Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Travel and Photography: 7 Days to See Unique San Miguel, Mexico

I will never forget standing at our window watching the fireworks a few
blocks away lighting the night sky.  The declaration
for freedom that the Mexican people dreamed of was announced fromthe front of the Cathedral. Hand rung bells in the
tower continued for a half an hour of more. It was glorious.
A bride and her husband led a parade followed by...


...a band of men singing and a wedding party
all dressed in white, each taking photos with their smart phones!

I am not accustomed to beautiful horses ridden by beautiful men
arriving for no reason at all (that I knew of!)
We have been here almost 7 days now. Tomorrow we will travel back to a hotel near the airport close to Leon. We have wandered through neighborhoods and poked our head is so many portals I have lost count. It has taken this long for use to begin to appreciate the uniqueness of this beautiful city.

This morning we were awoken with fireworks at 5 am or earlier...who knows. We jumped because it seemed as though we were being invaded. Día Madre en Miguel Hidalgo began with a boom on this Sunday morning and it was time to get up. I was reminded of being startled awake in Viet Nam with loud speakers at a very early hour. It is not what you expect that sticks with is always the surprises.

There are no streetlights or stop signs here. No one plays music in their cars. Traffic police seem to appear out of nowhere when a small traffic jam happens. It is amazing but when a horn is honked traffic will actually seem to move a little faster. 

When you walk down the very narrow sidewalks the people facing traffic always step into the street. This was not what I expected because I am from a country where everyone walks on the right side of the walk way. I very nearly was pushed into the gutter because I did not know this.

Women, policemen and military are not allowed in cantinas (the ones with swinging doors I think). That is good to know too because I am not as shy as I could be.

There is a wine shop on Canal just west of the Jardin that sells wine, liquor and snacks. I did not know that and it is important.

I have not seen a newspaper but I think there must be one somewhere around. Our TV is in a totally dark bedroom with no windows so I have not seen the news in almost a week. Imagine how relaxing that is!

There are 13 or so "Temples" here so bells ring a lot. We are near the largest and we have never figured out the bells. They ring 19 times on one occasion and 34 the next. It is no particular hour or minutes so far as we can figure out. The bells just ring close to the half hour or the hour. We have come to think of them as the "talking bells of San Miguel". Somehow I find them comforting and I do not want to know why they do what they do.
Each cathedral or temple as the Mexican people call them, was unique and
beautiful in it's own way.

We have not encountered a cross or angry person and this morning as people emerged from Mass, we were greeted by almost everyone with a smile and a Buenos Dia. What a way to start the day.

But most of all, it is the flowers on every ledge and by all sinks or doorways that I will never forget. It is as if the beauty of San Miguel is a story told through the blossoms that surround us.

Chocolate perfumes the air and flowers blooms give it color!
San Miguel is a beautiful little pocket of European culture in the middle of Mexico. It has been called Bohemian, artistic, an expat's dream retirement location and much more. I think it becomes what you want it to and that is it's charm.

Note: There is a wonderful booklet called San Miguel Walking and Shopping Guide that is published seasonally. The list of links for the city is here

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