Hear ye, hear ye! Let’s give a big MexicoPremiere welcome to Ms. Carolyn Patten, lovely human, Mexico fan and writer extraordinaire. Before I let you take a peek into the wonderful world of Ms. Carolyn, here’s a little background:
Carolyn got her taste for traveling at a young age, living in seven different states before she started fifth grade. Her love of the written word began early as well — by the time she was 15 she was writing headlines for her small town newspaper. With a journalism degree in hand at 21, she began a career that has encompassed fascinating jobs in writing, public relations and tourism promotion for clients throughout the U.S. and Mexico.
Based in San Miguel de Allende and Portland, Oregon, she enjoys wide-ranging freelance writing career and a teaching position on the faculty at Marylhurst University. Her website is http://www.thetravelwench.com
On that very happy note (we love the name of her website, by the way), here’s a look at Mexico through Carolyn-goggles:
Really, if I could put five bucks in the bank for every time someone in the U.S. has asked me about the “danger” in Mexico, I could probably create a nice bunch of scholarships for Mexican students to keep going to school past ninth grade. Maybe earmark those scholarships for out-of-country schools where the teachers’ unions don’t have a death grip on the government dollars and where quality education is a priority…but I digress!
Here’s a typical question, which popped into my email this afternoon:
I just read your article about Mazatlan. I’m planning a trip there with girlfriends in September. Do we need to worry about the drug cartels and all the nasty things we see and hear about on TV? Are there areas to avoid? We are staying at the Torres Mazatlan.
In response, I gently suggested that the woman do some reading about Mexico itself – not just the border cities where the nasty things are so common – and apply common sense to the question, rather than asking a complete stranger who wrote an article about Mazatlan two years ago. I also told her that the Torres Mazatlan is a nice place, with a lovely quiet beach, far from the Zona Dorada and all the loud discos where noreteamericanos typically hang out.
I did not recommend that she forget about the beach and come to San Miguel de Allende, because I live here now and I am becoming very selfish, wanting to do my small bit to cherish this magical town and keep its secret.
San Miguel is its own world. It is not a tourist town, though there are several thousand English-speakers who live here, both full time and for months at a time. There is no beach and no pumping disco music. There is a botanic garden, the Jardin where everyone hangs out, the Biblioteca with the largest collection of both Spanish and English books outside of Mexico City, a chamber music festival and parades and religious festivals most weekends.
Safety? Local nortes often grouse about how it’s changed, and how purse-snatchings or home robberies were unheard of ten years ago, but that is old news all over the world
Yes, San Miguel de Allende is safe, not to mention unbelievably sweet and savory, with its welcoming families who have lived here for generations, its gorgeous old buildings and cobblestone streets, its perfect weather, achingly blue skies and delightful obsession with fireworks.
Here are a few shots of this delight-full town…