Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Invasion of San Miguel

Last year around this time, Starbucks opened on the corner of the central plaza in San Miguel. A small contingent of gringos stood across the street on opening day holding protest signs.
This year a Walmart appeared on the edge of town.
Secretly we are all hoping for a Trader Joe's, so that there will be no reason left to go back to the US....

And the guys with the guns? Just a part of the military parade celebrating Allende day.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's angel

Watching the presidential inauguration at Juan's Cafe Etc. in San Miguel,
accompanied by a portrait of his son, Juanito, as an angel.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Waiting for Obama

Getting ready to join the expats in front of the TV at the local cafe for the Big Day.

(image made at obamiconme.pastemagazine.com)

Friday, January 16, 2009


I have been having fun making these little illustrations inspired by the Agave, or Maguey.
Above are Fridagave, Catrinagave, Diego Riveragave, and of course, La Virgen de Agavelupe.
I don't know what's gotten into me...

(for other posts on the Agave see "Into the Heart of the Desert" - January, 2008)
..."Now the Agave begins to appear in my paintings in silvery greens and dark blues. The overlapping patterns of spines and thorns slowly unfolding to reveal a protected heart that is ready to blossom at any moment."


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Frankincense, Myrrh, and Barbies

"Get your Super Heroes! Cheap superheroes here! Muy barato! Three for ten pesos!” A woman holds up a plastic Superman, Spiderman and Batman in one hand, waving them at the crowd that squeezes by her towards row after row of booths selling toys: Pink baby dolls, Tonka trucks and tricycles, scooters and teddy bears. Games, puzzles, soccer balls. A virtual orgy of plastic and color. Things that beep and whir and spin and flash. Dolls in every shape and size, each with it’s own wardrobe.

“Hey, this doll only has one shoe!” one woman cries, holding it up to the weary seller. “What will my kid think, that those pinche reyes brought me a doll with a missing shoe?” Everyone around her laughs. It's late, and the mood is joyful and fun here at the all night toy market on the eve of the day of The Three Kings. For in Mexico it is they, not Santa Claus, who deliver the goods to children all over the country.

In the plaza the three kings themselves arrive on mounted horses sporting turbans and cardboard crowns, trailing their gold lame capes behind them, surrounded by costumed dancers in clown masks. Helium balloons are handed out to all of the children tie pieces of paper with their wishes on them to send up to the sky, asking Los Reyes Magos for what they want the most. Then it is off to the all night toy market with their families, where the dizzying array of offerings await. Vendors sell tamales and atole and steamed corn to the hungry shoppers. Kids squeal and point and plead after shiny new bicycles and dolls that wiggle and roll their eyes.

Off to the side a woman in a shawl sits on the pavement, holding out her hand to the passersby. Her young daughter lies asleep in her lap. When I stoop down to offer her some coins I see that someone has placed a brand new pink Barbie doll wrapped in cellophane on the girl’s chest. It is a surreal sight, touching and sad, yet I can't help but smile. It is still a gift given with humble generosity. And as in the giving of any gift, ultimately it’s the thought that counts.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Post Holiday Blues


Well, the Christmas lights are half burnt out, the pinatas are torn and faded, and the nacimientos are getting dusty. Fireworks are blessedly absent, and children are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the three kings to bring them their gifts. The rest of us are all at loose ends, waiting for life to get back to normal, whatever that means...


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year from San Miguel

New Year's eve in San Miguel de Allende
Sparklers, fireworks, salsa music and dancing.
All in all, a wonderful party and great beginning to the new year.
Photos by Jan Baross