Living the Dream in San Miguel de Allende

Living the Dream in San Miguel de Allende

My inspiration for today’s title comes from the many friends and family members who tell us we are “living the dream.”

I don’t deny these claims and frankly rather enjoy existing in the realm of this particular cliché. But I am driven to clarify a few things.  The phrase could imply that we are floating on magic carpets that transport us to any place of our choosing while we indulge in coconut ice-cream fudge-peanut butter sundaes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner simultaneously losing the pounds that bring about our ideal weight. And perfect body tone arrives without a lick of exercise.

With the idea of living the dreamone could surmise that we simply have to walk by an ATM machine and gold coins spill out at our feet just because of our epic cosmic powers.  Dollars magically accrue on our accounts just because we are THAT special.  Living the dream signifies perfect nights of sleep, total bliss, stargazer-scented farts, and rich bantering conversations with our novelist-painter-musician-philosophy-political friends who enjoy a sip of absinthe at the local pub that only serves highly interesting people.

Living the dream could mean that publishers are knocking down my door begging me to write captivating novels and life-enriching business literature, and Scott is making a $1000/hour busking at the plaza. Daily life is exhilarating and there are no disagreements when living the dream.  I have to push wildly vibrant rainbows out of my face and ask the dancing unicorns to pa-lease give us some peace.

This gorgeous and seemingly elderly butterfly was hanging out on our front door.

Which leads me to this.  Every single one of us is capable of living days of bliss when we clearly define the meaning of Living and Dream.  But I think for many, they (we, you, I) get too caught up in the routine of daily life to figure that stuff out or at the very least miss the blissful moments due to preoccupation of the nagging daily tasks we confront.

At present, Scott and I have simply slipped out of our work-induced comas to try living a different way.  Our dream, well, we’re still defining what that means to us.  But we are getting some clarity on the Living portion.  While we have a much simpler existence, in some ways we have swapped one form of complication for another.  No, we don’t deal with traffic and rush hour and 5:30 AM alarm clocks.  We’re not walking out the door at 6:15 AM still lacing shoes or belting belts or juggling a coffee thermos and a cliff bar.  There are no cars to defrost or morning DJ’s telling us about the weather, traffic hazards, news or touching local stories.  We don’t skip lunch or take our phones to the bathroom or leave work early to pick up a sick kid from school.

We have 2-hour walks with the dog in the morning and often late night scrabble games on the iPad.  Sometimes I just sit and listen to rainstorms but on many days I keep myself busier than what a person living the dream should.  On many days, I am following a schedule that I’ve planned on my calendar, because part of my dream is to express myself creatively, mostly through writing.  And really, if I don’t plan to write or read or exercise, the day has a way of squeezing by.  Even while living the dream, one (I) can have a tendency that leads in the direction of procrastination, which is one of the reasons I temporarily fall off the Facebook of the earth – it’s my worst time-suckerupper.  But I digress, it’s not as if life is uncomplicated while we are trying out this new existence.  We live in a different country and that, in itself, demands an element of complexity.  What are simple actions for those accustomed to their daily grind, can take me a full day and sometimes several days to accomplish.

Stella’s living the dream in San Miguel

Case in point, scheduling a doctor’s appointment.  This may be TMI, but I need to have an ‘annual’ visit with the ya know, OB.  I asked a few female acquaintances here, but no one passed along any information.  I wonder if for some women it’s just not a thing here. This, like with many things, meant I had to figure it out on my own.  I spent several hours looking for a female OBGYN who speaks some English.  I did find her, Dr. Sandra Gutierrez, and there were a couple of good reviews on her in the local online rag…absolutely no pun intended.

Anyway, I thought, okay, the worst of this sourcing is over.  I was mistaken.  My Mexican cell that seems to work about 37.5% of the time absolutely did not work.  And for some reason, I was unable to connect via Skype.  Somehow, I managed to find an email address.  Oh the joy of receiving a response despite the fact the respondee was unable to help me directly.  I say this, because I rarely receive email responses when writing to a local.  I have no idea why.  Anyway, he (the responder) said I could expect contact from the good doctor’s secretary.  A week passed, and nada. The doctor’s office is at one of the local hospitals, Hospital de la Fe (Faith Hospital).

Hospital de la Fe

My new doctors are located on this wing of the hospital. It often smells like smoke which surprises me but doesn’t really surprise me.

By this time, I also needed to see an Orthopedic doctor, but because I had an actual problem not just because I needed a regular checkup.  See below to learn more.  So, another few days spent researching an Orthopedic doctor.  Here, one doesn’t have to first see their personal doctor prior to seeing a specialist.  We don’t even have a GP.  Two orthopedic doctors, like the OBGYN, happen to have an office at Hospital de La Fe.  I thought, oh goody.  I’ll make a visit to the hospital, find their offices and schedule both appointments. So Scott and I found ourselves a taxi and took a little hike to Hospital de la Fe. We arrived at 2:00 PM.  2:00 PM is when all the offices close for the afternoon opening up again at 4:00 PM.  It was Friday.  The main receptionist told us that it was unlikely any of the doctors would return at 4:00.  We took the taxi back home empty-calendared and 60 pesos spent for no good reason. Sure, we could have taken he bus, but embarrassingly it took me a few trips there to figure out which bus to get.

The following Monday, I googled up, Skyped up and managed to have phone contact with both offices.  The Ortho, Dr. Murillo could see me right away but Dr. Sandra Gutierrez (OB) didn’t have an appointment until Septiembre dieciocho. Done.

Daily Doings and Doctors

A friend of mine shared that she was surprised to read in one of my former posts about our doing laundry, going to the gym, and seeing the dentist.  I understand this.  Folks think we’re on vacation, which in some ways we are; we have vacated our former life.  Real life still happens.  Everyday.

I’ll admit it, though, I rather enjoy getting my feet wet with these types of exercises: dealing with local professionals and experiencing what life is really like when living in a new place. I enjoy really digging in there and understanding how the culture operates on that level. So, despite some of the hassle, it’s all a learning experience.

Water

Despite the fact our water bill is only about 100 pesos (each month), quite a difference from our bill back in California which is about 100 dollars (every two months), it can still be somewhat of a hassle to pay it.  We were remiss this month and missed the end date by a day or so, which means the bank would not accept payment necessitating that we go to the outskirts of town pagar (to pay).

The Water Bill

Officina Sapasma

The mall is near the Sapasma office, so we checked that out too. We’ve been here for nearly four months, and this is the first time we’ve ever been to the mall.

The upswing of our little jaunt to Sapasma was the opportunity to catch this stunning view of San Miguel.

And since we were going to be out that way to pay the water bill, we also took the opportunity to drop off recycling. Yes, even those of us living the dream must recycle.

Recycling Center of San Miguel

As we prepare our departure, filling the gas tank was one of the many to-do’s on our list.  Scott called Imperial Gas and hung up the call wondering if they would make it at 9:00AM the next day given how they didn’t take any information from him.  They didn’t make it at 9:00 but they did come around 10:30 or so, which is basically the same thing.

Rain

Speaking of water, we’ve been receiving buckets of rain this summer.  I LOVE it!  The only part I find annoying are the cars that don’t slow down.  Small rivers spill alongside the streets, and the fast-driving cars render one very soggy.

Taxi drivers are the worst splash offenders

Hair Appointment

Again, I spent a few days researching for hair salons that have someone who understands hair with a tendency toward curly. I say this because my hair also has a tendency toward frizzy and toward going dismally flat with a bad cut and dry climate.  I took a risk on Andre Pascal Salon, the risk being the price of 550 pesos. My last cut (Sayulita) was 150 pesos and Andre said he understood why. Frankly, I liked my last cut, and isn’t that what’s important?

The salon is lovely, and Andre is smart and affable. Something he does very well is communicate.  If you send him an email he will respond quickly.  I like that.  He’s also an interesting character having lived all over the world.  He speaks several languages. He told me I was getting a San Francisco $100 cut for 40 something dollars.  I can argue with that, because I am not in San Francisco.  I am in Mexico.

If I had known the outcome in advance, I would’ve opted for the 150-peso cut; so I’ll chalk up the additional 400 pesos to the price one pays for an interesting experience.  Next time I will know better. It’s a case of allowing myself to be seduced by a beautiful salon with an owner that is confident and knows his stuff. Karina’s rustic shop in Sayulita doesn’t have that San Fran glean to it, but she was awesome and gave me just what I wanted. I’d go back to her in a heartbeat if that were an option.

And while Andre gave me a decent cut, the “wedge” seems more suited for a middle-age woman who lives in Mexico permanently, gets her nails done every week and wears makeup every day.  I am not that person. Besides, mentally, I am still a juvenile. So, no, my curls aren’t as curly. But having since learned that Andre is big into dog rescue, I am quite pleased to have supported him. So, yes, I recommend him but insist you are clear about what you want and ask for it. I was not.

Andre has his award-winning smile

Andre Pascal Salon

110 Hernandez Macias
415 154 6441

www.andrepascalsalon.com

Stella Gets Her Teeth Cleaned

I never before could claim to cleaning my dog’s teeth, but Mexico has given me a change of heart. I’ve seen too many too-young’ish dogs with rotten teeth. So before we start brushing Stella’s teeth, a brand new thing for her and us, we needed to remove the layers of tartar.  After a lot of running around, we found Dr. Garibay at Dusty Puppies at 17A Calle Guadiana.  Dr. Garibay had a thriving alternative medicine vet practice but decided to reduce the stress in his life and focus on holistic teeth cleaning (using a light sedative instead of anesthesia and ultrasound).

In addition to the teeth-cleaning practice, he still maintains a select handful of clients for holistic vet care, so for the most part he has found a way to live his dream: Less work, more focused skills, and more time to enjoy life. Given that this was a new thing for us, we had no way to compare prices, but we suspect it’s much higher in the US. Dusty Puppies was running a special of 800 pesos (about $62.00 US) and while that was more than our dentist appointments (730 pesos), we figured it would still be a considerable savings to what one would pay in the US.

I highly recommend Dr. Garibay. He’s gentle and friendly and clearly knows his stuff AND likes dogs.

Dr. Garibay working on Stella

Before: Stella’s dirty teeth

After: Looks at those pearly whites!

Dr. Rodrigo Garibay
Dusty Puppies
17A Guadiana
Col Guadiana
415-154-4555

Repairing Clothes

Living our particular dream does demand a certain amount of frugality.  That statement is directly contradicted by my expensive haircut.  But OK, I cut my hair three MAYBE four times a year. BUT given that I’m not a big clothes shopper, I prefer to repair rather than purchase.  And when I say I prefer to repair, I mean I prefer someone else to repair.  The only needle and thread I have with me here in Mexico is a 10-year old plastic-wrapped relic from a basket at a hotel. Three inches each of pink, blue, white, and black thread.  It’s about as useful to me as high-heeled shoes (think cobblestone streets and recovering broken ankle).

Besides, I prefer to give my business to Pilar (Maria del Pilar Godinez Morales), the very radiant seamstress who also happens to be a licensed psychiatrist.  Scott says, “Only in Mexico is a doctor of psychiatry also a seamstress”.   She charged me 30 pesos ($2.40) to repair my favorite tee shirt and some socks.  That along with a 20 peso tip is like having new things for less than $4.00 US.  Not too shabby.

I adore Pilar.  When we meet, she authentically seems so happy to see me.  I get a big hug and a kiss.  Despite the fact she speaks no English and my Spanish skills are at the level of a 5-year old (I know this, because I can hold actual conversations with 5 year olds), we have lovely chats.  She is an absolute joy, and if I spoke better Spanish and had more psychological problems, I would definitely choose her to be my psychiatrist.

Pilar, another adorable encounter, and another hugger!

Pilar Morales

You can find her about 2/3 of the way up Zacateros past Pila Seca.  Go inside and ask the nice young woman attending the store. She will find Pilar for you.

415-104-0650

Gynecologist

Dr. Sandra is incredible.  She’s intelligent, communicative, gorgeous, and most importantly, she’s thorough.  Part of her routine check-up involves using sonogram all for 700 pesos ($56.00 US) including the pap.  For additional preventative measures, she sent me to the lab to get full blood work (about 1200 pesos/100 US) including the CA 15-3 and CA-125 tests, which I’ve never before done because they are too costly in the US.  She also sent me straight away to get a mammogram (7o0 pesos/$56.00 US), again, as a preventative measure.

Four days later, I was sitting in her office reviewing all the results.  An office visit at no extra charge, AND she took her time talking with me. Dr. Sandra told me to email her anytime I have questions, and she then followed up later that day with an email.  I highly recommend her.  I can’t claim that I have or will ever enjoy seeing the Gyno, but of all the appointments I’ve had over the last 30 or so odd years, this one was by far the most memorable – in a good way.

Dr. Sandra, smart and stylish

Dr. Sandra Gutierrez Ramirez
Hospital de la Fe #17
415-152-2320
415-152-5900
415-152-2545
www.medicatec100.com.mx
drasagurs@yahoo.com

Scott chuckled at the pink Gynecologist door next to the blue Psychiatrist door.

This is the place where I got the mammogram at Calle Mesones #1 – Dr. Camacho, who I never met.

It was a cracking adobe walled room with images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary and a fancy mammogram machine.

Tendinitis del Manguito Rotador

The orthopedic problem mentioned earlier in this post was the result of body surfing in waves for someone (like me) who really has no business in big waves – this was last January.  I pulled something or did something to my left shoulder and spent months convincing myself it was healed and that the residual pain would eventually go away.

Tendinitis of the rotator cuff hurts.  But because it doesn’t hurt as much as a broken ankle and because I couldn’t see it, I ignored it.

I, in my preconditioned denial mode, expected a full recovery with the passing of time and almost nothing else save for a few Advil and the thought of icing.  It seemed like it was getting better.Two weeks ago I had just completed a 5-mile run on the treadmill.  Not realizing that running (moving my arms repetitively) was contributing to the inflammation, I’ve been adding to this problem for quite some time.  The simple act of flinching a fly off my shoulder (picture my shoulder abruptly thrusting forward) put me in a most shocking position of pain.  I could hardly believe it.  I actually saw stars.  Fortunately, this alerted me to the fact that (1) I was not healed and (2) I need to seek help.

What a joy to find Dr. Murillo!  He’s hysterical and knowledgeable.  One of the many things I love about the Mexican people is there generosity of spirit, and that they have no problem kissing a total stranger on the cheek (this feels very European to me, which I like).  Imagine meeting your doctor for your second appointment, and s/he gives you a kiss on the cheek and asks how you’re doing while looking you in the eyes.  Imagine that doctor taking the time to sit down and chat with you.  Imagine NOT having to spend 15 minutes filling out endless forms that have no relevance to your current medical problem. Admittedly, I can see some value of having some patient information. While I also loved Dr. Siegler who saved my ankle, I never ever got the warm and fuzzies around her. If she had 3 minutes to talk with me, I felt privileged.

Dr. Murillo prescribed pain meds (which I promptly refused having flash backs of Trimalleolar fracture drama and agony), an anti-inflammatory/muscle relaxer that I accepted.  I asked if I could have a beer while taking this medication and he told me, sure, but don’t have five shots of tequila. Alrighty then! I’m good to go!

And PT was prescribed as well.  Well, I LOVE PT. Read on.

My prescription

Dr. Murillo in the check-up room of his office

Dr. Ismael Murillo Marajas

Ortopedia y Traumatologia
Hospital de la Fe #13
415-154-4020
415-152-2233

Fisioterapia

I also love my new Physical Therapist, Andrea.  Okay, I am not at all ashamed to say I, in general, love Physical Therapy. Have I mentioned that I love PT?  After a year of PT while healing through my Trimalleolar, I gained a huge appreciation and respect for the field.

And Andrea is one of those beautiful, kind, talented individuals who answers questions and gives a hug and kiss upon departure.  She is knowledgable, explains her treatment, shows you before and after photos of yourself on her iPad, and continually takes classes to grow her talents.

At 350 pesos ($28.00 US) a visit, it’s absolutely worth getting treatment from her especially since the day after my treatment, my arm felt the best it has felt in months.  Be prepared for higher rates, her facility and cutting edge techniques call for it.

The gorgeous and skilled Andrea in her fabulous and very modern PT facility

Diego, her guapo and efficient assistant.

Kokoxcalli

Lft Andrea Morales Parrales
José Manuel Zavala Zavala PPKBZON #79
415-150-7660
physio.sma@gmail.com

The Reflex Center 

I had the privilege of working with Sergio Ortega at The Reflex Center on Santo Domingo.I recommend him.  With 40 years of experience and a focus on neurophysio massage, holistic healing, trigger points massage, and reflexology, Sergio gave me relief from my discomfort. He is calm and gentle, and he makes his own healing balms. But be forewarned, his services come at a cost. I could only afford to see him once.

A beautiful place for healing

The Reflex Center

Sergio Ortego
#68 Colonia Atascadero Santo Domingo
044-415-151-0001

www.thereflexcenter.com

Total cost thus far for Tendonitis of the Rotator Cuff:  3714.50 pesos ($294.00 US)

  • First Orthopedic Doctor visit:  500 pesos ($40.00 US)
  • Visit to a body worker for 90-minute treatment:  1000 pesos ($80.00 US)
  • Dolocam Prescription:  364.50 pesos ($28.00 US) for 10 tablets – I had a choice of 10 or 20 tablets, and for that price opted out of the 14 days suggested by the doctor.
  • First PT session:  350 pesos ($27.00 US)
  • Second Orthopedic Doctor visit and Cortisone shot:1500 pesos ($119.00 US)

You’ll notice that in both instances above where medication was included, the price gets jacked up. So, yes, while it’s easy access to get meds here (The pharmacy returned my prescription after filling, so I could have easily filled the same script again), it’s not cheap.

Overall, I’m conflicted.  In the big scheme of things, $300.00 dollars is inexpensive for all that help and treatment.  But now, given my new way of living the dream with very little income currently flowing into the coffers, that’s a lot of money.  It’s my entire month’s budget of food, entertainment, miscellaneous spending.  I know I would’ve spent MUCH more in the US.

Dr. Murillo informed me that the surgery for a Trimalleolar in Mexico runs about $3000.00 US.  This includes the hospital stay, anesthesiologist, etc.  My first surgery was about $20,000.  With insurance (a premium of $1300/month), I paid $2000.00/year during 2 years of deductibles to cover the medical expenses.  My current international health insurance through Bupa is $144.00/month.  I opted to not use the insurance for this injury. I didn’t want the record, the hassle, the deductible, etc.

Day-to-Day Comings and Goings

Atascadero Canyon

One of the best walks we’ve found here was discovered by accident during a morning exploration. We take Calle Correo to Santo Domingo and go up up up.  It takes about 25 minutes to reach our destination, the hiking trails, seemingly to go on forever.

Santo Domingo – the trails are just around the bend and on both sides of the road.

This is one of many mountainous ant hills on the hiking trails in Atascadero Canyon. Big, red, ants busily scurry about carrying large leaf loads and other ant essentials.

Very prickly cactus – it looks like a giant, dangerous lollipop

I got a cactus splinter in my finger while liberating this bag

Flowers are a’bloomin

A forest of cacti

Much to my delight, colors of the high desert are in great abundance.

Random odd cement structure

Stella, Scott, and the bag o’ basura

Cool blue and red cricket – I think there are a gazillion crickets on these trails

Busy Ants at Atascadero Canyon

Other world-like tree on Santo Domingo near Atascadero Canyon

The Pocket Theatre

The Pocket Theatre is one of my new favorite things to do in San Miguel.  The Pocket Cinema Petit offers a variety of movies – foreign, indie, Hollywood blockbusters, and documentaries – every day.  Excellent movies. And for 80 pesos (about $6.50 US) you get the movie, a comfy little theatre holding no more than 25 people (mostly Senior gringos), a drink of your choosing (we choose margaritas) and a bag of popcorn.

Una Visita a Dolores Hildago

 
In the state of Guanajuato and only about 25 miles from San Miguel, an hour’s bus ride will find one in the lovely pueblo of Dolores Hildago.  Originally named Dolores (translated to mean sorrows), it was here on September 16, 1810 where Father Miguel Hildago voiced his famous cry or grito for the independence of Mexico against the gachupines, the ruling class of Spaniards.  His cry rallied Mexicans, mostly poor and indigenous, to rise up and fight for their independence.   Now, Dolores Hildago, along with this famous cry, is also well known for its famous, brilliantly colored and highly glossed Talavera pottery.  Rumor has it that Father Hildago taught the locals how to make this pottery in addition to teaching farmers how to grow vineyards for making wine.  The wine didn’t quite reach the same heights of success as that of the pottery.

While we didn’t purchase anything, for those who are interested, there are stores and roadside stands throughout the town to purchase some of these beautiful wares.  Supposedly the best buys can be found just as one is coming into town.

Bus fare:  42 pesos

We took our first ride on Pegasso on the trip to Dolores Hildago. The buses are so comfy, the hour’s ride flies by especially when the roads are straight and my stomach doesn’t get all twisted up.

The streets are lined with vendors – many selling beans and peppers

Plaza Principal: Along with the great “Grito”, Dolores Hildago is also famous for its ice-cream, specifically many unique flavors like avocado and beer. And while we didn’t have any of that, we saw the Plaza Principal lined with ice-cream vendors. Their cries of “Helados” changed to “Ice Cream” when they saw us coming.

The statue of Father Miguel at the Plaza Principal

Lush gardens at Plaza Principal

The pigeon man of Dolores Hildago

Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de Delores – also called Parish of Our Lady of Sorrows

The famous stairs where Hildago voiced his grito currently occupied by a beggar.

This sign is at the top of the stairs – it’s the famous place where Hildago made his world-famous and world-changing grito.

Inside the parroquia

We saw no other gringos here in Dolores Hildago. Given the profound historical significance of this town and all it has to offer, I expected it to be overrun with tourists. This was not the case.

Hildago reverently touches a palm as he yells for the independence of Mexico

This striking lady came up to us asking for dinero.  Barely audible, she went into a lengthy historical account of her life including how she has no husband and no one to provide for her.  Scott gave her 20 pesos.  I was so struck by her face, the lines and spots confirming her long and arduous life.  I very  much wanted a photo but didn’t want to be rude.  But given how Scott passed some dinero her way, I felt some comfort in asking.  She agreed but it would cost me 50 pesos.  I liked her sense of worth.  I added 30 pesos to our previous donation and considered the transaction complete.  I was touched when she fussed with the hair on her forehead prior to my snapping this shot.

My hombre at el Plaza

6 feet of tamales

A storm’s a brewin’

I’ve decided to take a photo of every Chinese restaurant we see in Mexican pueblos. One may be surprised to learn there is at least one in almost ever town we’ve visited.

Looks like someone cut himself shaving.

If I had my druthers, I would hang out with Mexican kids every day all day, but alas, I’ve misplaced my druthers.

These two cuties were sitting on a curb when we walked by. I couldn’t resist asking for a photo. They each scored 5 pesos for the deal.

I’m helping Sonia teach adjectives at escuela Centro Mexicano de Langue y Cultura.  This lesson was dedicated to adjectives that describe people.  The precious two weeks were adjectives that describe food.  I brought in different types of food for the kids to try and then describe the tastes based on the adjectives I provided.  I had just as much fun as they watching their eager and excited faces.

I asked the kids to list all the adjectives that described themselves.  When I arrived at the word “smart” I told them all to write that one down, because they are ALL smart.  It broke my heart when one little guy wouldn’t oblige.  He insisted he was not smart.  Eventually, after much persuading, he acquiesced   They then started an art project tracing and coloring their hands on a piece of paper and listing five self-describing adjectives (one for each finger).

The kids get SO excited when I pull out the big boxes of crayons that I brought from the US. Their teacher, Sonia, is the one in the back with the radiant smile.

Bugs

For the most part, I like bugs, and I have a growing albeit squeamish fascination with spiders.

Curious red and black ladybug-looking beetle – found on the street and relocated to a bush

How cool is this little bugger?

I’m over the drama of daily bug activity, well almost.  The big bathroom here has a lovely garden attached to it.  This explains all the little bugs that cross the border and into the bathtub.  The tub has its own ecosystem.  There is so much daily activity there that I often find myself spending much more time in the WC than my bodily functions necessitate. It’s like watching the fiberglass version of Planet Earth.  All those buggers require some high-risk rescue work before shower time – mostly by Scott but sometimes by yours truly.  The other day a spider was in the tub drain. The only way I could get her out was to gently and slowly turn on the water, but she slipped on the water and got herself stuck.  I rigged a toilet paper rescue rope onto which she grabbed someone cognizant there was no way out.  I hoisted her up and kept the rope turning in my hands in an attempt to keep her as far away from my person as possible.  Hopefully she’s now living happily outside or in someone else’s bathroom.

A garden by the bathroom

Taxi Cabs and Other Modes of Public Transportation

Truly living on the edge here.  To find a taxi cab with seatbelts is a rarity, so not only are we riding in a car with no seatbelts, but also we are riding in Mexico on wild cobblestone roads with wild taxi cab drivers in a car with no seatbelts.  Fortunately we rarely need a taxi and instead risk our lives on the public bus system.

Photoshop Workshop

I took another class with Jo Brenzo of Academia de Fotografia.  I now have a much better understanding of how to use Photoshop (which I’ve had for nearly 3 years) and now also know that there is a whole lot more to know.

An Evening with Lupe Rivera

Daughter of Diego, Lupe came to San Miguel to share her stories and help raise money for the Literary Sala, specifically a program entitled Las Manos Sobre Los Libros/Hands on Books.  It’s like a head start program for the poorer children of El Campo (the countryside) here in San Miguel.

Lupe, who must now be around 80 years old and a bit of a spitfire, has an interesting history, putting aside the fact she is the daughter to of one of the most famous artists in the world.  She is an economist, a lawyer, and founder of the Progressive Caucus, former Ambassador of Mexico to Italy, and a congresswoman.  She has championed for the poor of Mexico. From 1981-1989 she represented San Miguel as a congresswoman.  She started a program in which she designed dolls for the local women to make and sell.  I see these dolls all over town!

I paid 70 pesos for this pretty girl.

I taped most of her presentation (see below).  The first three videos are about the history of Diego with some family stuff mixed in. I thought the presentation was going to be about her life with Diego.  While she slightly touched on the personal stuff (more at the end), it was mostly about the history of Diego.  This was still very interesting to hear especially given how it conflicts with some of the other accounts I have heard.

The last video shows the Q and A.  That’s worth a look-see especially when Lupe CLEARLY states that she does NOT want to answer questions about Frida.  Naturally, this made me very curious about her relationship with and opinion about Frida.  What I really wanted to know but didn’t learn was the intimate stuff.  I wanted to know about dinner conversations and whether or not Diego gave his daughter (Lupe and her sister, Ruth) attention.  I do know he influenced them to be feminists.  This I find amusing given his proclivity to womanizing. He was an interesting and complex man.

The following videos range in time from 5 minutes to 10 minutes.

Video #1:  The History of Diego Rivera Part I

In Part I, Lupe discusses her grandparents and her mother.  She shows a print of Diego’s first oil painting, his first portraits of her as a toddler, and the first painting he created of her mother.

Video #2:  The History of Diego Rivera Part II 

In this video, Lupe details some of Diego Rivera’s political evolution.  She also claims that Frida was a Communist before Diego and that he was influenced by Frida.  This along with a number of other points Lupe made seem to directly contradict information I’ve received in the past.  I presume Lupe shared only what she wanted the audience to know about her beloved Father.  Perhaps some of the “different” information has been handed down in her own family or is a story she has told herself or others long enough to make it a new and more palatable reality.

Lupe also shares several photographs and prints of Diego’s art.  These are difficult for the viewer to see, because they are not slides but actual images on a special projector with a blinding light. One of the photos show Trotsky.  Lupe shared how he lived with Frida and Diego at Casa Azul until a “problem” arose.  She failed to mention the problem was an affair between Frida and Trotsky.

Lupe also discussed the work Diego conducted in the US from San Francisco to New York to Detroit.His mural in NY was torn down by the Rockefeller’s because she stated that Diego painted a picture of John D getting drunk.  Again, I’ve learned differently in that it was strictly because Diego painted a picture of Lenin and would not remove it.  It’s difficult to know the actual truth, but Lupe claims to have gained this knowledge directly from a Rockefeller descendant who also happens to be a good friend of hers.

Video #3:  The History of Diego Rivera Part III 

In Part III, Lupe shares more photos of Diego and Frida including a photo of the two of them in 1940 around the time they were divorced and then another taken shortly after on their second wedding day in San Francisco.

She shows family photos of her sister, Ruth, as an adult with Diego along with a family (her mother, Diego, herself, her two children) photo taken on the day Frida died.

Lupe briefly details a few of Diego’s murals including the mystery behind the one entitled Panamerican Union that was hidden away in San Francisco and has been on display at San Francisco City College.  She claims this mural, which compares the history of Latin American to that of the US, is one of her father’s best works.

One of the sections I removed showed a part of Diego’s fresco, The Night of the Poor.  Lupe didn’t go into detail.  If the viewer would like to see that along with Diego’s other paintings, click this link:

Did you know that Frida and Diego’s houses in San Angel were designed by an architect who was a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright?

Again, the projector used in this presentation makes it difficult for the viewer given the blinding light, but Lupe’s adorable personality and storytelling are worth overcoming that minor obstacle

Video #4:  The History of Diego Rivera Part IV

This is the most personal of all the segments.  Here, Lupe answers questions from the audience.Here are the questions Lupe answered:

1.  Was Diego Rivera the true creator of Cubism?
2.  What’s the story of the next generation in the Rivera family?
3.  How did your father’s activism influence you?
4.  What is the fondest memory you have of your father?

Here is the question Lupe refused to answer:  Please tell us about your family dynamics.

There’s Never a Dull Moment on Suspiros

This musician came down our street one day. He’s from Oaxaca and found a way to earn some coinage with his unique talents. Listen to his music here.

The Master bean maker of Suspiros creates another colorful batch

The Corona guy and two 10-feet Mojigangas gals

Flor de Calabaza:  This image comes from enforma.salud180.com

Flor de Calabaza otherwise known to English speakers as Squash Blossoms are a delicacy here in the late summer and early fall.  Scott and I joined our new group of friends for dinner one night and they were raving about the light and delicious taste of Flor de Calabaza sautéed in oil and garlic.  The next day a woman knocked on the door with a bucket of the stuff.  I bought a handful.  I had to try, and it was surprisingly good.  Note to self:  carefully remove the prickly stalk.

So….thar ya have it. Here we are, living in Mexico, living the dream. We are fortunate beyond words to have this opportunity, and I am so happy we figured out how to make it happen. And although it may not resemble “the dream” and while I still have to figure out what “living the dream” looks like, it sure is a good life.

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You’ve got to have a dream, if you want to have a dream come true.
~Denis Waitley (1933) writer – info here

The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart – this you will build your life by, and this you will become.
~James Allen (1864-1912) author – info here

Security is not the meaning of my life. Great opportunities are worth the risk.
~Shirley Hufstedler 1st US Secretary of Education 1979-1981 – info here

You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do.  Act accordingly.
~Colin Wright Full time traveler and writer – info here

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
~Ashley Smith – info here

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
~Mark Twain

If at first you don’t Suck Seed, try try again, and if that doesn’t work go drink some coffee, tea and beer – not necessarily in that order.
~ksp
*This photo taken by my dear friend Elaine Burrell

Lots of quotes about living your dreams here.

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*Photos and stuff*  Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use.

This is Mexico Post #22
 
To see Mexico Post #1, Me and My Trimalleolar go to Mexico with my Husband and our Pooch, click this here.
To see Mexico Post #2, Dos Americanos y Su Perro en Mexico, click this here.
To see Mexico Post #3, Feliz Ano Nuevo 2013, click here.
To see Mexico Post #4, Ballenas, Ballenas Hermosas, click here.
To see Mexico Post #5, Una Visita Morelia, click here.
To see Mexico Post #6, Mariposas Monarcas!, click here.
To see Mexico Post #7, Los Pueblos de Patzcuaro, Paracho, y Tzintzuntzan, click here.
To see Mexico Post #8, La pintoresca ciudad de San Miguel de Allende, click here.
To see Mexico Post #9, Guanajuato, Guanajuato, click here.
To see Mexico Post #10, Back to Sayulita and Jaime Visits!, click here.
To see Mexico Post #11, Semana Santa y Semana Pasqua, click here.
To see Mexico Post #12, Semana de Animales, click here.
To see Mexico Post #13, Semana de Amigos y Amigas, click here.
To see Mexico Post #14, Frida y Diego, click here.
To see Mexico Post #15, Adiós Sayulita, click here.
To see Mexico Post #16, Living and Grinning in San Miguel de Allende, click here.
To see Mexico Post #17, Puddle Jumping in San Miguel de Allende, click here.
To see Mexico Post #18, Guanajuato International Film Festival, click here.
To see Mexico Post #19, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Colonia Condesa, Colonia Coyoacán, y La Casa Azul, click here.
To see Mexico Post #20, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Chapultapec y Centro Historico, click here.
To see Mexico Post #21, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Museo Nacional de Antropologia y Templo Mayor, click here.
To see Mexico Post #22, Living the Dream in San Miguel de Allende, click here.
To see Mexico Post #23,  Viva la Independencia! click here.
To see Mexico Post #24,  Adios San Miguel, click here.
To see Mexico Post #25,  Valle de Bravo y Teploztlán, click here.
To see Mexico Post #26,  Ciudad de Oaxaca, click here.
To see Mexico Post #27,  50 Shades of Green: On the road from Oaxaca to Chiapas, click here.
To see Mexico Post #28,  San Cristóbal de las Casas, click here.
To see Mexico Post #29,  The Almost Halloween Edition:  Dark Mountains,  Foggy Cliffs, Witches, Jungles and Shamans, click here.
To see Mexico Post #30, Veracruz, Tampico y Estados Unidos, click here.

11 Comments:

  1. Pingback: Los Pueblos de Patzcuaro, Paracho, y Tzintzantzun Travels and Tripulations

  2. Pingback: San Cristóbal de las Casas Travels and Tripulations

  3. Pingback: Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Chapultapec y Centro Historico - Travels and Tripulations

  4. Pingback: Puddle Jumping in San Miguel de Allende - Travels and Tripulations

  5. Pingback: Adiós Sayulita - Travels and Tripulations

  6. Pingback: Back to Sayulita, and Jaime Visits! - Travels and Tripulations

  7. Pingback: La pintoresca ciudad de San Miguel de Allende - Travels and Tripulations

  8. Pingback: Feliz Año Nuevo 2013 de Sayulita - Travels and Tripulations

  9. Pingback: Guanajuato, Guanajuato - Travels and Tripulations

  10. We are planning on spending the winter in San Miguel. Could you recommend a good dentist. I am in need of an implant.

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