San Miguel de Allende and all its Beauty

IMG_0815It is difficult to believe that this is a town in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende. If I had seen just photos alone then I would have guessed Spain or Italy, but certainly not Mexico. First there is no beach here :).. when my family and friends learned that I live in Mexico there first question was “what’s the beach like”. I agree that in my previous thoughts “Mexico” and “beaches” were synonymous. The weather here is not unlike that of Tucson, where I lived from 2007 to 2012.. hot summers and cool winters.. though temps here rarely exceed 32 C and Tucson 40c + is common. Winters here average 8 c at night and about 20 C daytime. Since homes in San Miguel have zero central heating, various methods are employed to stay cozy. Many here use portable propane heaters.. not that attractive to look at, but they get the job done, my home has a nice gas fireplace and I bought with me a heated mattress pad. This was one of the BEST items I brought with covers the whole mattress and has a temperature controller and shuts off automatically after 8 hours. Toasty.

My rent is $550 USD a month. The owner is a gringa.. meaning a woman (as opposed to gringo) from north of the border and she has several of these apartments in town all nicely furnished with everything I need. Many of the household items I bought with me was a waste of space and I would have been better off selling 98% of EVERYTHING before arriving here. For this amount of rent I get a beautiful 1 bedroom, large kitchen, living room with views of Centro and the campo (countryside), a small bathroom (no tub) and a large dining area that I have divided into an eating plus office area. The water, gas, Internet and cable TV is included with the rent I just pay for my electric which so far has been around $20 a month. The last time I paid this sort of rent was in 1984 at the beach in California. A good value here. Meal prices here are not as attractive. Often my meal here can be had for the same money in Tucson. In fact if you move to Mexico because it is COST of living that is the big attraction then you would be wrong. Sure you can live like a Mexican and your costs will be about $300 a month but for a gringo lifestyle.. furnished apartment, 50% of your meals at restaurants beer and wine 4 nights a week, cell phone, a little travel, a concert each month then you will spend what I do.. about $1,700 a month for all of this.

The expat community here is big.. they/ we are everywhere. Canadian and USA being the largest demographic, followed by a few of everyone else. It is interesting how certain places become “expat hangouts”, but this is a fact in every town I have visited in Mexico. Sometimes I find the company of fellow Brits and yanks a welcome sight and at other times, not so much. We have a several theaters here, the biggest being the Angela Peralta and hosts plays and concerts of all sorts. The list of other cultural activities would be a huge article of its own! Several parks, dozens of churches dot the landscape in this prettiest of towns. The focal point of all things social is in the El Jardin, where park benches, mariachi music, warm Mexican families fill this beautiful space. The most prominent architectural building in this town is a masterpiece right in front of this festival of relaxation.. La Parroquia. I describe the style of this beautiful church as “whimsical”, many events are centered on this church including weddings, funerals, Quinceañera and daily mass.

I know that I live in a beautiful place because every Mexican I come across elsewhere in this country, they all will remark how lucky and how beautiful this town is. Lucky me!


About John Arnold