Thursday, 19 February 2015

Back up in Texas - Visited San Miguel de Allende - Cold Everywhere

     We made it back up yesterday, without event as usual.   It was interesting to see that, in spite of the useless warnings by the State Department, there continues to be a renewed increase in the gradual return of folks going into Mexico for general tourism reasons.  San Miguel de Allende, for instance, is all but "standing room only" in terms of the number of Gringos visiting and taking up semi-permanent and permanent residence.   The latter category is now numbered to slightly more than 15,000 American and Canadian and Texian residents.  Transitory visitors at any given time are numbered roughly the same, with a per-year total being fixed at or around 600,000 such persons of foreign extractions.

El Gringo Viejo makes his way in downtown
San Miguel de Allende.
    One of our reasons for having gone down to San Miguel de Allende was to help advise and assist our neighbour, the owner of the Hacienda de La Vega which is found adjacent to our Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre.
   They are decorating an apartment, as well as establishing a boutique hotel specialising in providing a theatre for wedding events, receptions, and accommodation for bride, groom, and families in a 9 - room middling deluxe setting.
      It is  a monster undertaking for three girls who are among the "poor-rich", investing several million  pesos into a facility located on the edge of downtown-most San Miguel de Allende.
     We were impressed into service, due to the fact that we have a nice little pick-up that could transport a fairly large neo-antique table and a couple of flat screen televisions of moderately large dimension.  The trip was longish, although shortened by a new, more direct toll-road and other highway improvements done in recent month and years.   Cruising at around 60 miles-per-hour wound up being about five hours worth of driving, with very brief rest stops.
     We had to join the main national central highway briefly, just south of San Luis Potosi, for about thirty-five miles.  The amount of heavy, commercial traffic is astounding,  to be brief.  It leaves no doubt about whether or not Mexico is a two-trillion-plus economy.  That even includes the recent jiggles in exchange rates, which oddly have given a fresh shot of "energy drink" to the old traditional tourism industry.
Very common downtown street scene of San
Miguel de Allende.  Flagstone streets, very
narrow, considerate parking, passive cops,
clean, ancient, with restaurants, bars,
shops, academies, repair places, fashions,
at every turn.   Clean.
    It was truly striking to see the "little old ladies with blue hair" still there, perhaps even in greater number.   The clientele is truly polyglot, poly-regional, and poly-national.   It is a deferential place, with the ancient civilities still being practiced in spite of the revered colonial community's growth of 100 per cent in the past decade.   The population now numbers 180,000.   But, in spite of all of that, there are still no traffic lights in the "Old Town", which is about seventy per cent of the geographical space.

Centre of San Miguel, with
the Parroquia de San
Miguel in the
     Still religiously practiced is the alternating  "A - B, A - B" process of merging into traffic at the peripheral rotundas,and melding at every downtown intersection. This deference even includes dealing with pedestrians, except at upraised "topes" especially placed for pedestrians who are attempting to cross the streets.   Even on some of the boulevard-type streets with multiple lanes on the periphery of the city, all traffic will voluntarily slow to a stop while pedestrians scurry (in a considerate manner) across the street....usually in a convenient gaggle....leaving the automotive community to go about its business again.   Almost no honking.   Very little urgency.  Most of the offenders are people with Mexico City license plates, and even they learn the etiquette after a few days.


     The building of the boutique hotel by our friends and their friends is supposed to be done by the end of this month.   Professional personnel, such as head chef, administrator, chief maintenance officer, and the like have been employed, and work-crews (famous for ability and relatively quick work) are crossing the 90% line in terms of completion.
     Furnishings and appointments are coming in and terminal electrical works were well on the way to completion.   We shall post pictures after the opening, while deferring at this time.  It would be a bit deceiving to show pictures of rooms with the normal disorder of final construction, and also it is best to allow our friends to post first in the appropriate San Miguel, Guanajuato, Mexico City, and  other venues' publications.

     One picture, however, that is somewhat representative of the nature of Guanajuato is an exterior painting on the outside property wall of the new hotel.   According to our neighbour, this picture just suddenly appeared from one day to the next.   It was doubly remarkable because it was done in a style that is mastered by our new daughter-in-law, who is a highly accomplished graphic-design expert and artist.

Ignacio Allende.jpg
General Ignacio Allende
 y Unzaga
     There is very little, almost no, graffiti in San Miguel de Allende.  The town's colonial name was San Miguel de los Altos (St. Michael of the Heights), which is interesting because the town of importance of our daughter-in-law is Alto, Texas.   The Mexican town is a "bit" higher, running along at and around one-mile above sea level elevation.   The name of the city was changed after the establishment of Mexican independence from Spain to celebrate one of the four main "Insurgentes" of the Mexican resistance to continued colonial status to Spain.
     Ignacio Allende, an ethnic Spaniard, Mexican-born military officer was both an original conspirator and the second highest ranking commanding officer of the initial hostilities in 1810 - 1811.  He was captured, tried, and executed by firing squad in Ciudad Chihuahua, decapitated, and his head sent back to the city of Guanajuato where it was displayed for several months for public view and warning.   The head of  Allende's superior officer, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla kept him company during this period.

     The one problem we had while being gone during this period was the cold.  Whether at the Quinta or in San Miguel de Allende, we encountered all kinds of Climate Change with temperatures of 60 degrees or lower for 97 per cent of the time.  And by "or lower" we mean substantially lower with many nights in the 30's and daytime highs rarely hitting 50 degrees.  Cold, cold, cold, cold.
     It was substantially unpleasant, although it was as pleasant as something could be considering how unpleasant it was.  Our cats helped a bit, and BeBe, the Labrador that Alvaro brought home  several months ago, demanded being allowed inside which meant that 20 per cent of my time was spent in washing, cleaning, mopping, and de-odorising the front section of the parlour.   Another 10 per cent of the time was spent in hauling firewood into the house, burning it, and cleaning out the fireplace every 24 hours.   Of course, one of those cleanings resulted in the destruction of my second best 5-gallon (20 - litre) white plastic bucket.   Somebody shovelled a live coal into the mix of ashes, and it burned a large hole in the bottom.   Collateral damage, fog of the war on climate, friendly-fire least the cats were not barbequed.

     We shall have more later.   Thanks for the continued interest.  We are trying to figure out how to begin a climate restoration employment project for the members of ISIS who have grown tired of murdering children, women, and Christians, and apparently anyone else who they feel needs murdering.    If they only had jobs, then....what difference, at that point, would it make?   Midnight Basketball and Globalwarmingcoolingclimatechange.  
El Gringo Viejo