Our final night in Mexico couldn’t be more different from our three nights in San Miguel de Allende. That was the first place where we saw great numbers of Americans; in fact, they seem to have taken over the town. We’re told that 10,000 Americans have retired there besides all the snowbirds.
San Miguel is in a valley surrounded by mountains. The streets are steep leading out of the center, and cobbled with stones making for teeth jarring rides. We saw a number of American driven ATVs on the streets, easier to climb the hills I guess and easier to park on the narrow streets.
There are many hotels, restaurants, and shops catering to tourists. Everything is much more expensive than any other place we visited, even the cosmopolitan city of Puebla. I couldn’t find one shop though, where I could buy a pair of socks!
The charm of the old colonial houses, steep streets and lovely parks didn’t make up for the feeling that we might as well have been in Florida or Palm Springs.
From San Miguel we drove through high desert to the city of Victoria, just 200 miles from the border. We stayed in an older hotel across from the Zocalo in the center of town. Walking along the main street in the evening we mingled with whole families out strolling and shopping. We didn’t hear a word of English or see anyone who did not appear to be Mexican. Driving in and out of the city we did not see a single strip mall or shopping area but the entire downtown area is lined with small shops and the sidewalk crowded with stalls.
We were intrigued with the blocks of shoe stores, one after the other. Some for men, some for women, sport shoes, dress shoes, all kinds of shoes. We had noticed the same thing in Puebla. It is hard to imagine that much demand for shoes. Also, in all the town centers there are many shoe shiners.
Our hotel room was basic, small but clean. It was a surprise when we pulled back the shower curtain and saw the tub. All the porcelain was gone, at least we didn’t have to worry about slipping.