Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What a Library! What a Cafe...

One of the greatest stops in San Miguel is the Santa Ana Cafe at the public library, or biblioteca. To the sounds of a three-tiered fountain (fuente) tinkling in the center courtyard, we dine in the shade of the portale and a huge tree growing up from the cobblestone patio into the sky. BLTs on crisp sesame baguettes (the boys absolute favorite sandwich in town), two-for-one margaritas all day, and wonderful artwork by local kids are all draws, as well as the largest English-language library in Mexico outside of the capital. Fresh-squeezed lime juice with sugar and seltzer water is quite possibly the best lemonade, or limonada, I've ever had.

The kids all have their own library card--4 books is the limit, for 15 days only. There is a great selection of English books for them, though Bo is going through the collection rapidly. We're trying to slowly introduce some of the Spanish-language books, those designed for really young kids. The library itself is so beautiful. It too has an open-air courtyard, hacienda style, and was clearly once a private home, now with some newer wings added. Books line the walls under the covered porches and there are sofas around the edges to sit and read. A lot of Americans volunteer their time here with Mexican kids after school, tutoring them in English at tables and chairs in the sunny courtyard. There are gorgeous murals painted along the side walls, and inside some of the lecture halls. On weekends there is children's chess, theater, and choral groups, all free to whomever wants to show up. Reddy tried his hand at acting our very first week but was a little intimated by the number of Spanish-speaking kids. He hasn't been back!

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