The collective motion of thousands of birds in swirling patterns is called a murmuration.  Scientists have many theories as to why they happen, but it is still largely a mystery - a mystery that makes for a wonderful sunset show.  As we depart from San Miguel the brown headed cowbirds are passing through town on their way north and their murmuration was like a three act play.  In the first act we sat and watched a small group of red legged stilts fish for dinner along the muddy shore.  Occasionally one would wander into the yellow reflections of dried grass, creating an almost autumn like scene. We began to wonder if we had bad information about this event.

In Act Two, a few scout birds start entering the area from the south, then a few more.  For awhile it doesn't look like much, but slowly the numbers begin to build.  Just when we think it is the end, thousands more birds arrive in tight flying squadrons and then the dance really starts, high in the sky.  Swooping, arcing coils of flight.  A small group breaks off and starts swirling around a nearby island.  We can hear their wings as they make their rapid turn around the back side of the island.

As the sky darkens, the third act begins, a slow descent over their nesting area.  Gradually birds drop from the flock onto the trees until every last bird has its home for the night and it is too dark to see them against the trees.

It was a lovely farewell performance for our time in San Miguel de Allende

Sunday Dancers

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Sunday was a day of dance in the Jardin.  From the gazebo at the center of this town's meeting place came the sounds of the tango and sambo.  In front of the Parroquia were "traditional" dancers enjoying a sunny day at last.  A Mexican friend of mine takes great umbrage at these performances.  "In Aztec culture," he says "wearing feathers was reserved for only the very highest members of society. "

Meanwhile,  in between the two dance groups,  young break dancers set up their own impromptu stage with a large piece of cardboard.   With humor, grace, and the flexibility of young joints they gave us all a great show

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Conquistador Dance

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On the first Friday in March the day begins early in San Miguel.  Long before dawn we heard singing and then the unique sound of seed pod anklets as dancers began their predawn trek to Jardin.  This Fiesta de Los Conquistador celebrates the adoption of Catholicism by Mexico's indigenous people.  It is celebrated with incense, drums,  an ancient corn husk statue of Jesus, and thirty three dances that take 24 hours to complete.  And of course, fireworks....

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Teatro Juarez

This ornate theater was almost 100 years in its construction.  The steps and portico serve as a community

gathering space and impromtu performance space for jugglers, singers, and musicians.

If you look carefully you will that one of the statues on top representing the arts looks very much like

our Statue of Liberty. 

Here is the traditional view:

Teatro Classic View

And the artsy fartsy view:

Teatro Looking Up

Travelling to Guanjuato

Buses with big comfy seats, HD TV and Movies, internet and free snacks.  Oh did I mention the clean antimassacars placed on each seat before each trip.  This is the way to travel, for a little more than half of what the same distance would cost at home, on a much less classy ride.

Took a break from watching The Darkest Hour - a stupid guy movie about aliens in Moscow.  Not a great story, but the dialogue was so simple I could understand most of it in Spanish.. And when the bang bang
shoot em up got too boring, there were high desert scenes like this

Carved deep out of a mountain valley, one enters and leaves the city by tunnels.

Callejons and Colorful Corners

The thing that makes Guanjuato such a fun place to wander around in are the juxtapositions of colors and narrow angles.  Much of the city is carved out of canyon walls so the wide calle in the flat areas, become spare pathways, often in deep shadow, but still filled with color.





Just outside of town, down a dusty road lined with trees hiding layers of gray grit, is an oasis of green - Rancho La Trinidad.  Here rows of organically grown chard, lettuce, fennel, brocoli bask in rich soil and late afternoon watering.  What a relief to smell the aromoa of green things growing and air with moisture, if only for a few moments. 

 In addition to all those familiar greens, there is a sun shaded hoop house where nopal paddles are lined up in tidy rows like good little soldiers, busily growing juicy babies for Saturday's market.

The Bike Man

The squealing sound of a fan belt that needs tightening is a frequent player in the symphony of street noise here.  It seemed odd to me that it was such a common problem until one day I watched a taxi with bald tires trying to get some traction on bald stones...duh...  That is the source of the squealing noise.

The street surface is equally hard on bicycles and the bike stall in the market is a busy place.



On the Sunday before Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, the Jardin, becomes a world of colorful flowers and confetti eggs... Vendors surround the town's central plaza with bags of cascaras for children and adults, to smash on one another's heads.  And there is a feast of lovely paper  flowers, planted in the gardens...and if you shop early you can bring some home with you.




Carnaval Egg Bonking from Deborah Ehrens on Vimeo.


And the morning after: