San Miguel Allende, Part 1

Everytime I visit a completely new place, a different landscape, a new country, I spend the first few days being totally thrown off by the light, the color, the new energy, new things to see. I’d been in Mexico City for 3 days before catching a bus to San Miguel Allende so you’d think I had a bit of time to get used to the colors, right?  Nope. If you think of Mexico as a country in technicolor, then San Miguel Allende is Mexico on steroids. There’s just no other way to describe the light and the dazzling color. You can see in my fist sketches, I’m overwhelmed…

Blue skies, cobbled sloping streets, colorful paper flags, orange and pink buildings…trying to take it all in…sma1

And at the Zócalo that day. Balloon sellers, crowds, piñatas, a jardin with strange-shaped trees, the criss-cross of wires, ornate metalwork lamps. And like that wasn’t enough, an ornate pink, yes pink, church.
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At almost that same location, minutes after the sketch above, these mojigangas appear. All day, everyday, all over downtown San Miguel Allende, you see these giant puppets walking around, posing with people for photographs, or off to an event.
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This never-changing view of San Agustin was to become etched in my brain over the next few days: more than once, I spent close to an hour standing in the evening in line for piping hot churros. No ordinary churros, these. Fried for you right when you reach the front of that line, rolled in sugar, with the filling of your choice. I tried dulce de leche, fresa, chocolate and nutella. Totally worth the wait. My kids played in the jardin on the opposite side of the street while I waited.
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The Toy Museum is something else. Like with most museum visits, I start by trying to sketch as I wander, but all too soon the dizzying displays means I give up on sketching and just try to take in what I can. This is all I sketched, but it tells you almost nothing about why you have to visit this museum. Mexican toys, even the simplest of them, are wildly imaginative handmade works of art.
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More from San Miguel Allende in my next post.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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19 Responses to San Miguel Allende, Part 1

  1. brubakerr says:

    Did you let Katie know?

    Robert G. Brubaker, Ph.D.
    Professor and Chair
    Department of Psychology
    Eastern Kentucky University

    Sent from my iPad

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  2. Thank you for bringing up such good memories of San Miguel de Allende. 🙂 Diane

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  3. rhodadraws says:

    Dear Suhita, you’ve captured the essence of El Jardin and la Parroquia! I missed the Toy Museum before, so that’s on my list when I go back. As for the churros, i’m better off avoiding them! Hasta luego.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, you MUST try one churro , sometime… I bet you the lines are MUCH shorter now that all of us tourists are gone! (I recommend the Nutella churro if you must have just one, although I recommend one of each flavor :)). It’s nice to think that if I visit SMA again, I can meet you there…

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    • NO! you gotta have the churros, Rhoda. the line will be shorter when you go back and the chocolate churros are to die for: not chocolate dipped, but the ones with molten chocolate filling. Just the very, very best to you at the start of this new adventure!

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  4. I absolutely enjoy your sketches of San Miguel de Allende. It’s nice to see recognizable scenes through your eyes. I particularly liked how you describe your impresion as a first time visitor. I myself will be there soon for the third time to sketch it. I cannot get enough from SMA. I’m looking forward to your next post. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Meagan says:

    Wow it’s cool to see that I know a number of people who have left comments, and that SMA has left such a favorable impression on so many! It’s hard to go back to a muted palette after living in a place like this, and so awesome to see your colorful and energetic take on San Miguel de Allende. Safe travels Suhita!

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  6. Uma says:

    Fantastic sketches and story telling Suhita. Your new style of less lines and more color shapes in some was very fascinating as well. Loved this piece.

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  7. linda says:

    Thank you for bring me the color and place that I cant get to beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for these great takes on SMA. I have gone many times and never tire of the color, culture, and festivities which you capture.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cinthya says:

    These are so so pretty! I’m in the road of learning,or more accurately, teaching myself how to watercolor and these are very inspiring! If you have any tips on how to sketch and paint while traveling I would love to hear them! Also, I just came back from San Miguel de Allende myself and you captured it perfectly!

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