Tag Archives: San Miguel de Allende

SMA, week 4, recap

I’m late posting this week! It’s a holiday weekend (in the US, and we work for US companies), and apparently I’m lazy on holiday weekends.

This was a low key week. I didn’t go anywhere, but Jay went out on Saturday. He started his adventure by going out to breakfast in a small restaurant in Centro where he had a very American breakfast of waffles.

After that he wandered around Centro for a while and ran various errands. He spent a little time in Benito Juarez Park.

In the middle of the afternoon, he went up to the top of the Rosewood Hotel for a late lunch at Luna. The view was fantastic.

The food, of course, was even better. I can’t wait to go myself!

The rest of the week, as mentioned, was low key and normal. We’re still fighting the internet. We’ve been working all week to get an internet solution from MegaCable, but we’ve had problems with the router. Oh well, patience! We’ll get there.

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SMA, week 3, recap

Pflouff’s new groomer is located outside the town of Atotonilco, which is about 10 miles northwest of San Miguel de Allende. Her groomer also happens to be just down the road from Nirvana, a hotel/restaurant/spa we visited back in March and loved. Sounds like a plan for an afternoon out!

We dropped Miss Pflouff off at 11, and then Jay, Polo, and I popped over to Nirvana. They were happy to have Polo accompany us in the outside part of their restaurant.

We decided to order several things and share them. We started with this delicious cheese plate of manchego cheese, green olives, and pancetta.

I absolutely had to try the Huitlacoche and squash blossom cream soup. It was marvelous!

Jay wanted to try the beet carpacchio salad with goat cheese and walnut praline and a touch of fresh arugula in creamy balsamic vinaigrette. Nom!

The we split the scallops. Jay says my scallops are better, but we loved the sauce.

After a leisurely lunch we walked around the grounds for a while. Although I had been here back in March, I hadn’t explored much then. They grow their own vegetables, and they raise some of their meat animals. Intermixed with the farm, there were delightful park-like spots. I loved this area with a statue of St. Francis.

We met these two adorable burros, who brayed loudly until they were given the attention they were due.

Polo wasn’t sure what to make of the burros. He was captivated by the ducks, though!

After touring the grounds, we decided to drive into Atotonilco to see the church. I wasn’t expecting it to be so crowded, but apparently they get 5000 visitors a week.

We drove through and parked at the far end of town. It was basically a permanent street festival on the way back toward the church.

We wove our way through the crowds. This gold man loved Polo and was fun to chat with.

In general the people in Mexico ignore dogs on leash, but Polo is an exception to the rule. He’s so unusual that people want to ask about him and touch his fur. Polo doesn’t love strangers, but he’s getting used to them, and he graciously tolerated quite a lot of attention in Atotonilco. Honestly, he’s a good traveling dog and was EXTREMELY well-behaved yesterday. Pflouff would not have enjoyed the day at all, not one single aspect of it.

The church itself is gorgeous.

I have just two photos from inside. Jay thinks maybe there was a wedding going on — he couldn’t get past the entrance because it was so full. But he said every inch of it was ornate, like the photos he took.

Here’s a statue that was outside the church.

After a while we got hot and thirsty, so we headed back to the car. There’s a cemetery near town, and we tried to find it, but failed. Oh well — another time.

We stopped at this devotional spot on the way out of town. Apparently there’s a big facility inside that does things like wedding receptions. The gate was unlocked, but I didn’t venture in.

By then it was almost time to pick up our daughter dog, so we headed back to the groomer. Pflouff looked beautiful (and was more than ready to leave), so we piled in the car and drove straight home. We had a wonderful day, but as soon as we got home, the four of us split and went to our respective areas to relax and decompress. I live in a house full of introverts!

The rest of the week was low key and normal. During the week, we have a standard routine that is not unlike our routine in the US. We work during the day, and every other day in the late afternoon, one of us goes to the grocery store. We cook most of our meals at home, though we like to do take out once or twice a week.

We’re still having some internet issues. Supposedly Live Telecom is doing some upgrades, which is what’s causing our outages and slow downs. That doesn’t change the fact that we can’t work when those are happening. I intended to talk to them on Friday to see if there’s a dedicated solution we could get that would be guaranteed up (and a faster pipe), but when I went to pay my MegaCable bill, I found out that they may have a faster, cheaper solution. We’re going to try to get that next week and have both for a month to compare services.

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SMA, Week 1 Recap

Morning view from my office

Our first week in San Miguel de Allende has drawn to a close. I thought I would tell you what happened this week, good and bad, and share my thoughts about this week and the weeks to come.

We got an incredible amount done this week:

  • We unloaded the trailer, and got probably half of the boxes unpacked.
  • We got Mexican SIMs for our phones, so we have a local number. I’m honestly not sure we need to keep our T-Mobile plan. We’ll see.
  • We got our money figured out — how we get it, how we pay bills, where our direct deposit is going, and so forth.
  • We had fiber optic internet installed. (This has been only partially successful.)
  • We met our gardener and maids, and worked out their schedule.
  • We figured out the grocery, so we can feed ourselves and our dogs. 🙂
  • We got immigration photos taken, and took care of several steps necessary to finalize our temporary residence visa. This included a trip to Queretero for Jay.
  • Jay bought and put together new desks and office chairs for each of us, and he assembled our monitors and computers. And he got the network running smoothly.

The Good

We couldn’t have done the above — truly — without the help of Adriane (the property manager) and a local friend, Luis. (Part of the reason we chose SMA as our first stop is that we already knew some people here.)

Luis went with us on several of our errands and served as translator. For a couple of them, I honestly don’t know how I’d have managed with my currently limited Spanish. I really need to buckle down on my studies!

Luis and Adriana have been so incredibly helpful, so very responsive when we’ve had questions or needed something. They’ve made it so easy to get settled. Almost too easy, LOL, but definitely less stressful.

Other good:

  • We love the house, and equally importantly, the DOGS love the house. They’re so relaxed!
  • We met a bilingual taxi driver who gave us his card so we can call him directly. He has made it easy to run errands when we don’t want to drive.
  • We met our neighbor, Martine. He studied medicine in California, so he’s fluent in English as well. He is the one who used to have a horse across the street. He still has horses — many of them — at a ranch a few minutes away. I hope to be invited out to see the ranch sometime in the future. Very nice man.
  • The weather has been wonderful, and we’re able to keep the house comfortable. We had a couple of fun thunderstorms, and we’re supposed to have more this coming week.

The Bad

There’s not too much bad, but there were a few things.

  • The internet installers stapled into a water pipe on the roof. Rather than telling us, they just turned off the water to the house and tried to patch the hole. Didn’t work. We first had to figure out why there was no water in the house, and then figure out why water was pouring off the roof. This resulted in a plumber at the house at 8:30 at night. It cost us $500…pesos. About $28.
  • Jay had a cold when we arrived. I fought it, but eventually succumbed. I was simply exhausted. Thursday was the worst day, and by yesterday I felt human again. It made it hard to DO much though, and I definitely didn’t want to go out and explore.
  • I had to work this week. Okay, I’m not complaining about my job — I am grateful to have one, and I love my manager and coworkers — but I really needed to take this week off. Thank goodness Jay took this week off to get things done. Next week will be tougher, because we’ll both be back at work.
  • The altitude, LOL. We moved from sea level to 6200ft. Dude, the air is thin up here! We will adjust, but right now, it’s an effort to walk upstairs to the kitchen, much less to carry boxes and do physical work. Jay is a champ! (Have I mentioned that he’s the best husband in the world? Because he is. Truly.)
  • There’s cable TV, but there’s no guide and no DVR. I know, first world problem, right? I flipped through every channel and pressed every button on the remote, and there’s no guide to tell me what shows are on when. Without a DVR, it’s pretty irrelevant anyway, since the chances that I would make time to watch a show when it airs is nil. So unless we get a VPN in place and work out a different solution, TV won’t be happening for us this year. There are worse things that could happen.

My Thoughts…

As I was thinking about this past week, I was first and foremost grateful for good friends. We are sliding into this far more easily and gradually than I every dreamed, and it’s all because of our wonderful friends here.

I am disappointed that we didn’t get out more. We haven’t walked around the neighborhood or driven around or gone into town. We certainly didn’t go out to an event! We are both introverts, and we know our default behavior is to stay home in front of our computers.

But I am going to cut myself some slack about that. We just got here, and neither of us was 100% this week. We really were busy the whole time either working or moving in or sleeping. (Okay, so we made time for a lot of siesta. We were tired!) And we don’t have a pet sitter, yet, though we’re working on it. It’s okay that we didn’t accomplish anything outside of the house this past week. We just can’t let that become our introvert habit and miss out on this gorgeous city.

Yesterday was a good day. Incredibly peaceful, even though we still got a fair amount done. I was finally able to think about the OTHER things I want to be doing, the things that I put on hold during the last eight months. I want to get out my camera and learn to take GOOD pictures. I want to write. I want to train my dog. I want to learn Spanish! It’s time to relax and do some fun things.

I’m looking forward to what’s to come!

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We made it to San Miguel de Allende!

I am exhausted, but we made it. The house is absolutely GORGEOUS — I’m absolutely in love with it.

We got here yesterday around lunchtime, and we were met by the property manager, Adriana. She gave us a tour, and I was impressed with absolutely everything. The house had been shut up for a while, and it was stuffy, which concerned me initially. We have opened the windows and turned on the fans, though, and it’s much more comfortable now.

After the tour, we called our friend Luis, and he and a friend came over to help us unload the trailer. After that I ran to the grocery store. It felt so good to drive without the trailer! I don’t think, though, that we’ll do a lot of driving here. The cobblestone streets will absolutely shake the car to pieces! I’d rather let taxis deal with that kind of wear and tear.

I go back to work tomorrow, so this is my one day to get settled. Luis and I went out together to run some errands this afternoon. What a godsend he is! He is bilingual and able to help me do things like get Mexican SIMs for our phones and arrange for fast internet.

Mexico is a cash-based economy, and that’s going to take some getting used to. We have some rather hefty getting-started expenses, and I had to get cash to pay them. Thank goodness there’s a safe in the house. We pay those expenses on Wednesday, so thankfully, we won’t have large amounts of cash for long. After that, it will be just what we need day-to-day.

I owe you pics of the house, but I’m tired. Later!

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San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende (SMA) is a lovely city of about 200,000 full-time residents in the high desert of central Mexico. (Sorry, folks, nowhere near a beach!) It’s nestled in the mountains and averages about 75 degrees year round. It’s also the place Jay and I want to start our travel adventures.

Why SMA?

  • First, climate. I live in the foothills of the Cascades; I need to ease into this warm, sunny thing. (LOL, as I told friends about our plans, every one said, “You know it’s sunny there, right?” Yes, I know.)
  • Second, I have a friend who owns a condo there. She told me enough about it to convince me that it’s the kind of place I would like.
  • Third, the locals are supposedly really welcoming, but there’s still a large population of ex-pats. We’re NOT moving to Mexico to hang out with Americans, but as we get our feet under us in our first foreign country, we will feel better if there are people we can ask for help. (And that ex-pat community has also been very welcoming!)
  • Fourth, fast internet. SMA has what we need to work reliably.

All that sounded good on paper, but we hadn’t actually BEEN to SMA. I, in fact, hadn’t even been to Mexico before! So we sent the dogs to “camp” for a week, and we took a vacation in SMA to check it out.

We took a red-eye from Seattle in order to arrive in Queretaro, the closest city, during the day. Queretaro is a modern city of 5 million people, but we didn’t realize that on the way in. We skirted the city and saw only a run-down industrial area. Jay was concerned when he saw it, thinking that was what SMA would be like.

He was wrong.

SMA is an UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2013 Conde Nast Traveler selected SMA as the “Number 1 City in the World.” It’s a colonial city thriving with art and culture. And it’s breath-taking. I’m going to stop rambling and just post some pictures from our vacation. Enjoy!

View from the AirBNB we called home.

The jacaranda tress were in bloom everywhere!

Our accommodations were stunning.

Our lovely patio

The streets are charming. This is right down the road from where we stayed.

El centro — the downtown area.

Walking toward the jardin

La parroquia — the church at the heart of the town

Dinner at a rooftop restaurant in el centro

La parroquia at night from the rooftop restaurant

 

Can’t help it — this cracked us up.

After spending some time in SMA, our verdict is that the city is perfect for us. We absolutely can’t wait to move there for a few months!

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