Crazy in Love with San Miguel

October 10, 2010

Filed under: In and Around San Miguel — Annie @ 9:20 am

When you hear the bells chiming in San Miguel, some one is actually ringing them – it is not a recording. When you walk through town and women in Otomi Indian dress approach you with little dolls for sale, they are really Otomi women and they make the dolls, not people dressing up for tourists. When you see dragoons on horse back patrolling the town in early 19th century style uniforms, they are real police and excellent horsemen.

What a magical place this town is! For simple starters, the light here is exquisite. The October skies are full of enormous cumulus clouds and moments of intense sunshine, the earth tones of the homes and buildings glow richly as you walk down the stone streets. No wonder painters still come to work here. The old facades with their worn cantera features transport me back to the 18th century in just a block or so, where else can one walk down streets laid out 500 years ago and still be just over nine hours from Texas by car? Or four hours by bus to Mexico City?

Besides the enchantment of light there is the delight of living in a vibrant small city full of places to eat; from the 20 peso taco to the 400 peso dining experience. And of course there are all the things to do; walk to an art opening, shop for all sorts of treasures, visit a museum, see a movie, hear a lecture, listen to music, take a class or just hang out and listen to Mariachis in the jardin. San Miguel has perhaps too many distractions for the serious among us. 

I often take buses all over town to do a variety of mundane chores, with some walking in-between, the whole adventure will cost 15 pesos and I can cover the town. Hilly San Miguel means enchanting vistas and picturesque streets, and I marvel that it only costs 25 pesos to arrive at nearly any destination by taxi should the climb to wherever I am off to prove daunting. Drivers are polite too! Everyone will wait for someone to cross a street, even taxi drivers. Where else do drivers politely go one by one across intersections with out policing? I get spoiled by this courtesy when I travel anywhere else. 

Where else can you live in a foreign country and get your mail delivered from the states with no problem, even Amazon books? Where else can you get wonderful organic food locally grown for reasonable – not Whole Foods – prices? And artisanal cheese? How about shopping at great delis or tasting the goodies at one of the many wonderful bakeries, all within walking distance of any neighborhood you visit. How about the pleasure of visiting a variety of hot springs just out side of town or getting a great massage for 250 pesos? We have a botanical garden that is delightful and a library full of books to read. You can join Audubon or hike on the weekends. There are horses to ride and dogs and cats to rescue. You can take yoga or mediate with a group. You can study Spanish or even French. There are endless opportunities to get involved and make a difference in someone’s life, and surely your own. Not all small towns in the US can boast of these amenities, but San Miguel has them in abundance. This is really living in a small town and it is wonderful.

Yes, there are tourists here and I, for one, am glad, as they contribute to the vibrancy of local restaurants and hotels. Many of our long term visitors add a lot to the community and the mix of friends. I feel safe here in town and walk everywhere any time of day or night. I enjoy a book club, a woman’s group and classes that keep me interested and learning too.

Best of all, San Miguel is full of interesting, warm and friendly people. Where else can you move and find people so ready to make friends? San Miguel is unique this way especially as there are so many of us “ex-pats”. I have head complaining that there are far too many “gringos” here and you don’t have to even learn to speak Spanish…well, if you want to learn there are lots of schools and tutors and I for one, find having a wide variety of friends a very healthy part of life in San Miguel, be they gringos or Mexicans. My Spanish is a lot better than when I came and getting better all the time.

So don’t miss out on this magical town where the energy is good, the eating an adventure, new friends will entertain you and fun is a daily part of life.

 ( NOTEThis commentary was submitted to our blog by homeowner Barbara Erickson, whose lovely Casa de la Vista is one of the houses represented for vacation rental by San Miguel House Rentals.  Thanks for your words capturing the spirit of San Miguel, Barbara!)