Since we spend all week in San Miguel, Sundays are "field trip" day, in which we carefully back our car out of the garage, search for the perfect radio station as we trod through the SMA weekend traffic, zip through the round-about, roll down the windows and head down the highway to a new destination.
Today, our first stop was the town of Dolores Hidalgo, the place where the Mexican War of Independence (1810) originated with Miguel Hidalgo standing on the steps of his church and yelling "Viva Mexico!" I can't think of a better way to rouse up a bunch of people who were all silently thinking the same thing.
There is a great museum (Museo de la Independencia) just a block from el centro that chronicles the major moments from invasion of the Spanish through the War of Independence. The museum is pretty small, so it's easy to walk through and learn about the history and significance of the town. Also, there is a free bathroom.
Today the central plaza in Dolores Hidalgo was packed with vendors selling the most beautifully detailed sugar candy for Dia de los Muertos (which will kick off on November 1st). Each one of these trays holds a hundred tiny artistic masterpieces. My favorite was a sugared rendition of a plated desayuno tipico; including a skillet with a fried egg, red rice, and black beans. There is a miniature azucar duplicate of almost every type of food that an ancestor could ever hope to receive in just two weeks.
On our way back to SMA we stopped at the town of Atotonilco, which is well known for its "Sanctuary," a church that has been nicknamed the "Sistine Chapel of Mexico" for the intricate paintings covering the walls and ceiling. The artwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel might be just a bit more detailed...but the paintings in this church felt personal to Mexico and the history of the country's independence.
After walking out of town through the river so Spencer could do a little bit of mountain bike scouting, we headed back to the car and drove out of town. We found a sort of short cut that avoided the highway and took us by some really beautiful scenery. It's pretty incredible to be able to leave the city in our own vehicle, that really does feel like a luxury. I love living in such an artistic and pretty town, but at the end of the day (or year or however many years), I'm definitely going to end up in a spot that has a higher tree to person ratio.
I think we always knew, but wanted to try on our own. In the end, we gave in and admitted there was only one way to break the impenetrable seal of SMA society.
And as it turns out, for a game that relies 100% on luck, we were both pretty skilled. We won a total of three times and that isn't counting the time I yelled out "Bingo!" at the beginning of the night when the objective was to fill up the entire card (a point I missed) and the moderator responded expertly, "I doubt it, honey."
After this happened, Spencer looked down at his beer and pretended not to know me. I made up for it several turns later by winning a gift card to a pizza place that everyone around us exclaimed to be "the best, the very best!" The owner of the bar walked by and whispered "I'm glad you won." He was presumably equally embarrassed for me, and who doesn't love an underdog?
Gringo Bingo is hosted every Monday at Milagro, a bar that plays old (really old) music videos and apparently has a secret happy hour that includes a bunch of free small dishes (enchiladas!) when you order drinks. The cost is 100 pesos for 10 cards and all of the proceeds go to three different local charities. I will obviously be back every Monday, wearing my lucky pants and thinking loving thoughts about the bingo wheel. Because that totally works.
No joke. And Spencer is too. I took two days off work to extend our move down here into a four day weekend, and was back online the day after we arrived. As much as it feels like an incredible privilege to travel around Mexico for the next year, this is not a vacation. I'm working the same hours as I did when we lived in Colorado (maybe a few more, actually) and am strangely much busier now than I was a few weeks ago. Since Spencer is also (mostly) working from a remote spot too, we're trying to get creative with our office space and are always looking for new places around town where the wifi is quick enough to get our work done. Here's my home office!
We've also found that the Cafe Santa Ana at the library is a great place (when the guitar/flute duet take a day off). To start the day we like to go to Cafe Oso Azul. The owner is this Danish expat who partnered up with a friend to start a coffee distribution company in Mexico a few years ago. Now he runs this cafe in San Miguel and it's really quiet, with good food, and fast internet - three important factors for working remotely.
We've really settled into the fact that we both probably knew before making the trip to Mexico - because we are working, we are 100% dependent on internet speeds. We have had to rule out a few destinations because we learned that the internet speeds weren't fast enough to run meetings, share screens and video, all the stuff that is necessary. But currently, the internet in San Miguel is generally faster than the internet at our old house in Boulder. So that's encouraging.