I think I found a place
Where I know I can be forever
It’s down in San Miguel

Dennis Wilson and Gregg Jakobson, San Miguel

silhouetteI was waiting for the bus to take me to the NGO Wednesday morning.  Three buses arrived at the stop at once, all with the same destination within the city. I moved towards the bus that was last in line, thinking there would be the most seats.  As I did so, a fourth bus pulled up, cruising past the three when suddenly all the buses were enveloped in a huge cloud of gray, smelling of diesel.  Unbeknownst to me, the suddenly disabled bus was Ceci’s (she is the newest person to join the NGO’s workforce) and she had come from the ejido (cooperative farm land) where she lives.  All the passengers from her bus boarded the remaining three buses and we walked together from our stop to the office, talking in Spanish; in the office, it is a lot of English and a little Spanish.

Thursday morning my landlords left for their home in Philadelphia.  I will miss their company, but they already have people renting their home.  Some very short-term, others longer.  Then L and her family will be here for three weeks in June, having exchanged their home in Provence.

Just in case the news didn’t reach everyone, Conde Nast Traveller rated San Miguel the number 1 travel destination in the world.  At the time, I suspected either the local realtors of massive collusion in trying to drive up lagging realty prices or the cartels of doing … whatever they’re reputed to do.

A friend forwarded an email from one of the more vocal San Miguel ex-pats.  Excerpts follow:

Yesterday security personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City visited SMA to meet privately with individuals who have been victims of a crime and to meet in open session with a group of U.S. citizens at the Biblioteca. They also met with the local “district attorney” at the Ministerio Publico, the state agency in town that investigates crimes and brings suspects before the judicial system for prosecution.

The security detail, which included two men who are responsible for the safety of U.S. diplomats in Mexico and for preparing information for the State Department´s travel advisories strongly recommended that U.S. citizens take all steps necessary to protect their persons and their property. …

In a private session they heard the details of several serious cases of muggings, beatings, and home invasions. They were especially appalled by the severe beating of several senior citizens….

The Embassy personnel stressed the importance of circulating this information on all public outlets, like the Civil List, and to continue to encourage residents to take prudent steps to protect their person and property.

The Embassy personnel refused to speculate if the rising tide of serious crime in San Miguel and Guanajuato would cause an official warning by the State Department about traveling in this part of Mexico, as it has in parts of Michoacan.

San Miguel is beginning to sound like Miami Beach, where cyclists would swoop on elderly women and snatch their purses.  I have done my civic duty:  now it’s up to Conde Nast, who once fired my brother-in-law, a journeyman printer.


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