The rockets’ red glare

May 7, 2016 | San Miguel de Allende

I’ve been awake for a while now, ever since the fireworks started going off somewhere in the distance a bit before 6. I think they may be dying down now, but by now I can’t imagine anyone in this city being asleep anymore.

The fireworks didn’t really bother me. I had been waking up every half our or so, so I can’t say that I was shaken from a restful sleep. I stood on the balcony outside my room for a while to watch the fireworks but I got cold and crawled back into my bed, leaving the door open. Through the door I can see the pinkish light of the new day emerging from the east. It’s a peaceful, beautiful sight, the kind that makes you glad you’re alive.

I didn’t stay too long in El Centro yesterday afternoon. After I met with Bonnie Lee, the woman I had told you about earlier who is a pen pal of Isabelle, one of my best friends, from Switzerland. She has been living here for several months after a short stint of house-sitting in nearby Guanajuato. She moved here from Taos, where she wrote and taught part-time at a university there.

She loves it here and plans to spend the rest of her live in Mexico. She can’t afford to live in the United States on her Social Security income. She was renting a nice two-bedroom house for $500 but she has to move to a smaller, more expensive apartment because her first place was broken into and she doesn’t feel safe there anymore.

We met at the Starbucks downtown, in its patio. Even outside, the smell of cigarette smoke was overwhelming. But the conversation was good; it was like meeting with an old friend. I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again but I’m glad the forces of the universe conspired to get us together for this brief session.

When I came home yesterday afternoon my stomach was growling. I hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast but I had chosen not eat anything because I knew we were going out to eat in the evening. It just so happened that I arrived at Casa O’Leary at the time that La Señora was putting the finishing touches on some taquitos de pollo, made with some of the leftover chicken from the previous evening. There was also some guacamole and queso fresco. We ate it outside, on the veranda that overlooks the city. Can’t beat that.

On our way to dinner we stopped at the home of Irene, an ex-pat from Houston who moved here about a decade ago, maybe longer. A beautiful, beautiful home with a large lush patio that is surrounded by a tall wall painted bright red. She also has a beautiful rooftop deck with a spectacular view of the city and the mountains in the distance. Irene, who greeted us with a shot of some smooth, smooth mescal, is a self-taught painter and she proudly showed us most of her impressive work. She lives a good life here.

Dinner was at an Italian restaurant. The food was good and there were not that many other diners, so the noise level was down. Driving back home in the taxi I got glimpses of the nighttime crowds on the sidewalks, in the bars and restaurants, and in the parks. Mostly young people. It reminded me that I have never spent too much time out in the city at night. Maybe tonight after dinner I’ll do that.

I’m heading into town in a bit. I want to roam around and catch some of the color in this early-morning light.


About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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