Thursday, October 27, 2011

Been Scrapbooked!

Since my travel and romance memoir is, in fact, a love story, I´ve been snooping around on some romance sites and blogs.  That's how I ended up being the guest author SCRAPBOOKED by romance reader and blogger Nat at Reading Romances -
It was way fun to put together!  Go over to the Reading Romances blog and see what my favorite hobby is, what my secret wish is and who my favorite authors are.  It's such a cool presentation! Thanks, Nat! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest post by "I Love San Miguel" Hal Schade

Texan Hal Schade has visited San Miguel several times, but its colors, festivals and street life never fail to captivate him.  In my romance and travel memoir, Flirting in Spanish, I wrote about watching the Festival de San Miguel from the balcony of one of the town´s stucco houses.  Hal stayed on Calle Sollano for nine weeks, exiting the country at the beginning of this month with a promise to come back.  During his last week in San Miguel, the festival of San Miguel Arcangél took place. He told me personally, Nothing beats Mexican chocolate, and Nothing beats a Mexican fiesta.  Here are his thoughts in text, and his photos.

I had some photos from what turned out to be the final "event" of the celebrations of Arcangel San was much like the others, yet very moving...
...a figure of San Miguel was brought into the Jardin directly in front of La Parroquia...his cape was then pulled out behind, and everyone passed under the cape touching the fabric as they went through... can't see it, but the mantón this woman is wearing is soaked with tears from the experience...she told me I should go through, so I did...

...of course, there were all the are a couple of diablos "before and after" the passing...and a lady burning incense at the door of La Parroquia...
...the mix of rituals for the whole celebration period was amazing...pagan, pre-Hispanic, Christian...but they all blend into one very memorable experience...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vendors in my Life

I guess I better clear things up.  I´m speaking of the taco ladies.  The Hands of Steel lady flips tortillas and gorditas with her bare hands.  She uses cheap stainless steel spoons to serve the guisados (fillings like shredded chicken, mushrooms in cream, chicharón and nopales) into the tortillas to make tacos. Me...I´d be burning my fingers and yelling, Ouch!  Not this lady though.  Her outdoor stand is on Calle Nueva.  She has a nice smile accentuated by some tall white teeth that probably cost her some.

The Gates of Hell taco lady has a little fonda (traditional Mexican food sold out of a small kitchen or stand) at the back of a corner store jam-packed with every snack beverage ever invented by Coke, Pepsi or Lipton.  It´s hard to tell how she cooks because her back is to you when she is at the stove and, like the name implies, she cooks in the dark, as the lights went off in the back of the store about two months ago and have not been repaired.  This gal is probably not even 30.  She rarely smiles.  She does, however, serve her tacos with lovely, crinkled slightly blackened grilled and salted jalapeños.  In both places, you can get a fill-you-up plate of tacos for about one dollar.

Josefina is the owner of La Ventana, where I get my yummy organic Chiapas coffee.  Being in the coffee business, a cold day makes her do a happy dance.  She and I trade service for product.  The other day her two daughters, who've been in school with my girls, came in to my business, Jasmine Spa with a friend for massages and facials.  All on credit.  This means I can think, a latte would be great right now, or Frappucino! and just cruise on over and pick one up.  Sometimes when I don´t have small change the Hands of Steel taco lady will tell me to pay tomorrow.  It´s one of the nice things about living in San Miguel de Allende, which even though it´s a World Heritage Site, is still a small town.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gates of Hell Tacos

My theory for living in Mexico is: Suspend Logic. 
For instance, the corner store on Sollano where we buy tacos in the morning for 12 pesos.  These days, that´s less than a dollar for 4 tacos (a taco, by the way, in Mexico, is ANYTHING stuffed into a warmed-up, folded-over tortilla). The tacos come with shredded lettuce, tomato and salsa.  Quite the bargain.  Quite a convenient little stop for the thrifty. 
The gal who runs the little kitchen even put in a couple of tables.  On any morning, you´d find cops with their walkie-talkies occassionally crackling, moms who´ve just dropped kids off at school, area workers, delivery guys who stop for a bite before resuming their routes.  And THEN, about 3 weeks ago, the lights went out. 
The taco gal now cooks to the light of the flame on her gas stove.  The tables sit in darkness. 
The store in the front still sells bread, milk and Cokes under fluorescent
lighting, so you can easily make selections and pay for your tacos in the front of the store.  But step carefully once you show up at the kitchen window and be prepared to pick up your meal in the black.
The Taco Gal can´t change a light bulb?
She lost the number for the electrician?
She meditates while making tacos and prefers the dark?
It all doesn´t matter, because business has not slowed at the Gates of Hell Taco Window.  The taco gal is busy as ever.  People even sit at the tables, hunched closer to their plates to see where their taco is. 
Not me, though.  I like seeing what I eat.  That´s not to say I´ve found another breakfast nook.  A twelve peso plate of tacos de pollo o frijoles can´t be beat. 
I take mine wrapped in tin foil, however, to go.