San Miguel de Allende, Writings, photography

Midnight serenade in Colonia San Antonio

The sound penetrated a deep sleep and scattered dreams. A car radio? The cantina on the corner? A passing boom box?

No, no, and no.

It was the real deal. At midnight a mariachi band was poised in a half-circle in front of our neighbor’s door serenading her in song here in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende.

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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, Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Writings, photography

What Hermann Hesse taught me

Street scene in San Miguel de Allende. The guitarist paused on his way to work to pick up a snack from the street merchant, who clearly has her hands full. This has nothing to do with my story, except that both occurred on the magical streets of San Miguel in the same week.

To the man whom I almost knocked over rounding the corner of Nemesio Diez and De Los Suspiros, thank you for reviving my interest in a novel that I put down many decades ago but never forgot its influence.

Early Tuesday evening, Moppit and I were walking on Nemesio Diez, past the public parking lot at the corner, heading for home at a brisk pace. Brisk for an old man and a dog with very short legs.

As we reached the corner of Suspiros, a man walking at about the same pace nearly collided with us. Or we nearly collided with him.

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

I love a parade … and a circus, and a rodeo, and a county fair, and a horse race … but mostly a parade

So sue me. I’m a sucker for a good parade.

Well, these days, I’ll take any parade — or a procession. You know, the kind we used to bump into on what felt like a daily basis back in the good old pre-Covid days.

Parades say “This is who we are. This is what we believe. This is the best of us, otherwise, why bother having a parade?” And, oh, we’ve had some wonderful parades in San Miguel de Allende.

Haven’t we?

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

Thich Nhat Hanh was the right monk at the right time — then came 9/11

Tich Nhat Hanh

A good friend invited me to spend a Sunday in Balboa Park with a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh. I knew very little of him but Sundays in September in San Diego can be glorious and there are few better places than the park for them.

I think it was promoted as a Day of Mindfulness, another subject about which I knew very little.

The day was pretty much a total immersion. We were blissfully adrift in a gentle sea of brown-robed Buddhist monks and nuns. There were dharma talks and long periods of meditation. Some were led by Thay in his soft, barely audible whisper of a voice. Some were led by his followers.

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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

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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