San Miguel de Allende

BART:

Waking up in Mexico was a bit of a surreal experience.  I’m alone.  In a strange country.  A country in which, more than one person told me to bring a gun.  You’re going to get shot!  You’ll get mugged, beaten, and disappear!  Mexico is dangerous!  The funny thing is that some people warned me about the same things about moving to D.C.

Monterrey, located over a kilometer up in the dry air is busy, dirty, full of life and full of cars.  I decided to explore a little bit of the city in the morning.  There was barely anybody out at 8 in the morning.  I walked into a bakery and looked through the strange pastries.  I grabbed one with my hand and walked over to the counter.  A couple customers stared at me and the cashier started to laugh.  I looked at the customers in front of me and they all were holding metal trays and tongs.  I’m standing here ham-fisting a Mexican pastry.

I walked around with pastry in hand and got some coffee along the way.  Eventually, the streets began to hum with the morning commuters.

I knew it was time to leave the city before I hit the rush hour traffic.  I walked back to the hotel, got my things and punched in San Miguel de Allende into my GPS and iPhone.  I looked through the directions and getting out of the city seemed rather complicated.

The streets of Monterrey are complicated.  Did I say that already?  Well they are.  It is a series of streets and highways that branch off like an old oak tree.  All of sudden a road just turns into five.  And I’m at the mercy of the flow of traffic and the guidance of my GPS.  After an hour of navigating the streets and multiple circles and retracking of the same streets and highways, I made it out.

It was a long drive to San Miguel de Allende, and if the drive was anything like the previous one, I’ll get stopped by the police multiple times.  Not this time.  I went through several police checkpoints and they waved me through.  Only once was I stopped and the police officer asked me where I was going.  I started to say San Mig… and he finished the sentence for me.

San Miguel de Allende is apparently a haven for a lot of ex-pats and a popular and safe tourist destination.  I guess I seem like the kind of person to trek there.

I finally arrived into town.  I rolled into Weber’s Tennis and RV Park.  Yes, there are tennis courts and campgrounds in one place.

I set up camp there and I was lucky, since I took the last spot.  The camp was full of like minded explorers.  Many in RV’s, camping vans, pickup truck campers, from Canada, the U.S., Germany and the U.K.  In fact, I was told that there was a couple that have been camping there for 5 years!

I set up camp and unfolded my rooftop tent.  This will be the first time I will be sleeping in it!

DSCF5903The sun was setting and the only thing I ate was a pack of peanuts all day.  I roamed a little bit into town and bought some tamales.  They were cheap, and boy were they good!  I bought a six pack of Indio beer and drank three.  I finally called it a night and crawled up into the tent, surfed the internet (free wifi).  It was weird to watch Youtube videos in a rooftop tent, in Mexico.

The next morning, I was awoken by a couple roosters.  I crawled out and decided to walk around the town at 7 in the morning.

DSCF5838Stores were starting to open up.  People were getting ready for the day.  But there was still an air of silence to it all.  A sleepy awakening for the whole town.  The weather was perfect and many of the trees were blooming beautiful purple flowers.  Many of the petals painted the cobbled stone streets.  It almost looked like somebody threw purple confetti the night before.

The churches were beautiful.  The streets were beautiful.  The town is beautiful.

DSCF5858The plan is to head out of town by noon, so that I can get into Mexico City at around 4 pm check in and pick up my sister from the airport at 8 p.m.

I walked back to the campground to prepare to leave.  I sparked up a great conversation with these two lovely people from the U.K., Bill and Rosemary.  Their 1995 Land Rover TDi 110 drew me there.  My dad owned a 1988 110 and the little kid in me gets super excited whenever I see a 110.  What was suppose to be a 10 minute conversation lasted over an hour.  They lived in Kuwait at one point, and we shared stories about our travels, our love for the desert and they imparted some great advice about driving to South America.  They were heading the opposite direction.  They started their trip in Uruguay and headed north.  They were so kind enough to let me take photos of their notes, including GPS coordinates of all of their campings spots.  What a great adventure they’re experiencing.  I hope I have the time and energy to do what they’re doing when I grow up!  You can follow their adventure on there blog here.

billrosemary

I looked at my watch.  Time flew by and I’m already running late.  I packed my things and left the beautiful town of San Miguel de Allende.  I want to come back.

I’ll come back.

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