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Alive and Well in San Miguel Mexico


Professor Arnie Greenberg

What could be better than a walk around a colorful town where merry-making is the motto. People are smiling, buying balloons or munchies for the kids while vendors sell painted egg shells filled with colored paper that the children use to smash over people’s heads as they run for cover. It’s not a symbol of anger or hostility but one of joy and holiday. Even the recipients laugh in the cool breeze and the warming sun.


There’s nothing like it. Yes, it’s Mexico but Mexico with a difference. San Miguel, a few hours north of Mexico City by bus is a happening that had been discovered by northerners and is teeming with cars, people and locals, enjoying their visitors.

For the thousands who spend a few weeks or a few months in this hill-top town, the rewards are many. There are hundreds of activities and there are more restaurants than one can visit in a few months.

Last Sunday was a classic day here with the egg shelling and Valentines Day rolled into one. Everyone came down to the Jardin (Hardeen) the city center in the shadow of the great pink Parroquia house of worship that seems to reach the sky.


Center of town - click to enlarge
Center of town
Children ready with egg shells - click to enlarge
Children ready with egg shells
Color everywhere - click to enlarge
Color everywhere
Jardin and crowds - click to enlarge
Jardin and crowds


So, you ask, what is there to do? I cannot begin to list all the tings that go on day and night or the list of restaurants one can dine in or listed to Jazz.


There is a large library that holds classes in art, language and history. They have a 100 seat theatre for plays, lectures or films. There is an Art Institute where people from all over come to learn the methods taught by competent teachers.

There are readings, open houses where artists show their wares and restaurants on every corner.

Aside from the local dishes, one can dine on oysters, Italian dishes, steaks made as in Argentina and Irish style pubs with beer enough for ‘anybody’


There is a Writers and Readers Conference featuring the best selling writer Barbara Kingsolver who will attract hundreds of interested people at her lecture next week.

There are infrequent bull fights, often with matadors on horseback and in ten days we will attend a concert of Spanish Flamenco dancers.


There are golf and tennis courts and open houses by artists. I wrote about the Tomlinson Studio/Gallery last time I was here. It’s still a welcome center for art lovers at Terraplan 29.


You are made to feel welcome by the locals who greet you and smile. Many of the tour activities in this wonderful place are conducted by volunteers who offer the tariff to local children’s charities. His helps pay for medical, dental and schooling. No wonder the locals are welcoming.

Restaurant Courtyard - click to enlarge
Restaurant Courtyard


You can rent one of the many hotels either inside the town or in the hills above that offer exciting vistas. I visited La hermitage high above the city. This was once the home of the Mexican actor Continflas (Around The World in 80 Days). There are condo rentals by the day or week but there is a savings if you rent for a longer period. Many people rent homes for one to three months. The cost, based on a world value, is on the low side and at the present rates of exchange, food, entertainment and transportation is very cheap. Taxis are abundant and the cost, no matter where you go, is about $3.00.

There is a hard working police force and a contingent of police-like soldiers on horseback with their bright blue and white uniforms shining in the sun. (See above).


There is construction everywhere, on the streets, sidewalks and the buildings. As I write, the houses on the streets in the town area are being repainted and spruced up. The colors are vivid mauve, orange, blues, reds or green. One, just opposite our apartment is purple and blue. You can’t miss it.

And speaking of homes to rent, our 700 sq ft apt. is on two levels with the bedroom in the second floor loft with beautiful ceilings crafted of red brick and a table and patio on the roof. We have a glass covered sitting room which we share with our neighbors, two bathrooms, a gas heater for cool nights and a well stocked kitchen. It’s perfect for just under $1000 US a month. They offer telephone, TV cable and a house cleaning twice a week. We are a 6 minute walk to the city center.


The common sitting room allows us to meet and befriend our neighbors. The people who moved in last week joined us for a 6PM drink. We talked until almost 11 at night. The Floridians are here only for a short time. Pity!

Another resident in an upstairs apartment turned out to be someone from my home city of Montreal.


On Thursdays they sell an English language  newspaper that lists all the activities of the week. Atencion comes out on Friday and cost 10 pesos. At current rates of over 12 pesos to the US dollar, it’s well worth the investment.                                                 


We arrived at the end of a long period of rain. This is very unusual for this area. But now, after two weeks of sun and running around, I’m almost happy to see that there is some rain today and I can read, watch the all Arts TV channel or catch up with my Email friends or relatives. A lap top allows you to use Skype. What could be better?


Next article will be about restaurants and other activities. I’ll give you an idea list of what to do and where to eat. It’s almost endless so I’ll have to do some editing.


Hasta luego!

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You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at


Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to: or contact him directly at

(More about the writer.)


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