Central America | Mexico | Central Mexico | Guanajuato | San Miguel de Allende – Church of Michael Archangel
I tried to get up early and get to the plaza to watch the sweeping ritual, and would have made it, but had to turn back to the hostel and go to the bathroom. Once I was in there I decided to take a bath and do my own little sweeping ritual of sorts. I made it up here now, which is a little later, and there are much more people. Some of the white people are out now, and some of the tourists. At eight thirty not a whole lot was open, the streets were empty, and parking spaces a plenty. Im not actually at the Hacienda, which is the main plaza in the center of the town. It is the main place to hang out and do whatever. I would imagine if I were a local here, or trying to be more local than you, it would be the place I would tell people how much I try to avoid it. Sort of like Haight Street in San Francisco for the ex-hippies to be. Im actually across the street at this massive cathedral. Its stone work is some of the most ornate I have ever seen. It must reach a hundred feet in the air and looks like something out of a Clive Barker horror film. A real gothic classic. A group of tourists are standing right behind me on some sort of guided tour. I just found out that this is the Church of San Miguel Archangel. The bells have begun to ring. Bing. Bing. Bing. They are higher pitched that what I would have imagined a church of this size would have rung out with. I wanted to write a little bit about the guy that I met yesterday. His name was Luis, the Mexican local in the wheelchair. I met him outside of a church down the street. He was going to mass, and we started talking. I ended up going to mass with him. It was in Spanish, I understood nothing. Afterwards we went through the streets searching for the Alcatraz Hostel, of which we eventually found. Then we went back to his house. It was the first time I had been invited into a home here, and I was very honored. Luis must come from a relatively wealthy family. I heard him mention both California and Texas, and I think his family has worked in both places. He said that before the accident he worked in Texas. I was amazed how religious, or at least how many religious symbols were placed throughout the house. Either a picture of Jesus, or a cross, or a painting of one of the saints or a bible scene, were on just about every wall of the house. He offered for me to stay there with him, but I thought it would be better for me to have my own space. This way I wouldnt feel like I was intruding, and I could do what I want, when I wanted. When leaving his home, I thought I was following the way we came in, or at least in the same direction, but I ended up getting very lost. This wouldnt be the first time. I found myself on what seemed to be back alleys, but what I think were actually primary streets. They were extremely skinny, and had a gated entrance for cars every few hundred feet. It looked like one of the wealthier neighborhoods. It started getting so narrow and so far away that I started to question my safety. Plus, everything was so tight that I wasnt able to turn my car around and go back. I kept going forward. Eventually the road let to a bigger one, and then a bigger one, eventually wide enough to fit two cars. Soon I found myself on a winding gravel road which cut back up the side of a steep hill. It wound higher and higher and eventually the whole city opened up beneath me. It was quite beautiful, and even though I knew I was quite lost, and might not be able to get back to find San Miguel, or the plaza, or the room that I had paid for, I stopped and took some pictures of the lights across the valley. The gravel road let to a paved road, and by now I had been lost enough times that I recognized some of the geography. Even at night. I realized that it was a street that butted into one of the streets I had come into town on. Very close to where I stopped for my first car wash. I drove past the little garage where the boys used buckets instead of a running hose. I drove over the first speed bump into town. The first of a series of many that come about every hundred feet on most every street throughout the town. It was then that I realized I had only been here for a day and a half. It had felt like I had been living inside this little fairy tale village for weeks, months, who knows, years, and now I was forced to realize that there was a whole other world outside of the one I had been living in. Another group of tourists has come through the churches courtyard. He is telling them about the statue and the church and the other church that was built right next to it. A Mayan lady came up to me and tried to sell me some of her little dolls that she had made. They were colorful and I think Lauren and possibly JoHanna or Lizzy would like one. The Mayan people dress in very colorful, very natural, and very handmade clothes. I cant tell if it is some sort of touristy thing, sort of like a costume or a uniform, or if they are wearing their traditional dress. I dont see any of the men wearing it, just the women. I like it here. I could even find myself living here. I think I will give it another day. I am going to run to Diego Riveras house later today. Stay at the hostel again tonight. Maybe I can find one that is a little more accessible. This one I have to have assistance getting in and out of it. The church courtyard is gated, and I feel sort of like I am behind bars. Everyone on the other side is hustling and bustling too and fro. At least I know that the gates are hung wide, and I am free to come and go as I please. Oh, and these Mexican girls, tomorrow I am going to spend the whole page writing about these Mexican girls and about how fit and trim they all are.