The Mojigangas Are Back, Baby!

Mojigangas are the giant puppets that prowl the San Miguel streets

I am back in San Miguel de Allende for awhile in spite of my wanderlust. And, poco a poco, things are getting back to normal in this magical town. After a challenging year, the mariachi bands are playing in the main square, and Chillangos (tourists from Mexico City) are standing in line for churros and street tacos, almost like the good old days. It feels strangely safe here. Masks are not optional, tests are cheap and easy to get, and so much of life in San Miguel takes place outside in the nearly-perfect summer weather.

Safety is good but I keep returning because San Miguel has a special magic. It’s charming and friendly and historic, yes. But there is something else here that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. Although I am a big fan of novelty, I find myself craving the walks I take every day on roads I have traveled literally hundreds of times. Each time, I am surprised by something special. At first, I thought these something specials reflected the artistic community here and appeals to tourists. That’s surely part of it. But really, the details are expressions of love. And it’s the love that makes San Miguel different.

You could fill a very large book with San Miguel’s loving detail, but here are a few examples of what you could see in just one short walk.

Roof top gardens are a big thing here, partly because there aren’t yards in the historic center.

The visuals seem to represent something deeper. Over bowls of soup and scoops of guacamole the other day, my friend Bonnie reminded me of what I love here most — a culture that values family and community ahead of material success, that values kindness and enjoyment and mutual respect. And I have an immigrant community of English speakers who value these values — and share their love of the arts and literature and two-for-one margarita nights.

And then there’s the 12-year old who found my phone and kept it charged while he waited for me to call. The waiter who returned 400 pesos in change a week after my friend left it on the table. The police officers who smile. The taxi drivers who praise the weather while they’re sitting in traffic. Other stuff….

….pequenos milagros y corazones grandes.

24 comments

  1. “Small miracles and big hearts” indeed. Beautiful prose matched by more wonderful pictures Kim, I really am moved by your love of San Miguel… to the point that someday I might venture from my humble domicile and visit you there. But right now the right place for me is with Rosie, Wizard, my family and my friends here, so….

  2. Thanks again, Kim, for having such open eyes and heart, and for sharing these wonderful experiences with us. If I went to S. Miguel, I’d see different stuff from what you see. Thanks for loaning me your eyes.

  3. Hi Kim, what a great post. I love all the murals and the art. It sounds like such a magical place and I’m so glad that you get to enjoy it right now. Enjoy! Janet

  4. Oh, Kim, I could not agree more with all the things we both love about magical San Miguel. After coming here for the past 16 years, I’m feeling sad we just sold our Casa but know it’s time and we will return still, but just rent. Owning a home so far from our family in Portland, OR was just feeling like too much responsibility after nine years. Hope to see you at our garage sale this coming weekend, from 10-5. You know the address. I remember our wonderful long talk on your first visit. Look forward to seeing you again! By the way we’re dong the sale to benefit ABBA House the migrant shelter our NGO, Latin American Relief Fund supports. We have lots of goodies for sale! Abrazos!
    P.S. Love the photos!

    1. Sorry you won’t be here full time — not sure what SMA will do without you! But I sure do understand the draw of family. Hope we can catch up before you leave town.

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