San Miguel Day 2
I'm beginning to understand the lure of San Miguel. It's beauty is at times breathtaking. The campsite where I'm based is in what is known as the East Hills, a more affluent and expensive part of the out-lying city. Imagine a steep-sided bowl with the city center in the middle. On all sides, further up the mountain sides surrounding the city are pastel-colored houses, and neighborhoods with shops and services not unlike any city in America. The most impressive difference in my experience so far is that the houses are gold, pink, sometimes white, reflecting bright sunshine, red tile roofs dotting each not unlike Tuscany of which this place very much reminds me. The beauty at times is just staggering. Views are n. The is great wealth here, mostly American, Canadian and European, and great poverty. It seems like every Anglo I meet has something to say about how expensive San Miguel has become. A woman I met today walking down the hill as I was driving up told me how she'd been here twenty years—from Washington state, near Vancouver and lived since on $500 a month. She made the point that she could only survive because she built her own house. She was encouraging to me and gave me some pointers about finding housing: Look in the East Hills, where neighborhoods are less expensive. I plan to explore those places tomorrow. It's been a holiday weekend, today, Feb. 5 is “Constitution Day” but Monday will be a holiday too with banks, the library and I suppose government offices and businesses closed. I'm eager to get into La Biblioteca, where Anglos post notices about apartments and houses to rent. I've read that it has the second largest collection of English language books in Mexico. They also have Spanish language classes, a cinemateca, theatre and organize other civic activities. I'm looking forward to 'joining', one pays 120 pesos (about $12) 'deposit”and then 50 pesos per year for membership. I tried today to buy a cell-phone. It's not going to be cheap. International calls are very expensive—something like 50 USD for 60 minutes. I am going to try to use Skype which makes calls over the Internet. Or public phones using calling cards. I read yesterday that Mexico is phasing out public phones in face of wide use of cell phones. Email is still the most cost effective way to communicate. At least for the time being. I did my first shopping today in the Gigante! It's only one of several high end supermarkets selling food, household goods, wine, liquor, small appliances, and –best of all—dog food. It's very convenient to the campsite, just a short drive down the road. On the way we stopped at a large lagoon created by a dam and Riley has a swim. He retrieved the ball as many times as it took to tire him out and then we watch as a man and his two children watered and washed their horse. Clearly many water their livestock there because the rocky edge of the water was littered with cow and horse droppings. I was kept busy preventing Riley from taking a post-swim roll in manure.