Here’s the latest travel installment from Our Man South of the Border, Jesus Chairez:
MINERAL DE POZOS, Guanajuato, México — Pozos was a mining town before fortunes left it a ghost town. But now, that ghost is receiving a resurrection.
Pozos, located geographically in the center of México (about 185 miles northeast from México City and 40 minutes from San Miguel de Allende), won a UNESCO World Heritage award in 2008, is now becoming the place to be for artists, writers and for gay bohemians types; and for city folk that want to escape the city.
Though Pozos has a resident population of about 3,000, that didn’t stop Dallas natives residents Nick Hamblen and his partner Manrey Casas Silva from moving to Pozos, a town they discovered when they attended a friend’s wedding in 1997.
Nine years ago the Dallasites moved to Pozos, opening their art gallery, Galería 6 (the “6” is pronounced as in Spanish, “seises”). Following the success of Galería 6 came the opening of their three room B&B, El Secreto de Pozos (the Secret of Pozos), both located next door to each other in Pozos’ main square known as the jardin principal (the principal garden).
Galería 6 is mostly a painting and photography gallery, mostly having one- or two-person exhibits, says Hamblen, but there is an exception with their recent exhibit, Peace Now, a visual effort to show how each of us can integrate meaningful acts of peace into our lives. The exhibit, which closed last month, featured paintings, photography, sculpture and collages culled from a collective of 17 artists, five of whom are from the U.S. Silva and Hamblen say they are always looking for new artists to show case.
El Secreto de Pozos and Galería 6 both share a compound full of beautiful native Mexican plants tended to by Silva who has a degree in ornamental horticulture. Walking into the shared compound one walks into a sacred quiet place: A sanctuary, full or cacti and other blossoming native plants. When you stop to listen to the quiet, you are also enriched in sprit by the beautiful songbirds that are located all around gardens.
Hamblen and Siva both met in Dallas and have been together for 18 years and are thinking about getting married since they can now legally in México City. They say they feel safe in México, and even living in a small town they have not experienced any homophobia. There is even a small lesbian community full of expats only two miles outside of Pozos.
Though mostly Mexican tourist stay in their luxurious B&B to escape the city, likened it to leaving New York City for upstate, expats from San Miguel de Allende do attend the Galería 6 openings and buy art and to tour old abandoned silver mines.
Jesús Chairez is a gay Latino activist and freelance writer; former producer and host of Sin Fronteras (Without Borders) on KNON 89.3 FM, the U.S.’s first LGBT Latino show. He resides between Dallas and México City and may be reached at email@example.com