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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guanajuato 1

We've been here in Guanajuato for almost two weeks now.

I've been here many times and have blogged about it before. If you're interested, you can read about my past experiences there at: Not a bad blog if I say so myself. Scroll down a bit for the Guanajuato part.

These are going to be rambling posts as I don't recall the sequence of events.

Our start here was not good. I caught a bit of a cold in Albuquerque and gave it to Phyllis who expanded on it greatly. Her immune system is pretty weak so anything she gets she really gets and she spent the first few days here bedridden. At one point I had to take her to a doctor and that was an interesting experience. A certain pharmacies have doctor consultation services attached, right next door. We were the only ones there and, when the doctor came in, I thought maybe he was the janitor. He did a rather perfunctory examination, prescribed a bunch of medications including stiff that had no relevance for a cold. Consult cost 30 pesos, meds cost about 400 pesos. Hmmmm....... As her cold improved, we got out more but while on a visit to the Exhacienda Gabriel Barrera, as we got off the bus, Phyllis' leg cramped and she fell writhing and shouting to the ground. I didn't know what was happening. Heart attack? snake bite? A woman came running across the road to assist and together we helped Phyllis up. She said it was a cramp but I guess it was pretty severe as it limited her mobility for the next days and she's still a bit gimpy a week later. So, those were the health issues. We still managed to get out and Phyllis was able to walk around a bit and get a sense of the beauty and vibrancy of Guanajuato and we did get a tour of the Exhacienda when she'd recovered enough to walk around a bit. It's a very interesting place with beautiful gardens and restored colonial mansion. I've been there many times and always enjoy it.

I have to say that the highlights of this visit to Guanajuato have been the musical events. One such was at the Museo Gene Byron. Gene Byron was an artist and radio actor from Canada who moved to Mexico decades ago, bought an 18th century hacienda and restored it and turned it into a centre for the arts. It's a gorgeous old place with art exhibits and galleries, musician spaces, gift shop and the Sunday concerts carried on by her husband in a small concert hall. I've been many times and the music is always of a high calibre and that week's performance was no exception, a Mexican classical guitarist, Jonathan Molinas. He played some really difficult stuff, 12 on a scale of 10, with great mastery. Afterwards was the usual free wine and appies in the outside courtyard.

I'd seen notices for a flamenco concert to be held in the Teatro Juarez, a beautiful old theatre completed in 1903 during the Porfiriato (you can google that).

I'm a flamenco fan and had never seen a performance in that theatre so we got tickets. The star of the show was Pastora Galvan, a dancer from Seville backed by flamenco guitar legend, Ramó Amador, and two guys who did the clapping and rhythms and sang. I think this may have been the most powerful performance I've ever seen. Pastora Galvan isn't slim and beautiful, a little dumpy in fact. She started in a simple peasant sort of costume wearing slippers, skirt above the knees and danced an almost lascivious, crude sort of number. The dancing was amazing but not what I expected. Then a costume change during which the guys sang, that typical plaintive flamenco style. Pastora returned to the stage in the usual formal style, long ornate dress and the hard-soled shoes and she and the group proceeded to blow everyone away. The performance was like a play with different acts that blended into each other with costume changes during which the guys were featured. Her dancing was brilliant and they were all so locked into each other it was immensely moving. Quite a night.



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