Another view: Writer Carolyn Patten joins MP as guest blogger!

By Lola

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

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…

by Parque Juarez
A shady home by Parque Juarez.

Vikings in SMA
Vikings in San Miguel de Allende (not the usual attire lol, scroll down for the reason...)
hot parade watchers
Hot parade watchers...
Dia de los Locos
It was the Día de los Locos parade - Crazy People Day!
Dia de los Locos more
More locos!

7 thoughts on “Another view: Writer Carolyn Patten joins MP as guest blogger!”

  1. Looking forward to reading your posts, Carolyn. I’m also a big fan of San Miguel de Allende, which I started visiting during the 1980’s. I’m sad to say that on my last stay in SMA I did have to change hotels because of “pumping disco music” that went on for most of the night. But it was the weekend, after all.

  2. Carolyn, I will follow this blog. Just returning from Mexico myself, I was once again reminded of the great heart of this beautiful land “south of the border.” I travelled to Cuernavaca and Tepoztlan with great ease. All the people I met were very helpful and loving. I look forward to reading more of your reports.

  3. Dear Lola, We not only welcome all professional writers that talk about Mexico on a positive way. But, what we need at this moment is to help us eliminate all those negatives that have been created about Mexico because of political platforms. We know that Tourism from all over the world continue to visit Mexico and as you an other writers mention that Mazatlan or San Miguel de Allende are safe and away from the border towns! I can also mention that our experience while crossing borders every week with a motorcoach full of passengers on their way to visit the Copper Canyon (Nogales and Agua Prieta), have only experiece long lines waiting for authorities to clear them with Customs and Immigration and not safety issues on the border or during the itinerary.
    Peple in Mexico welcomes tourism with arms and heart wide open. We need your help as a prossetional writers depicting a different Mexico, the Mexico that you and I know. and stop this stupid fighting.

    Welcome, Carolyn…

  4. Great to read your thoughts Carolyn and so glad that we spend lots of time with you also. You are a great writer.

  5. So glad you are seeing the world and doing what you love most.
    Glad you are safe in the part of Mexico you are in and having a good experience. I have friends that go to the border towns which can be dangerous but here are some tips:
    Common Sense Safety Tips for the Visitor

    – Stay in groups
    – Stay in the usual tourist areas (gift shops, restaurants, hotel areas)
    – Watch your drinking. A person appearing drunk is a sure target for theft.
    – Be extra careful to follow the laws. Don’t drink and drive, use illegal drugs, bring guns or drugs over the border, etc.
    – Take care of yourself. Bring water over the border to avoid dehydration. Wear sunscreen. Bring a list of your prescriptions and basic medical information with you.
    – Have an emergency contact and phone number written down.
    – If you need assistance, 911 service on U.S. cell phones will work in Puerto Penasco, San Carlos and Guaymas.
    – The U.S. Consulate in Puerto Penasco. During business hours call (01-631) 311-8150. After hours and weekends, call (01-631) 302-3342.
    – Know the hours of your border crossing point. Not all are open 24 hours.

  6. My family and I truly enjoyed the ambiance of San MIguel. My daughter and wife alway seem to find new stores and restaurants to spend the cash,Me too. About 20,000 expatriots. Everyone is always friendly. Happy new year to all.

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