Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beautiful San Miguel

I would like to have a guardian angel on top of my house.

I adore the signs here. Most of them are hand painted or sculpted.

This tire store is my favourite.

San Jose de Gracias

A little about where we are. Here is Jan and Joyce`s beautiful front door. We notice that Mexican construction is often a little shotty, as Todd loves to remind me when we are crossing over the high rickety footbridge to cross the highway. Although the wiring is sketchy, and nothing is quite level, there are beautiful details like this door and these drain pipes. Just lovely.

Lavender really flourishes here. Here is J & J`s back deck.

My favourite spot to read.

The house is located next to a ranch that raises fighting bulls. This made us a little uneasy until we learned how skittish they are. I was quite lucky to see this one. Usually we see only a cloud of dust as they flee from us.

At the end of our road is this little cactus garden.

And my favourite burro.

The house is a 40 minute walk to the bus stop and so we make the trek nearly every day. We walk through the nearby little village San Jose de Gracias.

Here is my favourite gate in San Jose. The villagers live in large family complexes behind gates and walls. Some complexes have as many as 30 people living in them.

This is the San Jose`s church. There is no preist and no mass except for wedding, baptisms and funerals. But we often here the church bells ring around 5 pm. The other day I happened to be walking by the church when the bells rang and I saw several women enter the church and recite prayers together and take turns reading from the prayer book. It was kind of nice.

There are these little air plants covering many of the trees and obviously they are not to fussy what they attach to since they love the telephone and power lines in San Jose.

This is downtown San Jose. The orange building is the store where we get all kinds of wonderful things from pastries to produce, beer and cheese, eggs and juice. It took a little while to figure out how to shop here. On Saturdays we hear loud speakers starting early in the morning. The first time we heard it, Todd was concerned it was some kind of anouncement of civil unrest. Turns out, it was the farmer selling vegetables and eggs out of his truck. There is also a vender of pots and pans and plastic buckets, and an icecream vender and probably others that we have yet to discover. So on Saturdays the floor of the little store is completely filled with bags of produce, animal feed, and all kinds of things. The fruit and vegetables are fantastic. So ripe and flavourful. We went to the large grocery store a couple of times but the produce is lousy - more like the stuff we get in the north and costs twice as much as in our local store. Not to mention that we have to lug it up the hill afterwards.

This is about 50 meters past downtown San Jose. There are lots of farm animals. Many of them roaming the streets: pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, donkeys, chickens, cows

and dogs everywhere. This little guy barks and growls like crazy whenever it is cool out, but in the heat of mid day he just lays in the dirt and takes no notice of us.

We thought we had seen all the farm animals until just a couple of days ago, this guy and a flock of 12 more crosed our path. Not sure where they hide. After we walk through San Jose on the cobblestone road we take a dirt trail through the savanna, then back on the road through the second village, Los Organos and to the bus stop at the highway. Apparently the school kids really like Todd with his blond hair and red beard - they say he looks like Hernando Cortez. We seem to be the only Gringos that walk to the bus. The villagers are getting to know us and now they often give us rides in the back of their pick ups. So far we have shared trucks with roosters, bicycles, crowds of people and recently Todd got a ride on a flat bed truck carrying construction materials. There was no place to sit down so he stood up the whole way holding on with one hand like he was bronco riding. All this to go to beautiful San Miguel de Allende.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Old Chapel

This is a really old little church in old San Miguel, one of the oldest around we are told and it is lovely. The decor is very nature=based, flowers, animals, geometric patterns.
I would love to go to Sunday mass in a church like this. On the first Sunday we were here I went to mass in San Miguel in a grand cathedral. There were statues of martyrs and saints glaring down at you with blood spilling from their heads and hands.

There was a spectacularly old tree just next to this church. I should have photographed it but didn´t. In a hollow nearly at the ground there was a magnificent bee hive just dripping with honey. Such easy access it is a miracle that is was not preyed upon by animals, humans included. Perhaps it was watched over by spirits.

Old San Miguel has nothing of the grandeur of downtwon San Migel de Allende. It is more like the little village we are living in. Here is my favourite version so far of the mexican fence. A living cactus fence with bed springs holding it all together.

We loved this little scupture at a cross road in old San Miguel.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

IN the village, sheep, goats, donkies, horses and chickens are everywhere. One of the local shepards herds with his bicycle - what a concept.

We enjoy eating the nopales which surrond our house, but we prefer to pay a few cents and have the women at the market cut the spines off - a delicate job. At the tuesday market we shopped out hearts out. For about $20 we got: 1 new nightgown, a bag of clothes pins, a scrub brush, 4 tacos for brunch and a slice of pizza, 4 nopales (cactus leaves), cilantro, mole paste, an onion, a garlic, a papaya, bananas, cooked pork, cheese, stuffed tortillas, big bag of pastries, and plantain chips. What a deal!

The plants aer strange and wonderful. These lollypop trees are my favourites.

Not a great picture but this is the view from the outhouse. It makes the trip out quite enjoyable.

There are wonderful trails from the house to the other homes in the permaculture settlement. This is a rock bridge (sorry it is sideways)

The house is 2 small villages and a bumpy cobble and dirt road from the "highway"

Here we are in San Jose de Gracias, Mexico at Jan and Joyce´s beautiful house.