Monday, June 23, 2014

The Power Of Community




In my last post, On The Wings Of Women, I talked about the efforts of some wonderful women in Patzcuaro working to improve their community. Now I feel I should give San Miguel de Allende it’s due and share an amazing community project here. El Camino de la Paz.  The Path of Peace.

This passage, an alley really, in the San Antonio area behind the Café Monet was a dangerous spot. Dim and urine soaked, ideal for thieves and muggers, it twists and turns with many dark nooks and crannies in which to hide. There are a few businesses that front on the alley, one of which is a B&B and Holistic Center called Lifepath,

One day Dr. Beverly Nelson, the owner and operator of Lifepath decided to change all that, giving the alley a much needed make-over. Beverly rallied the community to help with this transformation and the new pathway became El Camino de la Paz. The first step was the cleanup. Gone was the scent of urine and the dark cubby holes created by overgrown plants. Lights were added every few meters and cameras now survey those who stroll the alleyway.

So many people donated their time and money to this project! After the cleanup came the beautification. Many local artists contributed their time and expertise to create something truly magical.


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Joan Columbus and crew               


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Joan also supervised and painted most of the doors and windows that were painted at intervals along the path, giving the alley a feeling of neighbourhood and community.


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The Mandala


Linda Lainos, another talented local artist, was responsible for the mandala. A perfect addition to the project, the mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism which metaphysically or symbolically represents the cosmos.



The Peace Pole


The Peace Pole is the brain child of artist, Michael Latriano. It is a mosaic tile post proclaiming in English, Spanish and Nahuatl (the indigenous language of Guanajuato) “May Peace Prevail”. The angel mosaic on the left says peace in each path, and when the sun is setting it lights the angel’s halo.


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The genius of Carlos Caban 


Carlos Caban, painter, muralist and wonderful man gave the project “The Goddess of Seeds”, a spectacular mural on one of three panels created for the purpose. I look forward to seeing what he will paint to grace the other two panels.


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The Goddess of Seeds


The inauguration of the new Camino de la Paz took place, appropriately, on Earth Day and there was a Peace Walk, attended by hundreds of people, from Parque Juarez to Aldea where the Path begins. The celebration continued in the walkway with local dancers and more paintings from Carlos Caban. The transformation of this dangerous spot to a beautiful community area is nothing short of miraculous!


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All of the photographs in this post and the following video are curtesy of Todd McIntosh

Camino de la Paz - San Miguel de Allende from Todd McIntosh on Vimeo.

Friday, June 13, 2014

On The Wings Of Women


At the beginning of last month I was once again cat-sitting in my favourite pueblo, Patzcuaro. It was a short visit this time but definitely a fun-filled one, with two events in particular making it really special. Well, three actually.

The first was the discovery of pizza at Posada Mandala. Who knew? I must have walked by this lovely little hotel a thousand times over the years, all the while lamenting over the lack of good eateries in Patzcuaro, and never even realized that they had a restaurant, let alone really fantastic pizza.

My good friend Lyn, who has been spending a lot of time in Canada lately, was in town at the same time I was and introduced me to this charming little venue. We spent a wonderful afternoon with a couple of other friends drinking micheladas and eating really great pizza at a really great price. The picture below is the lobby of Posada Mandala. I was having so much fun that I forgot to take pictures and had to  borrow one from Trip Advisor.



The next surprise was my introduction to Alas (wings) Gallery. Located at #12 Dr. Coss, right across the street from Casa Encantada, it is the creation of 12 talented women from the Patzcuaro area. The Co-Op is a multicultural and bilingual operation designed to enrich the quality of life for women and girls in the Patzcuaro region.




Bright and beautiful, the gallery is a Cultural Center showcasing the work of, and creating new opportunities for, many talented local artists as well as offering courses, workshops and cultural programs. The gallery opening was a huge success, and a truly inspirational idea that shows us what can be accomplished by strong women of different cultures working together to improve their community.










The third surprise of the visit was my extraordinary good luck in arriving in Patzcuaro the day before Lila Downs was to perform in Plaza Grande…….FOR FREE! The day before the concert I attended “lunch with the ladies” at Lupita’s Restaurant and met some folks living in Corazon de Durazno, where I was cat-sitting. Marta kindly offered to take me along with them the following day to the concert.

Marta and I are both physically challenged by the need of a walker (actually that day Marta was in a wheel chair) and so we arrived about three hours early to make sure we got a seat. A line was forming in front of the taped off area where the seating was arranged in front of the stage so I parked myself in line and prepared for a very long wait.

Much to my surprise they started seating almost immediately so I hollered for Marta to join me and the security gentlemen helped seat us. Being an invalid can occasionally be a great advantage. They actually picked up Marta’s chair to get her past the trees and curbs……and then seated us in the front row! The row was mostly reserved and I was later to discover that the reservation was for the entourage of the mayor.

Lila Downs is a truly dynamic performer and I was front and center for one of the best concerts that I have ever seen. I was also seated right beside the mayor. A peasant among the elite, LOL.

What a whirlwind trip my few days in Patzcuaro turned out to be. I’m really looking forward to more cat-sitting!  


The following link is from youtube and the beginning shows my great seat in front of the stage.