We can spot tourists a mile away. The Barefoot Diary definition of a tourist is not quite so tame as Webster’s cited above. Come on, you know what I’m talking about. Tourists are those people, clad in flowery shirts and big hats, cameras in hand, that wander around the world in flocks taking selfies, slowing down and meandering against the flow of foot traffic, spilling food and drinks because they can’t keep up, while exclaiming loudly, “Wow! Will you look at that…we’re not in Kansas any more!” In fact, nowadays it’s not a good idea to even look like a tourist. Not only are they a nuisance, but they are often the targets of pickpockets and petty thieves.
Phooey! We never, ever want to be labeled as tourists. EVER! This is why no matter how lost we are, we always try to “look” like we know where we are going. It’s why I don a carefully concealed fanny pack (that John hates) rather than a purse or back pack. It’s why we generally never run with “herds” of people and never do guided tours. We consider ourselves, uh, sophisticated travelers…globetrotters…experience creators…adventure junkies…anything but tourists!
We love art.
In fact, prior to leaving the United States we had started a collection of some pretty incredible pieces. So it makes sense that we are “in love” with San Miguel because it is an artist’s mecca. In fact, here, you don’t even have to venture inside galleries to see amazing artwork…all you have to do is walk down the street!
Because of the efforts of an innovative woman named Colleen Sorensen, the colonia Guadalupe area of the city is an imaginative world of colorful expression that makes you go, “WOW!” But it wasn’t always like that. In fact, prior to 2013, street art was not permitted anywhere in San Miguel.
When Colleen moved to San Miguel from Texas (a lot of great things and people come from Texas…wink!) she created the Muros en Blanco project and championed the very first Street Art Mural Festival. During this event artists got together for three days to create a little magic on the streets of the city.
Many of you know that I used to be in the theatre. I acted, did radio/voice-over work, directed and taught theatre for many moons in a previous life. In fact, I go all “apey” when an artist “becomes” someone or something else and then performs in the new façade. When a person puts on a mask, a miracle occurs. The wearer enters a new world where fantasies, rituals and dreams come to life. To me, whether it’s an actor on a stage or a masked performer at a religious festival, it’s the ultimate creative expression. Right up there with cartooning and karaoke singing! I love it.
So when our new house sitting friends, Sandy and Rob (BritsHousesitting.com), invited us to accompany them to the San Miguel Mask Museum, I was thrilled. Another house sitting couple, dear friends from our Xcalak sit, Manuel and Xochitl (www.wanderingfolks.com), just happened to be passing through San Miguel at that time and joined us for breakfast and then the tour.
Great food, great friends and, of course, touring a magical place that honors my very favorite artistic expression…well, it doesn’t get much better! We had a blast.
My mother had a brown thumb. She was very talented at things like typing (90 wpm!), speaking perfect conversational Spanish, and throwing one heck of a party. But gardening was just not her thing. In fact, one year for her birthday my brother Dub and I chipped in and bought her a book entitled, Plants You Can’t Kill. Of course, being a super mom and a very gracious lady, she opened the package and exclaimed, “Awww, thank you so much. It’s exactly what I wanted!” Yeah, right.
But as soon as Thanksgiving was over each year, for my mom, a botanical miracle occurred. While Daddy was climbing into the attic to pull down ornaments, snowmen, nativity scenes and Santas, Mama was as the local garden nursery buying poinsettias. She loved them and believe it or not, amazingly, both of her thumbs turned green as she managed to keep them all alive throughout the holidays. We always had a gazillion of them placed strategically around the house in shiny foil-covered buckets. And that wasn’t all. We had poinsettia tablecloths, glasses, decorations for the tree, plates and even bath towels. One year she hit pay dirt and came home from the A&P grocery store with poinsettia toilet paper. While most people complain that their family trees have a few nuts, or lemons, or even bad apples, ours was no different, with the exception that every December each crazy branch was smothered in poinsettia leaves.