My trip to San Miguel de Allende

Travel Diary

Hello friends, book goblins, and wanderlusters!

Today’s post will be all about my recent trip to México. Unlike my previous trips to the motherland, my trip to the pueblito of San Miguel de Allende was for a poetry conference sponsored through my Uni. This program was set up through a study abroad program, but unlike a lot of study abroad trips, this particular one was for a week rather than a full semester. I liked this because it meant I would not have to be away from my dog, Apollo, for that long 😊. During my trip, I participated in a poetry workshop with other U.S poets who have experience writing and publishing poetry. During the workshops, we would collectively get together and read and critique each other’s poetry. It was super awesome! Even though a majority of my classmates did not have experience in the publishing world, we could still offer valid critiques for these seasoned poets.

I learned a lot about my craft during this trip, such as how to make my images stronger. I wrote a handful of poems during this trip, which of course, I’ll share on the blog after editing them.

Nicknamed the Venice of México, San Miguel is one of the most visited cities in the world. One of the things that makes this small town so unique is the beautiful cobblestone roads but beware of these aesthetically pleasing streets because they are not kind to tennis shoes.

I arrived immediately after the New Year, a few days before Dia de Los Reyes, and because they had not yet arrived, the town was still decorated with lights, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes. This made me feel like I was at home with my family as we also wait after we have cut the Rosca de Reyes to put away our Christmas decor.

The Starbucks travel mug for this city

For a such a small town there was so much to see in San Miguel. Although the pueblo is known for la parroquia de San Miguel, named after the archangel Michael, you know the one that put Satan in hell, there were a lot of other churches named after various saints within walking distance. The one from my photo is named Templo de San Francisco.

Templo de San Francisco

At night in the jardín, there were often mariachi men singing and playing instruments. There were also people dressed in colonial-style clothing, wigs, and fake swords giving history lessons. And of course, also haunting the jardín at night were the stray dogs. There was one dog in particular that I continued to see throughout my trip here, a yellow lab who was a little dusty but looked well fed. Every time this dog saw my group of friends, he wagged his tail at us. On one of my early morning walks into town, I found this dog trying to wife up another stray dog, this one was white, and had brown spots. I hope the two became best friends and continue to greet the people of San Miguel.

If restaurants aren’t your thing, then you’ll want to try out the street food. Vendors sell various treats such as elotes, chicharrones, tortas, fruta, and tostilocos, all over the jardín. But the one cart that made me drool the most was the one selling ice cream. The ice cream is homemade and tastes good.

Knock me into the next galaxy good.

And it’s only 20 pesos, around 1 dollar. The flavors this stalled offered were fresas con crema, elote, and horchata. I got to sample chocolate and devour the elote ice cream. The chocolate ice cream tasted just like abuelita chocolate while the elote ice cream tasted like tamale de elote, if you ever had the pleasure to try those I highly recommend.

A view of the alley of artisans

As for shopping, there were a lot of stores to get souvenirs from. However, the souvenirs I wanted such as coin purses and handcrafted sculptures, were expensive in the town square. However, after entering the huge Mercado in which they sell food, DVDs, clothing, I was overwhelmed by its vastness. I had no luck finding my souvenirs here either, but as I continued to follow the Mercado down different streets, I eventually found the alley of artisanos, which was full of the handcrafted trinkets I was looking for. If you are going on a souvenir hunt and want to get something with Frida Kahol on it, you won’t have any problems here.

On one of my last days in Guanajuato, my class and I visited a pyramid just outside of town. Upon entering the small lobby of the arachnological site, roamed the cutest dog trotting and seeking sunshine for her morning tan. Her feet were muddy as if she had taken a dip in a river earlier. The pyramid itself was super cool, and unlike a lot of pyramids built in México, this one faced the sun. Our guide informed us that the indigenous people who built it this way, so it was the first thing they saw as they climbed it. Another interesting thing about this particular site was that not too far from the pyramid, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared on a disc. So this area was named after la virgen. It’s truly fascinating that a religious site has a way of remaining religious forever.

The area where I am standing is what they called the Underworld

On our last day, our professor took my class to the local hot springs, where we proceeded to play marco polo in the warm pool. Aside from the warm pools that hot spring also had a man-made cave that you could walk through to get into their hottest pool, the grotto. This cave had a small waterfall that poured hot water into the pool and guests got in line to stand under it. Free back massage! I visited the hot springs with a slight cold so my time in the steamy room just cleared up all my sinuses.

And that concluded my trip to San Miguel de Allende. It was a lot of fun, and if given the opportunity, I would go again.

Living in between two cultures

What’s a corrido?

I used to call corridos Mexican Polka music. I even wrote my college entrance essay on how my father always had these songs playing on the radio while he worked on his car, but my mother loved classic rock. Sometimes I wonder if my ignorance was what cost me admission into my number one UC, but I’m probably just overthinking it.

Anyways so why was I calling Corridos Mexican polka music? In short, because the prominent sound that always came from my dad’s radio was the notes of an accordion. Especially on the long drives to my tia’s house in San Bernadino County. I remember looking out at the car window and imagining myself in a desert, which in California wasn’t so far off. Just to think if I was stranded here, I’d have to listen to this weird accordion music until I got to safety.

Nowadays I have educated myself on the correct term for this kind of music, corridos. I’m still not the biggest fan, but I have developed an ear for cumbias, specifically those played by Los Angeles Azules. Cumbias are meant to be danced sometimes solo but always at quinceaneras. I preferred hosting dance parties alone in my room where only my dog can judge me.

I heard cumbias everywhere growing up during quinceaneras, barbeques, dinners, and while doing housework. Never rock ballads or music in English. Those were reserved for car rides alone with my mother.

Despite the influence of Cumbias, I became a classic rock fan by the age of 11, thanks to my mother. But, thanks to my dad, who loved listening to popular Latin hits such as “La Camisa Negra” and “Gasolina,” I also became a lover of music in my second language. Although I prefer Spanish love songs, preferably sung by Enrique Iglesias, I will on occasion play a Shakira song when I feel like dancing. Now that I’m in college, my musical preferences expanded to include soft rock ballads and some top Latin hits.

In a way my musical taste has become a fusion of both my parent’s radios. Did any of my readers have the similar experiences?