photography, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Restaurant preview: Climbing a stairway to heaven

Climbing the stairs to Hachmans restaurant on the roof of the new Amatte hotel in San Miguel de Allende.

If first impressions are all that important, facing the entrance to the brand new Hacmans restaurant in the even-newer Hotel Amatte (Amatte Wellnest Community) – which has yet to open – is a daunting one: 71 gleaming white stairs leading seemingly up to the sky.

Yes, count them: seventy-one.

Of course, there is a glass-box elevator off to the side, but what’s the fun in that? 

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays to one and all — join our Christmas Eve stroll

Walking up Aldama to the Parque Principle on Christmas Eve, when the last of nine nights of the Posada is about to begin.

Here’s a short stroll through Centro in San Miguel de Allende on Wednesday night and Christmas Eve. It is always magical this time of year.

We’re taking our traditional stroll tonight, Christmas Eve, to witness the final Posada procession and take in the lights, the sounds, the people gathering about the community tree.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Ballpark Posada celebration is a home run for San Miguel kids, parents & ex-pats alike

One minute a bunch of San Miguel youngsters are rounding the bases and heading for home in a lively baseball game against their parents. Moments later, they are rounding the same bases in single file, carrying a creche on a platform and singing the traditional songs of the Posada.

And shortly after that, the kids were back swinging a bat — only this time at a candy-filled pinata.

In between the Posada and the pinata?

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

On Dia de Los Muertos, even the dead love a good parade

Traffic finally emptied on the Ancha at 8 p.m. Monday and down the broad street, and out from the Rosewood resort, streamed hundreds of Catrinas, Catrinos, ghouls, skeletons, and even an underworld creature or two.

And they came on fast — as if all the pent-up energy from last year’s cancelled parade was unleashed atop this year’s and resulted in a headlong rush to the finish.

The crowd where Nemiseo Diaz meets the Ancha was so thick and eager that costumed paraders had to run a tight gauntlet, elbowing their way to the merger point.

It wasn’t so much a parade as a fast jog of the living dead in glorious technicolour and fabulous costumes. They marched, they merged, they posed for pictures, they trundled up Zacaterous, turned onto Canal and cascaded into the Plaza Principal where the crush of Catrinas and onlookers must have been something else.

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San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for June 1: How did that happen? June already. Can we get a do-over on May?

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So, today was officially “Meatless Monday.”  You should be so lucky.

Rose made a delicious Moroccan carrot soup and a spinach salad with nuts, cranberries, egg and so much more goodness in it. I forgot what meat is. But the highlight was her homemade dinner rolls. I think I had three and a half, so I need not waste time explaining how good they were.

They were. See for yourself:

The rest of the day was taken up with a continuous series of non-starts. Nothing to write home about. Or in a blog.

WANTED – PIED PIPER: Two rats playing in the patio drain this morning. This I know because the screams from downstairs told me so. Imagine doing yoga when the soothing tones of your online guru are over-ridden by an incessant “Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!”

They were big — horror movie big — and shy. They ran down into the covered drain when I tried to photograph them. The grill on the drain kept them from getting into the yard.

I think.

I hope.

I dunno.

SUPERWOMAN: The late-blooming highlight of the day was listening to several videos of anti-racism activists and educator Jane Elliott. She is fierce. She is clear. She is plain-spoken. She speaks in absolutes, no ambiguity about her.

You will love it.

Do a search for “Jane Elliott” on YouTube and listen. You will be glad that you did.

Then spread the gospel of Jane Elliott. She just might save us all.

(The first of a three-part interview is above.)

SPACE BALLS: If you want a break from how badly everything sucks at the moment, I recommend “Space Force” on Netflix with Steve Carrell and John Malkovich.

It is more than a laugh-out-loud poke at one of Trump’s stupidest and most expensive ideas ever. It is just a funny, funny, series with well-envisioned characters and relationships that grow and blossom right in front of your eyes. Smart writing. Ten episodes that get stronger, the deeper into it you dive.

KNOCK KNOCK: And because you both have been so good to read this far, I give you some San Miguel doors. One thing we have here is lots and lots of very interesting doors, many deliberately so. Some not so deliberately.

Ever wonder what is behind them?

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

J.K. Rowling wrote here, and here, and here, and over there … but apparently not here

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Yes, this may look like something you thought you saw in a Harry Potter movie but author J.K. Rowling says, “No way.” It is the interior of the Lello & Irmão bookstore in Porto, Portugal, which has its own Harry Potter Room in which Rowling neither wrote nor slept while creating the popular series.

By my unofficial and completely speculative count, J.K. Rowling launched the “Harry Potter” series in upwards from 234 bistros, flats, castles, coffee shops, libraries, phone booths, buses, trains, caves, back alleys, and pawn shops spread over 27 countries and a few former colonies.

I swear, for example, that she got the original idea while living in a flat just above mine in a funky old apartment building in Point Loma, a once-funky waterfront corner of San Diego, California. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for May 29: A podcast fest, shopping in-person & online, someone likes my blog, Lovett & Hiatt sing, and summer job memories

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After a wonderful dinner in a friend’s backyard last night, I felt the gentlemanly thing to do is walk Moppit this morning. It was a reunion of Casa de las Poetas former residents. John & Linda and Jimmy & Gina moved elsewhere in town.

Then the pandemic hit. It was good to sit around a table again, outside, and safely distanced.

I had my first fake-meat burger — whatever they are called. It was quite satisfactory and if I ever go vegetarian, I will order a case.

So, Rose usually walks Moppit in the morning and I take the early evening shift. Today, I hoped she would sleep in for once. Naturally, she was preparing her yoga mat before we even hit the street. Dedicated. Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

‘We arrived at the Dam in tattered cut-off jeans — covered in sweat, sawdust, and dirt’

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The modern Matson Lumber Co. looks a lot more streamlined, automated, and efficient than in my day. But stacking lumber is still the name of the game. (Photo: Matson Lumber)

“What did you do on your summer vacation?” I bet the answers in 2020 are going to be a lot different from those in 1966. 

A newsletter for ex-newspaper folks (specifically those bred in the incubator known as The San Diego Union-Tribune) recently spooled out a thread on summer jobs. The question was neutral but the recollections quickly veered toward the worst, hardest, most humiliating.

Well, those are usually the most memorable, aren’t they? Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, The Log, Writings

The Log for May 27: A romance-comedy triple feature, origins of reality TV faux show ‘Dark Pastry,’ and the best crossword puzzle ever

IMG_1749Did you ever have one of those days when you wake up and a word or phrase is jammed into your brain sideways like a rusty shard of steel and you just can’t get it out?

Happened to me today. The phrase was “Dark Pastry.”

Now a normal person would have thought, “Yes! Substitute dark chocolate in all recipe instances in which chocolate is required.”

Me?

I thought, “that would be a great name for a baking/horror/reality TV show.” Continue reading

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Read it first: Origins of ‘Dark Pastry,’ the most successful horror/baking reality TV show ever

imageedit_11_5838111086A lot of you have been asking me, “Bob” you say, “how did you come up with the award-winning and fabulously successful reality TV cooking show “Dark Pastry.”

To date, my natural gift for modesty has kept me from spilling the beans on the cooking/horror reality show but so many urban legends and out-and-out lies by a very jealous POTUS have forced my hand.

Is it my fault that my reality show has been so much more-fabulously successful than his ever was?

Yes.

Yes, it is my fault. Continue reading

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