 
Students catch ride on passing truck      
 
Students catch ride on passing truck      
 
Plaza de Toros      
The gate to the bullring was open so we walked in to explore. What we didn't know is that the bullring was closed. Fortunately a groundskeeper saw us and called out to us just before they locked it up. Otherwise I guess we'd still be there.
 
Plaza de Toros      
The gate to the bullring was open so we walked in to explore. What we didn't know is that the bullring was closed. Fortunately a groundskeeper saw us and called out to us just before they locked it up. Otherwise I guess we'd still be there.
 
Plaza de Toros      
The gate to the bullring was open so we walked in to explore. What we didn't know is that the bullring was closed. Fortunately a groundskeeper saw us and called out to us just before they locked it up. Otherwise I guess we'd still be there.
 
Plaza de Toros      
 
Plaza de Toros      
 
Plaza de Toros      
 
Plaza de Toros      
 
Plaza de Toros      
 
Plaza de Toros      
 
Note the dog on the roof      
 
Note the dog on the roof      
 
Note the dog on the roof      
 
Street vendors      
 
Street vendors      
 
Street vendors      
 
Parque Benito Juarez      
A very beautiful and well maintained (like the rest of SMA) park.
 
Parque Benito Juarez      
A very beautiful and well maintained (like the rest of SMA) park.
 
Parque Benito Juarez      
A very beautiful and well maintained (like the rest of SMA) park.
 
Just outside      
We're in Baja Fish Taquito for a tasty late-afternoon lunch.
 
Just outside      
We're in Baja Fish Taquito for a tasty late-afternoon lunch.
 
Just outside      
We're in Baja Fish Taquito for a tasty late-afternoon lunch.
 
Blue door bakery      
I've included this picture to remind me to mention the nice collection of bakeries in SMA and because it's mentioned in the book On Mexican Time. I learned the baked-goods-shopping process by watching other shoppers in Merida: take a big round silver tray and a pair of tongs, help youself to the baked goods, take the tray to the lady (haven't seen any men yet) to wrap and price the goods, then pay the cashier. Most bakeries are amazingly cheap.
 
Blue door bakery      
I've included this picture to remind me to mention the nice collection of bakeries in SMA and because it's mentioned in the book On Mexican Time. I learned the baked-goods-shopping process by watching other shoppers in Merida: take a big round silver tray and a pair of tongs, help youself to the baked goods, take the tray to the lady (haven't seen any men yet) to wrap and price the goods, then pay the cashier. Most bakeries are amazingly cheap.
 
Blue door bakery      
I've included this picture to remind me to mention the nice collection of bakeries in SMA and because it's mentioned in the book On Mexican Time. I learned the baked-goods-shopping process by watching other shoppers in Merida: take a big round silver tray and a pair of tongs, help youself to the baked goods, take the tray to the lady (haven't seen any men yet) to wrap and price the goods, then pay the cashier. Most bakeries are amazingly cheap.
 
Flock of birds      
 
Flock of birds      
 
Flock of birds      
 
Lots of road work in SMA      
Several streets in SMA are under construction (putting in new pipes? replacing cobblestones?) and they work very late into the evening.
 
Lots of road work in SMA      
Several streets in SMA are under construction (putting in new pipes? replacing cobblestones?) and they work very late into the evening.
 
Lots of road work in SMA      
Several streets in SMA are under construction (putting in new pipes? replacing cobblestones?) and they work very late into the evening.
https://jamesgaston.ca/1189
 
 

Galeria Atotonilco

 
November 10, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
 

We ubered out to Galeria Atotonilco to see Mayer Shacter's collection of Mexican folk art. An impressive collection, with so much on display that at first it's a bit overwhelming. The building, which doubles as Shacter's home, is by Cathi and Steven House, the same architects for our home. It's about 20 minutes from SMA. Most of the artwork is for sale, with prices in the range of about 1,000-75,000 pesos.

 
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Galeria Atotonilco      
 
Galeria Atotonilco      
 
Galeria Atotonilco      
 
Galeria Atotonilco      
 
Galeria Atotonilco      
 
Galeria Atotonilco      
 
Galeria Atotonilco      
 
Galeria Atotonilco      
 
Galeria Atotonilco      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1192
 
 

Sunday in San Miguel

 
November 11, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
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Pointing to the door      
A few steps from our house on calzada de la Presa there is a church fronted with this circular object which makes me think of a mouth with pointed teeth. It provides a curious framing for the front door.
 
Pointing to the door      
A few steps from our house on calzada de la Presa there is a church fronted with this circular object which makes me think of a mouth with pointed teeth. It provides a curious framing for the front door.
 
Pointing to the door      
A few steps from our house on calzada de la Presa there is a church fronted with this circular object which makes me think of a mouth with pointed teeth. It provides a curious framing for the front door.
 
Carmen Jimenez' gallery exhibit      
A few meters from the circle with spikes is a gallery exhibiting Carmen Jimenez' ceramic works. This woman looks to be emerging from stone, or maybe a wrapping, and she's releasing rose petals as she appears.
 
Carmen Jimenez' gallery exhibit      
A few meters from the circle with spikes is a gallery exhibiting Carmen Jimenez' ceramic works. This woman looks to be emerging from stone, or maybe a wrapping, and she's releasing rose petals as she appears.
 
Carmen Jimenez' gallery exhibit      
A few meters from the circle with spikes is a gallery exhibiting Carmen Jimenez' ceramic works. This woman looks to be emerging from stone, or maybe a wrapping, and she's releasing rose petals as she appears.
 
Carmen Jimenez' Greed      
Carmen created a series of ceramic women titled greed, sloth, envy, and so on. This lady, Greed, is reaching for one more of what she already has a lot. Not pretty, but eye catching.
 
Carmen Jimenez' Greed      
Carmen created a series of ceramic women titled greed, sloth, envy, and so on. This lady, Greed, is reaching for one more of what she already has a lot. Not pretty, but eye catching.
 
Carmen Jimenez' Greed      
Carmen created a series of ceramic women titled greed, sloth, envy, and so on. This lady, Greed, is reaching for one more of what she already has a lot. Not pretty, but eye catching.
 
Carmen Jimenez' Sloth      
 
Carmen Jimenez' Sloth      
 
Carmen Jimenez' Sloth      
 
Carmen Jimenez' Transformation      
 
Carmen Jimenez' Transformation      
 
Carmen Jimenez' Transformation      
 
Mural      
As mentioned previously, the north side of town, near our fave Neapolitan Pizza, is a neighborhood with a number of murals.
 
Mural      
As mentioned previously, the north side of town, near our fave Neapolitan Pizza, is a neighborhood with a number of murals.
 
Mural      
As mentioned previously, the north side of town, near our fave Neapolitan Pizza, is a neighborhood with a number of murals.
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Mural      
 
Church      
SMA is chock full of churches. The colours of this church, the orange against the blue sky, caught my eye.
 
Church      
SMA is chock full of churches. The colours of this church, the orange against the blue sky, caught my eye.
 
Church      
SMA is chock full of churches. The colours of this church, the orange against the blue sky, caught my eye.
 
Doorway      
 
Doorway      
 
Doorway      
 
I think he's going the wrong way      
A line of men on horses were slowly threading there way against the traffic in a car-clogged street.
 
I think he's going the wrong way      
A line of men on horses were slowly threading there way against the traffic in a car-clogged street.
 
I think he's going the wrong way      
A line of men on horses were slowly threading there way against the traffic in a car-clogged street.
 
Mexican flag      
 
Mexican flag      
 
Mexican flag      
 
Evening on Conde del Canal      
I'm standing on a narrow bridge, on Quebrada, looking west down Conde del Canal. This bridge is one of several locations mentioned in Tony Cohan's book On Mexican Time. For fun we're trying to find some of them. We've yet to find the author's street.
 
Evening on Conde del Canal      
I'm standing on a narrow bridge, on Quebrada, looking west down Conde del Canal. This bridge is one of several locations mentioned in Tony Cohan's book On Mexican Time. For fun we're trying to find some of them. We've yet to find the author's street.
 
Evening on Conde del Canal      
I'm standing on a narrow bridge, on Quebrada, looking west down Conde del Canal. This bridge is one of several locations mentioned in Tony Cohan's book On Mexican Time. For fun we're trying to find some of them. We've yet to find the author's street.
 
Yellow, blue and purple      
 
Yellow, blue and purple      
 
Yellow, blue and purple      
 
Evening on the street      

If only the universe could pause for awhile, to extend the duration of the evening light. I know, the soft light offers itself twice a day, but I've not the dedication most mornings to catch the early one.

This shot captures the typical narrowness of the sidewalks in the two Mexican towns I've visited.

 
Evening on the street      

If only the universe could pause for awhile, to extend the duration of the evening light. I know, the soft light offers itself twice a day, but I've not the dedication most mornings to catch the early one.

This shot captures the typical narrowness of the sidewalks in the two Mexican towns I've visited.

 
Evening on the street      

If only the universe could pause for awhile, to extend the duration of the evening light. I know, the soft light offers itself twice a day, but I've not the dedication most mornings to catch the early one.

This shot captures the typical narrowness of the sidewalks in the two Mexican towns I've visited.

 
Courtyard peek      
As in Merida, as you walk down the street, scrunched up on the narrow sidewalks, dodging slow-moving cars and squeezing past other pedestrians, typically with a smile and a buenos dias or buenos tardes or buenos noches, as you walk if you turn to look in an open door you see a whole rich world inside, an art gallery, a grocery, a bakery (yum!), or, like in this shot, an inviting restaurant. The hidden and then the sudden reveal.
 
Courtyard peek      
As in Merida, as you walk down the street, scrunched up on the narrow sidewalks, dodging slow-moving cars and squeezing past other pedestrians, typically with a smile and a buenos dias or buenos tardes or buenos noches, as you walk if you turn to look in an open door you see a whole rich world inside, an art gallery, a grocery, a bakery (yum!), or, like in this shot, an inviting restaurant. The hidden and then the sudden reveal.
 
Courtyard peek      
As in Merida, as you walk down the street, scrunched up on the narrow sidewalks, dodging slow-moving cars and squeezing past other pedestrians, typically with a smile and a buenos dias or buenos tardes or buenos noches, as you walk if you turn to look in an open door you see a whole rich world inside, an art gallery, a grocery, a bakery (yum!), or, like in this shot, an inviting restaurant. The hidden and then the sudden reveal.
 
Painting      
A quadriptych hanging over the doorway into a restaurant.
 
Painting      
A quadriptych hanging over the doorway into a restaurant.
 
Painting      
A quadriptych hanging over the doorway into a restaurant.
 
Wedding pose      
These three were posing for their photographer. They are on the steps of the Parroquia on the Jardin Allende, the city's main square.
 
Wedding pose      
These three were posing for their photographer. They are on the steps of the Parroquia on the Jardin Allende, the city's main square.
 
Wedding pose      
These three were posing for their photographer. They are on the steps of the Parroquia on the Jardin Allende, the city's main square.
 
Ready to play      
The day ends on the Jardin Allende, the main square, which is full of people, and where I find these fellows suited up and ready to entertain.
 
Ready to play      
The day ends on the Jardin Allende, the main square, which is full of people, and where I find these fellows suited up and ready to entertain.
 
Ready to play      
The day ends on the Jardin Allende, the main square, which is full of people, and where I find these fellows suited up and ready to entertain.
 
Balloons for sale      
At least her load isn't heavy, but it sure looks awkward. Earlier in the day I caught a glimpse of a balloon seller squeezing his wares into a collectivo. Lots of people working hard to survive. Yet another reminder that I've been gifted a charmed life.
 
Balloons for sale      
At least her load isn't heavy, but it sure looks awkward. Earlier in the day I caught a glimpse of a balloon seller squeezing his wares into a collectivo. Lots of people working hard to survive. Yet another reminder that I've been gifted a charmed life.
 
Balloons for sale      
At least her load isn't heavy, but it sure looks awkward. Earlier in the day I caught a glimpse of a balloon seller squeezing his wares into a collectivo. Lots of people working hard to survive. Yet another reminder that I've been gifted a charmed life.
 

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1193
 
 

Vicente Fox

 
November 12, 2018   Mexico, SMA, Politics, US Politics
 
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Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico      
 
Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico      
 
Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico      
 

Vicente Fox, president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, spoke in San Miguel this evening. A member of the National Action Party (PAN), he was the first president to break the hold of the International Revolutionary Party (PRI) since 1929.

Fox talked on a broad range of political, economic, and humanitarian topics, took questions from the audience, and then concluded with a discussion of one of the nonprofits he is working with, CRISMA, a therapeutic service for low-income families in SMA.

Coming into the evening I knew nothing of Fox other than he held office as president of Mexico and that he was in an over-the-top video announcing his candidacy for president of the United States.

Fox shared his thoughts on everything from the European Union (he considers it hugely successful), referendums (BREXIT and the recent cancellation of the new Mexico City airport, both of which he's in strong disagreement), NAFTA, the wall (the US will have to waste its own money if it wants one), the migrant caravan (refugee problems are best solved at the source), drug trafficking and its associated violence (he favours legalizing all drugs), populism (dangerous but hopefully the pendulum swings back soon), and whether running a government is the same as running a business (it isn't).

Fox made no effort to hide his disdain for the current occupant of the White House. Fox came across as rational and pragmatic, and a bit right of center. He gave short shrift to the problem of income inequality, preferring to focus on wealth creation versus redistribution. But he took challenging questions in stride, such as the correlation between Coke consumption --- Fox was once a Coke executive --- and obesity.

Curiously, there was no visible security for the ex-president. As far as I could tell Fox had no secret service and there were no metal detectors for the audience, he was just a guy on stage giving a talk and answering questions from the audience. Um, who said Mexico was a dangerous place?

I'm listening to David Sylvian's Nostalgia.

 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1195
 
 

Casita del Maguey

 
November 13, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
 
Street

Our house, Casita del Maguey1, is one of two houses squeezed onto a narrow city block on Calzada de la Presa2 in San Miguel de Allende. The architects, Cathi and Steven House, live nearby and use the casitas as rental property and as an exhibit for architecture students. In fact, shortly after we arrived a class of Cal Poly architecture students came for a visit. The Houses are friendly and helpful, and we've run into them numerous times in town, such as at last night's address by president Fox.

Street

Our one bedroom, one and a half bath casita is a visual treat, with tall ceilings, walls of glass, cantilevered walkways, multiple decks, comfortable modern furniture, and tasteful colors and art. It has in-floor heat plus whole-house potable water so you can drink water from any tap. It shares a small pool with the slightly larger casita next door. The location is perfect, a short walk to el centro but with none of its weekend nightlife. The blocks-long maze of the Mercado de Artesania, resembling Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, is just steps away.

Cathi and Steven designed the house to be light and airy and to feel more spacious than it really is. Interesting architectural details abound. It is a feast for the eyes as well as being a comfortable place to hang out while visiting SMA.

The house has downsides. This is not a place for those who like privacy. Being so open inside, you can't, say, listen to music in the living room and have someone sleeping in the bedroom. The house has so many lights and so many light switches that I find myself going up and down the stairs searching for the switch that controls that last light left on before going to bed.

But the biggest problem is the house seems to be unheated3. I figure the in-floor heat, first floor only, isn't up to the task. The house design and construction --- large interior spaces, single-pane glass walls and skylights that run the length of the house, gaps around the exterior doors --- don't match its abilities. Outside it's just above freezing, inside we are wearing long johns, winter coats, and wool hats.

Stair

But it sure is pretty.

 

1San Miguel House Rentals

2Calzada de la Presa changes its name almost block by block, to Chorro, Barranca, Murllo, and Nuez.

3An exaggeration, but if there's any forecast of cold be sure to bring warm clothes. It's worth it, though.

 
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Entryway      
 
Entryway      
 
Entryway      
 
Stairs to rooftop deck      
 
Stairs to rooftop deck      
 
Stairs to rooftop deck      
 
Stairs      
 
Stairs      
 
Stairs      
 
Kitchen and garden      
 
Kitchen and garden      
 
Kitchen and garden      
 
Front garden      
 
Front garden      
 
Front garden      
 
Casita living room      
 
Casita living room      
 
Casita living room      
 
Bridge      
 
Bridge      
 
Bridge      
 
Floating ceiling      
 
Floating ceiling      
 
Floating ceiling      
 
Stairs and ceiling      
 
Stairs and ceiling      
 
Stairs and ceiling      
 
Glass shower enclosure      
 
Glass shower enclosure      
 
Glass shower enclosure      
 
Bedroom floor and kitchen      
 
Bedroom floor and kitchen      
 
Bedroom floor and kitchen      
 
Rooftop deck      
 
Rooftop deck      
 
Rooftop deck      
 
Shadows      
 
Shadows      
 
Shadows      
 
Living room      
Looking out the living room you see the second casita. To the left of it is a walkway to the street.
 
Living room      
Looking out the living room you see the second casita. To the left of it is a walkway to the street.
 
Living room      
Looking out the living room you see the second casita. To the left of it is a walkway to the street.
https://jamesgaston.ca/1198
 
 

Brrrr

 
November 14, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
 

A cold morning in San Miguel, it is 0° (32F) outside and 13° (57F) in la casita. Hoping for some sunshine. In the meantime we are heading out to look for a cafe that has some heat

 
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One of many at Casa de los Soles      
 
One of many at Casa de los Soles      
 
One of many at Casa de los Soles      
 
Casa de los Soles      
 
Casa de los Soles      
 
Casa de los Soles      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1199
 
 

La Parroquia de San Miguel

 
November 14, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
 

La Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel, the current parish church of San Miguel, is unique in Mexico and the emblem of the town. It is one of the most-photographed churches in Mexico and the two tall towers of its neo-Gothic facade can be seen from most parts of town. The church was built in the 17th century with a traditional Mexican facade. The current Gothic facade was constructed in 1880 by Zeferino Gutierrez, an indigenous bricklayer and self-taught architect. It is said Gutierrez's inspiration came from postcards and lithographs of Gothic churches in Europe; however, the interpretation is his own and more a work of imagination than a faithful reconstruction. Wikipedia

The inside of the church is well done, but it's the exterior that is so striking. The pinkish-orange colours and the three-dimensionality of the steeple are like a Disney fairy castle.

 
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La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
Mural, La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
Mural, La Parroquia de San Miguel      
 
Mural, La Parroquia de San Miguel      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1202
 
 

Mysteries

 
November 15, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
 

A willing if untalented gardener, he collages cuttings in pots in strange combinations, confuses weeds and plants. He's not much of a painter, carpenter, or plumber either, though he does a little of all of these things: milusos, as Mexicans say, a thousand uses, a handyman. Tony Cohan, On Mexican Time

My hands are freezing as I write this, I can only drink so many cups of coffee to keep warm, I'll be jittery if I don't stop. We emailed Steven last night regarding the heating problem and in short order he was at our door. I didn't share my thoughts on the construction of the house. He assured us the heat should be up to the task and said a serviceman had been called. I just hope by serviceman he doesn't mean Alejandro, the friendly caretaker who makes me think of Hilario, the handyman in Cohan's book

Sun

Steven stayed awhile, he's a bit of a raconteur, a person who finds talking easy and dominates conversation, but fortunately his talk is interesting.

My mother used to say avoid the word "I" in conversation if you want to be considered a good conversationalist, and it's stuck with me; when I listen to others my mother's voice has me counting the I's in their sentences. So it's a word to avoid, but avoiding doesn't guarantee anything, you still need something interesting to say. And while Steven is free with the I's he keeps my attention.

He saw my battered copy of Cohan's book and brightened, Tony is a friend and client. I probed for an answer to the location of Calle Flor and Steven confirmed my suspicions, Calle Flor is a made-up name, the author's perogative to change a name to protect something. Tony's house was not on Calle Flor, it was on Jesus, a three-block street between Tenerias and Umaran, and that makes sense, it aligns with the descriptions of neighborhood shops, intersections, and views of the cathedral from the rooftop. Walking Jesus will be on today's itinerary.

Steven talked of his travels and his photography. We pulled out one of his books that is sitting in the casita, Mediterranean Villages. It's chock full of beautiful black and white photos and drawings made by Steven and Cathi. Paul and I have been to many of the same places, we have similar favorites, the Greek islands, Santorini and Monemvasia, and small Italian hill towns. It's a coffee table book I'd consider, unlike Kramer's coffee table book about coffee tables1.

Alejandro comes by. He studies the thermostat, he changes the batteries, he studies it some more. He touches the floor, caliente he says, well it's been mildly caliente all along, but not enough caliente. I don't have high hopes for heat.

We have a similar in-floor system in Otter Point, though ours is more complex, two floors and eleven zones. It took us awhile to find someone who could diagnose our heat issues, even the company that installed it couldn't fix it. They sent out a guy who stood in front of the system studying the manuals and talking to the manufacturer, all on our dime. I've come to think in-floor heat is one of those technologies that isn't quite ready, it takes almost a degree in engineering to understand the settings, and even when you understand it it is problematic. Slow to heat, inflexibly embedded in concrete, with a Rube Goldberg, or Wallace and Gromit, complexity; obscure settings and sensors and actuators and pipes and so many wires it's a wonder when it works.

I'm listening to Patty Griffin's Heavenly Day.

1Seinfeld reference.

 
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Mercado Ignacio Ramirez      
The Mercado Ignacio Ramirez is adjacent to the Mercado de Artesanias, and just minutes from our house.
 
Mercado Ignacio Ramirez      
The Mercado Ignacio Ramirez is adjacent to the Mercado de Artesanias, and just minutes from our house.
 
Mercado Ignacio Ramirez      
The Mercado Ignacio Ramirez is adjacent to the Mercado de Artesanias, and just minutes from our house.
 
Doorway      
 
Doorway      
 
Doorway      
https://jamesgaston.ca/1203
 
 

Bellas Artes

 
November 15, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
 

We checked out the Bellas Artes to see the beautiful building, study some art, snack on cheesecake and cappuccino, and attend a book signing/talk/slide show on West Africa. The Bellas Artes is housed in a former convent. It has a large central courtyard around which are exhibit spaces, an auditorium, and workshops for a wide range of arts, from music and dance to weaving and painting. Entrance to the building and exhibits is free, like most of the Mexican museums we've visited, which is great as it makes it accessible to everyone.

 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Bellas Artes      
 
Workshop, Bellas Artes      
 
Workshop, Bellas Artes      
 
Workshop, Bellas Artes      
 
Workshop, Bellas Artes      
 
Workshop, Bellas Artes      
 
Workshop, Bellas Artes      
 
Cathi and Steven House      
We ended our visit to Bellas Artes with a talk introducing the Houses' new book Villages of West Africa. Their beautiful photography was accompanied by stories of their travels through several African countries.
 
Cathi and Steven House      
We ended our visit to Bellas Artes with a talk introducing the Houses' new book Villages of West Africa. Their beautiful photography was accompanied by stories of their travels through several African countries.
 
Cathi and Steven House      
We ended our visit to Bellas Artes with a talk introducing the Houses' new book Villages of West Africa. Their beautiful photography was accompanied by stories of their travels through several African countries.
https://jamesgaston.ca/1204
 
 

Shopping & eating in San Miguel

 
November 16, 2018   Mexico, SMA
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
Fresh tortillas      
Around the corner from our rented house, on the way to a coffee shop called Garambullo, there is a tortilla company and you can look through the window and watch the finished tortillas coming out of the oven and dropping into little tortilla catchers. Every so often someone comes in to collect the stack of tortillas.
 
Fresh tortillas      
Around the corner from our rented house, on the way to a coffee shop called Garambullo, there is a tortilla company and you can look through the window and watch the finished tortillas coming out of the oven and dropping into little tortilla catchers. Every so often someone comes in to collect the stack of tortillas.
 
Fresh tortillas      
Around the corner from our rented house, on the way to a coffee shop called Garambullo, there is a tortilla company and you can look through the window and watch the finished tortillas coming out of the oven and dropping into little tortilla catchers. Every so often someone comes in to collect the stack of tortillas.
 
Ribbons for sale      
All manner of stuff is for sale on the street. Like this colourfully-dressed woman selling brightly-coloured ribbons from her basket.
 
Ribbons for sale      
All manner of stuff is for sale on the street. Like this colourfully-dressed woman selling brightly-coloured ribbons from her basket.
 
Ribbons for sale      
All manner of stuff is for sale on the street. Like this colourfully-dressed woman selling brightly-coloured ribbons from her basket.
 
Paul at La Colmena      
Here is Paul loading his tray at La Colmena, a.k.a. the blue door bakery, in San Miguel. This is the same bakery that the author Tony Cohan shops at in his book On Mexican Time. At the bakery the breads and pastries and desserts change through the day, which can serve to rationalize yet another stop at the bakery. Gotta see what's new.
 
Paul at La Colmena      
Here is Paul loading his tray at La Colmena, a.k.a. the blue door bakery, in San Miguel. This is the same bakery that the author Tony Cohan shops at in his book On Mexican Time. At the bakery the breads and pastries and desserts change through the day, which can serve to rationalize yet another stop at the bakery. Gotta see what's new.
 
Paul at La Colmena      
Here is Paul loading his tray at La Colmena, a.k.a. the blue door bakery, in San Miguel. This is the same bakery that the author Tony Cohan shops at in his book On Mexican Time. At the bakery the breads and pastries and desserts change through the day, which can serve to rationalize yet another stop at the bakery. Gotta see what's new.
 
Mercado de Artesanias      

The Mercado de Artesanias is an interesting place to shop. It is a couple of minutes walk from our rented house. To get to it we walk past the gym/pilates/yoga/zumba studio that fills the morning air with the sounds of pulsing, energetic music, past the tortilla factory with it's bready smells, then turn the corner into the Mercado de Artesanias and the adjacent food market, Mercado Ignacio Ramirez. They comprise a three-block-long narrow pedestrian street lined with merchants of many types. Fresh vegetables, cooked foods, meats, bicycles, clothing, zapatos, pewter ware, and on and on, every imaginable type of good is available for sale. There are metal smiths making jewelry, women roasting corn, and butchers cutting meat.

We walk through the Mercado at least once a day. It's clean and neat and the merchants are friendly and relaxed, unlike the high-pressure salesmen in the somewhat-similar Istanbul Grand Bazaar.

San Miguel is chock full of stores, beautiful, artistic, eye candy stores, as you walk down the narrow sidewalks almost every turn of the head fills your eyes with another tempting place to shop, and we do, but we especially like the Mercado.

 
Mercado de Artesanias      

The Mercado de Artesanias is an interesting place to shop. It is a couple of minutes walk from our rented house. To get to it we walk past the gym/pilates/yoga/zumba studio that fills the morning air with the sounds of pulsing, energetic music, past the tortilla factory with it's bready smells, then turn the corner into the Mercado de Artesanias and the adjacent food market, Mercado Ignacio Ramirez. They comprise a three-block-long narrow pedestrian street lined with merchants of many types. Fresh vegetables, cooked foods, meats, bicycles, clothing, zapatos, pewter ware, and on and on, every imaginable type of good is available for sale. There are metal smiths making jewelry, women roasting corn, and butchers cutting meat.

We walk through the Mercado at least once a day. It's clean and neat and the merchants are friendly and relaxed, unlike the high-pressure salesmen in the somewhat-similar Istanbul Grand Bazaar.

San Miguel is chock full of stores, beautiful, artistic, eye candy stores, as you walk down the narrow sidewalks almost every turn of the head fills your eyes with another tempting place to shop, and we do, but we especially like the Mercado.

 
Mercado de Artesanias      

The Mercado de Artesanias is an interesting place to shop. It is a couple of minutes walk from our rented house. To get to it we walk past the gym/pilates/yoga/zumba studio that fills the morning air with the sounds of pulsing, energetic music, past the tortilla factory with it's bready smells, then turn the corner into the Mercado de Artesanias and the adjacent food market, Mercado Ignacio Ramirez. They comprise a three-block-long narrow pedestrian street lined with merchants of many types. Fresh vegetables, cooked foods, meats, bicycles, clothing, zapatos, pewter ware, and on and on, every imaginable type of good is available for sale. There are metal smiths making jewelry, women roasting corn, and butchers cutting meat.

We walk through the Mercado at least once a day. It's clean and neat and the merchants are friendly and relaxed, unlike the high-pressure salesmen in the somewhat-similar Istanbul Grand Bazaar.

San Miguel is chock full of stores, beautiful, artistic, eye candy stores, as you walk down the narrow sidewalks almost every turn of the head fills your eyes with another tempting place to shop, and we do, but we especially like the Mercado.

 
Mercado de Artesanias      
One of several entryways to the Mercado.
 
Mercado de Artesanias      
One of several entryways to the Mercado.
 
Mercado de Artesanias      
One of several entryways to the Mercado.
 
Mercade de Artesanias      
 
Mercade de Artesanias      
 
Mercade de Artesanias      
 
Mercado de Artesanias      
 
Mercado de Artesanias