A memorable evening

 

image

 

I went went to a performance by the Guanajuato symphony orchestra. The concert was held in a theatre in the middle of town.  I would estimate that 80 percent of the audience were ex pats and I noted many a grey or white head.  The rest of us had discovered Miss Clairol or its equivalent long ago.  As I took my seat in the balcony I discovered that on one side of me was a couple from Calgary and on the other two ladies from Temiscaming Ontario. The configuration of the theatre was very odd.  The double balconies were set in a horseshoe shape and the guard rails up there were at about thigh level Since many members of the audience were a bit unsteady..put it down to age or a couple of pre concert cocktails…my heart was in my mouth on a couple of occasions.  Tall men seemed particularly vulnerable to a precipitous dive onto the main floor, it seemed to me.  However, we all got settled in the rather dumpy chairs and I discovered that the sight lines were unusual, to say the least.  I looked straight ahead at the people seated in the other side of the horseshoe.  It was only by stretching over the barrier that I was able to see half the orchestra, set up on a stage.  This was no hardship for a concert, but I really wonder how they manage with plays.

The orchestra played the Hebredies Overture by Mendelssohn, the Serenade after Plato’s symposium by Leonard Bernstein and the Schumann Symphony no 2.  I had never heard of the Bernstein piece before and it was a revelation.  Although written in 1954 it is still very ” “modern”  in tonality and rhythm compared to the other more familiar pieces.  It is in five movements and I really wish he’d stopped at the fourth.  I’m not trying to be smart.  I really felt moved to tears during the fourth movement and the fifth just was a bit too much for me.  There is a very important part to be played by a solo violinist all through this piece and the musician, Ron Francois was fabulous.  I will have to look this guy up as he was a real presence and awonderful interpreter of the music.  OK so that’s enough about my sortie.

Except. . . . .that involved coming home in the dark, the dread dark of a Mexican town.  Everyone says you must come home in a taxi when it is dark.  I discovered that for me the main reason was that I could not see the many stumbling blocks, holes, unexpected steps and other sundry obstacles that make up the ” sidewalks” of San Miguel.  The streets were well lit and full of groups or couples walking along, going into various shops or restaurants.  I was quite comfortable walking along the main streets but when I approach my house I must walk some rather dark, narrow streets and my Gringa nervousness made me scan the streets for a free taxi.  I was well over half way home when I spotted one and was very glad to combine exercise with caution.  in my fluster I almost gave the driver the equivalent of twenty dollars for a two minute ride but when I saw his discouraged face- no one has change in this town- I quickly recognized my error and gave him about five dollars- to his surprise and joy!  There is absolutely no light at my door and the complicated locks take a few minutes to negotiate.  What silly things to panic about.  In a few minutes I was inside and set to work to cook a nice pot of lentils that will last me for a couple of days.  I like to have something ready to eat when I come in and as I chopped and stirred, I hummed the Fingal’s cave section of the Mendelssohn.  A cosy end to a good day.

 

image

Bride in a pick – up truck

image

 

But not just any pick-up.  Notice the floral decorations and what a shiny new model it is.  Yesterday, Saturday, was the day for weddings in San Miguel.  This one took place in the big ” parochia” of San Miguel the archangel.  Some people mistakenly call it the cathedral but since San Miguel is not officially a city, it’s just another parish church.  However, it is the fanciest, the most famous and iconic so, I guess it’s a big deal to get married there.  This bride’s dress had a long train held up by a very serious-looking young man.  Her dad was wearing an impressive  cowboy hat and her mum was in a long formal sparkly gown.  Weddings here are the moment to shine.  In my own neighborhood of San Antonio there were two evening weddings and I caught a glimpse of the reception in the parish hall across the street.  A mariachi band was in full force.  Mariachi singers, I notice, are fearless.  Sometimes the notes are afraid of them and slide away but there is always a hot horn or a few sweet violins to haul up the melody.   I learned last night that fire crackers are a part of wedding festivities.  I learned it all evening and at two am and again at six am.  The morning volley was long!  I did manage to get back to sleep but then the gas truck came by at 8 am.  The gas canisters jolt along in back of a truck that blasts music with a voice-over exhorting people to rush out and exchange their empty canisters for full (shades of Alladin)  A night like last night certainly encourages the notion of siesta and think I might indulge this afternoon.  Will be attending a symphony concert this evening.  I specifically bought a ticket to hear the Rimsky Korsakoff Easter piece but on the latest poster they are advertising among other things a Mendelshon Hebredies concerto!  They appear to have dropped my favorite.  That’s Mexico, I guess.  I am interested to see what the inside of the concert hall looks like.

San Miguel sunsets are justly famous.  No photo ever does justice but here is a pale image.  Just add firecrackers and serve.  This was taken from the roof terrace.

 

image