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 • Leave a 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.

RaulReina&Bebe

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.

Interlopers in el parque

•May 12, 2017 • Leave a Comment

There is a small park at the upper end of our block, just a patch of grass, a brick patio, and some trees for shade:

Denver and I often pause in the park and enjoy the view. But maybe we should think twice. Returning from a shopping trip, I rounded the corner to find these two characters sampling the flora. (Yes, there are two, look closely and you’ll see the dark grayish one behind the low wall and under the tree):

I have absolutely no idea where they belong or how they got here.

Arrival in SMA

•May 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

My last post (“Trying to blow this pop stand”) was a sustained whine about the difficulties we faced preparing for our summer in San Miguel de Allende. But we made it after five days on the road. I won’t whine about the rain, the idiot in a yellow car who almost hit us in Dallas, a new Garmin GPS that got us lost (also in Dallas), etc., because actually the trip went quite well. La Quinta Inn welcomed us – Denver included – in Joplin, MO; Hillsboro, TX; and, Laredo, Texas. The folks who helped us obtain our FMM (tourist permit) and TIP (import permit for our car) were professional and competent. The route we had planned to take through Nuevo Laredo was blocked off, but people on the street were delighted to help us find an alternate route. And we flew through the 26 KM checkpoint with nothing but waves.

It’s 552 miles from Laredo to San Miguel; we split the trip into two days, staying at La Palmas Midway Hotel in Matehuala. It’s an old-fashioned motor court – you park next to the door to your room. The restaurant is quite good – the cabrito al horno we had for dinner was fantastic. Here’s Joie enjoying breakfast at one of the tables by the pool.

Coming into San Miguel on Sunday I made a wrong turn that led us into Centro where preparations for a festival were underway. Traffic was snarled, so I made a few turns hoping to break free. Bad idea – we found ourselves on what must be the steepest and narrowest street in San Miguel with nowhere to go but up. Quite a thrill!

We’re getting settled in our ‘casita’ in the LaCañada neighborhood. The view from one of the terraces (see the Summer Home: Casa Serenidad post for more pictures):

Denver is having quite a time. The Golden who lives in the Main House is in season, and he is not snipped. There was an exciting moment the other evening when Denver found a way through a gate into Chelsea’s turf – but her folks lured her inside with a cookie just in time. (I offer no commentary on this preference.)

Joie has discovered that our TV carried “Master Chef Junior – Mexico” which is perfect for building Spanish.

It’s been warm – low 90s F – but cools nicely in the evening, which it is now. Combined with the effects of altitude, I’m tired. Till next time.