This is my third visit to San Miguel in Mexico. Now I know where to get what I need. I know how to walk to my friend’s house without getting hopelessly lost in narrow streets. I know how to sit in the main square, to buy stamps, which is the best bakery. I am accepted as one of the regular Gringas and certain things about San Miguel have become routine for me. When I was first encouraged to visit, I was told it was a ” magical” town. I was sceptical about that term. Certainly on my first visit I thought it beautiful and full of interesting people. It still is but I have been able to look at this little town with some new insights. I have many questions about it still and those questions are part of the attraction of the place.
There are two communities that live side by side here. First are the Mexicans who claim this town as the cradle of the revolution and a beautifully preserved colonial town ( some contradiction there?). They take pride in the tradition of art and writing that flourishes here. It is home to people who have nothing to do with art or music or writing too. They lie on the ground and fix cRs. They drive the busses out of town. One cleans my room once a week.
The other community is the ex-pat English speaking one. Red necks don’t come to San Miguel. I’ve never met anyone who makes his or her winter home here who was ‘t absolutely liberal in social attitudes and politics. It’s interesting to see how these communities interact in sometimes uneasy ways. The gulf between these communities is both gouged out and spanned by money. I am considered rich by many of the people who pass me on the street. Yet, if I were to lose my cash or my credit card it would be a catastrophe. I am only rich here where others are poor.
A complicated situation that requires more thought. In the meantime, let’s get that poem right.