Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lucky Chones

So it turns out that the abundance of ketchup and mustard colored 
undies (or chones) in the shops here has a meaning after all.

Here in Mexico, if you wear red underwear 
on New Year's you will meet your soulmate. 
Yellow undies will get you rich. 
Decisions, decisions....
will orange ones get you both?

Happy New Year all...


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Miraculous Mini "It's-not-a purse!" Manbag

Actually, it's a camera bag. A very small one. And stuffed into its pockets are a digital camera, a Flip movie camera, a notebook, a pen, an electronic Spanish translator, and half a Snickers bar. Although it is not exactly "manly," (in fact, in my opinion it is anything but) one can still not call it a purse, that's for sure. He has had to buy a special short pen and tiny notebook from the papeleria to fit into the side pocket and now he is set, he says, to venture out and record the world.

We have received much appreciated (by me) feedback and advice from our loyal readers and friends in regards to our 'Manbag Debate', including everything from backpack suggestions to websites for sleek leather fanny packs. Meanwhile Mark is still in denial. He refuses to bring his reading glasses with him, for instance, because they won't fit into the mini camera bag, thereby ordering meals at random from menus by pointing to the fuzzy letters and hoping for the best. And often times, the best is a far cry from what he gets. Begrudgingly I end up lending him mine, if only so that I don't have to indulge yet again in watching him devour a plate of undefined entrails smothered in questionable sauce. 'I wonder what animal this comes from?' he will say, between chomps and slurps. 'Mighty tasty, I must say. Whatever the hell it is. '

And then it isn't long before he is glancing, green faced, at my own bag, saying 'You don't happen to have any Rolaids in there, do you?'
-posted by Susan

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gringo Hazards

Relaxing on a green metal bench at sunset in the jardin, I watch as the gringos start to collect around me to take in the evenings festivities. Appearing out of the dark, seemingly frail and small, dried out and brown, like those final French fries you find at the bottom of the bag. Fragile but loud, they bark out in English, complaints about the drop in housing costs, and the details of their current maladies or injuries.

Sidewalk cavity
I ease away from the crowd recalling the story I heard about an American woman that was strolling down the sidewalk of some suburban street in Mexico city when she stepped on a manhole cover. Under her full weight, the cover flipped over like a coin and she instantly disappeared down into the subterranean sewer system. The cover then flipped back into place and the street scene appeared normal and quiet. The only clue that there was a problem was the muffled cries for help that emanated from under the metal plate.
Water line tripping hazards
True story? I don't know, but I've witnessed numerous ugly accidents and seen the resulting wounds all around me in the form of bruises, cuts, casts and looks of anguish on my fellow expatriates to convince me that it happens all the time and at any moment could happen to me. (This despite my belief that I've developed super powers of awareness).

 Mostly because we're old, out of touch with our surroundings and/or drunk, we trip, fall, clutch and eventually break something in our attempts at navigating an environment filled with obstacles in our pursuits of inexpensive pleasures. The real tragedy comes from our aging bodies which includes our lighter than air bird bones that can easily break at something as simple as the jerking response to the unexpected sound of a nearby fire cracker.

In the States the number one concern about Mexico is the fear of the drug cartels, but the real threat to those living here comes in the form of cobbles, holes, wires, window ledges, sewer grates, missing steps, traffic, startling noises, exposed electrical wires, heat stroke, dust, quad runners, all concrete in general, dog crap and of course bad plastic surgery.

So, in response and with a sense of civic duty, I would like to suggest a few helpful tips to the newly arrived, to avoid the pitfalls (so to speak) that are at every step you take on the typical street in San Miguel.

Concrete window ledge
First, keep an eye on the path at all times. This may sound condescending but it's surprising how often someone is looking off in the distance at some awe inspiring church steeple, pointing towards the horizon for his loved one to share in the appreciation, only to step into a hole the size of Carlos Slims' wallet. The ensuing fall snaps a leg bone on the way down into a spread eagle position on the street, and if you're lucky in your landing, you've missed the enormous pile of dog droppings.

Secondly, the sidewalks are narrow. Because of this, the buildings concrete window ledges stick out into the lane of travel. These typically are located at heights corresponding to vulnerable parts of the human anatomy. Contact points would be shin, hip, shoulder and head. Use extreme caution when recoiling from a painful dislocated shoulder, as this can lead to a serious head injury as you careen off the railroad-tie street pole that is positioned in the middle of the sidewalk. Be aware and stay in the center of the walkway and if necessary, when passing another pedestrian step into the street. 
A cutoff railroad-tie telephone pole

This brings me to point three. Listen to the traffic. As you walk, there will be engine noise, horns, tires on gravel, etc. They are important indicators of approaching danger. Always know where cars and people are in relationship to your position. Take into account these sounds as you watch for holes and ledges.

Finally, these warnings are just a sampling of the numerous possibilities that can preclude a crippling event. The important thing to take away from this advice is the need to heighten your sense of awareness for the external world. It's imperative to take in the sights, sounds and textures that are there to enable your ability to protect life and limb. Forget this lesson for a moment, and you're wrapped up in an electrical wire that juts from a wall, snaring you as you pass by, causing you to step simultaneously into a flooded pit and dog droppings, finally spinning you into the street where in all likelihood, a taxi is bearing down to finish you off.

Here is my third installment of the Roof Top videos in a series.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Unexpected Angel

You just never know when your inner angel will show up...

Here's wishing all Gringado readers a magical holiday, 
however you choose to celebrate.
-posted by Susan & Mark

Why, yes, of course you can leave your holiday wishes in the Comments section below....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Las Posadas

The Virgin Mary, Joseph, and an itinerant angel
ride down our street in the back of a pick up truck
followed by a small brass band and a crowd of faithful pilgrims, 
in the 4th night of posadas in San Miguel.

La Posada is a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay so she could have the baby Jesus, and how they were refused many times before they were finally offered a place in the manger. In the original Mexican version of the story Mary rides a burro, but tonight they are climbing aboard the back of a flatbed truck adorned with palm fronds and tinsel and stars made of glitter. An assistant paints a beard on the young Joseph and arranges his gold polyester robes, while Mary takes her seat on the paper mache burro against a backdrop of glittery stars. An young smirking preteen girl dressed as an angel brings her hands into a prayer position, and off they go.

As the truck lurches forward down the narrow streets we 'pilgrims' all follow behind, some carrying tissue paper stars on poles which bob up and down as we walk. The band strikes up and plays a few stanzas, then the people sing, alternating between the band and the voices, followed by a police car escort to keep the surrounding traffic at bay. At one point an ambulance squeals around the corner toward us with it’s sirens wailing, then upon seeing the procession of people filling the street, abruptly slams on the brakes and backs out to find another route. We wind through the cobblestone streets, singing and chatting, as the grind of the generator on the truck that keeps the spotlight on the holy family sputters on. 'Couldn’t they have used a car battery to power the lights?' Mark asks. But why should they when noise is never an issue here. 

Suddenly a colorful star shaped piƱata drops into the center of the crowd from a rope strung between two buildings. A pole and a blindfold appear, and the whole procession stops as a young man takes a few swings at it until it cracks wide open and sweets fly out in all directions and are swept up in no time by children and adults alike. A few block later candy and oranges are thrown from the rooftops onto outstretched hands and unwary heads. 

Finally we arrive at the church and the chorus breaks out into a new song, asking 
for posada/ lodging and being refused again. Tomorrow there will be another posada taking a different route, nine in all, that will eventually lead the weary pilgrims to the manger. Then everyone can place their baby Jesuses into their carefully constructed nativity scenes among the sheep and elephants and wise men and await the arrival of the three kings, who will be carrying gifts for all. 

-posted by Susan

Monday, December 19, 2011

El Charco del Ingenio

Just outside of town by taxi (a 40 peso fare), is a nature reserve that saves my spirit from time to time.
El charco del Ingenio is a botanical park designed and built with the conservation of nature, especially Mexican flora, in mind. Located within the urban zone, the charco is 220 acres of recreational and spiritual space within walking distance of the city center. Granted, it's a long walk.

As much as I enjoy the city's constant stimulation of activities and entertainment, I need some down time to get recharged and reclaim my sense of well being. As an introvert and a type 9 in the enneagram system, the overload of stimulation that the city provides eventually depletes me of my energy and good will. I start to get anxious and withdrawn, seeing only the negative around me, especially towards people and especially the gringos. I need to move away from the constant noise, traffic and commotion that seems like the blood that keeps a city alive.

We caught a cab on the ancha de San Antonio, a wide street that leads out of town near our apartment, and I listened to Susan chat it up with the driver in rapid spanish. I caught every fifth word or so trying to follow along before I gave up and just stared out the window as the city faded to sparsely placed squat concrete buildings and the cobbled road gave way to fine tan dirt the texture of powdered sugar. We arrived at the entrance to the park, paid and proceeded to hike leisurely down the maintained trail.

I noticed myself exhaling the weight of the city and inhaling the revitalizing nature that surrounded me. That was the moment when I started to reclaim myself as a natural part of my environment. I felt like I was a missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle that was finally being put into place to complete the image of a benign world. As we wandered down through the nopal cactus, mesquite and pepper trees, each step was a healing process for me and every breath of clean air rejuvenated. As I write these words and relive my experience I can't help but feel like I'm being over dramatic about the effect the place had on me but it really feels like the truth. Continuing down the gentle slope we soon found ourselves in a greenhouse with hundreds of types of unique cactus and native plants grouped in mounds of land separated by a meandering circulating stream. I took a lot of pictures of individual plants and was taken by the beauty of each one. The spiny protective quills on these cactus amazed me and I studied them closely. I considered the evolutionary process these plants underwent over millennium in order to be protected from predators. Frankly, the extent of spinyness that some of them exhibited seemed a little extreme and unnecessary. But, who was I to judge.

Back outside we continue down toward the receding brown waters of the reservoir. I commented to Susan on the low level and how dirty the water is but that the ducks don't seem to mind. Bright crimson red birds landed on top of the organos and appeared even more brilliant with the backdrop of a stunning deep blue sky. I found myself becoming more aware, and receptive of the nature around me, allowing myself to open to my relationship with it and to relax.

My hat blew off in the wind while crossing the reservoirs ancient dam and I climbed down from the sides of the rocky gorge to retrieve it, watching for (anticipating) an encounter with a snake. No such luck this time. Looking back up the canyon my eyes followed the rusty iron aqueduct that hugs the cliff running the length of the canyon walls. The enormous pipe was constructed in the late 1800's as part of a reservoir and dam project for the purpose of supplying water to generate electricity at the now long closed, Aurora textile factory located below within the city of San Miguel. Prior to that, the natural springs that provided the water running through the canyon was utilized by the early Spanish settlers, who built canals, mills, dikes, bridges and workshops. I expect that prior to that, the natives enjoyed it beauty, spiritual energy and natural bounty. I explored some of the structural ruins of the mill as we hiked further down the waterway. It was hard for me to imagine the torrents of water needed to make this old mill grind considering the trickle of water flowing down this arroyo now.

We eventually neared the furthest reaches of the maintained trail and the air was beginning to warm up. Hawks and buzzards circle above us riding on the rising currents. From this vantage we could look down on the city below. It was deceptively silent from this distance. I stepped out onto a rock outcropping to try to record the magnitude of the canyon and the awesome nature around me with my video camera. The enormity of the sheer cliffs and openness of the desert was wondrous, I wanted to selfishly capture and preserve it for myself. But later, reviewing the film I can see that it didn't do justice to the beauty that I experienced at the time. In any case, go here to take a look.

Soon we were back at the entrance after having made the trails complete circuit of the park. We stopped for some cool juice at the tiny cafeteria and rested under the solitary palapa. I ignored the conversations going on between the few other gringos that shared the shade with us. I wanted to maintain my sense of peace I garnered from the environment for as long as possible before re-entering the civilized world. Don't get me wrong, I like the city of San Miguel with it's bustling activities. The taxis, cars and people. The sounds of the knife sharpener's whistle and the trash collectors banging their sheet metal. The dull church bells that echo off the earth colored concrete buildings, planted like hardened earth on cobble stone streets that shine from the polish of constant traffic. But, it wears me out and after a few days or a weeks time, I'm in need of some soul recovery. The type that, for me, only comes from a reconnection with nature. Yes, it was time to go back into the city, my batteries re-charged and my psyche fortified but I still held a small doubt that it was enough to get me through the next week.
-posted by Mark

Friday, December 16, 2011

At the Tuesday Market

When the taxi driver drops us off at the Tuesday market, he warns us to watch our purse and wallets. Ojo! He says, and points to his eye. Watch out. 'Hay muchos ladrones'. We have been warned before, but we keep returning, and so far have managed to avoid being targets for theft.

The market, locally called tianguis, (the nahuatl word for market) spreads out before us like a small city beneath a criss-crossing of colorful tarps spread across the entire area, anchored by cables and frayed ropes to strategically placed poles. The place is thrumming with activity as crowds meander past stalls with tables piled high with papayas, tomatoes, jicamas and chilies.  A stand with fresh fish shipped from the coast stacked on melting ice, a table where chicken parts  are displayed in grotesque piles amidst the circling flies: a mound of heads, then livers, gizzards, and even feet.  Aluminum cookware, plastic buckets, brooms. Boxes of gummy worms, syrupy piles of camote, candied yams.  Wasps landing on thick cakes dripping with frosting in unearthly colors.

We wander past cages of chickens and ducks, canaries and parrots, tanks of goldfish and turtles. There are stalls of garish underwear, enormous bins of socks, knock off T-shirts emblazoned with "Hollister" and "Abercrombe." A narrow cart laden with shoelaces ambles down the uneven aisles. We buy a jar of honey from a wheelbarrow with a dripping beehive in it, a pile of avocados because they are insanely cheap here, as is a huge papaya and a handful of limes, which we pile into our bolsa along with a bag of toffee covered peanuts and fresh goat cheese from a local cheese maker named Pedro.

Suddenly, my own underwear seems a bit drab and boring.

Crowds of women sort through piles of used clothing while hawkers call out through microphones: Bara-bara-bara! They repeat like a mantra, the magic word that drives customers to their stalls. A short form of barato, meaning 'cheap'. It seems to be the number one qualifier for products here- 
todo barato! It’s all cheap!
The hawkers' cries mingle with the crooning voice and strumming guitar of a passing musician collecting coins, and the chilling screams and explosions emitting from a TV screen at a stall selling bootleg DVD's.

A circle of people surround a man with a microphone attached to his face as he explains to them the miracles of the small flask he is holding in his hand. It will clean your liver, your kidneys, your intestines! He says. It will kill parasites and remove warts! It will bring back your youth! At his feet are laminated photos of unsightly body organs, a jar containing an enormous parasitical wormlike thing, bunches of dried herbs and a few vegetables, props he uses to drive his point home. He demonstrates the liquid's effectiveness by pouring it into a clear plastic bag and taking a slug himself, and then spitting into the bag. The liquid turns black, but as he swirls it around it miraculously becomes clear, thereby demonstrating beyond a doubt that it actually works. Hands reach into purses and pockets- it seems that everyone has something that needs curing, and god knows, we all want a miracle.

Mark spies a man selling foamy liquid out of huge plastic jugs, and his eyes light up. A woman chugging down a cupful holds it up to him as a sign of cheers. It will make you feel good, she says. 
Que es? We ask. Pulque! Says the man, and he hands us a Styrofoam cup with a sample of the stuff. It is tart and sour and alien tasting. Mark is enthralled, and wants to know all about the process of making it. As one home brewer to another, perhaps he sees the man as being a part of his 'tribe.' Limited by his knowledge of Spanish, he points enthusiastically as he struggles with one word questions. Fermentado? He asks. Llevadura? The man looks at him confused, but Mark can't help himself and struggles to find the words he needs. He points to the foam spewing out of the tops of plastic Pepsi cola bottles and asks Cuanto alcohol? But the guy just shrugs. Barato, he says. It’s cheap. What else could you possibly want to know? It’s cheap, AND it makes you feel good. Just buy some and drink it up, for crying out loud. *

We make our way over to my favorite part of the market, the surreal realm of old used stuff, where piles of rusty tools mingle with antiques and the hopes of a possible "find" of something rare and valuable. Barbie dolls leaning up against old wooden crucifixes. Machetes of all shapes and sizes lined up in perfect display. Brass doorknockers, fake tin retablos smeared with tar to make them look like the real thing, frayed stacks of Mexican comic books, plaster busts of Jesus with drips of red paint down his face from barbed wire thorns. A mountain of rusty springs of all shapes and sizes. Electronic parts, old jewelry, pot metal foosball players in an old cigar box on a table made of welded horseshoes. 
I pick up a woodblock print and am told it was made made by the famous Guadalupe Posada himself. Maybe yes, maybe no. I buy it for half the asking price, because regardless of who made it, it is a beautiful treasure.

We find a stall selling hand blown drinking glasses, and Mark wants to buy some small shot glasses for some home made Mezcal he has purchased. How much? He asks. 'Cuanto? ' 20 pesos, says the old man behind the table. I pick up a large drinking glass. How much for this one? 20 pesos, says the man. What? But this one is so much smaller, says Mark, holding up the shot glass. Shouldn't it be cheaper? In our gringo minds we know that big things should cost more than smaller things. That's how the world works. But the man just shrugs and shakes his head. Yes, but it takes the same amount of work to make both of them, he says, and begins to wrap the shot glasses in a piece of newspaper. How many do you want? He asks. We choose four of them, and are graciously offered a ten peso discount.

Tacos de Cabeza, anyone?
We come across a lone cow skull adorned with a bunch of radishes perched on the edge of a food stand selling tacos de cabeza, and realize that we are hungry. We sit on plastic stools at a crowded table at a food stand selling blue corn gorditas: thick tortillas stuffed with chilies, cheese, chicken, spiced meats, etc. They are delicious. I buy a celery and pineapple juice smoothie from a fresh fruit stand, to which Mark, who only drinks beer or Coke, turns up his nose. 

Finally, our bolsa and bellies full, we decide to take the local bus back to town, bumping down the cobblestones as grinding gears and squealing brakes play percussion to the wailing ranchera music blaring from the driver's radio.

*You can read more about Mark's experience with the 'Pulqueros' on his blog Beer Diary...

-posted by Susan

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Recovering Catholic

I was born into and raised to be a good Catholic for the first eighteen years of my life. And like a lot of Catholic mothers, I think mine expected I would grow up to be a priest some day. But I didn't, I don't think I ever really bought into the ideas of practicing a faith. All of the rituals and rote behavior I was taught reminded me of the definition of insanity, "repeating the same behaviour expecting the results to be different". Kneel, stand, sit, kneel, stand, sit. Now, as a recovering Catholic it's sometimes challenging for me to be involved or even appreciate the religious activities that are such a big part of the culture in Mexico. The presense of the Church is manifest in everything from the ubiquitous bell toll's call to prayer at the crack of dawn to the yearly blessing of the taxis and animals. And as much as I love the architecture of the old Spanish colonial churches, it gives me the willies to enter as I consider the human suffering that went into building them. When I finally get up the courage, I spend the time inside these weighty structures preoccupied with my anxiety and the desire to feel the relief of getting out. Seeing passersby on the street habitually make the sign of the cross when passing each church (and there are many) makes me realize how ingrained the belief in God and the Catholic system is within the people of Mexico.

As I understand, prior to the Spanish invasion and occupation of this land, the indigenous people had many Gods, each representing different aspects of their daily lives. It's not surprising then that a bridge was needed to unite the conquered people with the one God ideology of the new masters.
As I watch the preparations take place to ready the streets and plazas to rejoice once again the triumph of the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe by Juan Diego, I desperately want my cynical mind to allow for the positive aspects in the celebrations.

However, the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe is another chapter within my book of skepticism regarding religion and the Catholic church in particular. But, for the sake of my mental health and happiness, I make an effort to focus on the positives. The real joy and elation that the people exhibit is tangible and I notice that I want to be included. My emotions are mixed as I envy their sincere appreciation. I try to quiet my dubious mind as I witness them finding comfort and trust in a deity that exists to protect and preserve their families while I have no such benefactor save myself. I watch from the sidelines as thanks are given for blessings bestowed regardless of circumstances, and hope for the future is rekindled again under the explosions from the castillos that light up the faces and break open the night.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Versions of the Virgin

Images of "La Virgen de Guadalupe" 
celebrated on December 12th in the streets, 
markets and churches of San Miguel de Allende
and all of Mexico.

For an essay I wrote about the Virgin of Guadalupe 
on my other blog in 2008  (Note from the Island) click here.

-posted by Susan

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Manbag Debate

Here in San Miguel we don't have cars with us, and consequently find ourselves walking several miles every day, which means that we need to transport any stuff we need to take with us on our bodies. I carry a medium sized purse or bag to contain my necessities, but Mark leaves the house with his wallet in one front pocket, cell phone in the other. He has a camera strapped across his shoulder, a notebook tucked into his pants, and a sweatshirt tied at the waist. A few hours into the day and he is carrying a newspaper tucked under one arm, a plastic bag with a few essentials from the farmacia tied to a loop of his jeans, a bag of sweet rolls from the bakery in one hand and a can of soda in the other.  He is beginning to look a little like a cluttered clothes horse.

Handcrafted leather bag by a local artisan

Mark graciously agrees to at least pose with a 
variety of bags at a local crafts fair

Morral bag, handwoven and used 
by Mexican indigenous men

I suggest the obvious. "Honey," I say, "wouldn't it more practical to have some kind of shoulder bag to keep you stuff in?" He responds by looking at me as if I have just suggested that high heels might be more appropriate footwear than his Skeechers.
"You mean, like a purse?" he asks.
"Well, not exactly." He pauses, as if trying to imagine the impossible.
"Oh, you mean a man bag? No way. Don't even think about it." He says, as he shifts the pastry bag to his other hand so he can remove his wallet, which he puts in his mouth so he can reach for the keys that were buried beneath it. "Anyway, he says between his clenched teeth, "I can carry everything I need just fine without having to cart a bag around."
"I just thought it might make things easier," I suggest.
"Hey, if I can't carry it on my body, I just won't take it with me."
The newspaper slips to the floor as he moves to put the pastry bag between his knees, because he needs two hands to open the door.
I know what he is thinking: Gay. Feminine. Emasculating. It's an image thing, after all, though I know he won't admit it. It's as difficult for my female mind to understand as it is for him to consider my proposal. After all, why deny yourself any conveniences you may need or goodies you may come across simply because you have no place to put them? And anyway, I actually think they are kind of sexy. In a "European" sort of way...

Folkloric - but stylish Guatemalan woven bag

Mark responds:
Firstly, I don't believe it's emasculating for men to carry a purse, with the exception of the type of purses that are specifically designed to be feminine. Like the ones with the embroidered flowers or butterflies dancing in the wind.

Support- a- cause bag hand 
embroidered by a local co op.

The real issue for me is that I don't believe carrying a 'man-bag' would make it easier for me and in fact I believe the opposite is true. That it would make my life more difficult. Here is the logic behind my stance:
If there were no such thing as gravity or space, I would carry around with me every possible thing that I thought would make my life easier and more comfortable. All the items that would solve any problem and address all of the circumstances that may arise during my day. Inevitably, this would lead to hauling around all kinds of excess. For instance, it's not unreasonable for me to suspect that at any moment a 5/16" socket wrench may well be needed during the course of my day so, I might as well have it on me. Or a framing hammer for that matter, along with my wallet, car keys and a Maglite flashlight, the enormous one that holds like 6 'D' sized batteries, box of tissues, nail file, chapstick and box of cocoa puffs. I would be happy to shove it all into my magic man bag and enjoy the security that comes with the knowledge that I am prepared no matter what.
"Oh, hungry? Wait a minute while I dig out this box of cereal and just one more second, now where's that carton of milk? Ah, here it is."

What I'm suggesting is that if I carried a purse or rather a 'man bag' with me, I can assure you that the 5/16" wrench could very well end up in there. Unfortunately, there is gravity and so I need to impose limits, and these limits need to be strict as I battle my arch enemy - gravity. I don't want to be burdened with the weight of carrying every trivial thing that may or may not be needed and so I carry only the essentials, the basic problem solving tools of modern man, and the less of these the lighter I am in this world. Examples may include money, cell phone and keys with a bottle opener on the key chain.
Here is the question I ask myself: Do I want to laden myself with the security of carrying a 50 pound man bag around with me that contains who knows what in order to remedy or rectify any dilemma, or would I rather enjoy the freedom that results from holding only what I'm able to put in the limited space of the pockets of my pants? Obviously, the question answers itself.

Please feel free to  vote for your favorite bag, 
or none at all in the Comments section below

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beautiful Bugs

I saw these two Mexican VW's on the streets of San Miguel on the same day. To me they perfectly represent some of the reasons I love this place....

The beaded bug

It turns out this car is quite famous. Here is some info I gleaned from the web:

This famous VW is called “Vochol” and is a combination of “Vocho,” a popular term for Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico, and “Huichol”, a Mexican indigenous group. (The Huichol community live in the states of Nayarit and Jalisco and are famous for their traditional beads and fabric craftsmanship.)
The imagery is traditional, featuring serpents resting on clouds cover the front of the car – an appeal for rain – while the roof depicts a sun and four eagles. The trunk is adorned with a shaman in a boat, and the sides of the car feature the sun god, the corn god, the deer god, scorpions, and peyote.
The designs on the car were created by master craftsman Francisco Bautista, and is adorned with over 2 million beads on the body, dashboard, and steering wheel.

Found Art

Here is a humbler version of the VW parked down the street from our house. I love the layered rustic beauty of the surface, as if it has lived many lives and has many stories to tell...

-posted by Susan