Tuesday, July 28, 2015

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is being "Loved to death"

 On the weekends, the streets of San Miguel in centro have been turned into walking streets.  That has been wonderful.  Centro is so full of tourists that all the hotels, restaurants, parking lots and stores are packed.
I'm not exaggerating at all.  The jardin is full of milling tourists - 99% Mexican nationals.

I laugh when people talk about how many gringos live in San Miguel.  If you lived here you would instantly recognize that we are definitely the minority.  Many of the places I go, I'm the only ex-pat there.  Truly.
 These two photos are of Relox street that eventually intersects with the jardin.  Usually the street is full of vehicular traffic and one cannot stop to take photos of beautiful balconies such as these.  With the streets closed so people could walk around, I was able to get these two photos last week.

The amount of tourists are in direct correlation to the fact that, as the taxi drivers say, as they roll their eyes, "It is vacation"  but the way they say it they drag the word out.  You see, with all the vehicular traffic on the streets that aren't closed, it is total gridlock.  Therefore the taxis are making less, because they can't get anywhere very quickly.  I used a taxi last Saturday night to go to a concert where the entire two hours was the best jazz and blues I've heard in years.  All honoring BB King.  It took the taxi twenty minutes to get from my house to the Bellas Artes.  It is usually a five minute taxi ride.  When I left the performance and needed to get a taxi, I luckily got one immediately.  Something that rarely happens anymore.  One can wait as much as twenty or thirty minutes to get one.  Not good.

Sunday I couldn't get a taxi for up the hill and a store owner noticed me standing there a long time, offered his car! and drove me up the hill.  I was shocked and grateful.  He complained all the way up the hill about the amount of people in town, the traffic, and oh yes, that his white poodle had been stolen.  I commiserated with him all the way up the hill.  Now I know why I avoid centro on the weekends.  It's a madhouse.
 So, I've been spending more time up here on the hill.  The family above discovered the presa while out on a hike with their two children.  It was lovely to see.  It's been a peaceful, enjoyable time to be up on the roof terrace between rain storms.  Great place to read and also, ahem, to siesta.
 While school has been closed, an elderly painter has been busy at work repainting the figure of Montes de Oca on the front of the school.  He has been standing on a ladder that I've been sure would collapse at any minute.  But, so far, that has not happened, yet.
The piece de resistance however, has been this lovely rendition of my view of the canyon!  The previous mural of the children playing is gone which I so enjoyed.  But, I really think this is wonderful as well.

School does not reopen until some time after the tenth of August.  Many people in town, locals, both Mexican and gringos, are holding their breath waiting for town to return to some semblance of normalcy.

For a few weeks at least.  Until the celebrations of independence in the middle of September that go on til the end of September.  Then we will be inundated again.  Yes, San Miguel is being "loved to death".


Steve Cotton said...

I always enjoy walking up and down your hill. If I lived in your neighborhood, I would certainly be in shape.

Babs said...

Steve, I intensely dislike having to drive or taxi up and down the hill now. But, with two very bad knees and a bad right hip, I can't chance it or endure the pain.

It's much easier to walk then to ride in this town. I used to scurry, 15 years ago, from the hill all the way to Megacable and not think anything of it. I so wish that was still possible.


Unknown said...

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Retired Teacher said...

This is so true in many popular tourist spots. On my recent trip to Mackinac Island I had never seen so many visitors. There were policemen telling pedestrians to get off the street... that the streets were reserved for bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. And within an hour I saw two bicycle accidents. The increased tourism is surely great for the local economy, but it does detract from the charm of such places. I guess we need to seek out the lesser known places when we travel.

Hang in there Barbara. The tourist high season will soon be over, and you will be able to enjoy the San Miguel that you love.

Calypso said...

There are a few weeks where we lay low during high season in Puerto. We give way to the tourists (which are almost all Mexicans - different from your town I suspect).

Babs said...

Bill, I'm sorry to hear that about Mackinac Island. It wasn't like that when I was there. In fact, our group were the only people in the Grand Hotel! I'm glad I saw it like that then.

John, 99% of the tourists now are Mexican nationals. Now meaning this vacation season and every weekend this past year in SMA. We'll have a few weeks of quiet and then the town will be filled again from mid-Sept til the end of the first week of Oct.
Again, 99% Mexican nationals. The number of tourists from the USA have dwindled until the weather gets miserable up north and then we get Canadians and Northerners.

The town has changed drastically in the last five years.

Life's a Beach! said...

Unfortunately, Isla Mujeres is now loved to death. I think the island is reaching its critical mass, at least for us. January/February were packed and we swore we'd never go back that time of year again. The three weeks this June/July were as crowded as January/February. Evidently, Mexico isn't as 'scary' now.

Babs said...

I'm not surprised about January/February but I am surprised about June/July. Were they gringos or Mx Nationals? Most gringos know the beach is too hot in June/July or all the summer down here........so I am surprised about that.

I guess the cheap airfares to Cancun aid the influx of people. We seldom have inexpensive fares to central Mexico.

Have you ever gone south of Playa del Carmen? Lovely, lovely uncrowded beaches and villages.........

Life's a Beach! said...

Barbara, lots of people were blaming the crowds on Mexican Nationals, but what we saw coming off the daytripper boats mostly appeared to be Canadians and Americans. I know Mexican Nationals are impacting the island now because they've had to double the ferry runs. The whalesharks are attracting summer visitors in droves. They're being loved to death and decreasing in numbers in that area. The mainland beaches have been inundated with heaping mounds of sargasso, so people who come to Cancun are running to Isla Mujeres for clean beaches. The seaweed isn't as bad there. We've been to Akumal and it's almost too quiet, but right now it is just ugly with seaweed. We're going to Roatan this December and staying up in the quiet hills above West Bay! We'll stay away from the beach on cruise ship days. The traffic noise on the island just drove us nuts.

Samal Joe said...

It's all relative. The town I live in the Philippines has well over a million people in the metro area. Its over 3 million during the work day. It's impossible to walk anywhere without feeling like you are in a sardine can. It's constant and draining.

I'm thinking that SMA will feel wide open to me.