You can’t get to most places in the hills of Guanajuato, Mexico, except by walking. Some of the “callejons” are a bit challenging, but walk slowly from the University steps up to Cerro del Cuarto and you will be richly rewarded. There is magic there on the walls and walkways, thanks to the artistry of my friend Pepe.Continue reading
Parting Shots and One Liners
I loved my month in Spain, although it was more tourism than a journey of discovery. Maybe I’ve gotten lazy, or maybe it was a little like running out a clock. But tourism is good! Here’s a visual round up of my Spain trip chronologically, city by city.Continue reading
On Friday, I went on a walking tour to see the murals in the neighborhood of Lavapies with Mimi and Gerardo, both artists themselves. I loved the mural behind them for its playfulness. You can see the reference to Matisse’s dancers in the top mural. Below, the mural is taking a poke at itself: the word “Spectaculum” means a place of entertainment and refers to the way street art can gentrify a neighborhood. So far, Lavapies retains its international not-gentrified character, and is full of immigrants from all over the world with a very strong sense of community.Continue reading
The Mother Road to Tucumcari
India’s most holy river is called “Mother Ganga.” America’s most holy highway is called “The Mother Road.” Route 66 is the highway equivalent of Old Glory and the American equivalent of the Silk Road. Between 1926 and 1985, it linked Chicago and Santa Monica for vacationers and every kind of itinerant during a period of westward migration. It’s been a symbol of American freedom and hope in some of our best literature, like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.Continue reading
How I Learned to Love Albuquerque
At first, I wasn’t crazy about Albuquerque. Miles and miles of strip malls, empty lots, parks with highway roar. Although the city’s Old Town is atmospheric, most of the stores sell junk, and the Old Town’s “best” café served me a greasy chili rellano with a side of canned spinach. Wasn’t canned spinach banned in 1959?
I left Arizona on Sunday, half-safe after my first Covid shot, and headed east to Monument Valley in Southern Utah. If you haven’t been to Monument Valley, you’ve probably seen it in films. It was first featured in “Stagecoach,” 1939, with John Wayne. Since then, the Valley’s spectacular sandstone formations have been the setting for more than a dozen classics, including “Thelma and Louise” and “Forest Gump.”
Greater Las Vegas is Greatest Las Vegas
When I was nine, my dad had to attend a convention in Las Vegas and decided to take the rest of us with him. At the time, Las Vegas didn’t have kid-oriented attractions, but it was thrilling for us anyway. We stayed in a real hotel with high ceilings, ate BLTs for the first time, and called room service for ice cream. Since then, I think of Las Vegas as a place to avoid, and I only stopped there this week because it’s on the way (to wherever I am going, not sure actually). During this visit, my hotel was very nice, my Thai take-out was very greasy, and I learned that Las Vegas has some very cool non-casino attractions.
Barrio Guadalupe, San Miguel’s Wild Child
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is one of my favorite places on earth. The city’s historic center is gorgeous and walk-able and friendly. On any day, you are likely to find parades and processions and music. But, partly because of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city’s historic center follows an elaborate set of rules…. how you can decorate your building, the colors you can paint your building, the kinds of signs you can hang, and the kind of noise you can make, among other things. It’s ordered and traditional.
But a few blocks from the historic center in barrio Guadalupe, the rules don’t apply….