The thing about San Miguel de Allende is, when you set off to do one thing, something else pops up along the way.
Then something else.
Then something else again.
And so on, until you are back home again.
Is it any wonder we never grow tired of this city?
Let me give you an example from last night.
Prose Cafe Bellas Artes held its monthly writers’ sala. Writers give readings. It is that simple. And for stuffing 50 pesos in the glass jar at the entrance, it is bargain entertainment.
And inspiration. Always, always, looking for inspiration.
At my age, I need all the inspiration I can get. In so many areas.
Prose Cafe starts at 5 p.m. and fills up, usually.
I headed out at 3:30 p.m. because National Geographic is in town with a photography expo and there are kiosks all over Centro with gorgeous photos blown up big.
This, too, was for inspiration. Although, I work in the photography medium known as “Oh, my god. You are still taking pictures with that iPhone?”
Remember when you used to hand down your old phone to your kid? My kid handed up his old phone to me…
Anyhow, greatly inspired by all the great photography and like all competitive snobs I said to myself, “Geeze, I could have shot that on my iPhone, tweaked it in Lightroom, and entered this contest.
I know I have better turtle photos from my years in Belize. (See below, click to enlarge.)
Here are some of my wildlife photos from living in Belize.
Sad story about the turtle in the upper-left-hand picture. He paid for his friendliness. A tour boat’s propeller, like the one in the picture, ran him over and killed him. Another turtle once swam right up to my face and when it saw that my GoPro was not food, he whacked it with his fin, then swam away. I have it on video somewhere. The land animals are at the amazing Belize National Zoo.
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Oh, don’t mind me. The National Geographic photos are spectacular. Get off your ass and walk over to Centro this weekend to see them.
Thank you, National Geographic.
Gratuitous pictures taken by me of more wildlife from Belize (Click to enlarge):
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Have you been inside Bellas Artes this week?
You can’t see the most beautiful things going on, but you can hear them.
The Metropolitan Opera regional competition is in progress and the courtyard is filled with ethereal voices of young contestants. The five finalists will perform on Sunday at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. I can’t wait.
Last night, I sat in the courtyard for about 20 minutes while waiting for Prose Cafe to begin and reflected on the awesomeness of it all.
The readings might be summarized as “Two Southern Belles and an Urban Dude.”
Playwright Sharon Steeber, at left, (and an actor friend) read bits from the monologues of five generations of Southern women. It was classic Southern Memoir, a genre all its own.
Author Gabrielle Brie (center) offered a twist on the Southern Memoir — in that her mom was Jewish and from New York and her whole family sounds like a deliciously hot mess of culture clash.
Steve Dunn (right) walked up to the podium smooth, cool and slow — kind of a foreshadowing of his prose. His story of a “head case” showing up at the local gym to catch some basketball and growing increasingly frustrated with the selfishness of certain players — well, it was classic street memoir. He wields words like a forecourt dynamo. The ball gets out of hand once in a while, but man, when he shoots for the rim, it is a clean ride.
You’d think this was enough inspiration for one night but the Prose Cafe ended way ahead of schedule and I used the time before dinner to stroll through the Jardin Principal. Something I find myself doing less and less.
Then I remembered why.
The same vendors selling the same inflated bouncing pencils. The same food vendors. The same tourists and gringos, all looking sideways at each other. The same young girls “auditioning” for fashion magazines with saucy poses in front of the cathedral.
Don’t misunderstand. I love it all.
But tonight? Meh.
Getting up to leave, I spotted a little commotion down Cuna de Allende.
A little commotion is always a good thing when you have a blog to fill.
This was nice commotion. A birthday party for little kids and they were accompanied (or led) by a very large musical entourage. I can’t say a Mariachi band because the songs and instrumentation were different — maybe Uruguayan, Argentinian, or Chilean?
The music was thrilling. Although a few of the little boys were preoccupied with a red Ferrari Testarossa trying to get out of a tight parking space. Me too. That guy couldn’t maneuver for shit.
I’ve added a few videos of the band. If you know something about them, contact me or post below. The band even did their own version of Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.” Each member stepped forward and played a few notes on his instrument to show how it fits in with the bigger picture.
The gaggle of kids and their parents followed the Pied Pipers of San Miguel to the bottom of the street, turned left on Cuadarante, and disappeared down Aldama.
I turned right.
Into a beautiful sunset.
A few minutes later, I encountered this woman with two kids and an iguana named Olio.
Her walk up Zacataras was slowed considerably by people like me, asking her to stop and pose with Olio.
But then, I guess that was the point. Why else would you take an iguana for a walk on a busy street?
Again, an animal reminded me of our years in Belize where civilization always seemed on the verge of being overrun by iguanas, crocodiles, termites, and ants. Not in that order.
The next magical thing was dinner at home with Rose and her daughter, Caira. They’d spent the afternoon with our friend Lorena and her beautiful new grandson and his mom. Lorena taught the women her family recipes for guacamole and a chicken and rice dish that was out of this world.
Come to think of it, the whole night was a little bit out of this world.