A most welcome lack of sirens

the alarmA man who loved to hunt and fish once told me, “if you think a place is great, don’t tell your friends about it. They’ll come, then tell their friends. Before long, it won’t be so great anymore.”

So many people have extolled the beauty and charm of San Miguel that one more mention isn’t going to change the nature of things, but I still write with some trepidation. I moved to San Miguel from Oakland, California and before that I’d been living in Chicago. Whether it was rescue equipment, police cars, ambulances, or fire trucks, it seemed rare that, day or night, an hour would go by without at least one of those sounds. Living on the outskirts of San Miguel I have yet to hear a siren. Even when I’m in El Centro.

I think most people NoB associate “danger” and “México.” It isn’t a recent association, either: I remember seeing an Orson Wells film Touch of Evil that made México appear dark and dangerous. I know family and friends were concerned about my spending time here – for various reasons – and I know Mexican expats NoB who are careful about driving in México – driving only during daylight, for example.

The website ExpatInfoDesk used various criteria to determine which countries ranked high for a potential expat. Their criteria included crime and personal safety, healthcare provisions, taxes and cost of living. Their conclusion? México was the best country. While it didn’t rank first in any category, it scored best across the board. Canada, despite scoring first in cost of living and healthcare, finished second overall. The United States ranked 10th out of 13 countries. Because I’m retired and have such a small income, taxes are not a significant factor for me so I redid their table removing that category and the results did not change.

Late Sunday afternoon, a few days after having written the above, Carmen, una nueva amiga, and I heard a siren while walking back from El Centro. An official car with flashing lights passed us. We wondered whether an accident had taken place ahead. I just had time to tell her that I hadn’t heard a siren during my month here when the cause of the siren appeared: 50 men passed us running a long-distance race. So one alarm for Lithe Sweaty Men, day or night.

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