Tuesday, May 31, 2016

La Buena Vida...The Good Life in San Miguel!

Having settled in comfortably to our beautiful villa on the edge of the Centro, we began the delightful task of exploring the city in earnest. Imagine if you can a city of 80,000 people whose every street is paved in stone, and where despite a significant (although not annoying) amount of automobile traffic, there is not a single stop sign or light. Instead there is a sort of unspoken code between drivers, pedestrians, and the occasional burro, and traffic flows remarkably well. The drivers are fairly courteous and seem to get by without a great deal of honking that seems to go on in a lot of the other Latin American cities we have visited. Cars do seem to have the right of way however, and pedestrians must sometimes wait their turn. The cobblestone streets are mostly pretty narrow, and the sidewalks if there are any are narrower yet. Top it all off with a fair number of steep hills, and navigating the city is an exercise in paying attention!

Our regimen of walking everyday before our trip is paying off as we have chosen to walk everywhere so far instead of taking a taxi or bus. Being in the hills at 6500 ft, this has resulted in some fairly strenuous days, as we have consistently covered a minimum of 5-10 miles per day. To do this, we have sort of settled into a routine where we leave the house fairly early while it is still cool, check out the destinations we have planned for the day until about 1 pm, eat some lunch, and then head back to the villa to get out of the afternoon sun and catch  up on some writing. As the early evening approaches and the day begins to cool down, we head back into town for either some dinner, or some evening sightseeing and drinks. This seems to be working pretty well, and both of us feel stronger and more acclimated every day. The nights are quite comfortable here, so other than the previously mentioned outbreak of fireworks warfare, with all the exercise we have also been sleeping very well.

Feeling a bit more adventurous, we decided to do some grocery shopping as the villa has a well equipped kitchen and a delightful eating area. This is one activity where Spanish is nearly a must, so be prepared to point and grunt and hold out handfuls of money in hopes that you will get the right thing at the right price. My Spanish is improving by the day, and so far I have done pretty well, but the occasional faux pas has been more than covered by the gracious street vendors who seem more than happy to help you. On more than one occasion, I have handed them the wrong assortment of change, and they have always handed me back the extra. On our second day, we visited the Ignacio Ramirez Mercado, a large and bustling Mercado in Centro and tried our hand at shopping. Fruits, meats, and vegetables are plentiful here, but do not expect to shop like you do at home. You visit with individual vendors, compare their goods, and pick the ones you like best. For meats you visit the carneceria, but for chicken the polleria, and so on until you have filled the bag you brought with you from home with everything you need. It is a delightful way to shop and most of the vendors are cheerful and funny.

After a full day of sightseeing, walking, and shopping, we are always ready for a drink, and Mexico offers plenty of choices. There are bars and cafes everywhere, and in San Miguel you can always look for rooftop seating if you would like a spectacular view of the city at sunset. Of course Tequila or Mezcal are the drinks of choice here, but we were delighted to discover that the craft beer scene is Mexico is exploding, and San Miguel has not been left behind. We found both the local brands of Dos Aves and Allende beers to be nicely crafted and a far cry from the more traditional Mexican beers like Corona. We had an absolutely delightful meal at La Azotea, where the Jicama Tacos are not to be missed! These unique tacos are made with breaded cameron (shrimp) roasted leeks, topped with one slightly sweet and one slightly spicy sauce, and wrapped in a tortilla made from a thin slice of the Jicama plant. They are unbelievable!

For yet another day, San Miguel is showing us that everywhere you turn and every street you walk down offers a new and delightful experience and an adventure that is not to be missed.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I was directed this way by my old neighbor (and your sister-in-law) Terri! I just lived down in Queretaro for the past year -- about a half-hour from San Miguel -- and I'm returning in August for another two years! You're in a BEAUTIFUL area -- if you're at all interested, I have a ton of recommendations! I can't WAIT to get back to life in Mexico!!