photography, San Miguel de Allende

Happy birthday, Ignacio Allende!

Happy 254th birthday, Don Ignacio de Allende y Unzaga, Lieutenant Colonel of the Insurgent Army and hero of the revolution.

San Miguel de Allende, named in part after its favorite son, has been celebrating all week with music, cultural dances, and more — and today, the annual parade which is a most interesting merger of military might and marching school children. The parade also celebrates first responders, marching bands, the conservation corps, civic leaders, beauty queens, and equestrians.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Sunset: Fire in the sky

Well, the first day of 2023 ended quite nicely here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

We had the pleasure of joining some of our Belize Diaspora pals for Sunday dinner and this was the view from their patio, looking west toward Pressa Ignacio Allende.

At first, I was quite taken with the “God rays” on the horizon, streaming down from the heavens. Mike, who has been admiring sunsets from his patio on the outer fringes of the city for several years now, nodded appreciatively. “Just wait a little bit,” he said. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

He wasn’t kidding.

My own sunset view is pretty cluttered with tall buildings, church steeples, and gobs of spaghetti cable strung from street poles. Wide open vistas, it ain’t. That’s just life in the city. It has plenty of other benefits, however. I’ll take the tradeoff.

But being out in the unobstructed country was a real treat and the heavens accommodated us.

I’ll just take this sunset as a harbinger of good things to come for all of us in 2023.

I mean, just today I learned that Season 3 of “Ted Lasso” drops in 10 weeks.

Already, the year is looking up!

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Put more magic in your life!

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

For 2023, I wish you a thousand little milagros

This cross sits to the right of my desk, on an empty chair. It is one of many crosses that we have inherited. Our home in San Miguel de Allende comes with crosses, cow skulls, pottery and milagros pegged to doors here and there.

Milagros are those little tin objects you see on the cross that look as though they might be Monopoly board pieces.

While I have always been aware of the cross — lord knows I’ve moved it around often enough — I never really paid close attention to it.

Until this morning.

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photography, Reviews, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

It’s Tuesday: To market, to market to buy a blue suit; home again, home again, jiggety-scoot

I do not shop. I do not wander into stores and glide up and down aisles looking for just the right … thing. I don’t compare prices. I don’t compare similar products. I don’t read labels. I don’t calculate the savings between the Jumbo and Family sizes. I don’t clip coupons.

I buy local because I’m too lazy to walk to a cheaper store. I shop to survive, not to find pleasure.

But you don’t have to twist my arm to get me up the hill to the Tuesday Market.

I love the hustle and bustle. I love the jockeying for position at a tabletop clothing dump. I love to hear the shouts of “Barata! Barata! Barato!” and “Venta! Venta! Venta!” I love the smell of the food, the fish on ice, the produce, the fresh piles of strawberries. The piles of hardware and kitchenware and racks of hats, and row upon row of shoes, and … well, just name it, there’s a pile of it somewhere.

And such a deal I have for you.

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San Miguel de Allende

Dusk settles on Parque Juarez, as dulcet strains of ‘Ave Maria’ float through the trees

As I was saying the other day, you walk out the door in San Miguel de Allende and open your heart to the infinite possibilities, and something magical will happen.

Tonight, it was opera in the park. I ask you, where you live, how often do you take an evening stroll through a beautiful park and encounter a quartet of opera singers?

I did. In Parque Juarez. Right next to the basketball courts, just down from the gazebo so brightly lit up with twinkling fairy lights.

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

Hey, buster, who are you calling the ‘friendliest city in the world’?

News item: Conde Nast Traveler names San Miguel de Allende the “friendliest city in the world.” It beats out Dublin, Lisbon, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Mexico City, and Bruges among others. The media company previously named San Miguel the “best small city in the world.”

This can’t be good.

I was asked to respond to all this by an otherwise sharp and responsible newspaper colleague. And so …

All right, the next guy who says San Miguel de Allende is the friendliest city in the world gets a punch in the nose, see?

A city with a reputation like that could get itself hurt, see? A city could pick up a rep-u-tation with talk like that, and not the good kind, see?

Other cities start thinking it’s a patsy and start aping all that friendly stuff and the next thing you know, you’ve got a six-way tie for the friendliest city. 

And that ain’t good for nobody, see?

Why, if everybody is friendly, then what’s this world coming to?

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

At San Miguel de Allende’s alpha creche, all is calm and bright, all is ready for Christmas Eve

At this time of year, you can’t pass a window or a storefront without stopping to admire the Nativity scenes. One of the charms (this time of year, at least) of houses that are right up against the sidewalk, is that you are practically walking in your neighbor’s living room. You learn not to casually glance to the right for fear of invading someone’s privacy.

Except for now.

Residents and businesses put their Nativities in the front windows for all to admire, reflect upon, and appreciate the aesthetic spectrum. The Nativity is an expression of art as much as an expression of devotion or mythos appreciation.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Humbling exercise in devotion, just a step beyond the front door — Our Lady of Guadalupe has her day

I’ve said it before: You want magic in San Miguel de Allende? Then just step out your front door.

Today, it was the arrival of the procession honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe. The cavalcade of the holy and horses turned onto Callejon San Antonio at noon sharp and proceeded to walk in stops and starts toward the Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua.

Progress was halting because there were hundreds of people attempting to fill the already busy square for the celebration of the Mass.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

¡Que tengas una feliz navidad!

The Christmas tree went up yesterday in the public square. Right beside the pink gothic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel here in San Miguel de Allende.

Bit by bit, the city begins to embrace the holiday.

All of the streets leading into the Jardin Principal are strung with tin stars and twinkling lights. The gazebo and trees in the little park are a Christmas wonderland.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Night of the living-it-up dead

Parading around as elegantly dressed skeletons is so much fun in San Miguel de Allende that apparently, it takes two parades over two days to fit it all in this year.

In the past, it was sufficient to stage one parade of promenading Calaveras, Catrinas, and Catrins — and a variety of other-worldly subsets in various manifestations of theatricality.

Last year, after the wastelands of Covid had subsided and a rebirth of traditions signaled a new dawn, the annual Dia de Muertos parade was a joyous traffic jam of humanity. Skeletons paraded en mass down the Ancha. Preciously costumed Catrinas and their cohorts, led by a masterful and exuberant Mariachi band, exited the sanctuary of the Rosewood and paraded toward the Ancha.

The two masses converged and ground to a halt as paraders funneled up the narrower Zacateras, made narrower by the density of the watchers on both sides of the road. It was a slow slog up to the Jardin where seeing and being seen is the endgame of the evening.

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