Thursday, August 10, 2017

St. Somebody's Day

We took the bus into town again and people who know these things said we should get off the bus "right here", in the middle on one of the tunnels.  Lo and behold, the stairway was right there, and following our leader we appeared into the sunlight right at the steps of the major cathedral in Guanajuato.  We looked around for awhile and at a side door were a few old caballeros working on a litter for the evenings' parade in honor of St. Somebody.  The numbers on the rails tell where each of the 36 hombres stand to shoulder the litter (which is burdened with a statue, flowers and candelabras) and haul it here and there along the parade route.

This gentleman answered our questions about what in the hell was going on and I felt obliged to tell him "Yo gusto sus espanol por que esta es despacio por nosotros gringos," which may or may not mean 'I like your Spanish because it is slow for us idiots'.  He took the time to tell us all about the festival, the components which came from Spain, and which were crafted here in Mexico, I think.  It was all very interesting, I think.  I missed most of it, but the gentleman was enjoying telling us all about it so we listened and picked up a little information.  But we missed what the occasion was in celebration of, and googling the date and place helps not at all.  St. Somebody's Day.

 We heard a commotion and looked down into the street.  There was another litter with a brass band and vaqueros mounted on their caballos.  Hombres played horns and ninos beat the drums and we took pictures.

The nice slow speaking gentleman had told us to stick around because at 6pm there would be a parade with the litter they were working on leading the way.  A parade like this one, which occurred about 11am, was a smaller parade with a smaller litter and statue than the one in the evening, but it was all the same to us.  Holy water was sprinkled, vaqueros rode their second best horses and the second best band played, or more accurately pounded on their drums and blew their horns.  This litter was carried by about a dozen hombres.  The litter which we saw earlier was probably twice or three times this size and, as I said, carried by 36.

Then we rode the funicular up to the statue of Pipila, who is a real historical figure in Mexico's history.  This was about the third or fourth statue of this Mexican Revolutionary hero we had seen in our journey.  It was of granite and the others in San Miguel and elsewhere were in bronze.  More impressive than the statue, which was impressive no doubt, was the view of the city.  This photo was the second (or middle) of three photos that I took to encompass the view.  The cathedral is the large yelllow building in the center of the photo.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Macbre Museum of the Mummies, Guanajunto

 Guanajuato is famous for the Museo de Momia, where 111 specimens now reside.  Some like this former doctor, survived with most of his clothing intact.  But I imagine the bulk of the mummy's clothes fell off in tatters when unearthed.  Hair, beards, pubic hair, teeth, breasts, were all visible or easily imagined.
 These are Nancy's photos and you can see more pictures if you go to Instagram and access her account of the visit, Naahcee  is her handle.
 The mummies were dug up intentionally, as there was no one willing to pay for eternal internment.  Due to a cholera epidemic, space was needed in the local cemetery.  It was not intentional that these corpses were mummified, but conditions; weather, soil, humidity and other factors, were perfect.

  The bodies are displayed in cases, actually hermetically sealed, (I'm glad I finally got to use that word) and so there is no odor, but the lighting and postures of the mummies are certainly spooky.  Three of the corpses died in unusual circumstances; a drowning, a stabbing where the blood stains are still visible, and a premature burial which is the scariest of all.  I encourage you to learn more about these poor unfortunates on the internet.  The Museum has the world's youngest mummy, and the mummy of a fetus.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Bus Ride to Town

 We took a bus ride into Guanajuato this morning stepping onto the bus a hundred yards from the house.  The bus driver had failed to qualify for Le Mans but drove like a man still in the race.  The bus was mostly empty and so, rattled like a thousand tin cans along the cobblestone roads and the newer roads filled with topes (speed bumps are everywhere in Mexico, mostly where you don't expect them).  The driver lived by the rule "If you can't find 'em, grind 'em" (referring to the complicated gearbox).  I never imagined you could drive a beat up old bus that fast on congested, winding, tope ridden roads. 

When we got to Centro, there was this sign reminding me to get out my camera.

For a little while the three amigos were in every shot, mischievously standing in front of what I wanted to capture, so I took a portrait.

Some kind of min-drama was taking place in the plaza with a drum and piccolo, a costumed and masked maiden and pirate, un toro, un matador, and some kids.

 Near centro was this sign and I took a picture so I could translate it later.  It reads "Where any toad is king" and then the original spelling of the town.

 From many vantage points, the city looks like this.  Houses climbing the hillsides, most built during the silver boom.  The only way you can tell you're not in Spain is the American cars and trucks.

An older couple (about the same age as Nancy and I) waiting for the bus home.

The Pied Pipers of Antotonilco

Friday, August 4, 2017

We've Moved to Guanajuato for August

 We lucked out on this one.  A few miles from the center of Guanajuato is this beautiful house.  The English owners, from Phoenix, spend time here in the summer to escape the heat of the desert and just left a few days ago, leaving us in charge.  We have a maid and gardener at our disposal.  We constantly order them around without mercy.  

 This is the back porch area where we had drinks and dinner last night.  Fergus is inspecting the plant life for traces of the owner's dogs.

The "front yard" has a beautifully cared for lawn inside a stone wall.  There is a huge carriage door which just barely allows us to park the car inside the grounds.  We are situated next door to a pool and racquet club and I thought I might be able to swim there in the mornings.  We personally contacted the manager and she showed us the form we would need to fill out.  Naturally it was in Spanish and probably would have taken most of the month to fill out, return and then wait for our references to be checked. Maybe next time. Our interview was conducted entirely in Spanish, except where my memory dredged up previously unknown words of French.

 This is Carmen, our maid, with Nancy.  Carmen speaks not a word of English, except "okay" and we speak a lot of Spanish, mostly without verbs.  Amazingly, communication is not difficult.  Carmen is a tiny little woman and besides being the maid, she also cooks traditional Mexican cuisine.  We're going to arrange a night of, possibly, Chicken Mole ("mole" should have an accent mark to differentiate it from skin ailments, but I don't know how to add it, but it's a chocolate based sauce and it's pronounce moe-lay).  It will be excellent.

 Here's Fergus with his friend Whitey, who travelled with us all the way from Tucson.  They are enjoying one of the living room areas.  Neither one of them are allowed on the furniture.  Good thing.

This is the dinning room with it's wonderful table made from an ancient Mexican wooden door.  It resides in a sunken area which separates it fro the rest of the living room.  So, needless to say, we are being spoiled for a month before we go back home.  The weather has turned hot and dry for the highlands of Mexico, anyway.  It might be getting up into the mid to high 80's and really cools off at night.  We are expecting rain and cooler temperatures soon, but in any case, it's hotter 'n hell in Tucson.  So, we're happy.


For my sister, Leslie, who loves yarns and knitting.  From the San Miguel Mask Museum's art studio.