From Instagram: This mural was put together by a local primary school- children 6 & 7 years old took hours upon hours to painstakingly place each and every shred of sawdust, seed, and flower petal to create this mural. One of many decorating the city streets. #diadelosmuertos #art #localart #mexico #guanajuato #streetart #murals #flowers #culture #wp


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From Instagram: Inktober – “flight”. This was WAY harder than I had intended for whatever reason. I had a lot of trouble with the two faces, especially the profile. Profiles seem so simple but I swear it took me 45 min to get it somewhat right. I also did not intend to cut the feet off everyone, but it kinda evolved that way when trying to get everyone’s size right in relation to one another. And, the bubble got a little muddy. Sigh. 😐 But, I think I’m just going to call it good enough and leave well enough alone. Any more tinkering and I’m afraid I’m just going to mess the whole thing up! #wp #watercolor #sketching #inktober #art


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Cervantino 

It’s the last weekend of Cervantino here in Guanajuato. I had been expecting just total madness in the form of thousands of tourist here for these last three weeks, but honestly it hasn’t been that bad. Centro is usually crowded anyhow, and the tourists don’t really stray into our neighborhood much. I am looking forward to it getting a little quieter though – Mexico is loud enough as is without adding more daily festivals. 

One aspect of Cervantino which I adore is the influx of art into the city. There were many special sculptures created and placed around the city especially for the celebration, so I had a blast wandering around and looking for them. 

Inktober and sketch therapy

The feature photo was this morning’s crazy windy sunrise. We’ve been here in Guanajuato for three months now, and we’ve had our ups and downs. I’ve been struggling, as I was told I would be, which is partially why I haven’t had the patience or motivation to keep writing. But, everything is okay and I have things to look forward to now, which helps. 

I’ve been sketching a lot since I found out about inktober- a daily sketching prompt for the month of October. These aren’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m pleased with my process. It’s a very meditative  process in the fact that while it’s a challenging activity, it’s also very relaxing. Sketching and painting take me totally out of my head and the world around me, and I can absorb myself 100% in what I’m doing. No election drama trauma, no dogs annoying me, no stressing about meal planning, nothing. Just focusing on lines and colors. 

Here’s a few of the plain ink ones. 

“Orange County” – the prompt was “tree” 

“Lost”

“Broken” – this is our little Mexican street rescue dog recovering from myriad ailments 

“Sad” – from a photo I took of a woman begging here in Guanajuato. Even though parts of the city are affluent and cosmopolitan, there is still a lot of poverty, especially among indigenous people. 

“Old & New” – this isn’t a prompt, and it’s the earliest of these drawings so it’s not as good. This is one of the magnicificent sculptures  here, as I saw it one day with an elderly man and two little dogs taking a break. 

Month one.

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I walked back (up) from the mercado, all 332 stairs, in the penetrating afternoon sun, and gave new meaning to the word “trudging.” I put away the 12lbs of fruit, peeled off my bra, put up my hair, and sat down to my computer with a fresh strawberry daiquiri.

All of a sudden, it’s pouring outside, and thundering. Despite being in a desert, this is jungle-level rain, like the type of rain you see in movies when something shady is going down, or when two people in love find each other. This rain is enveloping, and inescapable as it pushes its way under doors and in-between the seals of windows. The thunder is not the ordinary, mumbling thunder of which we’ve grown accustomed to, either. Every minute or so, the downpour pauses to accommodate a shred of lightning, the dogs lick their lips nervously, and we all brace ourselves as the sky tears itself into a thousand pieces, its shots echoing magnificently off the surrounding hills. It’s the sound of cannon fire, fireworks bursting, glass breaking, metal crunching, boulders rolling, animals screaming  – all competing for the loudest decibel, all at once. It’s violent. It’s fantastic.

This is the rainy season in Guanajuato, Mexico.

It has been nearly one month since we moved in, and I’ve found that my level of content & comfort changes as quickly as the weather. As cliche as that seems, sunshine is not always the harbinger of happiness; often, the jarring crack of lightning and peal of the first raindrops rattle me back into a positive perspective. A friend asked me, not only if I am happy here, but if my “soul feels at home.” Without any offence meant towards this beautiful city and fascinating country-  gods no, my soul doesn’t feel at home. But, it has been a very long time since it did, longer than I can accurately remember, and there’s still plenty of time to find a piece of home (whatever that means) here in Mexico. It’s a pendulous country: a land of rain and sun, of dichotomies and conflict;  leaving much to be wanted, yet having a great many things to offer.

It’s best to be flexible.

I finish my daiquiri as I type, and by the time this post is complete, the dogs are lying out in the sunshine again.

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10 days! 

Hotels, hostels, & AirBnBs all booked and logged in each offline map; train tickets booked, itinerary meticulously complete, stuff purchased, packing planned, hair scheduled, dogs taken care of… Now to get the job under wraps, while impatiently and anxiously twiddling my thumbs for the next week. 10 countries. 17 days. 2 backpacks. 😱 Ack!
I have to thank Jackie at The Budget Minded Traveler for her awesome packing advice. I swear I’ve looked at every article/blog on packing advice, but hers was far and away the best. I love how she updates lists with what worked, what didn’t, what she didn’t end up using, etc. I’ll probably still overpack, but I’m feeling much better about it. I’m bummed I can’t justify bringing my new kickass hiking shoes, but it is what it is. I had this totally narcissistic vision of epic Matterhorn pictures wearing them like some sort of not-noob-tourist, but whatever. 

I’ll post photos of what I actually end up packing as it happens. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to a reader, and will be good future reference for me.