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

San Miguel Salon debut is all about the music

Jam session to open the first official San Miguel Salon at the home of Ben and Margaret Gall in Colonia Buenavista, San Miguel de Allende. From left: Ruben Garcia, Nelo Hurtado Rojas, Angie Ciss, Alfonso Medina, and Stephy Loren.

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Went to Ben Gall’s first official San Miguel Salon on Sunday night at his home, Casa Sentosa de las Serpientes, in Colonia Lindavista. Ben has been building toward this day for many months.

Actually, for years when you consider that he designed and built his house so that he could hold intimate concerts in his courtyard. There is a raised patio that serves as a stage and seating for as many as 50 people in the courtyard and 20 more on the roof of his casita.

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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

Sunday morning in San Miguel: Tale of two churches

Templo De San Juan de Dios on San Antonio Abad, Zona Centro, San Miguel de Allende, prepares for Mass in the times of Covid and social distancing. Just before 9 a.m., as Moppit and I walked by, the church courtyard was filled with temporary outdoor seating. Not comfortable, but functional.
Meanwhile, at Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua in Colonia San Antonio, a New Years Day tradition was resurrected on Saturday, the sawdust art pathway to the church. Seen here on Sunday morning, around 9:30 a.m.
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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

At Bellas Artes, listen to Frida, Che, and Emiliano: Wash up, wear a mask, vaccinate

Ok, you won’t listen to me or your brother or your doctor. Then try listening to a few icons of Mexican culture, like Che Guevara, Frida Kahlo, and Emiliano Zapata. During 2021, the artist Enrique Díaz has harnessed iconography and linoleum engraving art to deliver the ultimate survival message.

His works — this is only a sampling — is on display in Belles Artes, the recently reopened Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromante at Calle del Dr Ignacio Hernandez Macias #75 in Centro.

Extra: Masked art — like these 10 murals — has been with us since the pandemic began

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Christmas in the times of Pastorela and Posadas

Updated with a list of public Posadas in San Miguel de Allende, courtesy of San Miguel FAQ

Monday afternoon, the children are in full-dress on the plaza of Parroquia San Antonio de Padua, in Colonia San Antonio for the traditional Pastorela. They have been rehearsing on the same patio most afternoons. They would sit in a circle and run through their parts with several ladies who show great gentleness, humor, and patience.

The Pastorela pageant recounts the adventures of the shepherds as they head to Bethlehem to worship the newly born baby Jesus on Christmas Day. They face numerous temptations — as you can see, an exuberant band of devils — and in some tellings, it is St. Michael who comes to their rescue. Go, San Miguel!

The Pastorela as a theatrical piece and oral story tradition has been embellished, modernized, changed in tone, and grown as any living, breathing thing — but the essential tale of trials, temptation, salvation, and redemption remains the same.

Another wonderful tradition, Las Posadas, will be celebrated in Mexico on Dec. 16-24 and follows the journey of Jesus and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. On each of the nine nights, the procession heads out to a specific home seeking comfortable lodging for Mary to give birth. Families, children, musicians, singers, and others follow Mary and Joseph each night.

Of course, they are turned away (but rarely without treats and beverages.) When they end up back at the church, the children are given the chance to crack open star-shaped pinatas and scramble for the treats that spill to the ground.

Las Posadas tradition has existed for 440 years in Spain and Mexico.

Here is a list of public Posadas in San Miguel de Allende, courtesy of San Miguel FAQ:

  • December 16 : Corn Valley . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 17: Colonia San Luis Rey . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 18: Colonia San Rafael . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 19: Colonias Infonavit Allende . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 20: Colonia La Aurora . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 21: Colonia Allende . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 22: Colonia Guadalupe . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm (there will be Pastorela)
  • December 23: Colonia San Felipe Neri . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm (there will be Pastorela)
  • December 24: Historic Center . Nativity in the Main Garden. 6:30 pm

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel’s tree lighting ceremony and holiday lights show kick off with a bang

Tonight was the official tree-lighting ceremony in San Miguel de Allende. As always with any ceremony here, that includes a bodacious fireworks display. The fireworks seemed to go on forever. What a sight!

All the white fairy lights in the park and those covering the seven streets entering into the public square were lit as well. As the Atencion newspaper put it this week: they “seem like a path of stars.”

Rose and I walked into the square (Jardine Principal) just as the countdown began.

What a show!

Scroll through the pictures and be sure to check out the videos at the end. Turn the volume up to 10!

Merry Christmas!

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