Sunday, September 14, 2014

Callejon del Beso

There is a charming, narrow alley in Guanajuato (Gto) where the legend is that if lovers kiss on that street, they will be blessed forever. (The actual Mexican folktale is much more like Romeo and Juliet's.) Yesterday I went to Guanajuato with a young couple from Australia (Lionel and Donna) and was delighted to help them capture their love in this sweet spot.

Gto is a bustling college town … more piercings, tattoos, dreadlocks and young activities than San Miguel.  

If you sit in el jardin, you can listen to a costumed harpist 
or watch impromptu plays as well as a passing parade of young-old, rich-poor, happy-sad.

And, all around you, things are being sold … from the huge Mercado Hildalgo,

to children selling Chiclets en la calle.

At home, you can go to the mall; aqui, the mall comes to you in a movable feast of food, jewelry, flowers, clothes, art and otras cosas.

Fried bananas … I don't know how they taste but they are beautiful.

Mexico may be poor economically but it is rich in color and texture … in life. 

For some reason, this image captures my feelings about Mexico at this point … appealing, messy, mysterious, ancient … it calls to me to touch it and relax into its many contradictions. Perhaps that's the message: Mexico is like life, filled with contradictions, a tangle that will never be a straight line no matter how much you push and pull or weep and wail.

Other images from Gto:

A high point for me was touring the house where Diego Rivera lived for the first few years of his life and which has been turned into a museum.  I'm familiar with his mural work but was surprised to see the wide range of his art work. I couldn't take pictures inside the house but was delighted to find this painting of him and Frida in a nearby coffee shop.

Lionel told me that he heard that Mexico is one of the world's biggest users of bottled waters. Yay!

A city of stairs!

However, the view is worth it!

If you peek into enough alleys, doorways, restaurants, hotels and corners, you're bound to find unexpected bits of beauty.

People and their animals live on rooftops.

Contradictions in Mexico.

The culture here has great reverence for family and ancestors. One of my instructors explained to me that people living alone are pitied (pobrecitos) and considered unsuccessful … as if the reason they live alone is because they cannot afford a family. This emphasis on family includes revering the dead. We wandered into a cemetery which was a continuation of flower and life.

However, the oddest thing we saw was the Museo de las Momias (museum of the mummies). Because of the lack of oxygen in the way corpses are buried, they mummify and Gto has created a museum to display them.  There is much I do not understand about how and why but it was definitely not one of my favorite places.  One example only. For some reason she looks like someone I would have liked in life.


  1. Love it Joyce! Love how you tell such a charming story.....privileged to be a part of your journey :)

  2. And, I am so enjoying having such charming amigos on the journey. (not even trying to find las palabras de espanol) ;-)