|Colorful San Miguel. Streets, shops, decorative arts, Katrina shop, an outdoor cafe,|
Elissa and friend Gay; with Don Quijote; in new t-shirt; beautiful carvings, wall painting
"Oh, look, another VW bug. I've never seen so many in one place." Elissa started taking pix of the old cars, once made in Mexico, still chugging along the cobble-stoned streets.
"Wow, what beautiful doors."
It was daughter Elissa's first trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and she loved everything she saw and experienced, not to mention the perfect weather. All the sights and sounds; the hilly ancient streets, the architecture, arts and crafts,shops and restaurants, and "the best margaritas, just like Aunt Andy said!"
Always aglow and striking, it towers over the Jardin and dominates the skyline. "Follow the Parroquia and you can't get lost," I assured her. "Well, I don't have to pay much attention to directions, with my good tour guide!" But Elissa got the geography of the town down pretty well, almost as much as her menu instructions (no gluton, no dairy).
On the food front,where there could have been some misunderstanding, there was no trouble. No wheat, no milk, no butter, no cheese, no dairy. She gave her list, in Spanish, and waiters were happy to oblige, talk to the cook, bring out the cook, explain the food. "I have it down," she'd say, after her stream of excellent Spanish. We had some great meals, at Hecho en Mexico, Cafe Jardin (with some nice jazz), Cafe Monet (where we heard fabulous pianist Alejandro Mora), and Mexifran (where we plied the guitarist with tequila and had some great fun!). There's lots of ways to cook chicken, steak and fish, with corn torilla and quacamole, steamed veggies and various fruity sauces, Elissa found out. Food and music! "Viva Mexico!"
|Talavera pottery at the Artesenias |
We took in historic sites, went into churches, visited the Biblioteca, galleries, Bellas Artes and the Instituto. The art is exquisite, from pre-historic, to colonial, to contemporary. The murals are fantastic. At the Instituto, we happened upon a great textile exhibit by weaver Elizabeth Starcevic, as well as the works of one of Mexico's (and my) favorite artists, David Leonardo. We had a nice chat with David's agent, who explained the difference between "mamacita," which Elissa calls me, and "mamita," which he calls his mom. I told her both were acceptable, one being a voluptuous sexy woman (ooh-la-la), and the other a beloved mama, Juan said.
We happened by a brand new exhibit of Polish posters, of all things, as we walked down Zacateros to Mesa Grande, the wifi cafe. The posters were collected by Dr. Martin Rosenberg, "the largest and most complete selection of pre-war and vintage Polish cultural posters in existence." The Rosenberg Collection is huge; the posters are noted for their originality, artistry, brilliance. "The exceptional Polish poster is...a work of art rather than a conventional advertising placard," notes Elena Miller, a retired Curator of Posters at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Their bold designs and bright colors fit into San Miguel.
|Polish graphic art posters|
"Why are the posters here? Why did you open a gallery in San Miguel? she asked him. "Because I moved here after retiring, and brought them with me!" Thousands upon thousands of them. Lucky for San Miguel.
|Doors and decorations; tapestry exhibit at Instituto; |
Church of San Francisco;
balloons and toys in Jardin, carving on a corner building.
"Seems to me like the Mexicans took a tradition, blended its Spanish and indigenous heritage, and made it their own," I said to Elissa. "Yes, just like they did with the Catholic religion and the Catholic church," she noted. "Made it their own." That's San Miguel and Mexico in a nutshell, I thought.
"Anything else you want to see?" I asked on our last day. "I just want to get an 'I Love Mexico' T-shirt," she said with a laugh. And sure enough, that's what we did!