Friday, February 13, 2009

Mañana, vamos a San Miguel

Guanajuato continues to be charming. Kristen and I have started to adopt the local meal schedule, as my classes end at 3 pm and we're usually at school from 9 am until then. According to my grammar teacher, Mexicans traditionally eat five meals a day, with the largest being la comida at 3 or 4 pm. Therefore all the local restaurants serve their largest meals around 3 in the afternoon. Yesterday, we tried the prix-fixe menu at one of the restaurants on the main square, which was delicious: green beans criollos (which translates, supposedly, as "creole" but was green beans and scrambled eggs), mushroom and chili soup, grilled chicken and sugared plaintains with rum sauce and ice cream. Muy rico. (We didn't eat again until breakfast this morning!)

After la comida, we somehow found the energy to wander over to the Museo de Alhondiga de Granaditas, where we foundered our way through the mostly-Spanish-language plaques describing the history of Guanajuato. The building used to be the seat of Spanish government back in the 19th century, and was the site of the first battle of the Mexican Revolution. It's amazing how little world history I've learned - I had no idea, for example, that Guanajuato was kind of like Boston during the American Revolution: they had lots of money and resources here, from the silver trade, and when the Spanish started taxing their silver exhorbitantly, they revolted. The museum also had examples of pre-colonization artwork, which was beautiful - and clearly still a popular style, as we saw an 800 year old vase that was painted almost identically to the lamp in our hostel, which we found amusing.

Since I don't have any new pictures to share today, here's a written bit of local color: there's an old man who sits on the street just down from our hostel, playing his guitar and singing, seemingly all day long - he's there when we walk to school and he's there when we've passed by in the evenings. He seems to prefer American/English-language songs; so far we've heard him singing Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, show tunes and once, I think, a Britney Spears song. But it's pretty clear that he doesn't actually speak English: all the syllables run together into this mix of sound that sort of resembles English. It's a bit of a challenge every morning to identify the song he's singing. I don't usually give money to street performers, but I think before I leave I'll have to send at least a few pesos his way - so far, he's been a good diversion in the mornings.

Tomorrow (if more people sign up to meet the minimun group size), the school will running an excursion to San Miguel de Allende, a neighboring town about an hour away known for its artistic community and, I hear, some truly beautiful hot springs. We'll also be visiting Dolores Hilalgo, which ostensibly has some sort of historical significance but, by the comments of our teachers and other students, is mainly memorable for the odd flavors of ice cream produced there, such as avocado, tequila, cactus and pork-skin. I'm not sure I'm adventurous enough to brave the pork-skin ice cream, but if the trip happens, I'm sure I'll manage to bring back a report about one of the other flavors.

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