Mexico - San Miguel De Allende and Leon

Thursday August 2
This was another day of shopping for leather goods in Leon. It was very hot this day and so staying in malls and the shade was a priority. Ken found a leather case for his favourite flashlight - "la funda" in Spanish. I did not locate anything that really suited me enough to buy. The amount of stores and product was overwhelming. To let you in on the extent of shoes let me give you some descriptions. There were people riding bikes with racks attached to them full up with boxes of shoes. Stores had little attics full of shoes, piles of shoes graced the entrance way to the stores and each mall was full of stores packed with shoes.

At the end of the day we drove back to Guanajuato. We heard of a wonderful sounding campground, which is supposed to be difficult to find, from reading the Traveler's Guide to Mexican Camping by Mike and Terri Church. Yes, it was very difficult to find and it was dark before we actually did so. Ken had to walk around several streets close to the campground before actually coming across our sleeping destination. Here is how he tells the story -
The Church's book describes the campground as being at the second gate down the one way road. They actually meant the second BIG gate as there is a smaller one which caused me to enter the pottery school which I later found out was located next door to the campground. Anyway, in the dark, I noticed the school buses parked all over and thought there was parking for campers. What was steller was the bathrooms at the pottery school, clearly marked as such, which, I thought, were part of the campground. The first thing I noticed was the roof blown off and the doors torn off their hinges. The actual toilets were little more then a hole in the ground. I thought Donna is going love this place...well I finally figured out this was the pottery school and found the campground next door with the help of a stranger in the dark... who spoke fluent Spanish.
The bathrooms at the campground were somewhat clean with a real rundown appearance. Another camper van was parked there and uproarious laughter was coming from it, so we decided to stay. It was too late to find other accomodation. The weather was cool and we saw only the odd bug, too. We had another night of sleeping with our sunroof open - the breeze, stars and barking dogs to sooth our whiry souls.

Wednesday August 1
That bratty rooster woke me up three times in the night. Ken wore ear plugs.

We began our day by going out to Kent's property at El Milagra. It was in a forest of oak trees, the oak leaves are much different from home (huge and without the wavy edges). The property had a stream with several seasonal waterfalls running through it, along with toads, wild flowers and cactus which were located beside lush moss. We saw the biggest ant hill imaginable. The ground was rocky and we collected a few samples for home.

Once we had said our good byes we drove back to Leon.

By the time we arrived at our destination in Leon we were hungry, tired and hot. Leon is at a lower altitude and is, therefore, hotter. I succumb to a bag of Cheetos and somehow popped off a gold crown just as we were about to get started shopping. That was one of my big fears of traveling because I do have many crowns just waiting to cause a mini disaster at their whim. I decided to take the occurrence as any ostrich would and ignore it. I could not cope with one more annoyance as I was still feeling sick from the day before. We walked around the shoe stores and malls of Leon until about nine o'clock at night.

Tuesday July 31
At the crack of dawn we awakened in San Miguel to the sound of the loudest rooster we ever heard What a brat!!! First night we had stayed out late in recent history and some loud mouth rooster pipes in and wakes us from a not so restful sleep. It sounded like he was in the room with us, annoyed that we were there. Our next difficulty for the day was the alarming fact that the gas had been shut off to Kent's apartment because, of course, he had moved out. No hot shower!!! After wrapping our minds around that fact we went to Kent's Mother-in-law's home where his wife Karen and three year old daughter live. It was a home made with cement beams and pillars enclosing the red brick. It had a bravado (curved, brick ceiling) in the upstairs living room. The floors and counters tops were made of cement. There was tile on the walls in some areas. It had lots of art on the walls as Karen's mom has a big studio attached to the home. The courtyard housed lots of exotic plants (to Canadians), five dogs and eight cats. The cement supports in the courtyard where artfully decorated by Kent and Karen with mosaics. The broken mosaic material was bought in Dolores from the ceramic artists. Kent kindly made us breakfast of scrambled eggs and fresh squeezed juice. We got to try a different kind of pomegranate and mango which is common in these parts.

We moved on to the Tuesday market which was huge. It had all sorts of items - fruits, vegetables, pets and farm animals in cages (not my favourite thing, the cage part), clothes, you name it, it was likely there. We also got to try the green pear cactus which tastes like a cross between a cucumber and a pear. It is quite seedy, you eat the seeds and the whole thing is good for digestion. It was so nice talking to Karen, not having had a woman to talk to for weeks. From there we moved on to eating brunch downtown in a little courtyard restaurant across from the USA embassy. I discovered the hard way that miscommunication between English and Spanish regarding restrooms is not to be laughed at. Again I felt sick from something I ate or drank, wishing I was well, as I was enjoying my contact with other Canadians in San Miguel.

The downtown artisan market and then to a glass factory were our next stops. Kent was driving us everywhere over the cobblestone roads in his Nissan, four door truck.

To end the afternoon we experienced "out in the country" on a pothole filled road away from San Miguel. The little trickle of a stream from a week before had changed to a fast flowing river because of the heavy rains. Kent's little girl walked straight into the mud, her laughter let us know how much she enjoyed herself. We ate at an Italian restaurant for supper with Kent, Karen and their little daughter. A few of their friends joined us later.

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