We're on to our second spot in Mexico! Yesterday we drove out of San Miguel de Allende just as the petrol stations were opening and folks were trickling in from the night before to collect the deposit on their memories or mistakes at the counter. Hasta luego, San Miguel! You were cute and fun to look at for awhile, but you lacked the depth that is required to develop a serious love attachment. We'll always have the rooftop at El Palomar...
One thing I haven't talked about too much is what it's like to road trip through Mexico. The drive from SMA to Oaxaca took us around 8 hours. We hit a little bit of traffic in Puebla (residual weekenders heading back to Mexico City) and drove a bit slower over the mountain passes. Otherwise, it was a fairly uneventful day. When we drive in Mexico, we always take the cuotas (toll roads). These can be a bit expensive (we paid about 700 pesos or $40 total yesterday) but they are completely worth the money. The toll roads are in perfect shape, very well marked, they're not very crowded, and they are (almost) always the most direct route to your destination.
I've never felt unsafe driving here, part of the reason is that I feel like we do a lot of preparation. Before entering a new state or place in Mexico, we always check the US State Department travel advisory board to make sure that there are no travel warnings in place for the area that we plan to travel. Spencer also writes out directions from Google maps, highlights a route in our Guia Roji (Mexican atlas), and we go over it the night before we travel. We also just updated Spencer's phone with a Mexican SIM-card which means we now have a Mexican phone number and access to the 4G network across the country. We did this so that we could access Google Maps (a backup we now rely on after a scary 25 minutes of missing our exit and getting lost in Guadalajara in November) and can make emergency calls if needed. I don't think that there has ever been a reason to feel unsafe here, and knowing the route/being prepared for whatever might come up really helps alleviate any worries about driving in Mexico.
Now we are exploring our new city. There is so much going on here, so much energy around Zocalo (the central plaza). I can already see that this is going to be a street food town. There are vendors all over the place, it's impossible not to stop for an elote on the way to wherever you're headed. Last night, our first night in town, we found incredible veggie empanadas and tlyudas (a typical food here that can best be described as the Mexican equivalent of a flatbread pizza), a street market, a guy selling fried platanos (luckily the line was too long - that's a treat saved for after a big run or hike), met some interesting folks who are traveling across the Americas on their bikes (our type of people!) and discovered a small mezcal bar that makes everything in house and offered a flight for the price of a happy hour glass of wine at The Med in Boulder. I know I'm not supposed to say this immediately after arriving in a place (Spencer points out how excited I get about new towns and how I always want to move to them permanently within 5 minutes of showing up) but... I really, really like (see, I'm not saying that very committing four letter word just yet) it here. And I'm excited to get to know this area and see if stronger feelings develop. I have a hunch they will.