It seems contrary to what we know as typical weather patterns in North America, but May is by far the hottest month in Colonial Mexico. Locals and expats alike flee the cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel during this month when the heat finally arrives, right before the monsoons come to cool things back down. It’s a steamy, sticky time when an oppressive brown haze seems to hang in the valley, trapped by the opposing hills. Continue reading
Sitting in Starbucks just inside the large floor to ceiling open wooden doors, I can hear two different mariachis bands battling it out in the Jardin, complete with dueling snare drum and cow bell. A group of estudiantinas, strolling musicians like Pied Pipers, are conducting a sing-along at the end of the block. There is a crowd following them, Continue reading
At the first mention of “Mexico,” ones thoughts instantly turn to “cerveza!” Mexico has recently overtaken Germany in beer production to become the fourth largest brewer in the world. Beer production was up 8% last year. Of course, much of this is attributed to the duopoly of the two well-known Mexican brands, Continue reading
As much as I love Guanajuato, there are days that the “verticality” of it all starts to get to me. Everything is either up or down, including the three stories of the house where I am staying. The callejones are steep, the buildings stacked on top of one another, and I can’t see up over the “rim of the bowl” that is the valley of Centro. If I let myself start thinking about it, I can imagine the walls of the valley closing in. I feel the overwhelming urge to take my arms and push against the opposing hills so I can see out. A “verticalilty attack” has me feeling a little like Rapunzel up in the tower who has just pulled out all her hair.
When I get an email from newly made friends asking if I am interested in a Saturday hike, Continue reading
One of my favorite offerings at Escuela Falcon, my Spanish School, goes beyond the “escuela” (school) part. It’s the field trips. I still remember the excitement of a field trip as a kid…getting a break from school, time to hang out with other classmates, an exciting adventure, and even refreshments!
At Escuela Falcon, these are typically organized in the afternoon following the class schedule, and are led by one of the instructors. Though the instructors may not be official “guides,” they are a wonderful resource in helping translate and interpret Continue reading
Guanajuato is known for its language schools. Being a smaller city somewhat removed from the heavier touristed locations where English is more widely spoken, it offers more opportunity for immersion without the crutch of English speakers on every corner. The renown University of Guanajuato with its over 34,000 students also makes for a higher concentration of foreign students than one would typically see in a town the size of Guanajuato, many of them seeking accelerated Spanish immersion. The town manages to support five different Spanish schools in addition to the University’s language curriculum. Continue reading
No printed maps, android apps, or TripAdvisor Listicles can help when it comes to easily finding one’s way around Guanajuato. Not even the Lonely Planet guide, which allocates Guanajuato a measly seven out of 896 pages in their Mexico Travel Guide, can be much help. No, it takes lots of insider tips, landmarks, and a few good games of “Estoy Perdido” (I’m lost!) to finally learn one’s way around this crazy city. Continue reading
The festivities progress over the weekend with Palm Sunday the finale for the first week, then continue on into the following week. But unlike San Miguel de Allende which is a heavily touristed area, there are no billboards or English-print newspapers with the Semana Santa schedule published. News of activities gets communicated via a Meet-up site, but one must be vigilant about monitoring the site. Even then, events are described in Spanish (go figure!) and therefore not always easy to weigh the Continue reading
So the “gringo” interpretation of the Dia de los Flores as I understand it is a bit of a double meaning, both modern and traditional. The more modern version of the celebration takes place on the Thursday night before, when vendors gather selling Easter baskets and toys. And of course the vendors assemble with their stands of flowers for sale. This sale of flowers appears to bridge the modern with the traditional. Continue reading
Aside from the week leading up to Christmas, there is no greater celebration in Mexico than that of “Semana Santa,” Holy Week. Only it is now more like “Dos Semanas Santos” as it spans almost two full weeks with the lead-up in preparation and festivities being almost as exciting as the Holy Week itself. Continue reading