San Miguel de Allende, 7 March 2015.
Yes, I did indeed return to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México, for a week in mid-March, this after more than a two-year absence from the place where I lived for five years. I found parts of the city thick with old gringos. We can assert with some confidence that San Miguel de Allende is not a destination for the youth of America on spring break. Still, one can avoid them. They tend to congregate in certain limited areas. If all else fails, one can easily outrun them.
I blame this phenomenon in part on the Readers’ Choice Awards published by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Those readers bestowed the kiss of death on San Miguel de Allende in 2013 by naming it the “Best City in the World.” Florence, Italy, placed second. Some semblance of order was restored by the 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards announced this past February with Florence, Italy, taking first place and San Miguel de Allende occupying the fifth position. Once can only hope that these old gringos will flock to Florence next year, as if there are not enough there already.
I freely acknowledge that I myself am an old gringo and a rather sociable creature as well. My failing is that I am bored unto tears with conversations about health issues or the grand accomplishments of other people’s children. I simply cannot feign interest and soon doze off.
Perhaps soon I will recount the adventure that the resident artist and I had in Benjamino’s, a late-night live music venue and cantina in which a brawl nearly broke out among some of the Mexicans present requiring the attention of the quite competent bouncer on duty. It ought to go without saying that the resident artist and I were the only gringos in attendance.