Good Bye San Miguel de Allende, Good Bye Mexico City

On our last morning in SMA we visited a private mask museum at Casa de la Cuesta. The owner has been collecting Mexican ceremonial masks for over 20 years; buying them after celebrations or directly from mask makers. The best masks he collected are displayed in a museum, and arranged by celebrations, characters, and regions. Explanations are given to each group of masks, and there are also videos of actual celebrations.
The predominant majority of the celebrations are aimed at Christian holidays and feasts: conversion to catholicism seems to be complete here.
THe museum is quite amazing and very interesting, but I walked away in the state of nausea and with a headache.
First of all, some of the masks were really scary.
Second is that a lot of masks were from the reenactments of the Passion of Christ, and the indigenous people do it the old-fashioned way.
There is a section marked “Jews” and another “Pharisees” (explained: “conservative Jews”). All are depicted as horned, hooked-nosed satan-like monsters. At the end of performances, the masks are usually burned or drowned.
I was wondering if the participants would drown or burn me also, as a member of the hated tribe, in their religious frenzy?!
After the museum, we visited the upscale art center Fabrica La Aurora. Nice space, but I wasn’t much impressed with the art they offered for sale.
Afterwards, back to the streets and the courtyards of the centro.
Towards the evening, we stumbled upon a crowd dancing on the street to the sounds of a Mariachi band. In addition to the mariachi, we spotted two donkeys adorned with paper flowers, and two mojigangas (giant Mexican puppets). It appeared to be a wedding, but we saw no groom; and the mojigangas were two girls (at Mexican weddings, they represent a bride and a groom). Then it became obvious, that this was a wedding, but the marrieds were two girls – thus no male mojigangas.
The guests were cheering and urging the girls to kiss, the girls were dancing away, and the happy mama of one of the brides was screaming “Viva Cristina! Viva (another name).
I didn’t know that Mexicans were so open-minded!
I also didn’t know how polite, respectful, and clean they were!
On a street in SMA, I saw a little boy with all the visible signs of needing a bathroom. The father picked him up and ran off, clearly to the bathroom.
I have seen kids in Asia peeing on the streets, in the squares, and into the fountains.
I have seen grown men peeing in a street corner in Stockholm; I have seen drunk German men peeing at walls; and just last month, I saw an African man peeing on a pretty townhouse on the upper Eastside in the middle of a bright and sunny day!
Not here. The streets are clean, people are clean, when you walk into a store, they say “Good morning/day/night, and welcome”. In the hotel, when Americans walked into an elevator, they pretend they don’t see anybody inside, but the Mexicans greet you “Hello”. They always seem to try to be helpful – they are just pleasant people! Amigos, in a word.
A lot of Americans travel to Europe for history and culture, but there is a country next door to us with so much history, architecture, and great food, which is also inexpensive and easy to get to. My fellow Americans, if you don’t come here, you will be missing out!