Posts Tagged ‘San Miguel de Allende’

Day of the Dead in San Miguel de Allende I

November 3, 2013

It Goes Back a Long Way

The dead are always with us, and in Mexico on the Day of the Dead they are invited to enjoy the ofrendas, or offerings—of food, photos, favorite objects—that the living set out for them. Under the portales that flank San Miguel’s Jardin Principal, the living and the dead may eat in close proximity:

DoD1_1

The Day of the Dead descends from the great cultures of Mesoamerica— Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Mixtec, Aztec—spiritual ancestors, masters of death and life:

Dod1_2 Read on

Advertisements

Outside-in, in Mexico

November 25, 2009

In Mexico, the outside doesn’t stay there. In New York, the outside is pretty much like the inside—manmade. Unless you go to Central Park. But that’s manmade, too. And very well-behaved. We do get the odd mosquito, and a fly or two may invade our apartments. Even, on occasion, a tiny spider. Roaches don’t count. They’re inside creatures. So, really, are rats and mice. Central Park has plenty of those, too.

Mexico is different. Even a gringo-ridden town like San Miguel. Read more

Paving the Callejon

May 11, 2009

Valvino and his family are paving the callejon. His sons Oscar and Rolando are men enough for real work, swinging the pick or sledgehammer, pushing a full-sized wheelbarrow full of cobblestones or cement. Various small grandsons share a child-sized wheelbarrow and have a go with the pick whenever anyone is willing to indulge them. Valvino’s wife sometimes comes out in the afternoon to kibitz, as do his two daughters, one of whom brings her own small daughter. A couple of friends stop by to work or hang out. Ian, who grew up with Valvino’s oldest son, Antonio, and is now in law school, kibitzes, too; his parents live on the callejon. Antonio himself comes by on weekends to pitch in, bringing his two small children to watch.

Road Crew at Work

Road Crew at Work

As I write this in the office of the casita I rent from my friend Sue, the excited chatter of children cuts through the deeper tones of the men, with a woman’s voice chiming in occasionally. Then all is silent but the thud of the sledgehammer. Read on

Welcome to Beyond the Zeitgeist in Mexico

May 10, 2009

Zeitgeist: The spirit of the time – and place.

Beyond the Zeitgeist started as a New York City arts-and-language blog—random acts of culture from beyond the Zeitgeist.

After a hiatus, the blog relocated to San Miguel de Allende, a Central Mexico mountain town inhabited by a considerable (about 10% of the total) population of gringos—Mexican for “Americans.” Random acts of culture here mean culture in the broadest, or anthropological sense—anything that goes on, or the way things are. (From time to time we may report on the arts, but as likely as not from an anthropological, as opposed to a critical, perspective.)

Written by a gringa in Mexico, this blog is doubly beyond the Zeitgeist. And yet—the Zeitgeist is always the present time and place. So we can and do inhabit, legitimately, the spirit of our present situation.

Blog Identity Crisis

November 16, 2008

I started Beyond the Zeitgeist as a New York City blog—random acts of culture from beyond the zeitgeist. “Culture” in the broadest sense, meaning just about anything out there that took my fancy. Certainly not myself.

It seems a little early for a blog to have an identity crisis. In fact, it’s the author who’s having the identity crisis—in a way, starting this blog has been part of it. It’s a beyond-the-zeitgeist crisis: I lost my very long-term freelance gig, I’ve already had a long and checkered career, and I have to decide whether to relaunch myself in New York City or retire to Mexico, where I can afford to live in moderate comfort without working.

Retiring to Mexico is both tempting and terrifying. On the one hand, it would be in a town—San Miguel de Allende—I’ve stayed in many times, where I have friends. It’s beautiful. I have the offer of a beautiful little house, a casita, on a friend’s property, at a very good rent.

The problem is, I’m a New Yorker. Not born, but bred. I’ve lived here for 43 years—virtually all of my adult life. The layout of Manhattan is part of my brain’s wiring. New York City Ballet seasons are not about “going to the ballet;” they’re part of my identity. Virtually every dancer I came up with has retired—Wendy Whelan is the the only one left—but there are some very interesting younger ones, like Ashley Bouder. Continue reading