San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The rainy season turns San Miguel hillside neighborhood into a vernal wonderland

The rainy season has begun in San Miguel de Allende and brings with it an abundance of lush and impossibly green vegetation. There is a freshness to everything — the streets, the air, the flowers now blooming everywhere in mad bursts of color.

Walking though older parts of San Miguel feel like you have been transported to dense tropical forests in an era far removed from the present.

The perfect getaway for the homebound in the Age of Pandemic.

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

The Log for May 7: Full Moon & she goes full werewolf, 2 break-ins, (unrelated) 2 blog posts

IMG_1614#1  Full moon — Neighbor went into full werewolf until about 1:30 a.m. Howling, screaming, ranting. Somebody was trying to talk her down, not very successfully. At the same time she was smashing up a lot of stuff — sounded like wood slats — one after another, after another.

#2 Miguel and Mercedes at Rinconcito said the two businesses next to them on Refugio were broken into, possibly right after the werewolf crashed for the night. Miguel was helping the shop owners cut back the trees that were climbed to get inside. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Grateful on this cool, preternaturally calm Sunday morning, I ask myself, isn’t this just enough, for now?

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All photographs taken on walks around San Miguel de Allende, the Magic City.

Lurking in the dark corner of the far left tabs

on my computer, for two weeks now,

Concerto for flute, no. 1 in G-Major, K. 313 (1778)

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed

By the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

I imagine that Mozart and the ISO have

Survived so much. An Iceland orchestra must Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 23, Thinking about running. Yeah. Thinking very, very hard …

IMG_1415ANNOTATED LOG and HOT LINKS:

#1: FEVERED DREAMS: Still in a stupor, with the sun barely over the horizon, I started thinking about exercise — creating walking and running routes — both inside our compound and outside. Came up with some excellent ideas, both included steps — lots and lots of steps.

I concentrated really really hard to fix the routes in my mind, to gauge the aerobic benefits, and to estimate the caloric burn.

#2: AND THEN … Completely satisfied, I dropped my head back on the pillow and went back to sleep. My work here is done.

#3: KEEP IT CLEAN: Gave Moppit a bath. Then I took a shower. We both needed it. For different reasons.

#4: WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA: Today is a day for grand schemes I fantasized about building an online roots music festival. All the great roots cities — Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Austin, New Orleans — must have radio stations dedicated to the kinds of music that defined them as the sources of blues, jazz, rock, Americana, swing, country.

When I was a rock music writer and starting to pull some juice, I proposed spending a summer traveling the country from music festival to festival filing reports from the road. The idea got about 30 seconds worth of consideration in newspaper time. Thirty seconds equals the amount of time it takes to say No!” in the real world.

I still think it was a good idea.

Instead, I got to spend two weeks that Spring, driving my kids to every theme park in Southern California to test out their newest attractions just ahead of the season debuts. To them, at least, I was a hero for about half the summer. You should have seen the expense check. There are A LOT of theme parks.

#5: SO, INSTEAD:  I made lunch.

#6: BIG READ: And read some more of “The Invention of More.” While the book was published in 1940, the author pretty much nails our modern-day concept of holograms.

#7: GIFTING GONE WRONG:  Neil Gaiman was offering free downloads of his classic “American Gods” until April 26 but, um, the download site @NetGallery and his publisher “weren’t ready.”  Neil deleted his generous offer with a promise to iron out the “snags” and try again soon. If I were you, I’d “friend” Neil real soon. On Twitter: @neilhimself.

#8: MEDITATION: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29. It is short. Let me just post it here. Quick synopsis: Love conquers all

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

#9: WATCH: “Live with Carnegie Hall”  Pianist Emmanuel Ax hosted an hour-plus broadcast with Yefin Bronfman and Marc André Hamelin from their homes. The informality of great musicians in their homes — Ax has grown a shaggy beard and his piano is out of tune slightly — is as endearing as their music is stunning.

Shows next week: Angélique Kidjo (4/2) and Joshua Bell (4/30). (Note to self: Learn how to spell “Carnegie.”)

#10: PODCAST: “Rabbit Hole” Episode 2. The series is exploring how the Internet is shaping minds (and ensnaring many of them). It is as disturbing as a slasher flick. Social media algorithms analyze your viewing habits then feed you more of the same, and more, and more and more.  Imagine your kid watching an Alex Jones video and then seeing 10 more backed up on his recommended list. And it gets worse. Watch and know your enemy.

#11: MOVIE NIGHT: Another oldie, “Topper Returns” (1941) In a case of mistaken identity, Joad Blondel gets bumped off and comes back as a ghost to solve her own murder. Who else but America’s milquetoast Topper (Roland Young) is recruited to help. Just a lot of goofy B&W fun, except for the cringe-inducing role of Eddie “Rochester” Anderson as the easily-frightened chauffeur.

He does get off the best lines in the movie, including:

Eddie, the Chauffeur: “Doors closing by themselves. People talkin’ to nuthin’ and gettin’ answers. I’m going back.”

Clara Topper (a ditzy Billie Burke): “Back where?”

Eddie, the Chauffeur: “To Mr. Benny. Ain’t nuthin’ like this ever happened there.”

Sleep on it.

 

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Something is different: A morning walk in San Miguel in the Age of Pandemia

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Early evening in San Miguel de Allende. The clouds rise up in the east like fluffy canvases, awaiting the inspiration of the dying sun to recast them in gold and amber hues.

We walk this same path over and over, Moppit and I.

The pattern is unchanging.

Open the front door at 7 a.m.

Glance up into the sky and count the hot air balloons.

Or remark on their absence.

 

Today was a day to note their absence. Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende

Road-trip: Feel the Bernal

 

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Peña de Bernal sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s part of the pleasure in photographing the monolith. From almost any vantage point you can take an awfully good photo. On the day we were there, the sky was mostly hazy overcast, great for photos and hiking.

Walking up the well-worn switchback trail of Peña de Bernal I had the oddest feeling that I’d been here before.

I hadn’t, of course. Which is why we were hiking this trail on Friday.

And yet … Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende

Road trip: Taking a deep dive into the thermal waters of Gruta Tolantongo

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The Tolantongo River, close to its headwaters at the top of the canyon which shares its name.

From deep within the Hidalgo Mountains, voluminous thermal rivers rise up to the surface above the Tolantongo box canyon. The warm waters cascade down the canyon sides and pour through vents into the grottos and caves.

The canyon walls are dotted with about 40 manmade semicircular pools called chapoteaderos into which are collected the warm waters rushing down the hillside. Water overflows from the upper pools and cascades into the lower pools. All the pools are connected by stairways.

No matter how many pools are built to trap the water, it is never enough. Water finds its way around the pools, over them, under them, into spontaneous rivulets and streams. The sensation is of being surrounded by the roar and rumble of rushing water.

In every sense, this is a totally immersive experience. Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Shadowboxing and other enchanting things that catch the eye in San Miguel de Allende

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It is no revelation that San Miguel de Allende is awash in beauty. A photographer’s playground, a selfie’s sandbox, a dilettante’s garden of earthly delights.

Like shooting into a herd of buffalo. Aim your camera in any direction and you will hit the mark, as often as not.

How many people arrive in San Miguel and launch into the uber project — snapping photos of every attractive doorway, every brass knocker, with the objective of creating the perfect coffeetable book?

I did. Continue reading

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