Archive | July, 2015

A Vacation to San Miguel de Allende

26 Jul

After spending a wonderful week in Northern California visiting my daughter and her family, I returned to Mexico City to begin the next leg of my adventure. After a long day of traveling, I zipped through immigration at 10pm and was very glad to see my host Benito waiting for me with a smile and my name on a placard. God bless AirB&B.

The most luxurious bus I’ve ever ridden in Mexico, complete with leg rests, movie screens and wifi left from the airport the next morning for Queretaro with connections to San Miguel de Allende, my vacation destination.

Executive Class

Executive Class

Torta friend and long-time San Miguel resident, Nancy met me at the bus station and we haven’t slowed down since.

Picking up your mail in San Miguel.

Picking up your mail in San Miguel.

The following day, I explored downtown, while Nancy went to play tennis. Life offers many opportunities here that we do not have in Bacalar.

Absolutely love putzing in the shops around the Jardin (Center).

Absolutely love putzing in the shops around the Jardin (Center).

And then there are the second story gardens. The unusual amount of rain this year has everything green and lush.

Shops and houses are built around courtyards. Just look up!

Shops and houses are built around courtyards. Just look up!

The locals, expats, and tourists meet in the downtown park for a San Miguel favorite pastime, people-watching. You never know what you’ll see…

The majestic cathedral of Saint Michael is the heart of the city.

The majestic cathedral of Saint Michael is the heart of the city. A giant Freda Kalo provides a photo-op.

Nancy is an amazing ceramic artist. This is one of her pieces showing in a local gallery.

Galeria San Francisco.

Galeria San Francisco.

I have a feeling it will take several weeks to post all the wonderful photos from this amazing city. I leave Wednesday to see my wife and view the progress on our house. Today is also the first anniversary of our marriage ceremony last year in California. Happy Anniversary Darling.

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Ciudad de México – Part Dos

19 Jul

In preparing for my layover in Mexico City, I searched Air B&B for someplace simple and near the airport. I found a small hostel and booked a room for the night. We have had a few experiences with hostels. In Turkey we met travelers from all over the world, a range of ages and in various states of jet lag. A hostel usually has kitchen privileges and breakfast provided. Rooms can be shared in bunk bed fashion with bathroom down the hall. I read the reviews, booked a private room for a few more pesos and was glad to have a reservation. I got a taxi at the airport when I landed and was off.

Aguascalientes #33

Aguascalientes #33

I arrived at an attractive entrance and offloaded my bags.

Stairs to upper rooms.

Stairs to upper rooms. Hostels are always funky yet interesting.

Everything appeared clean and bright. I was offered my choice of two rooms and selected the lower level to avoid climbing stairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. At that point things began to go downhill for me. The owner smoked in the common area. Not great, but not a deal breaker. I then noticed the strong smell of cleaning chemicals in my room. My asthmatic lungs began to resist. Not sure what to do, I left the room open to air out and headed to the Frieda Kalo Museum.

Brushes hung from the easel.

Brushes hung from the easel.

Inspiration for the studio we are building.

Inspiration for the studio we are building.

The entire visit to the museum is chronicled In Mexico City – Frieda Kalo Museum. The rain became heavy as I left the museum but I knew I wasn’t ready to return to the hostel. The taxi driver had told me that the surrounding neighborhood of Coyoacán had restaurants and arts and crafts vendors. That was all he needed to say for me to brave the elements and throw my jacket over my head.

Typical baskets of Central Mexico.

Typical baskets of Central Mexico.

I LOVE the surprises of turning down an alley and finding a huge colorful mercado full of people searching for dinner, shopping or getting out of the rain. The colors and fragrances from the many stalls made me a happy Torta.

Wouldn't you love to have this in your neighborhood?

Wouldn’t you love to have this in your neighborhood?

I wandered up and down the aisles, poking my head in the shops to ooo and ahhh.

Some stalls had organic produce.

Some stalls had organic produce.

I wish I had taken more pictures, but sometimes it is necessary to breathe in an experience without recording it. I found a food stall for dinner and reluctantly returned to the hostel as I was getting tired and still had a trip to California waiting the next day. The room was ok. I managed to sleep and make my early flight. I have made reservations for my return at another location. On Tuesday I return to Mexico. It’s been wonderful to visit my daughter and her family. It’s time to finish our house so that we can be here in the fall for the birth of our grandson. Besides, I miss my sweetheart Lisa.

Healdsburg, CA

Healdsburg, CA

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Frieda Kalo Museum – Mexico City

12 Jul

On my recent travels to California from our home in Bacalar Mexico, I had a layover in Mexico City. It’s been many years since I visited one of the world’s largest cities. I stayed in a small hostel near the airport having an early morning flight the following day. I had done my research on what to do nearby with an afternoon in this city known for museums, mercados and amistad (friendship). The Frieda Kalo Museum was a taxi drive away, so off I went on a Torta adventure.

I was surprised to see so many people had the same idea on a gray, cool, weekday afternoon. After a thirty minute wait, listening to all the different languages spoken around me, I entered the great blue wall that housed the artist’s compound.

Waiting in line.

Waiting in line.

Large paper mâché figures welcomed all guests.

Welcome from overhead.

Welcome from overhead.

I was immediately transfixed by the large garden at the center. Her presence was there. I could imagine her sitting peacefully with the plants, fountains and sky.

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Garden paths.

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Entrance to the house and private antiquities collection.

Entrance to the house and private antiquities collection.

Walking through the house I was struck by her work. I believe that she was one of the most self-assured women in history. She put herself out there in photography and paint and really didn’t seem to care what others thought of her work. After a debilitating accident in her youth, her art was an expression of both pain and her unique view of life.

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I was transfixed by her use of color.

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As I walked through the house, I could feel the presence of many historical figures that had once graced the dinner table.

A colorful stove to prepare the meals.

A colorful stove to prepare the meals.

Fragrant aromas of traditional dishes filled my imagination.

Fragrant aromas of traditional dishes filled my imagination.

Seeing her art studio brought tears to my eyes.

Painting from pain.

Painting from pain.

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The small bedroom with mirror affixed to the ceiling allowed her to paint self-portraits lying on her back.
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Her funeral urn was at the foot of the bed.

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The sky opened as I was preparing to leave the museum. A cold rain did not stop me and I set off to visit the mercado of Coyoacán. To be continued…DOS TORTAS

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Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

5 Jul

Last night’s tormenta shook huge palm trees like feather dusters. The room lit up with flash after flash of lightning as a thunderstorm raged overhead. It was enough to wake the dead. Only Lisa slept through the whole thing. It goes to show how different two people can be. She’s a glass half empty kinda gal, whereas I seem to be the nauseating glass half full sort.

Palm trees are perfectly adapted to withstand heavy wind.

Palm trees are perfectly adapted to withstand heavy wind.

Having owned and operated a construction company, Lisa knows about all the work that goes on behind the scenes. There are electrical, water and gas lines. With a concrete house, they are imbedded in the wall. There is wood drying for doors that need to be built. Much is left to do. I am blissfully unaware and only see a house where there was none two months ago.

Orange tubes will hold electrical wiring.

Orange tubes will hold electrical wiring.

In a few days I am leaving for the U.S. to visit my daughter who is pregnant with her first baby. When I bought the ticket two months ago, we had no construction site and little faith in the process after two years of delays and promises. I am trading in one labor and delivery for another, although her baby is due in November, ours should be ready by August.

The roof goes on this week.

The roof goes on this week.

For the next three weeks I will watch the progress via Internet pictures and Skype. There is much structural work to complete. I will return in time for the finishing touches, tile, interior colors, lights, counters, etc. While I feel sad to miss this part, I have yet to perfect being in two places at one time. And the truth is, if you’re going to have a problem, you couldn’t get one any better than this.

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