Is Mexico safe?

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This is a question we were frequently asked in the run up to our move. One family member exclaimed ‘Mexico is full of druggies and drug cartels…why would you want to move there? You’re signing your own death warrant!’ Ahhh, the stories the good old Daily Mail, The Mirror and many other tabloids and media weave! Donald Trump isn’t helping either!

There are places in every country which are a little less savoury than other parts and Mexico is no different and has it’s own way of doing things. San Miguel de Allende is a very safe town. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage town, a tourist hot spot and because of this the economy is thriving…and the local government wish to protect it for that reason. I feel absolutely safe walking hope to our casa after a night out and the people here are incredibly kind, generous and friendly. We’ve discovered a greater sense of community here than we’ve felt in our hometown in the UK for a long time.

Sure, sometimes bad things happen. Our friends have been burgled 3-4 times but then again, a house just down the street from where we used to live in the UK was burgled twice in the last 12 months. It’s all relative. We’re careful about putting valuables away safely and I don’t walk around town dripping with jewels….don’t have any jewels to ‘drip’ anyway!

What annoys me most about the question about safety here is that most people have already made an assumption that it’s not safe where we are and we’re crazy to live here. It’s a fear-based myth perpetuated by main stream media and a presidential candidate with an over inflated ego and a lack of understanding about the real Mexico….no wonder there are more Americans already visiting here (and Canada) with a view to moving here if Trump gets elected! I refuse to live my life in fear!

Before making massive assumptions about our new home, I’d encourage people to come and see this place for themselves….I think they’ll change their minds…although Trump can stay north of the border please….we don’t want him here! And now for a little light relief courtesy of YouTube!

 

Valentine’s Storytelling

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Valentine’s treats on the Rosewood rooftop

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Eduardo sharing his story at the Storytelling Festival – part of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference

The highlight of Valentine’s weekend was watching Eduardo share his incredible story of his hopes and dreams for his life – rising from humble beginnings to being educated in the USA and then having to recalibrate all his dreams when he met the love of his life – Joseph – and they moved back to Mexico to begin a new life together. His story is truly remarkable and shows us all what’s possible when you believe in the power of your dreams. There were many tears in the audience…including my own!

Afterwards we celebrated with eats on the rooftop of the Rosewood hotel….looking out over one of the most beautiful views San Miguel has to offer.

After over a year of preparing for our move and spending most weekends sorting, packing or painting, we are still getting used to having weekends to play  – still feels like such a novelty! Sunday afternoon among friends and having fun was such a treat and long may they continue!

Wedding crashers!

IMG_5468After this last weekend I can add Wedding Crasher to my CV. On Traci’s last day in town we were meandering around the Jardin dipping in and out of shops and museums…and the Parroquia…the main church in San Miguel de Allende. There was a lot of activity outside as one wedding party after another seemed to be going in and out of the church over the course of the afternoon! It didn’t look like bystanders were being blocked from entering the church so we decided to go inside to take a look around…and we ended up watching the beginnings of a beautiful destination wedding for a couple from the USA.

It really was quite fascinating watching the massive wedding party promenade down the aisle followed by the bride! We stayed long enough to feel like we were proper crashers…before making our way out again…the service was 90 minutes long…we lasted 15!

If music be the food of love….

Our good friend Traci in town just in time for Valentine’s weekend…and this is a very romantic place to celebrate LOVE! Eduardo surprised us all one evening with a fabulous mariachi band who arrived at our home to serenade us after dinner (here’s a video!). It was so much fun and a celebration of beautiful Mexican music.

We’ll often find mariachi bands hanging out in the Jardin waiting to serenade couples in the evening. Mariachi bands will also serenade newly wed couples as they leave one of the many churches in town. I have a growing fascination with their craft and way of life.

"Musicologists and folklorists have argued for years over the origin of the word - Mariachi.

The explanation that appears most frequently - especially on record jackets and in travel brochures - is that it is a variation of the French word mariage, meaning wedding or marriage, and comes from the time in the nineteenth century when Maximillian, a Frenchman, was Emperor of Mexico. According to this myth the Mariachi was named by the French after the celebration with which it was most commonly associated. But this explanation, always regarded as highly doubtful by linguists, was totally discredited recently when a use of the word was found that predated the time when the French arrived in Mexico.

Currently, however, the best scholarly opinion is that the word mariachi has native roots. One theory is that it comes from the name of the wood used to make the platform on which the performers danced to the music of the village musicians. But whatever its true source - and the truth may never be discovered with absolute certainty - the word today has one meaning that is crystal clear: Mariachi means on of the most exciting and enchanting musical ensembles found anywhere in the world." 

 

The price of things

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Yesterday I enjoyed a girlie afternoon with my friend Jan. We left the guys at home watching Monty Python and headed up to a fabulous nail spa just on the edge of town. It’s a fabulous place – they just opened a ‘Royal’ experience lounge and we really were treated like royalty for the afternoon. It was great to kick back, relax, have a chat and be pampered.

I love having a mani/pedi on a regular basis and used to go to a lovely place in our old hometown of Godalming. Dragon nails became like home over the last few years and the owners – Tina and Lee are great friends and I miss them already.

However, I needed to find a new ‘nails’ home in SMA and yesterday I found it. The service was great, the girls did a great job and they really know how to do customer service. All in all I had a nearly 3 hour treatment and paid £25! I was amazed – back home in the UK it would have cost 3-4 times more. Could get used to this…I’ll be back!

Hummingbirds

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One of the many things I’m enjoying in our new home is the daily visits from hummingbirds who come to help themselves to the nectar on our roof garden. The UK is too cold a climate for these little creatures but they seem to thrive here.

Of the 65 or so species of hummingbird around the world, about half can be found here in Mexico. I loved reading this piece in the local media which shows just how loved and prized the birds are here in San Miguel de Allende…there is even an annual festival to celebrate their presence in the community.

Taking time to pause and learn about not just the culture and people of our new home, but the flora and fauna is proving to be such a treat!