Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Church Service in English?

Sunday – The plan for the morning was to go to church. There must be a Catholic church every four or five blocks, but we thought the best plan would be to attend a protestant church, preferably using English. As our guide for all these events and explorations, we have been using a book titled “The Insider’s Guide to San Miguel” written by Archie Dean. He has now published the fifteenth edition of where every thing is, and everything to do. Living in San Miguel must be impossible without this guide. We had purchased a copy prior to our trip to San Miguel, but our owners also had a copy here at the casa.

Our choices of protestant churches were Unitarian, Jewish, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses (by the way we had a Jehovah’s Witness visitation Saturday morning), and Anglican. As I grew up as an Episcopalian and we on occasion attend the Chelan Episcopal Church, the Anglican St. Paul’s Church was our selection. St. Paul’s is located near where our car is parked, but we walked a different route on Sunday morning. The ruta took us through Juarez Park, which is the largest green space in San Miguel. There was plenty of activity including a girl’s basketball game, uniforms, referees and admiring boys. St. Paul’s is a very pretty stone church with lawns and trees. Very English traditional. I think it must be serving most of the Americans in San Miguel as they have three pastors and a music director. The church was full, very welcoming, and the service was mostly traditional Anglican but with portions of it in both English and Spanish. The senior pastor, Michael Long, had a great sense of humor and wonderful voice, which is important in an Anglican service. We stayed for the coffee hour, and met several people, including a lady artist originally from Omak. She was looking for us as all the visitors had introduced themselves in the service.

After church we had a leisurely walk up to the Jardin (on a different street). Walking with the world’s greatest shopper is no brisk run. We went into the Art Institute Allende with its great courtyard, and stopped and looked through a lot of shops. I’m sure we were only scouting out the prospects for Les Cooper. We barely made it back to the Casa Tranquilidad by 2 p.m. for our siesta!

In the evening we proceeded down the mountain (no longer a hill!) to the Jardin for a children’s music performance in front of the Parroquia Church. It was a concert put on by ANYEL, a charitable music program provided to pre-schools and orphanages. They had about 100 kids singing children’s songs before proud parents, and a lot of Anglos working the crowd for donations and helping with the kids. Next to shopping there is nothing Mary Ann likes better than taking photos of children.

Monday – So how did we know the gas man comes before 9 a.m. on Monday morning? Our maid had not yet arrived so we sent the man away. Later we found out he is expected before nine, so he can provide gas before the street gets busy. Our three day a week Betti arrived soon after. She works from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for us, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. She will also shop for us, and cook for us, upon special request. Mary Ann decided to stay home with her to check on some casa details, but I suspect she really didn’t want to face the sore legs so early in the day. I however, was off on a 3 ½ hour jaunt, planning to investigate various important matters. The first important matter was to sit in Juarez Park and have a cigar. I chatted with various folks who looked mighty cold this morning while doing their morning walk or run. The day started cold and overcast, but became sunny and pleasant by the afternoon. I actually wore a sweatshirt. One guy mentioned that it was still far better than Michigan in the first week of March. He was wearing shorts.

I then walked up Aldama Street looking for the Villa Jacaranda Hotel (very nice) so I could get the Boyd’s to Rotary when they visit. Next I stopped into the Carmina Restaurant for coffee, and breakfast with coffee, orange juice, rolls, and French toast was such a reasonable price that I opted for the bundle, besides it was warm in the breakfast room. Besides, we had arisen late (you know those retired folks) so my favorite breakfast cook had fallen down on the job.

Then on to checking out various hotels (mostly their restaurants for future reference) and on to the Mercado (Mercado de San Juan de Dios) on the west end of the Centro district. It was not nearly as busy or as interesting as the one we visited on Saturday (Mercado Ignacio Ramirez). Working my way back I took a look at the Bellas Artes building and courtyard, and the Angela Peralta Theater, which was built in 1873. Near the theater I happened by the American Consular Agency with a nice line of folks, both Mexican and American. My next stop was the Bonanza grocery on Misiones Street, to find a place we could buy food without driving or taking the bus or cab. I bought some bread (Bimbo brand of course) and headed back to the casa. I surely do not want to miss the siesta.

In the late afternoon Mary Ann and I headed to town on the mission to buy a sim (GSM) card for international use of our cell phone. After three discussions, including the bi-lingual man at the tourist office, we found a cell phone store with a young man with enough English to accomplish the task. We have not tested it yet, but think we have mobile communication. We then again visited the grocery so Mary Ann could check out the choices. We celebrated these minor victories with some ice cream. It was surely deserved after all the calories lost from walking!

Quirky Living Note: When we get up in the morning we always hear loud children’s voices that are seemingly playing and having a great time. The sound is coming into our suite and patio and clearly deserved further investigation. Just around the corner from our casa is a primary school which apparently backs up close to our casa. Promptly at 8:00 a.m. a loud speaker is heard making the daily announcements and getting the kids into class. After that we no longer hear the joyous voices until the next morning.

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