San Miguel de Allende

Give us this day our daily mariachis

Not every procession in Parque Juarez has to do with a wedding. Tonight an exuberant crowd of teens, parents, and friends followed a donkey, two mojigangas, and the Amistad band through the park and eventually back to the gazebo.

A lot of the processioners were carrying paper mariposas on sticks. At least, I don’t think it was a wedding.

I can’t begin to explain the purpose of the procession but it seemed quite life-affirming and the enthusiasm of the group was contagious.

Certainly, the Amistad band’s infectious rhythms and glittery-pink jackets helped spread the joy.

Here’s a sample of the music.

Enjoy.

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Put more magic in your life!

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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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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Into the woods

I was walking in the park, late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For creatures appeared just over the rise
And suddenly to my surprise

They did the mash, they did the San Miguel mash
The San Miguel mash, it was a graveyard smash
They did the mash, it caught on in a flash
They did the mash, they did the San Miguel mash

— Apologies to Bobby “Boris” Pickett


Tell me. And be honest. When you go for a walk, do you come across sights like this?

Now, I’m not talking about those days when you light up a ginormous blunt, or drop way too much Psilocybin or Ayahuasca. Lord knows what can be seen on those days.

No, I’m talking about your normal everyday walk through the woods when you encounter dancing skeletons, talking rabbits, bobble-headed Scotsmen, cabbage-headed kings and queens, and struttin’-stuffin’ dogs. Accompanied by a Mariachi band with some pretty hot licks.

You know.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

And there it is … bloom!

Parque Juarez, with its countless shades of green, sometimes surprises.

This one was a stunner, to me.

A bougainvillea, alone among the carefully parsed trees and bushes, backlit by the late afternoon sun.

It was as if on fire, a brilliant fuschia fire.

Life in San Miguel de Allende is forever magical.

When you least expect it to be.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

Friday in the Park with Moppit

Hermes Arroyo walks past a collection of his mojigangas on the old basketball court, awaiting their chance to lead wedding parties through Parque Juarez on Friday evening.

Moppit the Philosopher Dog is pretty insistent that I take her for a walk, no more than 10 minutes after she finishes her 5 p.m. dinner. She is a creature of habit. Moppit starts a huff-snorting sound around my ankles if I’m not reaching for the leash, the kind of sound a woman makes when the husband comes home late smelling of booze and perfume and mumbles “biznish shmeeting.”

lately, it has been in the high 80s around 5 p.m. here in San Miguel de Allende, so I try to reason with her.

But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Weddings and quinceañeras once again fill San Miguel de Allende with beauty, music, laughter, and dancing

The best days to walk around Centro in San Miguel de Allende have got to be Thursday through Saturday.

Thursdays seem to be when the girls celebrating their quinceañeras come to the Parroquia to pose in their lavish 15th birthday gowns. A charming sight to see. Tiaras on their head, sneakers beneath a billowed and sparkling gown. A furrowed brow as the photographer aligns the perfect shot erupts into a brilliant smile on command.

The young woman pictured here stands in the middle of Calle Aldama for a classic image with Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel in the background.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Parque Juarez transforms into a colorful Garden of Eden for the 66th annual Candelaria

It seems cruel to talk about Spring and plants and flowers at the end of January, but here we are.

In a week or so, we celebrate the 40th day after the birth of Christ, the day on which the Mother Mary took her child to the temple.

In tandem with this religious celebration, many gardeners, growers, plant suppliers, and others gather in a San Miguel park for a week and turn it into a veritable Garden of Eden. Hundreds of people flock to the park to buy flowers, cacti, bushes, fruit trees, herbs, ornamentals, vines, ground covers even giant earthen pats to contain them all. If it grows, it goes.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The pensive princess in the park

One shot. That’s all you get.

Magic abounds in San Miguel de Allende.

But it can be fleeting.

An open door.

A loving embrace.

A child’s smile.

A musician’s final note.

You are there. You happen upon the moment.

And you either lock it in your memory or …

… god forgive me, you pull out your camera.

The princess sat in Parque Juarez, near the gazebo.

Her face went to that place that princesses so often go to

When men dressed all in black with lights and baffles and screens

Scurry around her, trying to capture the fading light at dusk.

Her eyes turn inward, her thoughts go to … where?

A mantra? A shopping list? A party invite? A lover?

A magic spell to cast over her portraiture minions?

A first glimpse of her is through the vee

In this ancient split-trunk pine.

She could have been a woodland fairie,

Queen of the forest,

Mistress of the mystical realm.

Mab, Titania, Oonagh, Gloriana, Diana

The Queen of Elphame.

Meliae or Dryad, those Greecian nymphs of ashes and oaks.

But, more, a beautiful woman with sadness about her

As she waited for that special moment.

To come alive,

To conjure enchantment, and send it to the lens.

Immortalizing the fairie princess in her sylvan realm.

Real. Not real.

Magical, all the same.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

A menorah with a message is lit for the first night of Chanukah in Parque Juarez

Rabbi Daniel Huebner of Chabad San Miguel de Allende lights the first candle on the community menorah on Sunday evening in Parque Juarez. A lit candle will be added on each of the following seven nights for the Chanukah celebration.

Happy Chanukah, my friends. Or Hanukkah.

Sunday night was the first night of Chanukah — the Festival of Lights — and the lighting of the first candle of the menorah. The Chanukah celebration is observed for eight nights and days, with a new candle being lit each evening.

I know all this because I was walking Moppit in Parque Juarez when I happened upon members of Chabad San Miguel de Allende lighting the community menorah in the park’s gazebo.

I missed most of the dedication, but I happened upon the gathering just as Rabbi Daniel Huebner was explaining the significance of this year’s menorah, created by artist Meila Penn.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

You up for some photos of San Miguel while I think of something new to blog about?

This is how we sometimes feel the first time we head out into the public square after quarantining at home for 18 months. These two are currently hanging out in Parque Juarez, through Dia de Muertos.

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She’s right, you know, my new friend from the housewarming party the other night: I haven’t written on the blog in a long time.

I owe you all an apology, if, indeed, you actually missed me.

If not, then, hi! Welcome (back) to my blog.

You know how these things happen — someone starts a blog and it goes great for a while, then a pandemic strikes, and life as we know it is suspended. So the writer begins writing interior monologues, surreal short stories, overly long recollections about that dream from last night, and, in the worst of cases, poetry.

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