Sunday, July 7, 2013

San Miguel de Allende, MX - Week 5

Time is flying. Here we are reporting on our fifth week in this beautiful colonial city of San Miguel de Allende (SMA). Each day has been gorgeous, even with the afternoon thunderstorms that roll in over the mountains. We certainly wouldn't be able to sit out on rooftops in Florida like we do here.

Friday night, June 28, we joined friends and went to a gathering for game night. Now those of you who know Ken know that he is not a game lover. But he was a trooper and went along. We joined a table playing Mexican Dominoes and really had a good time.

As mentioned earlier in our blog, SMA is known as a city for/of women. El Refugio De Los Recuerdos (The Refuge of Memories) is being built on the outskirts of SMA to celebrate the many talented women who have come to SMA. It is modeled from The Little Chapel of Guernsey, UK. Like the Little Chapel, the Capilla will be covered with mosaic made up of mementos, pottery, tile, and seashells. Stained glass mosaics were made by girls from Ojala Ninos, a non-profit program that provides free classes in art, music and literacy to over 100 children living in poverty in rural SMA.

Chapel at El Refugio De Los Recuerdos

On Saturday, June 29, we attended a party to celebrate this contribution to women, as well as celebrate a man's birthday who contributes to the volunteer efforts of Ojala Ninos. One famous woman, now living in SMA, Olivia Cole, was also an attendee and we got to see her. You may remember Olivia from her role in the TV movie, Roots. She played the character, Matilda, who marries 'Chicken George'.

A private home located on the same piece of property where the Refugio is being built provided a baño, bathroom, for the use of mujeres,women (the señores, men, had to go behind the red tent). In every place we have visited in MX, we have been told that the locals often build homes without a finished roof so that it can't be permitted as complete; therefore, the owners do not have to pay taxes. We don't know if this was the reason but this private home did not have a completed roof. The bedroom and bath were roofed. The house bath had modern fixtures but no running water. To flush the toilet, one had to pour in water from a bucket. With all the women there, the buckets kept running dry; where the water came from to fill the buckets, we never knew. (The house was unfinished in more ways than one.)

Men's Baño

As in all our travels, eating is a big part of our enjoyment, as the photos taken by Ken attest to. Brunch at the Posada Corazon, a beautiful B&B, was recommended to us and we went Sunday, June 30. The property and views were gorgeous. We selected a table outside on the terrace and enjoyed the gardens as smells of jasmine wafted towards us in the breeze.

Sunday brunch at Posada Corazon

Water Lily at Posada Corazon
Courtyard at Posada Corazon

The temperature was in the 70's and there was a gentle breeze blowing. After eating and photographs were taken, we walked down to El Jardin to people watch and then strolled down to the Parque Principal (main park). Walking back home, we popped in and out of shops. Jamey found 2 tops to buy - no souvenirs yet though. This was such a great way to spend a Sunday.

The Parroquia, alway a good subject!

We're into our second month, July, already so we decided a second trip to the Tuesday tianguis (market/flea market) was called for. On July 2 we went with Bob and Kathy there on the bus, standing room only, and back in a taxi. We came home with freshly made ceviche, tomatoes, potatoes, poblanos, bananas, plantain, limes, fish and shrimp. We enjoyed the ceviche and crackers for lunch with some left over for tomorrow. This was the best ceviche we've had since we've been in SMA.

That evening we had invited several people to join us on our mirador (rooftop terrace) for happy hour; however, most had prior commitments. But Bob and Kathy and we got together; it was a beautiful evening with a continuing breeze which cooled us off. We just relaxed up there and talked and shared stories. It was a great evening!

Restaurante Meson de San Jose

Wednesday morning, Jamey returned to the mattress stuffing gathering. There were quite a few more people and many were first timers, like Jamey had been last week. Several were visitors to SMA and had read about the charity in the weekly newspaper. We finished stuffing the mattress we had worked on last week and actually got another one more than half stuffed.

For dinner, we walked to the restaurant, Ole-Ole. Can you guess what the motif was? We shared an order of chicken and beef fajitas. There was a  breast of chicken and a beef fillet, each flattened to about 1/8" and grilled. Then they were scored into thin strips. There was a little grilled onion, a grilled jalapeno and some raw carrot slices. They were not brought out smoking and sizzling like in the states but were very good.

Dinner at restaurante Ole-Ole

With all the pictures of bull fights, matadors, and mounted bull heads on the walls, I asked our waitress if all the bulls were killed. She just nodded her head. For all we knew, we might have been eating Taurus or Fernando.

Feliz cuatro de Julio (Happy July 4th). Even though this is not a holiday in Mexico, the firecrackers and cannons started at 5:45 a.m.. We don't know if these were in honor of all the gringos here in SMA or for some other reason. We got up and went out of breakfast and then grocery shopping and stayed in the remainder of the day because of off and on thunderstorms.

Friday morning, after a brief rain shower, it looked like it was going to clear up. Ken went out and finished the shopping expedition and Jamey stayed home to get some laundry washed and hung on the clothesline. Just as we sat down to lunch, a big clap of thunder made us both jump up and race outside to gather in the wet clothes. The condo had laundry hanging anywhere feasible the rest of the day and night.

Lantern and Bougainvillea

During a brief break in the showers, we walked down the street to a Chinese restaurant, Golden Dragon. There's just something appealing about eating hot steamy Chinese soup and dishes on cool rainy evenings. The clouds burst open again just as we walked back in the condo and continued through the night.

With constant storms swirling in the Pacific and Gulf, we expect off and on rain for several days. Today, Saturday, during a break in the downpours we went out to an art/craft fair at the Instituto (The School of the Art Institute Allende). Ken was smart and had not gone to the bank to get another cash advance. The vendors were not accepting tarjetas (cards, i.e. credit cards) so even though Jamey was oohing and ahhing and wishing and hoping, there was no shopping to be done except for a blueberry tart for our dessert tonight. She made Ken circle through the throngs twice though.

Art/Craft fair at Instituto Allende

Guitarist performing at Instituto

Cigar Maker at Instituto

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