Sunday, April 1, 2007

Holy Week Starts Early

Friday & Saturday – Week 5: For a great start on a Friday, we flagged one of those $2 taxis and were taken up the mountain to the La Puertecita Hotel. We had a wonderful breakfast on their garden terrace. What a tough life we lead. Next we were off to the centro for Mall & Mary Ann to complete the shopping before the Boyd’s have to fly back to the Northwest tomorrow. Walking in the city today made us realize something was really happening. Holy Week (Semana Santa) is a real on going event, not confined to the historical week starting with Palm Sunday. There are a lot more people and cars on the streets, and the kids are being let out of school (sent off with popsicles) for the Semana Santa break.

When we reached the Mercado we found an entire street blocked off and the street was completely full of flower vendors. Taxis were being loaded with flowers and off they went to the homes with altars to celebrate Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Our Lady of Sorrows). Today, doors and windows of homes in the historic center of San Miguel are being decorated with purple, white and green colored altars strewn with fragrant herbs and flowers to recall the sorrow of the Virgin Mary for the death of her Son. I am told the evening is filled with generosity and hospitality as neighbors offer cool fruit drinks and ice cream to altar visitors.

On the shopping caravan Mall bought a pair of shoes known as the San Miguel sandal. I did not even know there was such a thing. I read the box and it had a description of the “combat sandal”. The sandal is very sturdy with rugged soles, so I can only surmise that it is good for walking on the cobble and paving stones of San Miguel or…for fighting wars.

Friday evening was more interesting than we could have expected. Starting with a home across the street from our casa, their altar decorations were just outstanding. The photo of the presentation is above. Then proceeding down Correo Street, we viewed and entered several more altar events. None however exceeded that which was across the street. To highlight the week for the Boyd’s, we had dinner at La Capilla, a roof top, open air restaurant on the back side of La Parroquia church. It is a fantastic site for a restaurant and wonderful cuisine. All the better, as Tom and Mall treated us to dinner. Returning home from dinner the Jardin was just packed with people and Correo was a pedestrian street because of everyone enjoying all of the altar presentations.

Saturday morning was dedicated to returning the Boyd’s to the airport. All went smoothly and after their check in we shared breakfast at the airport café. Upon our return to the Casa, we have collapsed and are recuperating from the week of activities and entertaining. It was a terrific visit and a week we will always fondly recall.

Quirky Living Note: On one of our first visits with our local friend Natalie Hardy, she told us that San Miguel is known as “The City of Fallen Women.” She then gave us the punch line that she hopes when she returns in her next life that she will be an orthopedic surgeon so she will be a very rich woman. The reference is, of course, to all the falls on the cobble stones and not to the morals of the local ladies. Maybe that explains the San Miguel sandal!

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