A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Feb. 13, 2005 — After we left Pozos a couple of days ago, we came to San Miguel de Allende, to visit friends. But first we went slightly out of our way to go take a look at a town of some 55,000 people, San Jose Iturbide. I didn’t see it in our Lonely Planet guidebook, but I did see a mention in the Rough Guide to Mexico. There were just a few lines about its history and a mention that it was a very clean town.

Well, we had time so we went there. It’s a farming town with some industry on the outskirts. Located just off the major north-south highway 57, it’s well positioned for factories.

We drove into town on the road from Pozos and promptly went the wrong way down a one-way street. Not an uncommon mistake of foreigners, and one that Kelly realized immediately. He easily did a U-turn, and we took a one-way street with the arrow pointing the way we wanted to go. It took us right past the market and directly to the town square. Cars were parked at a diagonal around the square, and a pickup pulled out of a spot as we approached, with a couple of men directing it. They signalled to us, did we want the spot? Kelly nodded, and they guided us in with a flourish. Then they told us it would cost 5 pesos an hour to park there… they were city employees. We paid for our first hour, about 45 cents, and wandered around the town.

The plaza was clean, the streets were clean, traffic was light, the land was pretty level, walking was easy… hmm, this was looking good. We went for a walk around the town, for maybe 45 minutes, going several blocks away from the plaza till we got to the edge of town, then coming back a different way. There was less graffiti than in Guanajuato, and we saw no street dogs.

A boy approached us, selling a sort of magazine. I asked him what it was, and he showed it to me. It was a a glossy chamber-of-commerce type publication about the city, called El Heraldo de San Jose, hot off the press. Lover that I am of information, I bought one — and grinned at it being presented to us just as we were getting curious about San Jose Iturbide.

We walked past a little gated community with modern-looking houses and signs saying that some were for rent and some were for sale. The gate was open and we stepped just inside, looking for an office. A gray-haired man on the street asked whom we were looking for. We explained that we were just curious and were wondering about living in Mexico. What was his city like? He chatted with us for several minutes, before apologetically explaining that he needed to go on his way. In that time, he said that it was a very tranquil place, and that many of its young men were working in the U.S. When we commented on how clean the city was, he said that the Mayor made it a priority.

A little later, we went to the market and got a bunch of food. I bought a bag of nopales, cactus that has had its sharp thorns removed and been cut into pieces for boiling. The woman I bought it from was very friendly, and we joked about how long it would take me to prepare it.

Back at the plaza, I stopped in at the one Artesanias shop. I asked the man working there if there were foreigners living in the city. He didn’t know of any. I commented again on the clean streets, and again received the reply that the initiative came from the Mayor.

We popped into another shop on the plaza, one selling new houses on the edge of town. Small one-story affairs with a miscule front yard, two bedrooms, a parking place, a living room, a dining room, one bathroom, a kitchen, a TV room, and a back patio for doing laundry and hanging it up cost 265,500 pesos, which is something over $24,000. There was bank financing but the young woman wasn’t used to talking with foreigners and simply couldn’t slow down even after I asked her twice, so we missed some of the details. Total external dimensions were 6 meters by 15 meters. (A meter is 39 inches.)

San Jose Iturbide is located less than a 45-minute drive from San Miguel de Allende, which is chock-a-block full of foreigners, and has real estate prices sometimes compared with San Franciso’s. This clean, friendly, and prosperous town seemed to me to be a good candidate for expat life. But if there were any foreigners there, we didn’t see them, nor any signs of anything going on in English. There were some hotels around the plaza, but we saw no indications of campgrounds.

To live here at this time would be quite an immersion in Mexican life, but if more folks from the U.S. do move to Mexico as I tend to think will happen in the coming years, I wouldn’t be surprised to find San Jose Iturbide “discovered.”

One Response to “San Jose Iturbide: A Clean and Pleasant Town”

  • Teresa Rivera says:

    San Jose Iturbide Guanajuato is the best place in the world! I agree with all your comments about this lovely town!

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