We arrived at the airport in Leon, Guanajuato, as the sun was rising like a blood orange over the Sierra Madre, bleary from an all night flight with a long layover in the altered reality of the LA airport. We load our bags into the shuttle and off we go, meandering our way out of the city and into the high desert, sharing the road with Bimbo Bread and Coca Cola trucks as we speed past the blur of scrawny mesquite trees and nopal cactus rising up in silhouette from the dry rocky earth. I can already feel the moisture being sucked from my skin and my chapped smile. We share the ride with an older couple from the northwest, who are already worrying about the safety of the drinking water, asking if it is OK to eat the vegetables, wondering if they will survive the full week they have to spend here in the dangerous world of Mexico.
Passing through small towns- people waiting at bus stops, little stands in the middle of nowhere with steaming clay pots of cinnamon laced coffee and atole. Finally we arrive in San Miguel, and the town is already alive and bustling with people and traffic, the sky now a sharp clear blue. It feels instantly familiar to me, as if I never left, as if the last two years were a dream I am now waking up from.
We grind up the cobblestone streets up to the narrow walkway that leads to the Antigua Capilla B&B, where the owners, our friends Francisco and Antonieta have graciously invited us to stay for a few nights, and we are eagerly looking forward to some deep rest in a comfy bed between high thread count sheets. In the courtyard is an ancient restored chapel, where I enter to give a quick prayer of thanks for our safe journey.
Each room is decorated with fine Mexican crafts: copper pots from Michoacan, Huichol indian yarn paintings, Oaxacan ceramics.
We are lead to the Catrina room, where we are greeted by colorfully dressed ceramic skeleton ladies grinning at us from the alcoves.
We fall into bed for several hours, until late afternoon when hunger drives us into the streets to an outdoor cafe for mole enchiladas and beer. Then we stagger back to the hotel, where we go up to the rooftop to sit on a porch swing and listen to the orchestra of roosters and songbirds, radios and laughing children, barking dogs, and ever present clanging of church bells. We watch the sun set over the distant mountains while waving lines of black Ibis wind their way toward the reservoir to roost. And then we go back into the cloud like beds and sleep some more, while we wait for our souls to catch up with us.
-posted by Susan
Sunset over San Miguel