Right now, we are staying on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato. This is our third time visiting this area. It's a nice little city (pop 140,000) with a beautiful central plaza and one of the most photographed churches in all of Mexico.
The only problem we have with the city is the number of expats.
Various articles state that the expat population of San Miguel ranges somewhere between 6% to 20% of the total population.
Yesterday, we walked down the hill and to a house that friends Peter and Shelagh have rented for a three month period.
Some expensive homes overlooking San Miguel de Allende.
Apparently there has been an influx of property buyers from Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Queretaro in the last few years. But we still saw a lot of licence plates from Texas and other parts of the U.S.. Strangely, we didn't see any Canadian licence plates although we know that there are a lot of Canadian expats and visitors here as well.
Courtyard and fountain.
Looking towards the central area.
The house that Peter and Shelagh are renting is right beside a school, and when we got there we noticed that the school was closed for the day. Hmm. We met up with them and continued walking towards downtown. As we got closer, we heard music and drums and realized that there was a parade going on.
This is why there are no children in school. They're all in the parade!
Can't have a parade without a parade princess.
Even an aerial fly by.
It turns out that Ignacio Allende was born in San Miguel on January 21, 1769, so the city was celebrating his birthday yesterday. And the city was later named after him with the addition of "de Allende" ...hence the current name of San Miguel de Allende.
Dedication to Ignacio Allende.
The steeple of the San Miguel Parroquia, one of the most photographed churches in Mexico.
Oh, there they go again.
We walked up to the old bull ring. There hasn't been any bull fighting here since 2013, and now the ring is used for concerts and festivals etc.
The old San Miguel bullring, built around 1856.
There they go again!
Peter, Ruth, and Shelagh.
We stopped for lunch, but Shelagh wasn't feeling well and took a taxi home to have a nap.
There wasn't a single Mexican being served in this restaurant. All gringos. The waiter came by and gave us menus...totally in English.
One of the things we don't like about expat areas is that there is too much use of the English language. We find that you will learn more when you're forced to use Spanish.
So I asked him (in Spanish) for a menu in Spanish. He laughed, and went and got one, but even that menu was partially bilingual.
The food was good, although not enough of it, and not very good service. Ruth and I split a plate of fajitas and I had a couple of beer and Ruth had a glass of jamaica. The bill for the two of us was 150 pesos ($12.45 CAD) and we didn't leave a tip.
(Edit: We've learned with fajitas that one order has always been too much for one person to eat. We've ordered this meal many times in many different restaurants in Mexico over the past eight years. So we've learned to split an order and that's enough for the two of us. This particular time, the plate of food arrived and I could have *easily* eaten it on my own. So when splitting it between two of us, it wasn't enough food and that made it overpriced compared to similar establishments that we've been in.)
We then walked over to the San Miguel RV Park and Tennis Courts. We thought that this was where friends Paula and Jerry from Nova Scotia were staying, but when we got there they were nowhere to be seen. There were six or so rigs there, all small ones because they say you can only get in there if you're under 26 ft. It would be very tight for Sherman to get in there, and the place doesn't interest us anyhow.
I sent Paula a note and it turns out they're at the San Ramon hotel and balneario (swimming pools) on the outskirts of town. We were headed there with Sherman next anyhow, so we'll see them this afternoon!
Wandering downtown, we were called over by a couple "Oh look, it's Ruth and Kevin". Turns out that Trish and her husband John have been reading this blog since they researched their South Africa trip and had come across some info here from when we did our trip there. They were busy doing a food tour of San Miguel, so perhaps we'll get together with them another day.
Went to the market and picked up some veggies on our way back to Peter and Shelagh's. Sat and chatted for the rest of the afternoon and had a glass or three of wine. They made chicken breast and ceasar salad, and we had a nice dinner together.
Peter, Shelagh, Kevin, and Ruth.
Most people seem to love San Miguel, but it's not our thing and so we're heading out to the hotel and balneario for a day or two to visit with Paula and Jerry. Might come back into town one more day to spend some time with Trish and John, but then it's time to move on.
Local Saskatchewan author (and an avid traveler and reader of this blog) Ryshia Kenney has had a new book published by Harlequin Intrigue...you can buy it here...
And in Canada (release date Feb 1)...