Mexico 2013

The villa people celebrate Bev's 60th at SMA

I’m turning 60. As hard as this is for me to believe, math does not lie. I was born in 1953 and the current year is 2013. It’s not been the best year on record. More than a year. Beginning with Craig’s stroke in Budapest in July 2012, followed by a ski fall the next winter, and then the Boston marathon. A concussion. Whip lash. Anxiety and vertigo. Lots of both. Headaches. Numbness. An MRI shows “normal changes for age”. Is that the good news or the bad news I wonder. Apparently it is the good news. Gotta figure out a way to turn sixty in grand form. Mexico fits the bill. We turn it into a Villa People adventure. A week with the group, a week on our own.

We fly Houston to Queretero, a smallish city northwest of Mexico City, arriving the evening of Dia del Muertes. Day of the Dead. Their version of Halloween. The hotel does not have our reservation and is full. The town is busy. This is a popular fiesta. Mexicans travel to their home towns to pay tribute to their dead ancestors. It’s 8 PM and dark. The hotel manager finds us another place, a bit cheaper, and just around the corner. Big relief!!

Queratero both surprises and delights us. The preserved adobe buildings. The churches and other monuments. The taco stands and local market. The photos say it best.

From here, we take a bus to Leon. If Queretero is the Saskatoon of Mexico, Leon is the Prince Albert. It’s seen better times. Our hotel is hipster all the way and is one of the nicest buildings in the city. The main square is lovely and we find places to sit and just watch. Eating totopos and salsa. Antojitos. Sipping cervesas. Snapping photos. Sometimes a guitar serenade.

Our bus from Leon to San Miguel de Allende leaves mid-morning and gets us into SMA a day ahead of our guests. They are coming from Queretero in a mini-van. We find the VRBO house we’ve booked the next morning but are shooed away by the cleaners. At a local market, we do some shopping, returning just a few minutes before the villa people arrive. We tour the house together. Cannot quite believe our eyes. It is so beautiful and well appointed. A casita in the garden for Julie and Ron. Craig & I land the master bedroom. The roof deck at sunset is sublime.

Julie arranges a day of horse-back riding for the group. Beth, from California, shows up in her pink cowboy boots. Do cowgirls wear cowboy boots or is it better to call them cowgirl boots?

The day ends at the local hot springs. Photos say it all.

We do a day trip to some large pena. A rock. Quaint village at the base. Too much driving for a pretty ordinary hike. We should have gone to Guanajuato. Next time.

My 60th birthday party features a piñata. Full of panties and chocolate. I give the girls a salsa lesson. Rosa and her helper whose name I should know but cannot recall cook us dinner. Craig gives a toast. I cry. Partly because of what Craig says but mostly because I really don’t want to be 60.

I take a day off from sightseeing with Julie’s gift to me, Amanda Lindhout’s “A House in the Sky”. It’s raining. Others are off to various markets. I stay in bed.

We go separate ways after our week in SMA. Craig & I cross paths with Bev & Larry back in Queretero. We stay with them at Shelley’s Guest House. Have a night on the town.

We first came to SMA in 2003 for my then 50th birthday. Like many others before us, we were smitten and knew we would return. Showing SMA off to the villa people was a distinct pleasure. Of course, they all now love it too. Maybe I’ll make it a hat trick for my 70th.

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