Do Know The Way To San Miguel?

By Lola

Well, if you don’t, half of humanity does. Or at least that’s what it seemed like yesterday. Wow. It was packed. And traffic sucked. I talked to some locals who conceded there was more of a crowd due to the Christmas holidays, but that San Miguel was no longer little and certainly not sleepy. And they’re upgrading the road from Querétaro to San Miguel to a four-lane road, so it’s bound to get worse. Interesting side-note: The road heading out to Querétaro from San Miguel is still called Camino Real a Querétaro, which means the Royal Road to Queretaro. Cool, huh.

However, nevertheless and notwithstanding, I can attest to the fact that San Miguel de Allende is as charming as ever. I would live here in a heartbeat, so I don’t blame all the ones who have jumped the border and landed here. The history, the food, the music, the artesanías, the books, the sights, the smells… Yep, this is still San Miguel. No amount of traffic, gringos in walking shorts and gringas in flowing Mexican robes with TENNIS SHOES can make me stop loving it. Hey, at least they’re all smiling.

Here are some random shots with a cheap camera on a cloudy day. It’s really hard to make this place look bad.

View from the mirador. Es grande!
View from the mirador. Es grande!

San Miguel 2San Miguel 3

Apartments for rent (1 bd/1bth fully furnished, maid, gardner included, full kitchen with view: $685/mo)
Apartments for rent (1 bd/1bth fully furnished, maid, gardner included, full kitchen with view: $685/mo)

San Miguel 5

Clowns. No matter where they are, they still scare me.
Clowns. No matter where they are, they still scare me.

San Miguel 7San Miguel 8San Miguel 10

Traffic. Traffic. Traffic.
Traffic. Traffic. Traffic.

San Miguel 11

Garlic. Wards off evil and just about everyone else.
Garlic. Wards off evil and just about everyone else.

San Miguel 12San Miguel 14San Miguel 15

The Fading Glory of Merida

Jeanine Kitchel

If you’ve ever read Dickens’ Great Expectations like I did in high school, the ghoulish side story of Miss Havisham probably lingers in your imagination.  No doubt you recall she was a bride jilted by her groom at the altar, and forever after, refused to remove her wedding  gown, barricaded herself into the parlor with all the wedding trimmings – presents, bouquet, cake – which decayed along with her til she gasped her last breath.

I just came back from a three day trip to Merida, and the fading glory of the city struck me like a hammer.  I have to admit, Merida bore a distinct likeness to Miss Havisham’s slow decline.  I’ve traveled to Merida countless times in the past 15 years, for business and pleasure, and always take delight in the metropolis, in part because it bears no resemblance to the beaches of Quintana Roo where I live,  and  because of its colonial city grandeur.  But the grandeur is fading.

I’ve noticed in the past few years that many small hotels and restaurants, some tried and true staples, have passed on and even some good handicraft shops (though believe me, Merida is not lacking in shops!) are gone, as well. In the past certain parts of the city were always in need of paint, but this time, it seemed almost everywhere was in need of a little spruce-up. Even on grand Paseo de Montejo, every other mansion was for rent, for sale, or vacant.  Alack and alas, it saddened me, as I truly do love Merida.   In years gone by there was always enough new white wash to make up for those faded gems, but this time, the faded gems won out.

Decoration aside, we still ate our way through the city. We tried La Tratto on Paseo Montejo for the first time and enjoyed it immensely, returned to El Argentino for great Argentine food, and could have bypassed Slavia, also on Paseo Montejo, except for its flare and ambience -Thai and Hindi art, glass chandeliers, velvet lampshades, Greek statues, golden Buddhas, silk throw pillows.  Go for a drink, but don’t bother dining there.

If you’ve never seen Merida do make it a stop on your Mexico itinerary, as it really is unparalleled. It may be showing some wear at the seams because many tourists now come only to the Riviera Maya;  in the past it had a good slice of the tourist pie.  The old world charm is still there, along with the teaming streets, a  gigantic market where you can literally buy anything, and the cheapest hammocks in Mexico.  Worth a visit.

GUADALAJARA CONTINUES TO SET THE STANDARD FOR ART & CULTURE AS THE CITY PREPARES TO WELCOME ITS NEWEST MASTERPIECE, THE MUSEUM OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART!

Guadalajara, Jalisco; December 27th, 2009– Officials in Guadalajara have officially announced plans for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which will be situated in the privileged city of Guadalajara in Jalisco.

Slated for a September 2012 completion, over six acres of land will house the museum, which will collaborate with contemporary artists to create new works and will also look for participation from renowned artists who seek visible and lasting presence for some of their masterpieces. These new collections and collaborations with artists focused on Mexican and Latin American art will contribute significantly to the cultural heritage of Mexico and reinforce Guadalajara’s image as a cultural destination.

The Museum, which will be planned at over 1 million square feet, will consist of 3 main exhibit sections: 1) newly developed permanent collections of Mexican and Latin American art, designed especially for this new museum. 2) Special exhibitions developed by the healing and restoration staff and 3) Special exhibitions developed by other museums and brought to Guadalajara by the Government of the State of Jalisco.

The architectural design of the museum will be seen by Herzog & De Meuron Basel LTD, a prestigious group of Swiss architects that have also worked on prestigious projects such as the Tate Modern in London, the Young Museum in San Francisco and the Schaulager in Basel, Switzerland-among others.

The project’s site (the Huentitan Canyon) is a 610 foot ecological reserve in the Santiago River. The project offers an excellent opportunity to explore the latest design and scope of sustainable buildings, including the low usage of power and high energy efficiency, optimize life cycles for materials, maximizing “green areas” for plants and facilitate the protection of water.

Construction of the new museum will bring many benefits to Jalisco, including an increase of national and international tourism, increasing in revenue, and assist in generating new jobs as well as contribute to the revitalization of the Northern Zone of Guadalajara.  It will also continue to position Guadalajara as an icon in cultural and architectural tourism.

The International Bahia Principe Clubs & Resorts Chain Opens its First Golf Club in Riviera Maya, Mexico

MALLORCA, Spain, /PRNewswire/ — The hotel division of Grupo Pinero, Bahia Principe Clubs & Resorts, recently unveiled the “Riviera Maya Golf Club“, a brand new 36 hole golf course, conceived to provide personal enjoyment to players from around the world.

The facilities have been designed by the prestigious Robert Trent Jones II architectural firm, recognized worldwide for the impeccable design and layout of their golf courses.

Set in a unique natural environment, it manages to create spectacular synergies between the course itself and the luxuriant Mayan jungle.

Once the project has been completed it will boast a 36-hole course set out on 90 hectares of land, and will become one of the most important in the area. Play began on 15th December, with 9 professional holes in play (par 36).

By February 2010, Riviera Maya Golf Club will have 18 professional holes and another nine executive ones, which will allow golfers to play a complete round.

In November the Gran Bahia Principe Riviera Maya Hotel***** received the presentation from the new Executive Committee of the Mexican Caribbean Golf Club Association. This is an organization which brings together 14 facilities located in varying popular tourist destinations, located in the states of Quintana Roo, Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Tulum.

The president of the aforementioned Committee, Jose Acevedo Penas, revealed that the golf industry, made up of 12 active clubs, currently generates an annual profit of 40 million US dollars and directly provides work for 1,200 people in the Mexican Caribbean. These figures are the result of an investment which Acevedo estimated to be around 160 million US dollars in the last 7 years.

The Golf Club Association affirmed, through its president, their commitment to the public to convert the Mexican Caribbean into the first golf destination in the world to obtain a joint environmental certificate from the Golf Environment Organization, an organization endorsed by the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).

The development of the project will hopefully conclude in the Spring of next year, with the opening of the remaining nine professional holes and the facilities functioning at full capacity. This includes the complementary availability of a clubhouse, swimming pools, spa, pro-shop, bars and restaurants.

For the development of the course, a flora and fauna recuperation program has been followed, together with the Eco – Bahia ecological foundation. The program guarantees the conservation and protection of the ecosystem, native species and species in danger of extinction, rescuing and relocating a large number of plant species and conserving the region’s typical landscapes. Having animals secure in their natural habitats amongst lakes and springs makes Riviera Maya Golf Club a unique experience for golf lovers, as well as providing a place worth visiting for nature lovers.

The golf industry’s growth is not only profitable and sustainable, but has also created many jobs. Bahia Principe expresses its confidence that this new golf club will contribute to the improvement in the quality offered to tourists in the Mexican Caribbean, creating sustainable wealth and employment in the area, whilst respecting the environment.

Bahía Príncipe Golf Club
Bahía Príncipe Golf Club

Mark your calendar!

by Ron Mader

Here’s a holiday gift for you! Free calendars for 2010 featuring images from the Abasto(s) Market in Oaxaca are available in red and blue.

2010 calendar (red)

We also have a 2010 month by month calendar featuring images from the Mexico City Treasure Hunt

WEB 2.0 TIP – If you have photos, you can make your own calendar online Flickr Toys!

For more news about what’s happening, keep an eye on the Events Calendar. Among the celebrations, the 10th edition of the local tourism fair in Oaxaca and the Reisepavillon in Germany. (Does anyone know where I can find Mexican food in Berlin?!)