OFF TO SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE

      I was packed from the night before and out the door at 8:15 am Sunday morning.  It was like the Taxi was waiting for me when I stepped out the door yet I never called one.  He dropped me at Richard’s as he was just finishing packing the trunk when I arrived.  We threw my suitcase in the back seat, washed the windshield and were on the  road before 9 am.  Richard drove four hours through tolls using his GPS as a guide.  We stopped once for gas then again for me to start driving.  I drove maybe 2 hours until we arrived in San Miguel when Richard took the wheel to drive the narrow streets to his house in a compound near the center.

     The whole trip was only around 8 hours and I thought it was going to be 11 hours but at average speeds of 75-80+ it went fast.  I helped him unload his and my baggage then we went out to the “Zocalo” center where huge crowds were enjoying a balmy evening in  the park across from the church.  A talented professional  Mariachi Band was entertaining everyone.   The restaurant Richard wanted  to go was closed on Sunday so I ended up having Fish and Chips with Jicama salad at Hecho de Mexico Restaurant, a very nice place with an extensive menu.  My Fish and Chips was not as good as Taylor’s Chowder House but then very few restaurants ever come close to what I used to serve.  Modesty.

       I retired around 10 pm I think and slept well.  The light woke me at 7am and after coffee I was off for a 10 am walking tour of SMA.  I took a Taxi.  The city is built on the side of a mountain 6500 feet up.  Lots of cobblestones and straight up streets make it difficult for me.  The air is clean and the exercise good but my “Intermittent Claudation” causes my legs to cramp and my feet to fall asleep.  My one lung makes breathing a bit difficult but that doesn’t pain me.  The taxi arrived early so I decided to have Eggs Benedict with Salmon Salsa with Cappuccino and fresh squeezed Grapefruit juice.  While I was waiting for the slow cook, the tour group formed and left.

        I paid the bill and wandered the area taking photographs and visiting the tourist office.  They were friendly but had little to offer.  The map was a poor print job on lousy paper.  I couldn’t even read the names of the streets.  The clerk did tell me a trolley tour in English would leave around the corner at around 2pm.  I returned for a short rest and to freshen up a bit before taking a Taxi to the Trolley.

       I boarded but the only seat left was in the back and I could not sit anyway but sideways with my long legs.  It was a bench and very uncomfortable.  The tour was interesting but I didn’t enjoy it all cramped up.  The highlight was meeting Jim, a retired restaurateur from Rochester N.Y. that was also a “draftee” Vietnam Vet that served in the Army like me.  He arrived in Vietnam about 5 months after I left in 1968 and was stationed in Cu Chi…not the  best place.  He had been back over 12 times and led tours for Veterans as well as volunteering to help with a project in Cambodia…making and fitting Prosthetics for victims of landmines we dropped all over from the air and left behind after we left Cambodia.  His restaurant was over 8000 square feet and sat over 250 persons.  He sold it after about 13 years of operation.   We will stay in touch. One of his friends, also from Rochester was a 90 year old that taught inmates at Attica State Prison in the ’70 under a SUNY educational program.

CHRISTMAS WREATH?

LOOK OUT POINT

       I took the taxi home and arranged with Richard to meet for dinner at 6 pm.
We stopped into a Restaurant/Bar that was a Gringo hangout for Happy Hour.  It was called Berlin and the menu looked great.  We met a nice couple from NYC.  Kay and Jim.  Kay ran an African Folk Art Gallery and has been quite sucessful.  Very nice people.  We left after a glass of wine and decided on a really nice restaurant that had different Steaks on the menu.  Richard went for the Lamb and I the Medallions of Beef Tenderloin with a Blu Cheese sauce.  Both was good and we were entertained by a great Jazz Trio with Berkley Graduate Bobby Kaplan on keys and singing.  I retired as soon as we got home.

        This morning Richard informed me that the woman that was hosting the Dominos game, didn’t want another player and since she was the host he had to honor that.  Just as well.
       I headed down the street to a little outdoor Cafe for Breakfast and then took the bus…to …???

 It turned after we got to the center where I should have got out but decided to see where it went.  Shortly after the turn we stopped at a Church with a park that looked interesting so I got off there.

 I took a few pictures then started wandering back when I came across a stairway under an overpass that led up to the above street.  I wandered up there but the farther I walked, it seemed I was going away from the center again.  Later, I discovered I was farther North of the Center near the Library and a wonderful Cafe.

 I stopped to relax and had some Hot Chocolate and Orange Cake when a lady asked if she could join me.  She was from Providence Rhode Island and had lived in SMA for 12 years.  She clapped to get the waiter’s attention and lost mine.  We had some small talk and I left to continue exploring.  I found the tour agency I wanted and got there schedule.

 I will return tomorrow and book three tours.  It was around 1:30 when I took a taxi to Richard’s while he was out playing Dominos, I took a nap.
     It was around 6 pm and Richard hadn’t returned so I left a message that I would be dining at BERLIN and took a taxi there.  I arrived to a packed house so got seated in a small dining room off the bar area and ordered some Casa Vino Tinto with Tilapia crusted with grated potatoes, a side of German Saurkraut and Dill Sauce.  German version of Fish and Chips with Slaw and Tartar Sauce.

 Good but not exactly healthy. A seat opened at the bar so I moved to have another glass of wine.  The gentleman next to me had been coming there since he arrived in SMA and it opened in 2004.  It changed hands once then became more popular as the reputation for food improved. Now it was packed every night.  David, the guy next to me was from San Antonio but after his stint in the Army then the Air Force, he finished college with a Masters in Environmental Science and traveled the world living in Norway for a few years. Taking his family to Yugoslavia and all over Europe on vacations.  His daughter is a Pastry Chef, son in Oakland, Ca, another in San Antonio…none have visited him in the 12 years he has lived here.  He now has grandchildren and goes back to visit them each summer.  We exchanged information and will see each other again.  I had an Aztec Brandy and truffle then left with him and took a taxi back to find Richard watching Person of Interest on CBS cable network out of Florida.
      Tomorrow at noon,  I move to Don Caldwell’s house and settle in for a week.
     

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