Monday, April 13, 2015

out and about

Last week I was able to get out of town a couple of times as well as explore a bit more of Guanajuato.  The first excursion was to Dolores Hidalgo, which is significant in Mexican history.   I visited two museums and the church, looked at a lot of ceramics, and tried a few different kinds of nieve (ice cream or frozen flavored ice).  The city is known for it's unique flavors of nieve, and I tried the avocado (creamy) and alfalfa (icy).  The alfalfa tasted pretty good and reminded me of the farm, the avocado was not anything special.  If I get back to Dolores Hidalgo, I will have to try some more of the unique flavors.

Thursday, I went with a Mexican friend who was in search of some flower pots.  We walked through one of  Guanajuato's underground tunnels, saw where my friend lived over thirty years ago, walked up to a mine where we could see some old walls and out over the city, ate tacos at the home of one of her friends and had ice cream.  A note on Mexican tacos, your food is called tacos if you put it in a corn tortilla, so it could be meat, vegetables, beans, or a combination of  those ingredients, but it rarely, if ever, includes cheese.
At end the week, I took a bus to see the Cristo Rey monument.   It looks big in pictures...it is enormous when you see it in person.  It was good to get out of the city, and the hours I spent on the bus (one hour each way for Dolores Hidalgo and Cristo Rey) allowed me to see the countryside...something I miss a lot here.  

The countryside reminds me some of what a person sees in parts of the Central Valley of California.


It was good to see a few new things, but I am glad that vacation is over and school is back in session.  Two weeks does not seem like a long time for a break in Minnesota, but it seemed long here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry is my most recent read.  It was required reading for me 20 years ago when a college student, this time I picked it up because I found it for a dollar at Goodwill and wanted to bring some decent books with me to read while in Mexico. 
Jonas, the main character, is an eleven year old living in a utopian community.  At the age of twelve, each child is assigned a career.  Jonas wonders what his assignment will be and is quite surprise to get the job of receiver.   His life is altered in a manner he never could have imagined.
Lowry has done an excellent job at telling this story, but it is too bad it is classified as children's literature,  as some people would not pick it up to read.  The content is more mature than some elementary students would grasp and I would not recommend it for all children.  I do think adults should read it, though.  It would be worth  discussing with a book club or a group of teens.  I  am curious about the movie based on the book, which came out last year.  Have your read the book or seen the movie?

Friday, April 3, 2015

sightseeing

This week I have been doing some sightseeing because my school is closed.  On Monday I went to Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel.  It felt like I was out of the city and I enjoyed walking around in the gardens.   None of the gardens were very big, but they each had a different theme.  There were old buildings, old walls, and lots of rock, but not a lot of people, which was a nice change from the center of Guanajuato.
Tuesday I went to the Don Quixote Museum.  Wednesday I walked to two parks I have never been to and the Fuentas Ranas of Guanajuato.  The word Guanajuato means place of frogs, though I have not seen any live ones yet.  My guess is at the founding of the city there was probably more water here and plenty of frogs.  I also went to the Museo del Pueblo de Guanajuato.  It is an art museum, with one part dedicated to miniatures.  One of the temporary exhibits there was called Imagine.  It was interesting because the artists took a bunch of weapons and used them to make musical instruments.
The last couple of days I have been sticking close to home.  Guanajuato is a tourist attraction for Mexicans and foreigners alike, and with it being Semana Santa, it is full.  On Thursday, the people walk from church to church.  Today (from a distance) I saw part of a reenactment of Jesus' walk to Golgotha.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cervantes and Quixote

Guanajuato has lots of things related to Cervantes and Quixote.  Today I visited the Museo Iconografico Del Quijote.  There is an entire museum devoted to paintings and art about Don Quixote.   Though I am not a huge art fan and have never read Don Quixote, I enjoyed seeing the many different types of art based on the novel by Cervantes.  Every October there is an event several weeks long devoted to the work by Miguel de Cervantes as well, with people coming from all over the world.  I should read Don Quixote while I am here, but have not come across an English copy.  The book is over 900 pages, which I do not plan to read on my iPod's small screen.

Friday, March 27, 2015

holiday

Last night was Day of the Flowers, and today is Friday of Sorrows.  The city was full of people, making it difficult to walk in the center.  There were lots of people selling flowers and cascarones (egg shells filled with confetti) both last evening and today.  Last night there were dances at lots of places, and the young people stay out really late.  The guys are supposed to give flowers to a girl that they like.  Starting sometime this morning, if you saw an altar to the Virgin, it meant the business was giving away free ice cream or a special juice.  The picture above shows one of the most elaborate in front of a church.  How everthing fits together, I am not quite clear, but I was happy about the free ice cream.

Monday, March 23, 2015

more views of Guanajuato

Here are a few things I see frequently when I am walking around Guanajuato.  Above is La Plaza de Paz. 
Every day on my way to the language school, I go past Teatro Principal.  The orchestra plays here most Friday nights.
There are lots of levels of streets and houses...here is a street near my house.
This is a callejon.  There are plenty of them here, and it is the only way to get to many homes.  There are plenty of these, and walking up one is a good workout.  I am glad that I do not live all the way up one of these, or I might only leave the house once a day.