The food in San Miguel is outrageously good, but we skipped the ants and grasshoppers.
Don't be fooled by the dollar sign; this is in pesos. Our delicious dinner for two at one of the most expensive restaurants was $62 US dollars, including tip and two drinks each. A perfect first evening in San Miguel!
The apartment building in the compound where my friend Margo lives. There are also two houses. The jacaranda trees will bloom in a few weeks.
First floor entrance to Margo's apartment.
Margo's front patio overlooking the shared courtyard.
The shared courtyard in the compound viewed from Margo's front patio. When the jacaranda trees leaf out, the light in the seating area will be filtered. A delightful spot to sit and read.
Margo's living room.
Margo's mother's armadillo purse, bought in Mexico in the 1960s. It now has pride of place in front of the fireplace (yes, wood burning.)
Looking out Margo's living room window to the jacaranda trees in back. Yes, there are seasons in San Miguel. In a few weeks they'll burst into purple bloom and the leaves will grow.
Jacarandas in bloom. They're all over San Miguel. (Photo: thevignetteblog.com)
The jacaranda leaves are similar to those of locust trees.
A lime growing on Margo's bedroom windowsill. Orange, lemon, and lime trees line the back side of the apartment.
Margo will move into the compound's three bedroom house in a few weeks. Room for lots of guests, including us!
The other house in the compound.
The compound's guest house (casita) in case Margo fills those three bedrooms.
The rooftop patio on the compound's apartment building.
Margo's plan for our week.
Housewarming party at the two Davids remarkable new house.
Sunset from another rooftop restaurant.
A heron heads home for the night.
I had no idea that Mexico produces terrific wine.
In another part of San Miguel: Karen's back yard. Margo took me to a number of friends' houses so I could see different living options.
Karen's side gardens. She has a way with plants.
Lunch: the best tacos I've ever eaten. Octopus, salmon, and roasted pork. Made by a young Mexican chef who has started two taco restaurants.
The compound cat Sophia waiting for me to check email.
"San Miguel's most famous sight is its parish church, characterized by its pink 'wedding cake' towers that soar above the town. These strange pinnacles were designed by indigenous stonemason Zeferino Gutiérrez in the late 19th century. He reputedly based the design on a postcard of a Belgian church and instructed builders by scratching plans in the sand with a stick. The rest of the church dates from the late 17th century." (From the Lonely Planet)
San Miguel Cathedral by Dawn Gaskill.
When a new house is built, the construction workers create a shrine and bless the site. This shrine is in an unfinished house.
The construction workers' closet.
Door in central San Miguel.
Fabrica la Aurora, a renovated linen mill that now houses art galleries. They left many of the mill's machines in place--well done!
The floors in Fabrica la Aurora are their own paintings.
The countryside around San Miguel is similar to the Mediterranean. I think these are acacia trees.
The countryside surrounding San Miguel.
(Photo by Kristin Fellows. http://www.kristinscamera.com/kristins-camera/women-traveling/)
It feels like every rooftop in San Miguel is a bar or restaurant.
All eyes towards the sunset.
David and Susan's newly built house on the outskirts of San Miguel. They invited us for breakfast.
Susan and David's garden, just started four months ago when they moved in to their new house. Susan's growing vegs and herbs in raised beds.
A sculpture installation in David and Susan's garden--the wheelbarrow used during the house construction.
A vista from the walled garden.
Merrill & Margo, friends since age 14.
Land and Sea
In 1998-1999, I completed a permanent installation--titled "Filling and Emptying"--in a women's restroom at the John Michal Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. These photographs were taken by Aaron Igler and are part of the installation. The objects are cast iron.
Bookworm damage. Really. (Exhibition at CHF)
Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau, c. 1750. APS
A favorite naturalist, Titian Ramsay Peale. Buried in Philadelphia.
Scarlet tanager, 1820, Titian Ramsay Peale
Find the dog.
Women's Restroom, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Red Winged Hawk.
Printed at the C. R. Ettinger Studio, Philadelphia.
Charles Willson Peale founded the first successful public museum in the United States in 1784. He wrote this rhyme and displayed it over one of the doors of his museum. His son Rembrandt Peale drew this elephant skeleton, which was used as a guide for assembling the bones of a mastodon that his father excavated.
This is an old, six inch piece of wooden type for big questions.
A found metal plate.
San Miguel 2018
In September 2018, we rented a two bedroom apartment in San Miguel de Allende (SMA), Mexico. We'll start spending some of the year there once I have more free time.
We rented now to ensure a spot in a beautiful compound where a good friend of 55 years now lives (we were roommates in boarding school.) This friend, Margo Beck, is the person who first lured me to SMA. The compound is a green oasis just a 15 minute walk from the center of the city (Centro.) It has an unusually nice community of only eight tenants who are compatible and invested in each other while also respecting individual privacy. The landlord and her daughter are supportive of this approach to the property. This community answers my wishes for “co-living,” especially as Robert and I age.
Spending time in SMA is opening a door to new adventures. Robert went there with me for the first time in August and he too fell for the gentle magic of the place and the compound. He spent most days in the streets drawing.
SMA is a big ex-pat location. But they’re not the majority of the population, even though the economy may revolve around them. The super-wealthy from Mexico City have also become a part of the population and economy. They come for weekends and seem to have their own high-gloss world, fueled by lots of money. Flashy, noisy, very New York/Euro. Not our crowd :) During the weekdays, I have found SMA very Mexican and beautifully different from my East Coast US world. I’ll have to take an immersion course in Spanish. Woe is me! I have zero natural ability for languages. But I’ll plug away until I can communicate my basic needs and be polite.
The second bedroom in our apartment will be a “clean” studio/guest room. Of course guests will be welcome once I get it set up!