Merry Christmas!...and Happy New Year!!
Trip Start Nov 05, 2006
182Trip End Jan 14, 2008
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San Miguel de Allende is a very pleasant town. I can't say it's my favorite but it is very easy to navigate due to the large expatriot population and the food is great because of the demand created by the gringos. There is a great botanical garden and hot springs here about which I'll write after we see them. We are here through New Year's so I'll add more to this entry as events unfold
December 26th - the "botanical garden". Websters defines botancial garden as "a garden with greenhouses for the culture, study, and exhibition of special plants". Having grown up next to the South Coast Botanical Garden, I was familiar with this definition and had certain expectations. We visted the local botancial garden today. It was not an unpleasant experience, but I'm not sure it rates "botanical garden" status. "Open space preserve" would be more suitable rather than a botancial garden. It also boasted two "ruins" which we visited. One ruin was an 1800's house that had fallen down. Not nearly as impressive as Palenque, but having a "ruin" probably helps sell tickets. Shouldn't something be at least 500 years old to be a ruin? We spent a good part of the afternoon trying to come up with a proper definition for "ruin." In total, the garden is probably about 100 acres of space with a little brown lake and a canyon that reminded me of upper Bidwell Park in Chico. It did make for some nice walking. The cactus garden did boast cactus species from all over Mexico, but that was pretty much it. Nice place to go running or maybe have a picnic.
December 27th. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound? Who knows, but I DO KNOW if pasta falls off the shelf and scatters across the floor in a grocery store in Mexico, the nearest person (or maybe the nearest gringo) is charged for it
December 29th; San Miguel has been great! We had pasta the other night (see previous entry) but otherwise the food, shopping, etc. is fabulous. It is pretty amazing the change in the number of tourists from when we were here earlier in December to now. The tourists include two women from Sac (Curtis Park) who were in line with me (Laura) for the San Miguel home tour. It has also been interesting to see the Mexican tourists, who by and large are very wealthy. The disparity between the rich and poor in Mexico is pretty amazing. San Miguel has a number of galleries and art shops, quite a few home stores and great restaurants. There is also a wonderful artisan market with all the same stuff they sell at the home stores but must cheaper. (It's a bit off the beaten path, so most tourists don't go there.) I took a cooking class, but got distracted because of all the margaritas served during the class. I have also been reading quite a bit about the food in Mexico. The other day I read an article about the movement away from "fusion" cooking and a return to more native/original foods. The article included a historical discussion between Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo about serving human flesh stew "a la Aztec style" at a dinner party. Not ready to go there yet...
December 31st New Years Eve in San Miguel de Allende. This was a nice location for bringing in the new year. Complete with live music in the jardin, fireworks, and about 3,000 people in the downtown area waving three foot sparklers and toasting the new year.