Tomorrow is my last full day in San Miguel de Allende. *sigh*
I was looking forward to making the most of this past week and treating myself a bit. I wanted to revisit all my favorite bars and restaurants. Because I’m as compulsively organized as I am romantic, I literally wrote out a schedule to fit everything in. But you know what they say about best laid plans.
The signature taco at Don Taco Tequila. It’s basically ribeye and burnt cheese on a flour tortilla but fancy and amazing.
Watching mariachi performers walk to their gigs on Friday nights.
Leo, the bartender at Los Milagros. He always sneaks me extra tequila.
All the fat mermaid art at La Sirena Gorda. And their ahi tuna.
Lavender-infused lattes from Lavanda Café.
Seeing all the brides and grooms getting their pictures taken outside La Parroquia after their weekend weddings.
People-watching in the jardin.
The restroom at Cen’Tanni! It smells so good.
Fresh homemade ice cream sold on street corners. And I normally don’t even love ice cream.
The sweet older couple who live up the street. I once saw the man bring his wife an ice cream cone and it didn’t melt but I did.
The mixed crowd at the public library.
Del Pueblito, a one-block street that connects Relox and Hidalgo between Insurgentes and Calz de Luz. So many colorful flowers.
The aroma of fresh corn tortillas from the tortilleria across the street.
Cheap beer at El Callejon.
The door to the art gallery at 46 Relox. It’s the prettiest door. I get mad when they’re open because you can’t see it. I don’t want to see art. I want to see the door, dammit.
Johnny’s Piano Bar. I only actually went in once, but it makes me happy just walking by at night.
The upstairs area of Ki’Bok Café.
The late night taco stand on Insurgentes and Hidalgo. It’s never not crowded but they have a system that somehow works–someone sees you standing there and comes to take your order immediately, someone else comes to collect money, and someone else hollers that your tacos al pastor are ready.
Everything about Juan’s Café including the classical music being played all day, the anti-Trump paraphernalia, and Juan himself.
The Shelter Theatre, which is run by the man I’m renting the apartment from. I went to two concert film screenings there (Leonard Cohen and Talking Heads).
My big, comfy bed.
Greasy totopos from El Ten Ten Pie.
The bread they give you at Tio Lucas before your meal comes out. You know how you’re not supposed to fill up on bread? Good luck with that here.
The tall, creepy papier macher-headed people. Sorry, I don’t know how else to describe them.
Pink, orange, and yellow buildings.
The floofy dog that hangs out with his owner who works at a boutique on Relox and Mesones and always lets me say hi.
Checking weekly movie listings for Cine Bacco and Pocket Cinema. Even when there was nothing I wanted to see, I was usually impressed by their programming.
Vivela Pizza. Subpar pizza, but great if I wanted a $1 lunch.
Locals who let you practice your meager Spanish even when it’s obvious their English is so much better.
The man who works at the tienda around the corner. He’s always so smiley.
The woman who works at the lavanderia where I get my clothes cleaned. She’s always so smiley.
Smiley people all over the place. I don’t think I had one sour encounter the past month.
How safe, comfortable, and happy I feel when I’m here.
I’ve only got one week left in San Miguel de Allende. Here is a list of the things I won’t miss:
How every torta shop I went to used mayonnaise even when I asked them not to. Finally I tried writing down my order to see if that would help the last time at one of the stands in the mercado across from where I’m staying. The woman still grabbed the jar but caught herself and asked me if I was sure I didn’t want it. I did not. No me gusta la mayonesa.
Mosquitos and cucarachas.
Tiny sidewalks that no one can seem to figure out how to share.
It’s so nice to come back to someplace I already know and love, especially such a small town. I know where everything is. I know which streets I like to walk down. I know which cafés are nice to read in and which restaurant bars I feel comfortable at being a single gringa. A coffee shop I loved from before is gone, but there’s a new sushi place near the jardin, so that’s good.
I stayed at Hostal Alcatraz my first three nights here. This was where I spent two weeks about two and a half years ago during my first visit to SMA. One of the women working actually remembered me. They upgraded the bedding since last time.
I kept busy. I went out for drinks with some American and Brazilian women from my room. I got a desperately needed haircut, despite my worrying that my Spanish wouldn’t be good enough to explain what I wanted–it turned out just fine. I wound up chatting with some nice Australians at Los Milagros one night because I was eavesdropping and felt the need to correct them about how the Gipsy Kings are actually from France, not Spain (I’m a friendly pedant, I promise). I went to a movie at Cine Bacco–they screened Ed Wood in honor of the late Martin Landau. I attended my first guided meditation session and plan to go back again.
Then I checked into my apartment rental in Colonia San Rafael just outside the Centro Historico. It’s a simple room in a building with a common kitchen and bathroom, but I’m the only one here at the moment and don’t have to share. Since I’m all by myself, I have the luxury of not feeling I need to do anything. In hostels, even if all I want to do is lie on the bed and listen to a podcast or read old articles from The A.V. Club for a couple of hours, I wonder if I’m being judged for being a bad “tourist.”
The thing is, I don’t feel like a tourist in San Miguel. I certainly don’t feel like an expat either, but I’m somewhere in between for the next few weeks. I have a kitchen to cook in and a nice big bed. And towels! Yesterday I went out for lunch but I spent most of my time at the apartment. I read a bunch from Live From New York, an oral history about Saturday Night Live. I watched an HBO documentary about alcoholism and one of Julia Sweeney’s one-woman shows. I looked into flights home but also into possibly extending my time in SMA or Guanajuato. I sat on the terrace with a glass of wine while fighting off mosquitos. Today I’m doing basically the same thing.
I have no big plans for the next few weeks. I’ve hardly taken any photos. I probably won’t update this blog much. But if you need me, I can probably be found lazing around the apartment. Either that, or I’m at Don Taco Tequila again.
At home, the bulk of my close friends are people I’ve known for years. A few are from high school. One is from diapers–we were next door neighbors when we were a mere couple of months old. A big chunk come from college. We met thanks to proximity; we all lived in the same dorm freshman year. I didn’t have to search far and wide for these people. They were living down the hall or right upstairs and we basically couldn’t avoid each other if we wanted to. Not like we wanted to! I’m so lucky we were all placed in Prado Hall at UC Irvine nearly 13 years ago (13!). We’ve remained a tight crew to this day which is good because outside of arts-themed dormitories, I’m not great at meeting new people.
I can let loose around my friends. They get me and my odd sense of humor and accept that the words “This reminds me of an episode of Frasier/Seinfeld/30 Rock” will come out of my mouth at some point during any given conversation. But I’m still an introverted introvert when it comes to meeting new people. I’m not one to extend my hand first and introduce myself at a party where I don’t know anyone. I can be extremely shy depending on the situation. This has not been the case at all since I started traveling.