One of the reasons we decided to go to the San Miguel de Allende (SMA) Writer’s Conference in February was that our friends, Evelyn and Victor Guzman, had relocated there from Charlotte the previous June.
It was great fun seeing them, their new home town and meeting some of their friends.
The driver we used was recommended by them. Evelyn and Victor met us at the hotel when we arrived. Nearly every morning, as I started my workshops, they rescued Kevin from the hotel and took him to play pickleball with a fun group. And we stayed in their lovely apartment the last night we were in SMA. Evelyn and Victor–the consummate hosts.
Here we are the first day having lunch at Lolita’s, a very nice restaurant right down from the hotel.
And that night with their friends Paula and Dan in front of the Parroquia, the most photographed church in all of Mexico.
The church is located in the center of town and across from the Jardin Principal, a beautiful square always full of people.
Included in the pre-Lent festivities was ‘Dia de los Cascarones’. It’s SMA’s version of Carnaval. Chicken eggshells are liberated of their yolks, and then painted and repurposed as mini confetti piñatas (that you break with someone else’s head.) A bag of ten cascarones costs 5 pesos (less than 50 cents.) Just before sunset, the huevo war commences and it’s an eggshell throwing free-for-all.
A little girl ran up behind Kevin and managed to smash an egg on his head and then the rest of us begged for the blessing as well.
Here’s the back of Victor’s confetti head.
We got a HUGE kick out of meeting one of their friends, Fred and his wife, Barbara. Fred’s claim-to-fame is that is the proud owner of something like 1,200 Barbie Dolls so is an expert. We saw a clip of him on the Steve Harvey show after his wife contacted Steve with a plea for help. Too darned many Barbies in their house! With his suspenders, Fred seems an unlikely candidate to hold this distinction.
The city is very picturesque and has earned UNESCO status. But be careful of the cobblestone streets and narrow sidewalks. At the conference, we were warned to not gaze around at the beauty of SMA while walking or we just might take a tumble.
We never got to ride this, but how very charming.
Here is one of their traffic light substitutes, since they don’t have traffic lights. It is amazingly orderly when it comes to pedestrians–cars stop when you step out to cross the street. They just do.
Garbage collection in SMA is unique. The truck goes down the street clanging a bell or banging on a pot or somehow making a racket. Folks know that’s the time to bring out their bags. Small town charm.
Death is treated with great respect. The graveyard just down from the hotel was massive with workers sweeping and digging. Day of the Dead is a HUGE event in Mexico. The graveyard is the center of attention that day.
The large family that was on a lookout with us wondered why I was taking a picture of their car. Ah, the memories of my very first vehicle, in the same shade of green. Then 8 or so of them squeezed in and took off.
This is a view of SMA close to where the Guzmans live.
Evelyn and Victor at their home in SMA. It’s beautiful!
Everything from soup to nuts, from vegetables to mannequins, from razors to t-shirts at this weekly flea market.
The last evening in SMA we went to El Carco del Ignio, a preserve with hiking and bird watching. We timed our visit so we could see the MURMURATION (I just love that word!) at 6:20 p.m.
From November to April this area is home to thousands of roosting cowbirds. Their spectacular soaring occurs every evening at sunset.
Our trip to the airport, took us through territory that was dry and covered with scrub brush.
We stopped in Guanajuato on the way to the airport in Leon. Guanajuato is an amazing city with roadways going through massive tunnels. The tunnels are the result of rivers, mining and some intentionally carved out connecting the roadways.
Here we are in Guanajuato just before leaving Mexico and our splendid driver, Charley.
There he was in first class as we were boarding the plane to leave…Doc Severinsen. Doc was Johnny Carson’s bandleader. I told him that the residents of SMA were very proud he was one of them. He asked if we were neighbors in San Miguel. “Oh no,” I said, “I was just here for a writer’s conference.” “I heard all about it. How was it?” he asked, as the cue to get on the plane piled up behind me. I would have loved talking to him more, but alas, I was obligated to move on.
There was a band of sorts in the back of the plane, too. It was stereophonic babies…one in the seat in front, one to the side and one in back. It was actually very interesting the way at some points only one “sang” and then at other times more than one chimed in.
So, when the bus at the airport missed the turn to the parking lot and we had to go ALL the way around again, adding another 20 minutes to the trip, I couldn’t help thinking about how much those babies would have loved hearing me sing the song The Wheels On The Bus Go ‘Round and ‘Round. I also thought that this had to be one mighty tired driver.
Great trip…great to be home!