BootsnAll Travel Network

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

February 2013 – San Miguel de Allende has a reputation as an American enclave in Mexico. Ex-pats living in other parts of Mexico (including other Americans) often malign the Americans who live here: “they have no interest in the culture, they don’t speak the language”, “they inflate prices because of the money they throw around”, “unlike ex-pats in other parts of the country, ex-pats in San Miguel don’t intergrate”. I heard ex-pats say that you can identify Americans living in San Miguel by their fake boobs and inflated lips.

There’s a lot of truth to the above. My mom showed me around town and there are indeed a lot of Americans. If you walk into a restaurant in the center of San Miguel it is filled exclusively with Americans being served by Mexicans – you’d think that you were somewhere in Southern California. I got the sense of two distinct societies not mixing but living very seperately (and at different economic levels) in the same space. There were also a lot of OLD people, Americans in their 80’s. It was strange to see. But I also tried to put myself in their shoes – at that age I think I would probably want to be with like-minded and similar aged people. The weather is perfect for an oldie; very dry, always sunny, never really hot. And the infrastructure is there – they have an incredible library in San Miguel where an ex-pat can find all the English literature he/she could ever want. Even German and French. So the infrastructure is there and I can see how that would make San Miguel very apealing to an elderly American. Its not the place I could see myself being, but I can understand why many would find it ideal.

I found San Miguel a bit boring though. It doesn’t have the life of other Mexican towns that I would see later. No locals hanging around in plazas, no kids running around. The bars seemed empty. It’s a very pretty town and has some nice churches – but it just didn’t feel Mexican.


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