Mexico on a Motorcycle Part Four
We arrive in San Miguel De Allende mid day and gaze at the city from an overlook. The city spreads across a valley and is dotted with many church spires and domes. Our hotel has a lovely veranda with huge pots of geraniums in full bloom and is quite easily one of the nicest places I have ever stayed in.
All of us are tired but we take the hotel shuttle down to the square. The van driver speaks no English and we are dependent upon my limited Spanish translation skills. One of our tasks is to get some cash for the rest of our trip, Glen’s cash being used unexpectedly to import his rented motorcycle. Because there is a large ex-pat population here, we hoped we might be able to withdraw some money from my credit card—and we were successful.
Banking here is done by the number, take a number given to you by a maitre-d who greets you at the door. Then the service number is called and he directs people to the appropriate teller line. It is very fast and very efficient.
The streets here are incredibly narrow and mostly up and down—reminiscent of San Francisco. We all watch in amazement as regular size dump trucks drive up and down these streets. One of our group wonders if the angle of inclination is maxed out for the vehicles.
That evening we decide to go to the hotel restaurant and have appetizers and dessert—being too tired to go downtown for supper. We have been taking pictures of our food at nearly every meal—and another of our group discovers he has a food option on his digital camera.
The next morning we go to Doloros Hidalgo to the pottery factory. It is my first time on the motorcycle this trip—about an hour’s ride. The factory itself is fascinating. The showroom is huge with racks of finished items everywhere. The most impressive though were the lovely hand-painted sinks. The back work area has rows of women and a couple of men all sitting and painting the pottery. Further back two women paint the outlines of the designs and further back yet, two women sit patiently sponging the green-ware. On the side of the factory is a row of twenty or more roosters each in their personal cage.
On the way back we stop at a rural school. We are unsure why we are stopping as there is no gas station and we wonder if someone’s bike is in disrepair. The back of the van is opened and we are instructed to gather around and grab a soccer ball and toss it to the children. There is much laughter and squeals of joy. We are invited to tour the school; the children seem to be middle school age and are studying electricity in one of the classrooms. Then the principal who has a class of her own instructs the students to line up for a photo with us all. The students then begin to march in long circles and somehow they end up perfectly lined up by height—it looks like one of the finest marching band maneuvers I’ve ever seen, all done without a lot of instructions. We leave with smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes.
That evening we go to dinner at Tio Lucas. This is an incredibly fancy restaurant serving wonderful food. Glen has Cream of Garlic soup and we split a Garlic fish meal—fortunately we both love garlic. The other table has bananas flambé served with a flourish and oohs of appreciation. Some of us wander out to watch the lunar eclipse. The central square is filled with assorted musical groups taking turns at playing. The mariachi band playing in front of the church is really good, and our tour driver asks them to play a special song for us—De Mi Colores—a song taught in school. Everyone on the square is singing along.