February 9, 2014 - No Comments!

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

View of dome of the temple of the nuns, and la parroquia behind it

Last month I had the pleasure to visit the city of Guanajuato in Mexico; I stayed in a peculiar small town called San Miguel de Allende, I was there thanks to a course I took in college. The place was beautiful and the locals were charming. The place itself, the people, the weather, and the food was all very nice. The rich history and beauty of the place was intellectually appealing. The cobble stone streets, colorful colonial houses, and the Baroque ornaments everywhere were simply signs of the rich past of a once affluent colonial town. Many houses had balconies with vine flowers hanging, doors knobs of forge iron.The folk art and galleries throughout the town was the other aspect of San Miguel that got me, the affluence of art gave a sense of craftsmanship,  appreciation, and art was everywhere. Coming from an art school I felt that it was obvious to find us in this beauty of place. One of our many stops in our visit was La Aurora, a place that house several other galleries. In La Aurora all the galleries had quality work that just amazed me. We also visited la Escuela de Bellas Artes (The school of fine arts), a major school of art in Mexico, this institution has a school in San Miguel, which is house in a big colonial building that resembles and old monastery. I was glad to hear my school had some sort of partnership with the school, and that in the future the school will be working with them more closely.

Colored caliber based on illustration of Jose Guadalupe Posada

Illustration of Jose Guadalupe Posada colored in pottery vasel

The place had genuine hospitality, very charismatic, typical of a place that does not need much influence from the outside. To my surprise in this almost remote town there were a lot of people from the United States and other countries that now live in San Miguel; I could not keep up with the stories I heard of people coming to San Miguel for couple days and ended-up living here. I even watched a  documentary about it, and although there is a big community of foreigners, the environment and the peculiarity of San Miguel seems to be intact, it is as if it were a priority for the locals to preserve this place’s charm and authenticity. I say this because the everyday life of the people from San Miguel does not seem to have been interrupted by the tourism. People really live a simpler life in this small town. In the streets people walked with no rush and cars yield to pedestrians. I know this sounds quite normal, but to put it in perspective there is no traffic signs in the city, no traffic lights, or crosswalk stripes in intersections yet people walk with no rush. I thought it was interesting that the only sign I remember was when entering the city, this sign said: In San Miguel the maximum speed is 20km/hr. This means about 12 miles/hr and in reality people do follow this. For me that was a proof people is a lot more considerate, they do not seem bothered when stopping in the middle of the street for people, I even remember asking a taxi driver for directions and he responded sincerely. The house where I stayed with other friends also added to the charm; the place was called house of the flowers.

House_of_the_Flowers

One day while I was walking the streets I realized I got used to seeing people chatting everywhere at all times. So I stopped and paid attention, they really seemed to be holding a conversation at all times. After couple minutes I looked again and I noticed that everyone seemed to be part of the same community, the same group. Young and old they all mingle. It was almost like no one wanted to stand out or be different, judging by what I saw of course. Very different from other places I have seen. In other cities people want to look somewhat distinct to one another, and even I feel like that sometimes. In San Miguel I do not, this place is different. Different in the sense that makes me feel like I can be part of a big community with ease and no effort. A combination of the beauty of the place, the appreciation for art the town had, and the charisma of the locals made my time here a real experience. Over all it was just a treat to visit San Miguel. It helped me clear my mind and enjoy myself.

The people I met and remember are just incredible. For instance the day we met Pablo, a renowned Mexican photographer, we were at the balcony of a bar that had a view to La Parroquia, a medieval gothic church in the center of the town, Pablo introduced himself and his daughter Nico. I thought they were candid and friendly. Two days later Pablo gave us a presentation on some of the photo books he had worked on, and stayed after to have dinner with us. He was chatty had a good sense of humor-to sum it up, the life of a party. He spent the night talking with everyone, I exchanged couple word with him about his work, later I talked with Nico whom had been in San Miguel to make him company. We had a long conversation about the fascinating and at times scary incertitude that lays ahead after our graduations, theater, life, traveling, and soon we saw how much we had in common; it was interesting and amusing all at the same time.

The one that got away

I love photography and I used to take pictures all the time in my first two years in college, for me was a way of documenting this memorable time. Unfortunately, I stopped taking so many pictures after my sophomore year. Being in Mexico gave a good reason to pick up my camera again, so I took as many pictures as I possibly could, I sometimes shot the same place twice. Out of all my pictures the ones taken at night were the ones I liked the most, so I started to take more pictures during the night.

Towards the end of the trip, the last couple days in San Miguel made me feel mellow. I often see myself as a troubled kid, internally; meaning, I struggle on feeling content and balanced. Sometime this struggle makes me self aware so I constantly try to work on my flaws, but without too much success, and the comments I heard about my persona from people I had just met and some people I already knew were very optimistic. It was almost a sign of how pragmatic my troubles and my attempts to grow out of these struggles had become. People usually tell me what a calm temper I appear to have, but I always thought that was just a reflection of my ever-going self-observation. It was not in my thoughts yet to accept that I was actually making any change on my persona because I still believe there is an immense room for improvement, but is good to hear I have made some progress. San Miguel has a charisma and color that is just welcoming. I understand why there are many stories of people staying here after a short visit. In my ten days visit, I felt as if I was seduced by the peculiarity of the place. There I took a different perspective on myself and observed a community behaving in a way I had not seen before. Some days I too felt that I could live there, to visit San Miguel was just a treat, I hope I have a chance to visit it again in the future.

 

La parroquia in front of the Jardin, the main square.

La parroquia in front of the Jardin, the main square.

Streets&Balconies streets_day _MG_4813 Frida
Iglesia_de_Atotonilco_2 Streets_at_daylight_04

Pyramid in Cañada de la Virgen

Pyramid in Cañada de la Virgen

Cañada de la Virge - Archaeological site

Cañada de la Virge - Archaeological site

Streets_at_daylight_02 Streets_at_daylight

View from the visitor center at Cañada del Carmen

View from the visitor center at Cañada del Carmen

Streets_at_night_07 Streets_at_night_06

Pictures of San Miguel during the night

Pictures of San Miguel during the night

At_a_Bar_03 Streets_at_night_04

Hanging out with Casey

Hanging out with Casey

At_a_Bar

Mariachis at the Jardin

Mariachis at the Jardin

Mariachis_en_el_Jardin Streets_at_night_03 Museum One_View_to_the_city

Jairo and Connor

Jairo and Connor

Iglesia de Atotonilco

Iglesia de Atotonilco

Beautiful starry sky from House in Calle la Huerta

Beautiful starry sky from House in Calle la Huerta

Streets_at_night_02 Streets_at_night Entrance_to_Canada_de_la_Virgen Casa_del_Diseno

Pyramid in Cañada de la Virgen

Pyramid in Cañada de la Virgen

Door_nob Small_Balcony Balconies 02_Cañada_de_la_Virgen_Piramide

Street

 

Published by: peterveras in Creative life, News, School project

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