Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Well, I am leaving tomorrow this wonderful place. I am sad, but also excited about seeing family and old familiar places in both the US and Europe. Hope to be back by November. Right after the Cervantina Festival! Adios Guanajuato, amigos yamigas!
Monday, June 15, 2015
@ Tal with Fellipe and Steve
Linda is leaving today. Feels like she just got here. We mosyed over to Anita’s house on Perros Muertos. This is where I stayed with Lynne in 2000. As we took pics of each other Lalo came home and invited us in. The house is very nicely renovated and the rooms upstairs now each have a bath.
Saturday June 13, 2015
On the way down from the Panoramica/Pipila
Friday, June 12, 2015
Early morning light from the University of GTO
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Around Guanajuato with Linda
June 10, 2015
San Miguel Allende
Tour of Santa Rosa,
June 9, 2015
Guanajuato and Valenciana
Went on a tour of the city and Valenciana with friend Linda visiting from the SF Bay area.
Monday June 8, 2015
At the Embajadoras Restaurant with the Spanish English Intercambio group.
Friday June 5, 2015
Lunch with friends at Delica Mitsu! A Grrrreat Japanese Restaurant on Callejon de Cantaritos
More images from Guanajuato…..
Plaza de la Paz
Callajon from Plaza San Fernandez
Stairs and Fountain at the Embahadoras
Don Quixote Around Town
All over town there are constant reminders of Cervantes and Don Quixote with side kick Sancho Panza. As you may or may not have heard that Gauajuato is home to the International Cervantino Festival. Which happens usually in the month of October.
Guanajuato is a small colonial-era town with history of having a large cultural scene. The origins of the Cervantina Festival are from 1953, when Enrique Ruelas of the University of Guanajuato began to put on an annual event called the Entremeses de Miguel de Cervantes Saaevedra, short plays written by the author of Don Quixote. These plays are still part of the annual Festival. In 1972, he founded the Coloquio Cervantino from June to September to expand the annual event. Ruelas’s efforts came to the attention of the federal government and it received federal support to include more events to add a more international flavor. Since then, FIC has grown to become the most important international artistic and cultural event in Mexico and Latin America.
With my aversion to crowds, needless to say I will not be around Guanajuato in October. The place will be packed with tourists, artists and wonderful performances, the last of which I shall very much miss.
Calle Positos in Centro
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Pictures from the subterranean.
The Guanajuato tunnels or subterranean roads are a series of wide channels that extended under the city to help divert traffic away from the Centro. These tunnels were not primarily constructed for traffic but as a diversion for the Rio Guanajuato to prevent flooding to the early mining town.
These tunnels are now like a rabbit warren, there are different layers cross roads and underground junctions. They are a very unique sight with decorative entrances and charming open stretches. Although to tell the truth, they did scare me at first…
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Saturday, May 30th, 2015
Clouds are gathering over Guanajuato. The rainy season is upon us.
I haven’t taken many pictures lately as my hand still hurts from the fall I took on the Embahadoras a few weeks ago. People warned me that everyone falls in this town and to keep my eyes peeled on the pavement when on my walkabouts, but I must have eased up on my vigilance. Yep, they were right I fell, just as it was predicted. No Fun! But an experience I needed to have, obviously….
I am starting to think about my departure this month and the next 3 to 4 months of traveling ahead. But I still want to enjoy myself while I am here. So I try to not go out there yet. My friend Linda B. is arriving from the San Francisco Bay Area next Monday, and I am looking forward to show her around the sites here in Guanajuato and the surronding area.
Hopefully by then my hands will feel better and I will be able to take many, many pics of our adventures.
Thursday May 21, 2015
Some more pictures from this lovely place called Guanajuato and a little history!
A little history of the Plaza de la Paz
The name of the Plaza de la Paz was converted from Plaza Mayor in 1903 during the inauguration ceremony of the Monumento a la Paz. The monument was erected to remember the centenary of the end of Mexican war of independence. But unknown to all, in just 7 years Mexico would be ravaged by 10 years of civil war, (Mexican Revolution) and peace would be a distant memory.
It was during the Mexican war of Independence when Benito Juarez, declared Guanajuato state free from colonial rule and even more surprisingly named it the capital of Mexico.
Sunday May 17, 2015
Have I mentioned about the dogs yet? Probably, yes. Well, they are still here. Every so often a visibly very sick one disappears and I keep hoping that it got help or someone adopted it, but most likely was just put out of its misery.
Many of the expats adopt the street dogs but even more caught by the municipal dog catchers and put down. The problem starts with people who can no longer afford keeping them or sometime the dog got loose and run away from the house. During the day you can find some of them stretched out on the streets, or doorways soaking up the sun and catching up on their sleep. There are small ones like Chihuahuas and large mutts who in search of food run between the cars, scour the garbage bins or hang around the eateries for occasional scraps. They are a diseased, skinny and a sorry site indeed.
But they are quite a nuisance as well! If you live here you can’t miss their nightly howling or their calling cards on the streets. Still what a hard life and what little chance they have for survival. I think of those spoiled and smothered with love pooches back in California. Sometime life is just not fair!
Saturday May, 9 2015
Last Sunday’s visit to the Presa de La Olla
We went way too early when the sun was still up high and very hot. I am planning to return here later in the day when the light would be a lot warmer and the air cooler! Still a nice afternoon, would have stopped for a margarita at one of the outdoor restaurants if not for the mariachi band making a racket and for sure try to embarrass us. So, maybe some other time.
So, I am sure you are asking yourself, a Light House on the top of the hill? Hmm.. Why?
Exactly, my question as well. After some serious internet search and asking around (most people don’t know how it got there, why and when) I found out the interesting history of this out of place monument.
El Faro de la Presa de la Olla was built 1938 and presented to the city of Guanajuato by Secretary of the Navy. And the story goes on that the Navy originally wanted to present Guanajuato with a ship but there is no body of water in this state large or deep enough to put a Navy Ship in, hence they built the Lighthouse on the top of the hill above the Presa de la Olla.
You can also read a lot more about the Presa de la Olla at this webpage: http://www.guanajuatocapital.com/ciudad/presa-de-la-olla (page down to the English section!)
Friday, May 1st, 2015
Monday,April 27, 2015
Now that the Jacarandas lost most of their flowers the Buganvillas started blooming.
Images from the Paseo de la Presa.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
I am feeling rather small here….
Picture taken by me friend, Doyle Phillips
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The trip to the Peralta Archeological site last Sunday, April 18th. with Escuela Mexicana.
The four of us students and the driver Elias pilled into this smallish car and held our breath for the hour and a half ride. Two guys Mark and Tim from my class and another student braved the journey. I am sure glad that I chose not to go to Teotihuacan site by Mexico City, which would have taken five hours there and five back on the same day with similar arrangements. When we got there a bit before noon, you can imagine it was hot! Since I saw some images of the place a forehand, I did not expect much, and yes, the site was rather small in comparison with other sites on the Yucatan Peninsula I have visited some years ago. But interesting none the less.
There is not much I can tell abut it just that the pyramids were small and rather different in structure. Link to the wiki site with more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peralta_(Mesoamerican_site)
Images from the Peralta archeological site with Escuela Mexicana:
We had our lunch at a Tour Stop, not much to write home about. Tim was especially disappointed by his fare….
Afterwards, we continued on to Corralejo and toured a Tequila Plant/ X-Hacienda where father Miguel Hidalgo (Catholic priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence) was born. I a m not much into Tequila only had it as an ingredient for Margaritas, which I am sorry to report have not even tasted one since I been in Mexico. I guess I should remedy that situation ASAP!
At the plant very ingeniously the windows to the tequila aging and storage buildings are made out of different colored tequila bottles. Hence the windows let in very little light and are very colorful and almost one could say artistic… Learned a lot about the different aging processes and categories. The only thing interested me is the best grade for Margaritas is Blanco and or Reposado. But enough of that, there is always wiki to learn more about this subject!
Images from the trip to Corralejo Tequila plant:
Friday, April 10, 2015
Took my camera around my neighborhood on the Paseo de la Presa. Lots of Jakaranda trees and many large houses. Also the governor’s palace and some of the state government buildings are just up the road . The Casa de la Presa is an art nouveau building with art galleries, restaurants, and other small shops.
In Guanajuato even the pealing wall paint have a certain appeal. And there is plenty of that!
Even though they seem to be constantly repainting the buildings most of their outsides are crumbling. It seems the stone and the covering materials they are using are just too soft. Many places I see plants or even trees growing out of the sides of the buildings. Which is rather strange as this place is considered as a high desert and yet the vegetation is rather lush.
Thursday, April 9, 2015
I am grateful that the Semana Santa is over life seems to be returning to somewhat normal. Although still I was awakened by the blast of the canons at 6:15AM. This morning I counted it up to ten, then some day it is less. It all started on Easter Sunday, and every morning since. No idea what it represents…. But I have a theory, since Mexico just turned back the clocks on Sunday morning maybe this is their way to wake up the locals so they won’t be late for work. Personally it scares the Heebie-jeebies out of me. But it does get me up!
My Easter was rather quiet for me, went to mass and walked around a bit then back to home to get away from the big crowds.
Tuesday had a goodby lunch with my Minnesota friend Dierdre who is leaving shortly to return to the Midwest. I am grateful for her friendship and hope to keep up with her via email etc.
Today the Medieval Festival started and will go on through the weekend. Someone told me that there are over 200 festivals in Guanajuato per year. That’s a lots Fiestas!!!
Hope to get down to Centro tomorrow and check out the happenings! More posting later today or tomorrow…
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Today I received an email from my friend Deirdre who was my class mate at Escuola Mexicana. She lives right in the center of town and had the good fortune to experience how the people of Guanajuato celebrated God Friday. For myself, I stayed home as I have a difficult time with crowds and demonstrations. I try to distance myself from such events hence I was not there to experience this very moving and special event. We in the states certainly do not go to such lengths.
So here, I am enclosing her email and pictures.
“For those of us brought up in the Christian faith, this Easter week in Guanajuato has been an amazing experience. We knew when the street in front of our house was closed down, that something was happening, but we had a hard time finding out what was going on, and when.
So we followed the street to the Temple of the Company of Jesus, a large cavernous church built by the Jesuits back in the 1700’s. Around the outside there was a carnival atmosphere with vendors selling food and trinkets. But upon entering the church we found all the pews had been removed so the thousand or so people there could participate as actors or audience in a reenactment of the crucifixion.
We arrived at 3 pm and ran into friends who had been there for 6 hours already. After circling the church several times on this extremely heavy platform, the statue of Jesus was removed and carried up the ladders at the front of the church to hang from the cross. We left after that.
When we returned at 9 pm, the church was dark inside except for the altar where there were flashes of lightening, and sounds of thunder and wind. The priest was reading a passage from the Bible to the thousand people assembled.
At 10 pm, the statue was removed from the cross, and placed again on one of these enormous biers to be carried through the streets in a procession called the “Silencio”. Fifty barefoot men, wearing very rough burlap and masks, carried the statue of Jesus, followed by 50 barefoot women dressed in black carrying statues of Mary. Interspersed in the procession there were children dressed like angels, and men wearing purple outfits resembling the Ku Klux Klan , beating drums and playing horns, and many more men dressed as roman soldiers. Following it all came the faithful bearing candles. After they passed, Dag and I headed home and after a full day fell easily to sleep.
At 12:15 midnight, we awoke to the sounds of drums and horns. The procession had come almost two miles through the cobblestone streets of Guanajuato to pass in front of our house. We rushed out into the darkness just in time to see the masked men and the heavy platforms pass. The participants were exhausted as evidenced by the strain on their faces, and they still had hours to go before being relieved of their burdens, and finding a place to lay their heads.
There is a lot we don’t understand about what we see, but as it is so different from what we have experienced in the US, we thought it would be fun to share.”
Written by: Deirdre Flesche
Friday, April 3, 2015
Busy week and it is Semana Santa (Holly Week). Lots of festivities, customs religious as well as regional.
Wednesday we took a bus trip to Leon and checked out the leather good shops. Leon seems to be the shoe capitol of the world.. Yep, definitely the leather district is quite extensive.Doyle got two pairs of shoes. Amazing! We went with friends, who also bought some goodies. I myself not much of a shopper came home empty handed but did enjoy the sites.
Yesterday was Jueves Santo/Maundy Thrusday
Everything is closed, even the traffic is barred from the Centro. Even though this is a secular country at Easter religious fervor or call it customs take over. Some Mexican traditions for Maundy Thursday include visiting seven churches to recall the vigil the apostles kept in the garden while Jesus prayed before his arrest, foot-washing ceremonies and of course Mass with Holy Communion. I managed to visit one church, after all I am American.
Today is Viernes Santo/God Friday
On this day there are solemn religious processions in which statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried through town. Often the participants of these processions dress in costumes to evoke the time of Jesus. Passion plays, dramatic recreations of the crucifixion of Christ, are presented in many communities. More praying in the churches and still everything is closed through the weekend. Once again I had a quiet few minutes in the Basilica then I headed home to escape the crowds. It does get rather passionate around here. Lots of people walking on the streets, visiting friends and family in between the prayers.
I am sure more to come in the coming weekend. Will keep you all posted.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The lovely jacaranda tree in front of the Polish Embassy on the Paseo de la Presa
Friday, March 27, 2015
Viernes de Dolores in Guanajuato ( Friday of Sorrows)
The “La Dolorosa” which is how she is also known by, it is represented with a sorrow face, and dropping tears. Seven little swords stabs his heart, meaning the seven sorrows she suffered because of the death of her son.
The altar is full of flowers and colored papers that makes it look more like a sign of joy than sorrow. There are also some Pre-Hispanic elements on it, that makes it very Mexican-barroque. People start to prepare it the day before. A cloth or paper in purple means the pain of the Calvary, the white means the purity of the Virgin.
The popular festivity of “El Día de la Flores”The Day of the Flowers
The day of t has its origins as part of the celebration of “Viernes de Dolores”. At this date the people set altars in honor of the Virgin Mary of Sorrows. Such altars start to be elaborated from the previous day, which is why at downtown in the “Jardín de la Unión” lots of people arrive selling flowers . From this time the place is covered with the smell of flowers and its vivid colors.
In the previous night, on Thursday, it became a tradition to do some balls at different places in the city, which were called “Baile de las flores”.( the Flowers Dance Ball). At dawn, after spending all night dancing, the young people used to come to the Jardín de la Unión dressed in their best outfits. Men used to gather at one side and started to walk around the place, while women did the same but walking on the opposite direction. This way ladies and gentlemen could see each other and share a gaze, once a lady was attracted to a man, he would give her flowers from the people selling flowers around. This was calles “el Paseo de las Flores” (The Flowers Walking)”
Quoted from zee internet…
So, that should give you an intro to the images below! Of course what I witnessed most was the throngs of locals and tourist alike cramped into the downtown area, just strolling(shuffling might be a better description) and buying flowers, sweets, Easter eggs and whatever the vendors had to offer. Also noticed a lots of young boys and girls carrying flowers… very sweet!
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Yesterday’s plan for the Jardin and the Art Walk fell through. Neither of those events seemed to be happening. I guess some wires got crossed. Still we, my two cohorts from San Miguel and I had a pleasant time at the Prussian Bar in the Centro.
Also we had a nice walk and it was a lovely time of the day with the setting sun. I took a couple of shots of the Basilica and the University. With great light for photography.
Wednesday March 25, 2015
Here are my photos from last Sunday in San Miguel Allende. Enjoy, I did, taking them.
Finally, the nice weather is back with warm days and a lots of sunshine. Although one has to be careful of the sun around here as the UV exposure is abt.12 which btw is “extreme” . In California is usually around 1 or 2. It might have something to do with the altitude and the scarcety of the Ozone layer….
My friend Doyle, is trying to talk me into getting myself a hat! Well, sounds reasonable but still I DO NOT LIKE HATS!
Last Sunday we, that is Miguel from Santa Cruz , CA, Doyle from Big Spring, Texas and me took of for a day of fun in San Miguel Allende. The trip is about an hour bus ride from Guanajuato. We went to the Pulga (Flee Market), which did not impress me a bit, and then down to the Centro for some turistical enjoyment. Sure enough we were in for a treat from Fiesta, with native dancers, marching bands and large dolls on stilts…. I don’t think there is a week going by in Mexico with out some kind of a celebration. Today we are planning to go to the Jardin for a concert and then onto to Artist exhibition that will cover several blocks near the Diego Rivera Museum.
Getting used to the life here and the language is growing on me with not too much effort on my part. I am back in school this week but only for 4 days. No body goes to school on Festival of the Flowers, Friday. Although the church and state supposed to be separate it seems to me the Catholic Fate has a large influence on how things done in Mexico. Not that I am complaining, this is just an observation on my part and it does not seem that it bothers anyone in particular… Or maybe I am just not aware of them.
This Thursday and Friday everyone is celebrating the Festival of the flowers. The City will be inundated by flower vendors, trinkets, Easter eggs , and everyone will come to the Centro to enjoy them. This celebration might have something to do with Palm Sunday or as in some countries called Flower Sunday transfigured by Mexican customs and traditions.
I am still not very clear on all the Easter Celebration Customs, but it is obvious to me that it is no small matter here. Will report on the events next week.
The Jacaranda trees in Guanajuato are blooming and they are really huge and quite beautiful. They give the city a much needed color. OK, OK, I am just kidding…..
Saturday March 14, 2015
More images taken between the raindrops….
After careful consideration and realizing how much I like it here I decided to stay another month, till the middle of June. So yesterday, I arranged for my flight to Chicago, where I will join my sister and stay in Milwaukee with her and Richard through the 4th of July weekend. Hopefully they would be thawed out by then. And talking about the weather…..
It turned really cold here and it’s been raining on and off for the last few days. It even snowed in Mexico City, closing down one of their highways. Which is practically unheard of… Last time it snowed in D.F. was in 1967…. Here in Guanajuato it is in the low 50’s which would not be all that unbearable, if only I had some way to warm up my palace. But central heating or any sort of heating is just as well unheard of. Last night Doyle my friend was good enough to turn on a miniature space heater while we watched a movie. If this cold keeps up I am seriously thinking about getting one those contraptions. Slowly, I am starting to get comfortable in my new home and no longer feel feel the need to rush out first thing in the morning. Like today I cooked me breakfast and even made a cup of instant coffee. Vile stuff! But it was either that or going out in the freezing rain. There won’t be any gallivanting around town today, so I might as well start writing that long awaited book that I promised my siblings about 10 years ago. But that is all I am going to say about that for now. As I know so well, plans can change on a dime!
Here are some more images of the city and one of it’s denizen.
Tuesday March 10, 2015
Interestingly enough time does fly here just as fast as in California, and there are so many new customs and idiosyncrasies that I need to learn about. Here are some of my observations about life here in Guanajuato.
For example, I find it rather interesting that since I been here I haven’t heard one of those annoying noise maker blowers. The streets are cleaned rigorously but the street cleaners use a broom. How quaint and quiet! So why can’t we act this civilized in California?
The other day I went to a panadería, (bakery), where I eventually noticed that the customers take a tray and tongs located near the doors, to put their selection on and then give it the tray the cashier for check out. Very convenient and civilized! Needless to say I did not pick up on this at my first visit, but live and learn…
One day we stayed in the center of town for lunch and when we emerged from the restaurant, the streets were filled with school children. The schools must have just let the little urchins out, all in their uniforms, special to their schools, chattering, giggling, running and munching on sweets. Considering that I am not much into kids, strangely this multitude of youth and exuberance gave me such an uplifting feeling. All I could do is just enjoy the parade. Did I tell you that Mexican children are beautiful, with big dark eyes, lovely features and shy little smiles?
Another thing, I did not remember the buildings being so well preserved and colorful from when I was here on my previous visit. Well, lo and behold my friend Doyle, enlightened me to the fact that, the painting and renovation of the buildings in the Centro (the center of town) are subsidized by the local government. Now, doesn’t that make a lot of sense? This is one way to woo the tourist, with colorful freshly painted building to take photographs of.
Well that is all for now. I am going to zee monthly meeting of the library volunteers. This could be the excitement of the week!
Friday March 6, 2015
I have been in school this week and been a bit busy. Not too bad though, I still had some time too take these images. I hope all those hours been not for want and I learned a bit. Now I am going to practice and do all the ejercisios in zee book! I will be writing a bit more later today or on the weekend.
Sunday March 1, 2015
I don’t think I mentioned about the Dogs yet. Yep they are still around. Maybe not as many as 14 years ago, but they do seize the night. What a concert! Yes you have guessed right, they are strays. I am sleeping with earplugs. Last time I was in Guanajuato I lived on “Callajon Perros Muertos” Dead Dogs Alley. Except them dogs came alive at night….
Something else caught me eyes. Yes, definitely the streets seem a lot cleaner. Actually I have seen people with brooms go around and sweep the sidewalks. Quit a change, from 2000. Maybe the city decided that they would like the tourists to come back.
Thursday’s library duty was rather quiet. Not much traffic just a couple of visitors. Still it was good fun explaining about the history of the library and all the books they can borrow and that it is all free!
Friday, I took the funicular to the Pipila Monument where you can have a wonderful view of the city and the surrounding valleys and hills. Took a bunch of pics but it was in the middle of the day and they all seemed a bit washed out. I should have known better. Well actually I did or do, still, sometime I just like to beat the odds. I will have to return one day toward the late afternoon or just after sunset when the lights come on.
This weekend the city was celebrating the “Festival de la Enchilada Guanajuato 2015”. Doyle and I took some photos of the “whole enchilada”. (I always wanted to say that!) It was interesting to watch the preparations with tables going around the “Jardin de la Union” and the many spectators, locals and tourist alike. Regrettably we decided not wait to taste the results, instead had our mediocre enchilada at a nearby café. Well sometime you win a little and sometime you lose….
Today being Sunday I attended the 9:00 am service at the Basilica Guanajuato. I just wondered how much would I understand? Interestingly enough because I am familiar with the flow of the catholic service it was not too difficult to figure it all out. As I looked around from my pew, I noticed that the people attending definitely did not wear their Sunday best. Most people were dressed way too casually unlike in Spain or Italy. I found this rather puzzling as Mexico is known as a very Catholic country. But, I guess things do change, and sometime not necessarily for the better.
Thursday, February 26,2015
On Saturday I moved into a nice little apartment with great views and the right price. It is small but has everything I need. Good location near the governors palace on the Paseo de la Presa. Doyle is a great guide, showing me the bus-routes, eateries, cafes, even got me a volunteer job at the English Language Library, in the Escuela Normal (Teachers School) next door. Funny me working in a library…. The weather is just like in the Bay Area, lovely in the high seventies, sunny, with cool nights.
Yesterday I took a Spanish proficiency test and will start next week at the Spanish language school, Escuela Mexicana, three hours a day daily. No idea how I did on the test but will find out next week. When I got back to me place I found no internet connection. Not until this morning. The whole City was down for almost 24 hours! Well this is Mexico after all.
I usually start my day with a walk or bus ride to the Café Tale, where I get my cappuccino fix with a croissant and jam (sinfully rich) and have our daily chat with other xpats and tourists. We are also greeted by the resident kitty and pooch. The buses are just 3 pesos and come every few minutes. The ride through the narrow streets can be quite an adventure though, definitely not your Golden Gate or SamTran buses. Quite interestingly most of them are adorned with Christian symbols like the cross and pictures of Christ, for extra protection I recon. Some even have loud music as entertainment.
For lunch I still eat out but I have already brought some provisions so I can start cooking for myself in the not so distant future. In the afternoons, I like to read my book on the roof terrace and later work for clients or on my blogs, or emails. Later in the evening I been going over to my friend Doyle’s place and watch some DVDs.
Oh, it is a tough life I know but someone go to do it.
I must sign off now as this afternoon I am going to my first stint at the English Library. I don’t think I will need to take anything to read….
Here some more snaps of the city!
February 23, 2015
So it happened, that after 14 years I have returned to Guanajuato, Mexico. Arrived here on Thursday February 19th 2015. My good friend Doyle and his friends Susan and Konrad picked me up at the Leon airport and took me to my new home on the Paseo de la Presa. Quite a Change from the Bay area….
I spent Friday and Saturday getting situated at the house and reacquainted with the city’s buses. Doyle took me to his favourite cafe “Cafe Tale” on Sangre Cristo and some other of his food-hunts. I have a lot to learn here but first of all the language. I seem to understand about 80% but nothing comes to my lips just monosyllables. And the wrong ones of that.
These are my first impression photos. Still a beautiful city, although it seems a bit more crowded.