Friday morning we were invited to join Darcy and John Eckrote on a tour of houses for sale in San Miguel. We are not yet interested in buying real estate in Mexico so we were just along for the ride. It's amazing the scope of homes that are out there. You can spend as little as US$80K for a fixer upper or go into the millions for a colonial mansion in down town. We saw four houses listed under US$200K.
|The authentic look|
|The modern look|
The first house was quite cute and owned by two artists, designed in the style of Antoni Gaudí with a sculpted concrete stairway to the upper studio. It also had a small casita for rental income. And a nice back yard to relax in. The second house was amazing and blew us away, it also had the adjacent lot for sale to add to your privacy. The views of town were excellent and the house was listed at $199K. For an extra $40K you can have the vacant lot next door for a private garden or swimming pool. The walls were constructed of a mix of stone, brick, ceramic tile and roof tiles, randomly cemented in place. The look is amazing and very colourful.
Then onto some listings closer to the centre of town where you don't get as much for your money. The third house in the Colonia of San Antonio was very small. Shelagh and I could live there after some renovations but it was not right for Darcy. The next house was also in San Antonio. Much larger with a great view to down town and a rental suite. Extensive renovations are needed for this one. The vendor is 85 years old so a deal could be had. Darcy has a lot to ponder...
|An eclectic mix of media|
Leaving the restaurant we wanted to show Darcy the action in the Jardin on a weekend night. A wedding had just wound up and the crowd was in the plaza pouring shots of Mescal and Tequila for anyone interested. We have learned that that kind of booze is best left in the bottle. We chatted with some people, one who could barely stand up anymore. Darcy had a dance with the father of the bride while the Mariachi band played and played. A wonderful way to end a great day. We walked home dragging Darcy up the hill, she was quite proud of herself!
|This guy could barely stand up|
We still feel that buying a house should happen after renting for a while so that you can really get a feel of town and not end up in a neighbourhood that will ultimately drive you crazy with church bells peeling, dogs barking and roosters crowing. Besides, Mexico is not nearly as regulated as Canada. You could buy a nice house and end up with a small engine repair shop next door. Better to rent, so you can bail.
On Saturday morning we saw one more house with Darcy and John, also very nice and built by the same contractor as the nice house with the fancy stone work. It was only two doors down from that pretty place and listed for considerably less. Ultimately these houses were too far from the action for Darcy, she wants to be able to walk to town and this neighbourhood does not afford that. John dropped us off in town and we went and did some shopping at the markets for gifts etc. Darcy was hungry and stopped for a taco al Pastor from a street vendor, delicious. We took Darcy to the "Hecho en Mano" market which is open every Saturday and Sunday. The local artisans sell their creations here. Jewelry and pottery, weaving and carving, preserves and teas, it's all there on the Calle Ancha de San Antonio. A few blocks further is the Saturday organic market where we would top up our veggie supplies and fancy bread. Darcy was a happy shopper. Here we said goodbye to Darcy and went our own way. I had something special planned for Shelagh as this was to be our last full day in San Miguel. We headed to the ear ring maker at the organic market and Shelagh chose a pair of ear rings like a Milagro, or a pair of wings representing a miracle, then I had planned to shop for a pair of shoes called San Miguel shoes which hug the feet real well for easier walking on the cobble stoned streets. I figured that she would benefit from such shoes, however her bunions won the battle and she could not find a pair that were comfortable. Bummer.
|Taco stand, delicious and safe|
Lunch time was now upon us and Shelagh chose to go to "Mare Nostrum" an Italian restaurant where the pizza and pasta is as close to authentic as I have tasted. The owners hail from Sardinia and have passed their culinary skills on to the kitchen staff. The restaurant is comfortable, situated a ways from the street through a garden path. There is a nice dining room and a courtyard. The courtyard is covered with glass and very cozy and airy. We enjoyed a lovely Pinot Grigio along with a pizza capriciossa. Life is good.
Sunday came along and we were invited to join Barbara and Darcy for lunch at "La Mansion de Montitlan", a beautiful private home in the colonia of Balcones in San Miguel. The owner, Gail, opens her house every Sunday for lunch. She is especially well known for her Southern Fried Chicken. Reservations were made by Barbara and we had a choice of chicken, salmon or pork loin wrapped in prosciutto. The three course lunch started with a salad, a delicious romaine heart topped with citrus fruit, avocado and a fresh dressing. Shelagh and Barbara had the chicken, Darcy had the pork and I had the salmon. Finally a choice of three desserts and coffee. The house is stately and has wonderful terraces upon which the tables are placed for the guests. The event was well attended, and lunch was delicious. After lunch we walked home and started packing up our lives into the suitcases that had spent the last three months in the bedroom closet.
|At La Mansion de Montitlan|
Dinner was easy, left over chicken from lunch. We still had a couple of chicken breasts in the freezer and I decided to roast them in the oven for Monday's lunch, that turned out to be a good idea...