Wednesday, July 06, 2011
I played tourist on Monday. After all, even though I live in Mexico, I am a tourist in San Miguel.
When I was here in January, the one-day visit was far too rushed to get any feel for the place. Part of that was due to the fact that I did not get to meet any of the people I know here. I simply walked around looking at churches and markets.
And that is what I did on Monday. But this time I took my time.
I started taking photographs as if I would never see a church again. Of course, I will. But I made a discovery that may put my photography on hold until I return in two weeks. I forgot to bring the charger for my camera battery. And the battery is slipping into one-bar territory.
Barbara lives high in the hills over San Miguel. The view is beautiful. And the walk down hill into town is simple -- if steep. It is the walk back up that is the challenge. So, I try to combine as many things into one trip as I can.
My first errand was to buy tickets for the chamber music festival -- to be presented in the Teatro Angela Peralta (to the left). The Parker Quartet will be in town at the end of the month. And I should be able to see two of their concerts.
I say “should” because when I arrived at the ticket desk, the president of the board (who I met at church and had lunch with on Sunday) was trying to assist the ticket seller in rectifying a computer system that had gone on work stoppage.
I will try again tomorrow. After all, culture was one reason for this visit.
But there was plenty of colonial culture to see. And today it was churches.
My first stop was the tiny Templo de nuestra señora de la salud. When I was hear in January, a group of nuns were singing in a side chapel. On Monday, there were no nuns. Just an interesting old church where I sat and prayed briefly. After all, that is one reason for the place to be built.
I then wandered over to the neighboring Santa Casa de Loreto. A larger church whose exterior is far more ornate than its interior. (Pictured on the right.)
Templo de san francisco is one of those churches that are very common in Mexico. A façade from one era, a dome in a compoletely different style. In this case, the towers are Mexican Baroque (Churrigueresque) and the dome is classical. But the interior is pure Classical.
I am going to hold off on my comments concerning La parroquia – the icon of San Miguel. I have some observations that may get me ridden out of here on a rail. Maybe tomorrow. For the comments -- not the rail.
The last place I stopped was La parroquia’s next door neighbor -- Santa escuela. When I was here in January, this was the church that stayed in my memory longer than any of the others.
Many churches in Mexico have figures of saints dressed in actual clothing. This church goes a step further with wigs and beards, and then outfits every figure in full regalia. At first, it stuck me as a bit creepy.
But on this trip, it made me chuckle to myself. I finally figured out what it looks like. It appears as if a repertoire company’s van had broken down and they needed a spot to store their costumes. The church even designed one backdrop to look exactly like a proscenium arch.
I believe God loves laughter. And Santa escuela certainly meets that need in my soul. It also helps that the tiles in the church are a color that seems to appear only in municipal swimming pools.
At each church, I had an opportunity to sit and think. And pray.
And what could be a better way to spend a relaxed tour day?