A Perfect Day in SMA: Hat Shopping and Music

•July 21, 2017 • 2 Comments

Days in SMA sometimes begin like this:

Or like this (OK, this is not the same day, it is the next day). Looking out from the hillside where Denver and I walk in the mornings:

Later . . .

We have been invited to the First Communion Celebration of this young man, Rodrigo. His gift from us is a sombrero. We drove out to Rancho Viejo where we met Rodrigo, his brother Jonathan, and his father Samuel, then came back into town to the Mercado de Artesanías where hats are displayed and sold. We wanted Rodrigo to pick out his favorite.

This is the one he selected:

Joie approves of Rodrigo’s selection:

On to lunch (tortas); Jonathan (left), Rodrigo (middle), and Samuel (right):

Later still . . .

Evening finds us enjoying dinner and music at Bistro Mi Casa in the Instituto Allende: the Gil Gutiérrez and Gabriel Hernandez Quartet.

Gabriel solo:


Percussion & Bass:

. . . Another just about perfect day in San Miguel de Allende!


La Esquina – Museo del Juguete Popular Mexican (Toy Museum)

•July 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

In Centro is a charming Museum featuring Mexican toys, some old and some recently crafted. The building is on the corner (“La Esquina”) of Nuñez and San Francisco streets. Displays are on three floors with an airshaft in the middle:

A colorful band . . .

Pilas de perros . . . .

Más pilas de perros . . .

A child’s lesson in soteriology:

And then this familiar fellow . . .

I was distracted from the toys by the view from the third floor terrace:

More view . . .

More view . . .

Followed by a peaceful lunch at El Restaurante 13 Cielos (view from our table):

Restaurante 13 Cielos

Correo 34, Centro, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico

+52 415 152 0053

On Trump Jr. and His Meeting with the Russians

•July 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Here’s my theory, pieced together from various news sources – especially the Daily Caller:

Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner were offered a folder of hacked documents whose contents would be damaging to the Clinton campaign. The quid pro quo was a commitment to unwind the Magnitsky Act. The folder was left behind when the Russians left Trump Tower.

The Trump campaign could not release the hacked documents without explaining where they got them. No problem – the Russians gave them to Guccifer who promptly made them public.

Sounds like collusion to me.

En La Cañada – Our Neighborhood

•July 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Every morning and afternoon I walk with Denver through La Cañada, our neighborhood, and along the trails on the gentle hillside that separates us from the fancy haciendas along the golf course at the top of the hill.

Looking back (to the southeast) from the trails we see across the neighborhood and to the far mountains:

Looking forward (to the southwest) the land slopes to the presa (reservoir). Yes, that is a big house in the distance:

The big house is referred to as the “castle” by those who live out this way, but I have not yet learned any details about the Lord or Lady. Nonetheless, it is striking:

Just another San Miguel neighborhood. Except I wish I had an airplane in my back yard (if you can see the airplane, click the picture to expand it and look to the lower right):

Russell Monk has a series of photographs of the Roof Dogs of San Miguel. Here Calle Puente de Santa Teresa we have roof dogs as well. Federico, the small white guy, is especialmente feroz!


Weddings in Mexico

•July 9, 2017 • 1 Comment

Señora Perusquia, our ‘landlord,’ employs a young man named Raul to maintain the gardens and make repairs to the casa – no mean feat given how large it is. We were invited to Raul’s wedding and happily accepted.

The wedding took place in Rancho Viejo at one of the oldest Churches in the San Miguel/Atotonilco area, out in the country about 15 kilometers from the center of town. We decided to drive our own car rather than having to summon a taxi and give directions over the phone in our Spanish so that the driver could find the way.

I carefully consulted Google Maps and found an old Church in the Rancho Viejo area. We set off, and eventually arrived at the Church. No one was there. Wrong old Church! But we did see a couple with a young boy and asked them for directions. They, too, were on their way to Raul and Reina’s wedding; they hopped in the back and off we went to yet a different old Church:

Although the building dates from Colonial times, the inside clearly shows care and stewardship:

Raul and Reina after the ceremony and arriving at the Rancho for the reception:

Raul and Reina with their baby, Cariña – at a wedding reception, but not their wedding reception. An explanation is in order. While at Raul and Reina’s wedding, the family that rode with us from the wrong Church to the right Church – Samuel, Lorena, and Rodigo – invited us to the wedding of one of Samuel’s coworker’s sons.


The Priest stands before the entry of the Church, looking out. The groom, Bernabe, and his immediate family face the priest. The bride, Adriana, and her father stand behind. The Priest speaks to them about what is to happen when they cross the threshold of the sanctuary:

Adriane and Bernabe exchange vows, but only after the Priest has offered an animated preview of holy matrimony with its ups and downs – at times to the amusement of those gathered there.

As Communion is being celebrated in the sanctuary, the Mariachi band gathers in the outer courtyard:

The sanctuary is overflowing, so families chat outside in the courtyard. I am taken by the expression of delight on the face of the young mariachi.

The service ends, and the band is poised to greet the newlyweds:

Joie made this brief video of the Mariachi Band playing at reception for Adriana and Bernabe in Rancho Viejo.

Joie and Raul at Adriana and Bernabe’s reception:

The sombrero is a topic for another post, but Joie clearly enjoys the celebration!

Samuel and Lorena have invited us to come to their home in several weeks to celebrate Rodrigo’s first communion. The sombrero is part of this story yet to be told.



Zandunga – Musica en el Campo

•July 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

About thirty minutes from our place, out in the country on the road to Jalpa, is a music venue named “Zandunga.”

The setting is spectacular, with many cacti carefully planted.

Zandunga is open Sunday afternoons from 2:00 – 5:00 for music, dancing, food and drinks.

The crowd is largely gringos.

Gil Gutierrez and Rebecca are the hosts. The music typically features Gil on guitar with other musicians he recruits.

Sopes plus tacos al pastor . . .

and many salsas make the menu

It is a terrific Sunday afternoon. We will return.


Victims of Crime while in Mexico(!)

•June 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Conversations about moving to Mexico inevitably turn to the issues of safety and security. It’s a complicated consideration because, in one important sense, safety and security are local. Statistics comparing crime rates between cities, let alone between nations, can be misleading.

In coming to San Miguel de Allende for the summer Joie and I sought the best available data about the town and even about La Cañada, the neighborhood where we are staying. Being caught in the crossfire in a revenge shooting carried out by narcotraficantes seemed unlikely – and that hasn’t happened (although we missed the opportunity by a mere 45 minutes). More likely, by far, would be victims of some lesser crime like robbery or fraud, given the number of burglaries and such reported in our neighborhood.

Well, it’s happened. I discovered this Friday afternoon while here in Mexico that we were defrauded and robbed of over US $2000 – by someone we know.

Note that I say “while in Mexico.” The crime happened at our home in Saint Louis. A person we know and who had access to our home in our absence stole blank checks, made them payable to himself, and forged Joie’s signature. Now I have to fly back to the US to file a police report.

I guess being in Mexico is safer than being in the Saint Louis suburbs – at least so far.