Into Mexico

Flying into León. From there it will be about an hour’s ride (or 90 minutes, I forget which) by car to San Miguel de Allende.
Unlike San Miguel, León is flat country. It sits in the middle of a wide, wide valley. It reminds me very much of California’s Santa Clara Valley in that it is an agricultural region. Very smoggy. But it’s also a manufacturing hub, home to several auto companies. I wouldn’t be surprised if the car you’re driving was made here. Or parts of it were.
In SMA I’ll be staying at the home of friends, former Houston residents who now live in Colorado but spend as much time as they can in this beautiful city. (I was going to say colorful but I’ve decided to try to avoid using that word given that everything is colorful in this country).
I don’t know what I’ll do in San Miguel other than visit with my hosts and do whatever things they may have planned. But I will also roam around by myself, poking here and there in the hope of finding interesting things to take pictures of.
Tomorrow I will have coffee with a woman I’ve never met. She’s a pen-pal of my Swiss friend. She used to live in New Mexico but moved here not long ago. She sounds like an interesting person. She’s a former Peace Corps volunteer in Africa and is a quilter She blogs. About quilting, about her travels and other things.
On Monday I will go to Queretaro for a day and a half and from there I’ll take a bus to Mexico City for a four-day visit. I’ve never been to Queretaro (a weekend in a suburban hotel back in the 80s when I went there to cover a conference doesn’t really count). It’s a colonial city and has the usual number of attractions offered by this country’s colonial cities.
I haven’t been to Mexico City in many years. I think the last time I was there was also in the 80s, when I flew down from DC to interview the US ambassador to Mexico. I can’t remember his name now. A former actor. Friend of Reagan. He was a gracious interviewee but he complained about my report to my editors. Didn’t like how what he told me sounded like in print. He couldn’t claim that I made it up, though, because I had it all on tape.
I didn’t spend too many days in Mexico City on that trip but in 1984, I spent about a month there, covering a UN World Population Conference and then doing reporting for a special section on Mexico that The Houston Post decided to publish. It was something like 15 pages and every word (except for the headlines) was written by me.
My first trip to Mexico City was around 1980, Christmas time. I went down with a friend from graduate school and did all the touristy things, including the pyramids and the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. I still have a picture of Rick, who is Jewish, joining the other pilgrims as they moved towards the church on their knees.
I am eager to see Mexico City again and to see how much it’s changed since I last saw it. I’ve read and heard of all the new museums and galleries, and I can’t wait to see them.
Flying into León and driving to SMA or Guanajuato always remind me of the Josè Alfredo Jiménez tune, “Camino de Guanajuato,” one of his most beautiful songs despite its gloomy opening lines (No vale nada la vida. La vida no vale nada. Comienza siempre llorando y así llorando se acaba.).
We are about to land. More later.

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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One Response to Into Mexico

  1. Rudy Pruneda says:

    Great read Juan, keep them coming. BTW my good friend Jayne Clark lives in SMA…..wish the two of you could meet and compare lives.

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