Sunday Morning 5/22/2022: Beginning in Mexico

We are slowly settling into our life in San Miguel de Allende. We continue to recover from the long journey to get here as well as the altitude and climate. It is very dry here, especially so for us after living in always-humid Hawaii, and Brett and I have both been drinking lots and lots of (bottled) water since our arrival. It has also been very hot here so far (in the 90s every day all week), another big change for us, so we’re also trying to adapt to that. Our apartment has thick stucco walls, good fans, and heavy drapes that block out the afternoon sun when it’s at its peak so we stay comfortable indoors and only go out mornings or evenings. Altitude adjustment will happen gradually and there’s really nothing much we can do to speed it up, but we’ve basically come from being at sea level to an elevation of over a mile and think it will take a few more days before the drowsiness and sluggishness completely fade away (we’ve been told it can take around two weeks to fully adjust).

The meat case and charcuterie island at City Market, just a 15-minute walk from our apartment. While we love the little shops that line the streets, this is the most beautiful and impressive supermarket I have ever seen in my life. It’s like entering a fantasy store with everything and anything one could possibly want. The aisle full of nothing but olive oils alone is worth a visit.

We’ve spent the past few days discovering what’s available nearby and so far we’ve found a nearby supermarket that can only be described as Whole Foods on steroids (but with prices like Aldi); a smaller, less expensive, but equally nice supermarket; a couple of lovely little organic markets that sell wonderful breads, produce, and other good things; a nearby tortilla shop; and lots of great little restaurants and cafes. We’ve just started our exploration of the center of SMA and other neighborhoods, and we’re looking forward to discovering more about the city. Brett and I try to use Spanish as much as possible, but frankly we’re pathetic (yesterday I answered the taxi driver in Japanese). I’m hoping more of what I learned in the past will come back during our stay.

Last day in Philadelphia

We had a great final day in Philadelphia last Sunday afternoon. Meiling was on her way back to Boston before 6:00 a.m., but WenYu didn’t have to be at the train station until 4:30 in the afternoon, and YaYu needed to move out of her dorm room by noon. So, Brett, WenYu, and I went over to Bryn Mawr in the morning to help get everything out of YaYu’s room and over to a temporary room in another dorm where she’ll live until the end of the month. After we were done with that chore (more like chaos) we headed downtown to the Reading Street Market for cheesesteaks. We each got a traditional with grilled onions and Cheez Whiz at Spataros, and boy was that sandwich tender, juicy, flavorful, and downright DELICIOUS! We wolfed them down. While we were eating I asked YaYu how far we were from the Liberty Bell and it turned out to be just a 15 minute walk away so as soon as we were done with lunch off we went! None of us had ever seen the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall before, so we enjoyed a brief look at both before taking WenYu to the station. Following that we took YaYu back to Bryn Mawr and said our goodbyes to her, then went back to our hotel to finish packing and get a good night’s sleep before departing for Baltimore in the morning. By the way, after living on quiet little Kaua’i for the past several years, driving in Philadelphia gave all of us heart palpitations!

A special note to commenter Libby: I found your most recent comment in my spam folder this past week, maybe because you’re posting from overseas? I thought I had rescued it and was planning to read and answer but instead the comment vaporized and can’t be found anywhere. I’m so sorry.

This morning I am thinking about:

  • What we accomplished: 1) Getting to San Miguel de Allende provided a difficult travel experience once again, but we stayed calm, persevered, and eventually arrived. 2) In spite of everything we were completely unpacked and settled in on our second day, our pantry and refrigerator are now stocked for the rest of the month, and we’ve started venturing out of our neighborhood into other parts of the city.

Clockwise from the top left: a colorful street in our neighborhood; a design shop along the Ancha; Parque Benito Juarez; the Parroquia San Miguel Archangel; the entrance to El Encanto restaurant; traditional pottery in the Mercado de Artesanias;.

  • What we’re looking forward to next week: 1) Besides getting out more, we’re going to finally meet Debbie and Michael Campbell, the Senior Nomads, on Wednesday! They were the inspiration for our nomadic life, and Brett and I have long hoped our paths would cross someday and . . . here we are! They have been to SMA several times and we’re looking forward to learning more about things we can do and see while we’re here. 2) We’re planning to go to the big SMA organic market for the first time this coming week. Besides loads of fresh organic produce for sale there are also vendors selling homemade enchiladas, tamales, tacos, and other good things – we want to try some vegetable tamales!
  • Ways we saved: 1) Parking in a downtown Philadelphia lot last Sunday came to $33 (!!!) for two hours and five minutes but Brett remembered to get our ticket validated and we only had to pay $11, still expensive but much, much better than what it could have been (after we couldn’t find any street parking). 2) There may be some potential savings: because our flight from Baltimore to Toronto was over four hours late in arriving and completely the fault of Air Canada (not the weather), we qualify for a refund and were told we may get as much as $400 (CAD) each. We’ve filed for the refund and will see what happens. 3) We have found food to be very inexpensive in SMA so far – we’ll probably spend less than half of what we used to spend on Kaua’i for the two of us.
Waiting for brunch in the back courtyard at Rustica, a lovely little restaurant right around the corner from us.
  • Good things that happened: 1) On our first morning in SMA, we had a delicious brunch at a restaurant down the street and around the corner that our host had recommended. We got sticker shock when we saw the menu, and our entire meal plus tip ended up being around what we use to pay for one breakfast entree on Kaua’i! 2) Because of the great organic and natural food stores near our apartment, we have been eating healthy vegan and vegetarian foods once again. We were getting very tired of airport, fast, and other unhealthy food options. 3) Fresh tortillas in Mexico are mind-blowing if all you’ve ever had are ones from the supermarket in the U.S.

Both Brett and I have high hopes that another week here will find us feeling back to normal. After all the interruptions and ups and downs and changes we’ve been through over the past month or so, we’re looking forward to being settled for a while. Both of us are done with feeling tired, having our sleep interrupted or not getting to sleep at all, and not eating as well as we should. I’m looking forward to being alert enough to read again without immediately falling asleep! San Miguel de Allende seems like it will be an ideal location to pull ourselves back together.

Although this was a somewhat crazy week for us, I hope everyone else had a good one and got lots accomplished. I also hope everyone is looking forward to the week coming up as much as we are!

18 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 5/22/2022: Beginning in Mexico

  1. So glad to hear that your move to Mexico is going well. Happy that your youngest daughter graduated.
    Safe travels to you both.

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    1. Thanks, Gwen. We’re not here permanently but our stay here will be a nice respite between the craziness of the past few months and our move to Tennessee.

      We’re so glad to finally be done with college – we’re anxious to see the path our youngest takes now.

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  2. How exciting to finally meet the Senior Nomads! I can’t wait to hear all about it. And funny story about languages. We landed in Athens after a red eye and stopped at a local coffee shop to gear up for the day. The clerk asked me a question in Greek (I knew enough to know what she was saying) but I answered in Spanish! And my friend said goodbye in German!! Tired, mixed up, know a few languages brains lol. I’m adding French and Italian to the line up so I’ll be a cornucopia of mix ups soon!

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    1. We’re very excited about meeting Debbie and Michael – I can’t wait to hear some of their stories and hopefully pick up some good advice.

      Oh my, the language! Funny thing, I told the driver afterwards – IN SPANISH – that I spoke Japanese and that my Spanish was awful and apologized.

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  3. Hi Laura. Great recap – we look forward to meeting you this week. Be sure and allow time to enjoy the galleries in Fabrica Aurora afterward. And pick up a copy of Atencion for the week’s activities and goings-on. It costs 20 pesos and is available in various shops. Also … a little further down the road from City Market is La Comer (the parent company that owns City Market) I’m sure you’ve already been told that. It is a huge supermarket with similar and even lower prices where you can also buy hard goods from clothing to tires, to TV’s and anything you need in the kitchen. That is the main difference between the two stores. Otherwise, they both carry most of the same food products – City Market is just prettier and has a better healthy
    food selection.

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    1. We’re looking forward to Wednesday too, and definitely plan to visit the Fabrica Aurora afterwards. We will splurge on a taxi coming and going – too far to walk in this heat!

      We’re going to try La Comer next time, although walking through City Market is always an experience. We have found many of the same healthier foods (at similar prices) at the the organic markets we’ve been to on the Ancha. Hopefully we’ll get a break from this heat soon – I haven’t felt much like cooking since we arrived.

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    1. Thank you, Carol. It’s been a good first week, all things considered. The heat has been awful though – hopefully that will change sooner rather than later.

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  4. It all looks so nice. And once you adjust, I’m sure you’ll have your usual amazing time. 😄 That supermarket looks huge, and what a pleasant surprise to find the cost of food and dining to be that much less. I remember you posting about the Senior Nomads. I’m sure you will all have much to discuss!

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    1. This is a beautiful small city, and like Japan, every turn of a corner seems to be an adventure with lots to look at and admire. The only thing keeping us down now is the heat (I am not a hot weather person).

      Food is very cheap here. We always get sticker shock when we see the bill or receipt because we expect it to be so much more. I have a post coming this week about our brunch on Saturday. The bill for the two of us equaled the cost of one entree on Kaua’i!

      Really looking forward to Wednesday and finally meeting Debbie and Michael!

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  5. Glad you finally got there and are feeling somewhat settled. The pics are great – are there a lot of Expats in the area? I follow the Senior Nomads, so will be interested in your meeting with them.
    We visited UP Michigan last week, flying for the first time since Covid. Thankfully, our connections worked out great, but my goodness, the turbulence from Chicago to UP and back again was something else! But it was great practice run for an international trip we have coming up in September!
    Looking forward to hearing more about your time in SMA!

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    1. Flying these days is definitely different, isn’t it? Just having an itinerary that doesn’t get changed several times seems to be a miracle these days, let alone the whole flying thing and worrying about who will be masked and who won’t.

      The Senior Nomads have been to SMA several times so I know we’ll get some good advice about places to visit, experiences, and so forth here. I also can’t wait to compare curly hair stories with Debbie!

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  6. It looks gorgeous and I am very interested bc that is somewhere I would like to travel to after I finally, fully retire!

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    1. I feel like we have only seen the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of this city – there’s so much to discover here. I love the colors and all the beautiful flowers. Just wish it wasn’t so hot right now!!

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  7. I have been reading all your posts since leaving Kauai but finally have a chance to leave a brief comment.

    The two of you look so happy and full of energy. Betty and I wish you the very best as you begin an exciting new phase of your nomadic life!

    Your plunge into the deep end of life’s pool is inspiring.

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    1. Thank you, Bob. I sure wish we felt full of energy! The altitude and dryness are both still having an affect, but we’re happy to be here and we do a little more each day. I think in another week or so we’ll be acclimated a bit better and able to enjoy more of what’s here.

      Our time in Nashville is going to put the brakes on our nomadic lifestyle for a while, but will give us time to think about how we want to proceed after that. Hit the road again or settle down somewhere? There’s lots to think about and weigh for the future.

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