Scooting around San Miguel

Normally, when caravanning with Hans and Ursula, we use the Tracker for our local transportation.  It’s great to transport the 3 of us, and/or haul groceries and big jugs of drinking water from the store.  But parking in downtown San Miguel can be a hassle– street parking is nearly impossible to find, and some of the paid lots close as early as 7:00pm.

When Ursula headed to Germany for a few weeks to care for her mom, Hans suggested it was finally time for me to learn to ride on their scooter.  Motorcycles are ideal for navigating the clogged streets of San Miguel, and much easier to park as well.

First things first, I needed to have appropriate scooter apparel– sturdy shoes, long pants, and a jacket.  Hans supplied the motorcycle helmet.  He rolled their yellow Honda 250cc scooter out to prepare for my maiden voyage, and I, of course, had to ham it up for the camera!

No way would I be driving this speed demon solo!  Hans and Ursula have been riding motorcycles regularly since they were in their teens, so I had no hesitation about leaving the driving to Hans, the expert.  He carefully eased out the throttle and we were soon on our way down into town.

I must say, riding around town on a scooter was an absolute blast!  You could see so much more, and wiggle around traffic much easier too.  By the end of my two weeks of scooter riding, I was even enjoying the high-speed segments of our trips (when Hans would get the bike up over 60 mph on the highway in front of the RV park). Whee!!!

As Ursula is the prime chef of our bunch, Hans and I agreed that we’d be trying out a number of San Miguel’s restaurants while she was gone.  With over 300 in town, the difficulty was trying to figure out which to choose!

One day we headed to Sabores y Salsas, now located again at the Hotel Mirador.  When I’d eaten there previously in 2014, the restaurant was at a different location and offered a fabulous multi-course prix fixe lunch for only around 100 pesos (USD $5.00).  While the new location had a spectacular view, and still had the same chef/owner, the prix fixe menu was no longer offered.  We settled on some enchiladas, which were good, but I sure missed to variety (and value) of the previous menu.

On another day, we headed to Baja Fish Taquito for some fabulous fish tacos (at a fabulous price) with great rooftop views of Centro.

There was even free “entertainment”– a dog across the street who liked to watch passersby from the edge of his rooftop…only in Mexico!

We also tried a few restaurants at dinnertime too.  A favorite, low-key, live-music place was the family-run Don Lupe Mexican Grill.   We also hit the ex-pat magnet, Hecho en Mexico.  After so many great Mexican meals, though, by our second week, we were ready to seek out other cuisines.  One night, we ventured up to a rooftop Thai restaurant, Chao Ban, which was surprisingly quite good (as was the view)!

On another sunny day, we parked the scooter and headed to lunch at a tiny French restaurant, La Crepe du Chef, run by a French baker and his Mexican wife.  What an unexpected treat in the middle of Mexico!

In the 3 winters of traveling through Mexico with Hans, he has been on an unending quest to find a Mexican bakery capable of making a real French baguette.  He was continually disappointed…until finding Cumpanio in San Miguel.  I laughed when I saw him come out of the bakery with his long bread loaf– how the heck would he transport it back home on the scooter?

Well, of course, before buying this scooter, Hans made sure its under-seat storage compartment was long enough to stow a baguette!  Why should I have ever doubted this?!!

Besides Dia de los Muertos, there were lots of other celebrations and evening entertainment to partake in.  On Halloween night, we went down to the Jardin to see a group of ex-Pats rallying against Trump and showing their solidarity with Mexico by opposing the wall (“No al Muro”).

The highlight of the rally was inviting kids up to bash a genuine Donald Trump piñata– that was certainly a crowd-pleaser!

It was also Halloween night, and while Dia de los Muertos is still a much bigger deal in Mexico, some of the San Miguel kids have started trick-o-treating around the Jardin on Halloween night.  Ex-pats and other adults line the square and pass out candy to the local kids.  No mass-market Disney costumes here– just genuine pirates, princesses, and witches. Adorable!

On a few other visits to the Jardin, we saw weddings occurring at the Parroquia.  This lavish afternoon wedding featured giant bride and groom dancing mannequins, a Mariachi band, and the real bride and groom driving a small MG sportscar on their way to their honeymoon–

This evening wedding was a more subdued, formal affair–

Just outside the church, a donkey awaited with balloons, and a large brass Banda had the locals dancing up a storm!

One very memorable evening, Hans and I attending a wonderful guitar recital by Alfredo Muro at the Bellas Artes Cultural Center.  Not quite knowing what to expect, we didn’t expect much for just a $10 concert, but wow, were we ever floored by the music to come!  Muro is originally from Peru and featured quite a few South American works as well as some tried-and-true classical guitar pieces.  Look him up on YouTube and prepared to be wow’d!

The Bellas Artes has a wonderful courtyard and arched walkways all around.

The highlight of my evening entertainment, I must admit, came from streaming the Cubs World Series games via the Internet.  My WiFi connection bogged down towards the end of Game 7 (when the Indians had just re-tied the game), and I began to fear that my dear Cubbies had been hit once again by the curse of the billy goat.  But after rebooting and reconnecting, my Facebook feed lit up with the news that it was now o.k. to look again– the Cubs had somehow managed to prevail and win the series in extra innings.  The 108-year wait was over!  I proudly wore my Cubs hat around San Miguel for the next few days.  The girl might be out of Chicago, but you can never take Chicago out of the girl!

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