Monday, December 30, 2019

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico,, el treinta de Deciembre, 209

All I can say is that I love my room.  It’s cozy - I have flannel sheets!  The water in the shower is hot, the bathroom is large and the place is so clean I’m sure I could eat off the floor.  I slept until 7:45 this am - there were no roosters crowing, no bells ringing, no dogs barking.  Yeah!

I’ve got a cold so I feel very sluggish but I did force myself to go out for 2.5 hours this afternoon.  Unfortunately with New Year’s Eve tomorrow, the town was filling up before my eyes.  It’s rich Mexicans from Mexico City who come here to show off and spend outrageous sums for stuff that in the last town was close to half price!  Not a good place to be for a week but I’m not into buying souvenirs and I get most of my groceries at the market.  I did however buy a hat today to keep the sun out of my eyes.  I’m sure I’ll scrunch it in no time.

There is a lot of beautiful street art right in my area.  This one is especially special because it’s a mosaic-

Most are painted and are on 8 - 10 feet high walls and anywhere from 15 - 30 feet long-

I really like the texture that the metal door creates-

An interesting door-

And a pretty home-

Then it was church time!  The Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel is made from pink granite and looks like some kind of spun candy.  The original church was built in the 1600s but eventually collapsed.  The one we see today was built in 1709 but in baroque style.  In 1880, the bishop wanted the facade changed - can you imagine, and so it was to the neo-Gothic style we see today which was the style of the time.  It doesn’t really fit in with the other buildings in El Jardin but because it’s so strange looking, it’s the most visited place in the city-

Next door is the Templo de San Raphael or Santa Escuela-

It’s so interesting how all the churches are so differently decorated.  I continued walking and came to a lovely garden-

beside the Templo de San Francisco.  It was started in 1778 and took 20 years to build. The changing tastes and styles of the times can be seen in its architecture. The facade is churrigueresque, which means excessively ornate.  There are a lot of carved stone figures and columns.  The bell tower is in neo-classical style-

There was a wedding going on so I sat in on it for about 20 minutes but they still hadn’t said their vows or signed the register.  As well, the organ was very loud and it was difficult to hear the voice of the singer so I left-

Nearby is the Templo de Nuestra Señora de la Salud which dates back to the 18th century.  The entrance is crowned by a gigantic carved seashell and in the center is a single eye enclosed in a triangle.  This represents God’s omnipresence-

It’s in the Plaza Civic-

A little further down the street is the Temple of the Oratory of Saint Felipe Neri, begun in 1712.  There are five saints in the cubbyholes and the sculpturing is all vegetation: leaves and flowers-

One of the men living at my house is from Uruguay and is quite peculiar.  He’s very serious and never smiles.  He’s here for a month, trying to get a feel for the place to see if he might live here permanently. He’s a sky diver and has done over 700 dives!  We went down the street to a bar where Edgar, another roomie works. He’s from Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City.  He is a magician nd did some tricks.  So amazing!  Of course he wouldn’t tell me how he did them.  He’s quitting tomorrow at the bar after a year of work.  He says he’s been working for 10 years and now is going to take 3 months off, go home to see his parents and maybe live with them for awhile.  He is a very pleasant and friendly kid.  He sometimes works in expensive bars and restaurants as their entertainment.  He draws in customers and makes a lot in tips.  I could watch him all day.  He did a coin trick as well as a card trick.

Tomorrow will be  another slow day in the sunshine.  Hope I’m feeling better.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Guanajauto to San Miguel de Allende, el veintinueve de Deciembre, 2019

I was to the bus depot in plenty of time.  I like it how after a day or two I get the feel of a place and know exactly where to go for this or for that.  The first day is so confusing but in no time it’s easy.  I caught a local bus which is so cheap - 56 cents.  I’ve tried to buy my bus tickets online but my Visa bank isn’t recognized so I’m unable to.  The internet offers 10% off so I ask for that at the counter too.  I try to buy my next ticket at the last place so I already have my ticket for Guadalajara, with the 10% off too.

San Miguel de Allende is only about 90 km from Guanajauto.  We took a very nicely paved back road that was quite busy.  We met about 20 motorcycles and then about 200 bicycles.  We also went through a couple hopping villages.  It’s Sunday I guess - most people’s day off.

Along the way-

The girl sitting beside me fell asleep and her head kept flopping over onto my shoulder.  At least she didn’t drool.

Once in SMA, I caught a local bus going towards El Centro.  A white man got on at the next stop and sat behind me. He has lived here for 7 years and said he was Canadian.  I asked from where?  He said 4 hours from Winnipeg.  Oh ya, where?  Near Riding Mountain National Park.  Oh, Clear Lake?  He never batted an eye.  No.  I said Minnesoda?  Still, he never changed his expression.  It turns out he’s   from Strathclair.  He retired 6 years ago and has lived here ever since.  He looks about 30 and only goes home once every couple of years.  Weird.  He was going the same way as me so he walked me to my place which was nice of him but I’ve got a map and it’s not my first rodeo.  I’m staying in house number 17 - well, there are 4 #17 houses:  17, 17, 17 and 17 D.  17 knew where to send me and as Juan, the owner explained, the four homes are on the same lot and belong to his family.  The government won’t let them number them any differently hence the confusion.

The place looks pretty typical from the outside-

but my bedroom is nice and warm-

I’m a star, finally-

The bathroom is next door so even though I share it with a guy from Paraguay, it’s like I’m in my own house. The kitchen is well stocked and it just all feels good.  I like it already.  I didn’t like the place I was in in Guanajauto.  You know how you just get a feel for things.

I wandered around and came to Solitude Square aka Civic Square where there’s a great monument to Ignacio Allende, a hero of Mexican Independence-

Also in the plaza was a mosaic made from upside down plastic bottle caps.  It was huge - about 12 feet by 4 feet-

The buildings are very beautiful and there were quite a few tourists.  Steve, the guy from Manitoba, said tomorrow there’d be 1/5 of the people on the street.  The wealthy from Mexico City come to SMA for the weekend but like he said, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, the air is still yellow.  He seemed a bit pessimistic to me-

There’s a lot of nice wall art and I’ll take more pictures tomorrow-

I was out walking on a grocery hunt and found an awesome roasted chicken for lupper.  I’m going to check out a gym tomorrow but hours might not be so good because of the holiday coming up.  Oh well, life is good.


I don’t know why they make such funny faces.  They were at the rink skating this afternoon-

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Guanajauto, Mexico,, el veintiocho de Deciembre, 2019

Even though I wasn’t feeling that great, I was still out the door by 10 to explore on my last day in Guanajauto.  My first stop was at the Plaza Allende where there is a statue of Don Quixote- 

and his buddy Sancho Panza-

Don Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes.  It was published in two parts - in 1605 and 1615 and is the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age.  It’s often labeled the first modern novel and sometimes considered the best book every written.  It’s about a noble from La Mancha who read so many chivalric romances that he went a bit crazy and decided to become a knight to revive chivalry and serve his nation.  He recruited a simple farmer, Sancho Panza as his squire. 
i continued walking and came across the Templo de la Compañia de Jesus-

Next door is the University-

Very close by was a modern art gallery.  It only cost $1 so I went in.  Weird.
Siameses by Jose Luis Cueves-

Also by Cuevas is Autorretrato Como Obrero (Self Portrait of a Worker)=

Alan Altamirano-MkKabrito with Eterna Juventud - Forever Young.  I like the little brush strokes-

Sergio Hernández did Niña Cangrejo - (Crab Daughter) =

I’m pretty much churched and museumed out but was afraid to miss out on something awesome in Diego Rivera’s Museum.  He lived in this house for the first six years of his life but nothing is original.  Pictures apparently weren’t allowed but I managed one of Diego‘s cubism which is a European avant-garde movement that flourished between 1906 - 1914 characterized by simultaneous viewpoints of the subject.  Picasso was also a Cubist-

I saw a lot of Diego’s work in Mexico City.  He and Frida were married for a few years too.  Well, that was pretty much a waste of time.

Carrying on......  looking south towards Mercado Hidalgo-

They too have an ice surface.  Lots were skating on this one, usually they hang on to the side rails scared for their lives-

Looking north-

It is a beautiful city.

My last stop of the day was Museo de las Momias.  I followed a sign that said turn this way and ended up walking up a million stairs and at a cemetery that needed some love and care.  Around the corner was the Museo and the lineup.  I almost didn’t wait but am sure glad I did.  It took an hour and 7 minutes to get in the door-

And that was just inside the building. The queue went down a block and around the corner.

The mummies were exhumed from a Guanajauto cemetery in 1870 when families didn’t pay the new burial tax which was to ensure perpetual burial.  These corpses were naturally mummified so once removed from their graves could be stored in a building above ground.  The burial tax was abolished in 1958.  There are 58 mummies on display.   These people died from a cholera outbreak.  Bodies were buried immediately to prevent the spread of the disease and lots were burned.  It is thought that some were buried alive because of the horrific facial expressions, however most ghastly expressions were probably due to postmortem reactions-

The bodies were preserved naturally deep in the wall crypts which were isolated from the ground above.  There was no humidity or oxygen and that created the ideal conditions for the spontaneous desiccation of tissue and prevented decomposition-

There were also baby mummies-

And then photos of parents holding their dead babies-

A woman died when she was about 6 months pregnant.  She was about 40 and it is believed she died because she did not receive the nutrients necessarily to grow a baby-

The foetus is about 8 inches tall and is the smallest mummy in the world-

The only mummy extracted from a ground level grave and not from vertical crypts like the rest of the displayed bodies shows the importance of temperature and lack of humidity in decomposition-

There was a smaller museum next door with a few interesting exhibits including a mummified finger-

A person who died by torture-

Parent and baby-

and a nasty pirate-

This is a fetus that was found in the uterus of a young unmarried woman who killed herself.  It’s about 1.5 inches long-

I was a bit concerned that because of the crowds I wouldn’t be able to see anything, however, people were really good at moving along in single file and waiting for others to move along.  I’m really glad I went in because it was very fascinating.

Walking towards home, I spied another church - the Parroquia del Immaculado Corazon de Maria-

which had an interesting Christmas display in the front.  It’s Bethlehem-

I stopped at Mercado Hidalgo, built between 1905 - 1910-

which was going to be the train station but was never used for that.  There are many food stalls so I tried chile rellenos again and it was so greasy I used at least 10 napkins trying to get rid of as much as I could.  It was quite disgusting.  I should have had one of these instead-

I’ve enjoyed my time in Guanajauto and am looking forward to San Miguel de Allende tomorrow!


  Cancun, Mexico to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,     December 31, 2023 I was up at 4:30 and walking to the bus depot by 5:30.  I wore my headlam...