From Mexico No. 1
Although we have been here just four days, it feels — now Saturday — as though it is the end of our first week. I thought you might be interested in brief report on how we’re doing . . .
In a word, great. We’ve settled into the parsonage, a lovely apartment in El Centro, the central old town district of San Miguel De Allende. We are putting the pieces of our life here together. Photos, by Linda, are views from our rooftop deck. The first looks north, with the main church in the background. The second looks south.
Most evenings we walk to the center of town, the park/ square, El Jardin, in front of the 16th century church, La Parroquia. It was inspired by the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany. Long ago, we lived in Cologne for a year.
There’s always something going on there. Last night a concert with a big Mexican star, on Wednesday the Dias da Muertos. Every night it’s sort of like a “battle of the (Mariachi) bands” at El Jardin.
While there is a large ex-pat community here, and lots of tourists, the Square is mostly filled with Mexicans, of all ages, from families with kids to the elderly, and everything in between. Public life. Endlessly entertaining. I find that I am taller in Mexico, people here generally being shorter. A handy thing in crowds.
There’s an open air market every day, and we’ve made our way to a grocery store about a mile south. A zillion restaurants. Last night was a vegan taco place, Don Taco Tequila, which was excellent. We pay about half to two-thirds of what we’d pay eating out in Seattle.
I’ve joined “Wolf Gym,” for daily workouts. Linda has found a yoga studio nearby, Essence, I think it’s called. She will begin more intensive Spanish language school at the middle of the month, but for now is doing daily lessons at a nearby Cultural Center.
We don’t have a car, nor do we need one. That said, gas is cheaper here, about $4 a gallon. We can walk, bus or taxi anywhere and everywhere. The cobble-stone streets, while picturesque, require a little getting used to as a walking surface.
There are as many art galleries as there are restaurants. Mostly, they are real art galleries. There’s not much in the way of tacky tourist stuff/ shops.
The architecture is colonial, which is to say stucco, with lots of ornamental ironwork, banks of flowers and garden terraces. The homes and buildings offer a wall to the streets, but doorways open into beautiful and expansive courtyards. There’s always a fountain running in our courtyard. The colors which people paint the stucco are prescribed by the larger landscape and the minerals which are found in the area. So here there are lots of ochres draped in bougainvillea. Gorgeous.
Compared to Seattle, and our Ballard neighborhood, the streets are tidy, with little trash. No encampments. No tents. People seem to feel safe, as we do. Garbage is picked up daily. Some of that is probably because it is a tourist destination. But you also get the sense here that people are more attached to, part of, families. So there don’t appear to be so many of the lost and lonely. When we walk the streets in Seattle, the smell of cannabis is common. Not so here. And we haven’t noticed the visible signs of drug addiction. I’m sure Mexico has its problems, but not those that are now so evident in American cities.
Tomorrow will be my first Sunday leading worship at The Community Church of San Miguel. It is largely an ex-pat community. They rent a warehouse for their services, and staff the church with unpaid visiting clergy, like me. So they keep expenses pretty minimal, allowing them to direct more than 50% of their giving to outreach and community service, which is cool. In having no permanent building or staff, they may be the wave of the future.
So that’s a brief update. More to follow. Vaya Con Dios, amigos.