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I’ve traveled in ten countries, including my own, and based on my three and a half months in San Miguel (and, five years ago, two weeks honeymooning in the Yucatán), Mexico wins the Warmest People Award.  It shows in the little courtesies, like people ending even trivial interactions with “Que le vaya bien” (no exact translation, but it’s basically “go well” or “may it go well with you”), and saying hello when they come into a store or even onto a bus.  It shows in the trouble they take to make even a juice stand beautiful.

Traffic in San Miguel makes way for pedestrians.  No one seems to be in a hurry or to try to rush others along.  The legendary easygoing nature of the people makes a dramatic contrast with the US at times, as in an incident we witnessed when we were coming along a busy street in a taxi.  A driver ahead of us had been cut off, almost hit, by another car making a turn, and both men were shouting and gesturing out their windows.  We couldn’t make out what they were saying, but they were obviously angry.  And then, just when we were thinking they’d be jumping out of their cars and having a fistfight in the middle of the intersection, one said something that made the other laugh.  In a few seconds they were both joking and laughing, and then they drove on. Joy and I grew up in the Northeast and live on the West Coast, and expected threats of lawsuits, if not gunfire. Northern Californians pride themselves on being relaxed, but Sanmiguelenses have forgotten more about mellow than Marin County ever knew.

While I also loved Mexico City, and found that as citydwellers go, its people were friendly and welcoming, there’s no question but that the Big City is different. Read the rest of this entry »

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