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

Poor souls, lost their marbles on the cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende

When I walk the cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende, usually early mornings with Moppit the philosopher dog, I find things.

It is not that I am scouring between the cracks and crannies. It is just that cobblestones can be treacherous and if you are not attentive to your footsteps, well, you can fall.

There is a joke about the number of ex-pats who walk around this hilly town with canes — but I forget how it goes.

Cobblestone streets are the tide pools of very old cities. They tend to trap small and delicate things in the spaces between rocks, much the same way that tide pools trap small fish, snails, squid and pirates’s treasure. Especially after it rains.

Continue reading
Standard
photography, San Miguel de Allende

Crazy, man! The Dia de los Locos returns to San Miguel de Allende — smaller but just as lively — and crazy as ever. See the photos!

It pays to walk the dog on a Sunday morning, even if you don’t feel like it.

Today, Moppit and I arrived at the Ancha around 8:30 a.m. to see a police car blocking the normally busy thoroughfare.

In the distance I could hear a familiar sound — the frentic beat of trance-dance music so beloved by killer clowns, life-size Disney characters and scarry looking mass-murderers (in costume only).

Yes! The popular Dias de los Locos Parade is back!

Continue reading
Standard
San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Where you been, bro? It has been a year, yeah?

Sure sign that tourism is back — hot-air balloons dot the early morning sky in Colonia San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

So here we are now at 6,200 feet enjoying incredibly mild weather yearlong, a severe drought and growing water shortage, unrestrained development, and a once-exuberant city that has almost withered away under the relentless grind of Covid restrictions. 

Signs of life are returning to San Miguel de Allende.

Continue reading
Standard
Uncategorized

These are a few of my favorite things, Part II: Finishing off 2020 with dignity and grace

Electric Jesus.

Confinement. Isolation. Sequestration. Lock down. Quarantine.

Of all the words to describe this peculiar existence we are in today, I have the most trouble with “quarantine.” I simply can not recall this word when describing how we are living these days.

It is blocked from my memory. Unlike the actual quarantine which we live minute by minute in our homes.

Ah well, I’m not here to summarize 2020 — nor analyze. I can offer no grand insights, survival tip, recipes, bromides, earned wisdom, nor life lessons. It happened. It ran over us and didn’t even honk the horn or stomp on the brakes. There were no skid marks. We just took the full brunt of its force.

And here we are. Hello, 2021. Show us what you’ve got.

Continue reading
Standard
Memoirs -- fact and fiction, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

These are a few of my favorite things, Part I: Salvaging love and beauty from 2020

Well, thank god that’s over. The year, I mean. 2020.

I’ve had just about enough of it and I suspect you have too. Not that 2021 will start off so terribly different. Well, there is the regime change, an inauguration, and the eradication of four years of shitty people running the country.

It will take time, lots of vaccinations, still more wine than we should be consuming, and a Democratic majority in Congress — up to you, Georgia.

Was 2020 really all that bad? Yes. Yes, it was.

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

The cabbie’s life: One night in Toronto

Back in the day — before Uber & Lyft, before Google street maps, before the Internet — there was a thing known as The Thomas Guide. It was a spiral-bound book of maps and street indexes for many of the major West Coast cities in the U.S.

It was a godsend for journalists and taxicab drivers alike.

Toronto had a similar book, as I discovered one night when I arrived to cover the Toronto Film Festival for my California newspaper.

“Where to, eh?

“Sutton Place,please.”

“Good, good. Is that cab in front of us going there, too?”

“No, they’re going to another hotel.”

“Good, good. OK. Sutton Place. That’s not far. Do you know where it is?”

“No. Don’t you?”

“Yeah. Well, no. Well, sort of. I usually work the West End. Don’t get up here that much.”

“Um … Bay Street. I think it is on Bay Street.”

“Bay Street? Good. Good. Bay Street. Bay Street. Right you are.”

“I think it is a main thoroughfare here. North and south.Turn here on University. You’re bound to cross it.”

“OK. Yeah. Right you are. Here, look in this book, page four. Got to be on page four or near it. Look on four.”

“There’s no map on four.”

“What do you mean? No! Index. Look at the index. You read; I’ll drive.”

“I can’t find a map. Look here, there’s Bay Street! If you turn here, we ought to find Sutton Place.”

“I can’t turn. See the sign? It says ‘No left turn.’ You really ought to learn how to read that book. You can get anywhere with in this city with that book, you can. Ah, I’ll turn anyway.”

“Why do I need to read this book? I’ll be leaving Toronto in two days. You live here. You learn it.”

“Sure, but what if you come back? You really ought to learn.”

You ought to learn. You live here, you drive the cab!”

“Right you are!”

“Look, there’s the Sutton. Just drop me off behind that car.”

“Right! The old Sutton! There you are! I got you here, didn’t I? You really ought to get one of these books. Invaluable! Fare’s $4.25. Told you I’d get you here. Well, have a good evening then.”

“Right. Keep the change.”

True story.

Standard
San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Up against the wall: 10 San Miguel de Allende murals with a message to mask up

A pandemic of new murals all over San Miguel de Allende, many with iconic images from pop culture and high art, carry a simple message: Put on a mask.

If Frida, Vincent van Gogh, Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” Klimt’s stylish “Lady in Gold,” and da Vinci’s mysterious “Mona Lisa” and her Botero-esque alter-ego can put on masks — and look fabulous — so can we.

That’s the hope, anyway, of the city’s Directorate for Culture and Tradition which has sponsored the creation of the 10 murals.

Continue reading
Standard
San Miguel de Allende, Writings

One thing leads to another: A mural grows in Colonia San Antonio

The bicycle mural of Efrain Gonzalez at the corner of Orizaba and Refugio in Colonia San Antonio. The joy is spreading from this corner to other parts of San Miguel.

++++++ ++++++ ++++++ ++++++ ++++++

This is how things work in magical San Miguel de Allende:

Susan Campbell Skinner lives on the corner of Refugio and  Orizaba in Colonia San Antonio.  Across the street is Dona Rosa’s tienda where she buys organic eggs, produce, and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Susan does not know Rosa well but she feels a kindred spirit. She feels like Rosa is always looking out for her and her casa when she is away. This is what neighbors do for each other here in San Miguel de Allende.

So, Susan wanted to do something nice for her neighbor. 

Continue reading
Standard