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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
More from San Miguel Allende in my next post.