Friday, February 4, 2011

EL JARDIN, San Miguel's heart of the city

The jardin, the main plaza, in San Miguel de Allende is the hub of activity. A meeting place for locals and tourist alike.

This is the view from the second floor of the mansion where General Igancio Allende was born. General Allende and Father Hidalgo were the driving forces behind the Mexican Independence from Spain. These beautifully trimmed trees are Mexican Laurel and in the evenings, there is the occasional shiny, black feathered Grackle that flies there to roost.
The gardens have never looked so tidy and so lush.  I can not count how many times I have sat on this particular bench watching the children play and the balloon man enticing the children with his balloons in various shapes and colors.  Little boys are fascinated by his foam shaped lizards that are on an end of a wire; you jiggle the wire and the lizard appears to be crawling right towards you.  In the evenings, the music of the mariachis is captivating. This historic photo shows what the jardin looked like prior to its transformation with its treeless plaza and cobblestones slopping down from the Parroquia (the parish church) to City Hall. I can just imagine the foot of muddy water on the ground floor of the buildings on the north side of the plaza when the rainy session hit the area.  When the dictator, Porfirio Diaz ruled Mexico for 35 years in the late 1880's, he was a big Francophile. This French influence can be seen here today and in many other plazas around Mexico, with its ornate cast iron benches and a central kiosk bandstand, which is so typical of a French public garden.

The jardin has been closed off to city traffic for some time. You never know what to expect from day to day. A parade, a wedding party, mariachis... It's a place where you could sit for hours and watch life go by.
Look for me, I bet you might find me sitting in the jardin.

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