Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors

Andrew Lloyd Webber be still your heart. I have often wondered how many colors are too many. It appears that that concern is something that doesn’t bother anybody who lives in San Miguel. There a competition here about going over the top. In fact there is no top. It’s only a top that used to be and it’s now been passed. I stopped counting the colors this woman had on at a 123.


After an absence of four years I am returning to San Miguel in September for a one week visit. Please stay tuned for all the changes I’m going to find. Please let there be art and people wearing tablecloths, and strange clothes and drinking a bit too much.

Living Right in Centro – Friends who don’t live in Centro

ImageI am spoiled by Living Right in Centro.  Everything I need is right here and just around the corner or three corners.  I can buy wine, mangoes, balsamic vinegar, Atencion, ice cream, sunscreen, pots, shoes, cell phones and never have to leave Centro.  I have within a short walk all the restaurants and bars and choices I could ever want.  I could even go to Church in that big pink thing in the Jardin.

But there is a dark side to living in Centro – Friends who Don’t.  They want you to come to their place that is Not Right in Centro.  That means leaving all the amenities of Centro to venture into the Outlying Districts of the City with names such as San Antonio, Guadaloupe and even Santa Julia.  These journeys take time, planning and a great deal of psychic work. 

Some of these Friends live in Gringo Free Zones  with nary a restaurant nor Chilango.  Chilango is a Mexican slang demonym for residents of Mexico City.

Some of these place are so far you can’t walk there in 10 minutes.  Some are up steep hills.  A few are flat walks.  This means you have to take a taxi and tell the driver in Spanish where the Friend lives.  Orizaba por favor.  Now that is easy but what about Aqua de Ojo.  Several times I have been taken to a garlic store. 

And what do you do at night when you have to return.  You can’t just walk out into the street and hail a cab.  There aren’t cabs outside of Centro,  You have to call and again speak Spanish. 

And then there is conversation.  Some of these people never come into Centro.  I hear there is a place called Los Frailes where residents pride themselves with never sitting in the Jardin.  I think that is just an excuse for not wanting to call a taxi.  You don’t want to talk about a new restaurant on Sollano because they can’t participate.  Instead you talk about the great taco they buy on some street stand near them or in a field.

When we get there we are subjected to the sounds of animals – dogs, cats, roosters, sheep and birds.  It is deafening.  Sometimes I am comforted by the sounds distant bells from Centro.

Then there is the view.  Sometimes we can see Centro in the distance but often the view is toward hills and things that rural.  Of course you have to marvel at the view but I think they are simply trying to show us that they know where we live but can’t afford to live there.  How terrible to get up each morning and look at Shangra La and know how far you away from all the action.

Sometimes they ask a few people who Live Right in Centro to the party so we don’t feel quite alone and to whom we can quietly speak of the horrors we have experienced arriving there.

I also find that many people think they Live Right in Centro to comfort you but I don’t believe they do.  The City Fathers and Mothers should paint a white line on the roads at the edge of Centro so you know when you are arriving in or leaving Centro.  That would end the discussion. 

I believe the white line is a few blocks away from you. 

Oh you live over the white line. 

I live inside the white line.

Maybe it shoudn’t be white – a tad racist.  Perhaps one of the World Heritage Colors you can find at Lowes. 

Oh we live inside the Burnt Umber Line

It is difficult Living Right in Centro but we persevere knowing that when venture out to where our friend who don’t Live Right in Centro live we are bringing them light and love from the Center of San Miguel.  I know when we leave they feel better and of course can always say

We have friends who Live Right in Centro


Manuals for Living in San Miguel – How to Reinvent Yourself

ImageWhen you see this picture you know there is a question that will be asked to which you don’t want to answer.

Everyone tells lies from little white lies to whoppers.  However if you are planning to move to San Miguel, you will find that lying here has become an art form.

The classic example is the sergeant becomes a general.  The truth is the military; the lie is the title.  In San Miguel this is referred to as Reinventing Oneself.

Not everyone does it but there are people who come to San Miguel and decide that their old self needs some tweaking.  So people stretch the truth a little in order to be more interesting.  I have heard the term Reinventing Yourself hundreds of times and have been interesting in what it is.  It is like a term Diana Vreeland created-  Faction – a mixture of Fact and Fiction to describe her many Reinventions.  On a darker them I have often wondered if Reinvention were a con game or a scam or simply a bamboozle.  Are the intended victims marks or suckers?  Are the accomplices called shills?

The Motivation for Reinvention and to help you Reinventing Yourself I have decided to create a Manual on how to Reinventing Yourself.

Foundation Work

The first step is creating a Reinvention that will be most believed and wanted in San Miguel?  How much detail do I need for this Reinvention?  Who will need to be in on this Reinvention?

The best Reinvention of Oneself has to be well thought out and researched.  If you are lying about a job then choose an occupation that you know something about and that intrigues people such as medicine, the law, writing books or scripts, the Theater, great wealth, travel, family success, death defying adventures.  Avoid politics as no one cares about politics unless you can say you know a famous politician.  Actually knowing any famous person will work.

Think out the plan.  For example telling people you are really wealthy is easily disproved when you tell where you live?  San Miguel has rich enclaves that are known and if you say you live in one of them you will be found out.  So you need a reason why you don’t live there.  Say that you have decided to get back to your roots and live humbly.  Say your money is in a Foundation and you are investigating what is is like to be middle class or even poor.

If you are going to be a surgeon, or judge, or high power criminal lawyer, make sure that you have your facts straight.  Know the name of where you went to school, your career path, the name of the hospital, law firm or court.  Google it all and have names of other people.  Find a TV show on that area and watch all episodes.  You can even borrow true stories from the show.  Research Research Research.  Know your lie.

If you know someone famous then research them.  Find out some facts about them.  Again Google them.  Create cute stories of how you met them and have several anecdotes based on a time you know where they were.  A friend of mine in San Miguel tells people she went to university with Donald Sutherland and became his girlfriend.  She spins the story well by saying she lost contact with him until she reconnected with him in London through his publicist.  She has lots of details, including being late to meet him in London and sending her daughter to stand in until she arrived.  I have added to the story by saying that I met Donald Sutherland standing in line in the Charles De Gaulle Airport and introduced myself as being her friend.  See how little unproven details can make you more interesting.

The Approach

Once the lie is set you need to find your victim.  As a con man you need to exploits one or all of these human frailties – vanity, compassion, credulity, desperation and naivety.  One thing on your side is that many elderly have these frailties and San Miguel is full of old people.  The Jardin is the easiest place to find naive, old people.  Well maybe just naive people.

The best victim to start with are visitors.  They are going home on Tuesday and will not have the chance to test  if you are telling the truth and they are an excellent way to practice for the real event – actual people who live in San Miguel.  Tourists are easy to find.  They look normal.  They aren’t wearing a cape, or a knitted cap. They won’t have a dog with them.  They won’t be hugging people they just saw yesterday.  They won’t be huddled on the wall or out of the sun.  So find your tourist and start to practice.  To be safe ask “Are you visiting?”  Then start the Build Up.

The Build Up

The Build-up is rousing and sustaining the interest of the victim,  What kind of lie will work the best so that he or she gets so involved in the lies that they lose all judgment and caution and believe it.  Remember you have to appeal to one of these frailties:  vanity, compassion, credulity, desperation and naivety.
Each frailty has its own build up.


wintourTo find vanity look for the Jardin Peacock.  Who has on the most outrageous outfit?  Who is too groomed for a Colonial Mexican Town?  The Build up will involve fashion, New York or Paris.  You need to know the fashion mavens.  If you don’t know who this lady is then move on to the next Frailty.


hearing aidA hearing aid while not an indication of full frailty does indicate frail hearing.

The victim is not going to hear everything you have said and will fill in details that make sense to them.  They can make the lie more believable as they are trying to make sense of what you are saying.

This is also your first opportunity to test the lie by saying it first.  Remember practice makes perfect.


compasssionPlease read my posts on the Doing Good Works Gang to get an idea of what motivates this victim. Remember it is all about Giving Back.  The build up is describing all the charity work and organizations you support.  Google charitable organizations in a place you might have lived.  Pick 23 that look good.  Read about them. Find your place in the organization.  Remember to first ask questions of the victim about their charitable work so that you settle on an organization they know nothing about.  Hook them in by playing on how much you  compassion you have.  If you can cry on command, it will only strengthen your compassion.

Carry some pictures of people you have helped (Googled images)  to show the victim.  Have a story about each one.


Credulity is a state of willingness to believe in one or many people or things in the absence of reasonable proof or knowledge. You might want to start with Conspiracy Theories.  The left leaning tendencies of San Miguel means you can focus on any Conspiracy Theory involving Capitalism, Corporations, The Tea Party or Sarah Palin.

conspiracyThere are other Gold mine sin San Miguel.  Take one simple topic ANGELS.  Many residents will talk about their angel(s) and experiences with angel(s) with a straight face.  The whole spiritual field is ripe for the Build Up. So pick your angel or spiritual experiences and research it.


desperationThere are many people living here in quiet desperation of finding a partner, or finding their art niche or finding funds or finding a new restaurant.  Pick an area where you can become an expert in helping people in their quest.  Again Google the topic and make notes on how to find a partner.  Be careful not to say you have written a book as you can be found out.


naiveBring us Your Naive should be put on Tourist Promotion Brochures for San Miguel.  One of the most overused words in San Miguel is MAGICAL. If you hear the word you should think NAIVE. It is as if the person is yelling VICTIM.  This person will believe anything you tell them as long as you share their view of MAGIC.  Here you must find a story to tell of the Magic you have found in San Miguel.  A lot of stories in this vein deal with Six Degrees of Separation.  Finding a long lost love or relative is a good start.  Remember the greater the odds and the more obscure the connection, the better the story.

Another are is True Friends in San Miguel.  The story line starts with the difficulty you have had in the past but as soon as you moved here you found, at last, True Friends.  Make them important True Friends such as the Ambassador to Peru and Secretary of the Treasury. (Both actually live here).


Getting me Some Kulture – The Cabaret Show

A friend called the other day and asked if we wanted to go and see Baby Jane Dexter and the Angela Peralta Theatre.  I am always up for Kulture and this show looked interesting.  So we said yes.

baby.jane.holzerI did not hear Baby Jane Dexter but instead Baby Jane Holzer, an actress made famous by Andy Warhol.  This sounded interesting and “far out”.

baby jane dexterAs we are standing in line and I am telling my friends how excited I am to see Baby Jane Holzer I am informed that it is Baby Jane Dexter.  I have never heard of Baby Jane Dexter and now I am out $300 pesos to hear something I don’t know, sing songs I don’t know.  I admit my faux paux and these New York friends smirk.

We find aisle seats and sit and chat until the show starts.

The Emcee comes out and give us a brief bio and says that two people have come all the way from New York.  Great applause but I am not fooled by applause in San Miguel because people clap for everything.

Ken Bichel comes out and plays a little ditty.  Great applause. Then Baby Jane Dexter comes out.  Life has not been kind to her and her first song was proof.  She sings another song “15 Minutes of Hell”.  It appears to be about rape or she was describing how I was feeling.

Now, I am faced with that terrible moment whenever I encounter Kulture.  Do I tell the truth? Dare say I am not enjoying something.  I know not to say “How are you enjoying it?” as it know everyone in San Miguel enjoys everything they see or hear.  So I wait

whatever happened toI look around and I so want to see this.  Joan Crawford and Bette Davis peeking through the curtains and start to do Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  I wait.  Nothing.  Only my Baby Jane ‘singing’.

Who booked this woman?  I make a quip that I know what happens to people who can’t make it on cruise ships.  They are booked into San Miguel.  I am told by my New York friends that it would more likely be Comonfort not San Miguel.  A clue?

That last time I went to a Broke Concert and there was no singing now this singer is getting in the way of the piano player.

Now she is doing a poem to words.  At least she isn’t singing.

Then a miracle occurs.  My New York friends say “Lets get out of here.”  It wasn’t even intermission.  We left.

My New York friends say that this wasn’t good.  My god, am I hearing a negative review in San Miguel.  I don’t care I am free.

We head to a restaurant.

Blanche: You wouldn’t be able to do these awful things to me if I weren’t still in this chair.

Jane: But you *are*, Blanche! You *are* in that chair!

Blanche: Who was that at the door earlier?

Jane: Elvira.

Blanche: Where is she now? In the kitchen?

Jane: No, I gave her the day off. She has a pretty hard time considering. I told her to come back next week.

Jane: [pauses] Oh, Blanche? You know we’ve got rats in the cellar?

Socialism – San Miguel Style

socialism 2Expat residents of San Miguel are Socialists.

Words take on different meanings in San Miguel, once the Magic starts to weave its way into how residents begin to look at the world.  Slowly once you have bought your house and decorated it, you unwittingly start to become a Socialist.

It might start with a little cake brought to your new house by your Expat Neighbor.  It might start with an conversation with someone you meet in a restaurant or at an Art Walk.

Slowly you begin to recognize people on the street or in the Jardin.  At first, you might simply nod but by the 3rd time you have seen them you know you are in a special place.  You are in a social place.

Then you accept your first invitation to a social event.  You are introduced to people.  You hear

We must get together soon.

Email addresses and phone numbers are exchanged.  You are being  pulled into this community.  You are becoming a Socialist.

You start to have your own parties and make others Socialists. 

You begin to brag to friends at home how much of a Socialist you have become since you moved to San Miguel.  They are either horrified or delighted by your move to the left and some begin to say

I don’t now what has happened to Ed and Nancy since they moved to Mexico.  They are now Socialists.

I’m in High School Gang

Archie gangWhen I was in Junior High, although at that time it was called Grade 7, I used to read the Archie Comics my sister used to buy.

I liked Archie but could never figure out why he was interested in Veronica because Betty was so nice.  Jughead simply irritated me.

When I got to High School I found that Archie was a bit idealized but I still enjoyed them.  I haven’t looked at an Archie comic since 1993 until a few weeks ago here in San Miguel when I realized that I was living in an Archie Comic.

For some reason, some adults when they move to San Miguel start to act like they are in High School, well Junior High School and live out their favorite Archie Comic Episode.  I can’t believe the number of times in the last week I have said

Are they in High School?

Scene 1

Reggie and Midge had a big fight over whether or not Mr Weatherbee needed to go on a diet.  Reggie thought he was fat and Midge not.  So Midge stormed out of the party taking Moose with her.

Scene 2

Betty wanted to have a party for Ethel Muggs who was going to New York for a week. Betty asked Ethel who she wanted at the party.  Ethel gave her a list of the gang, including Reggie and Midge and Moose.

Scene 3

When Midge found out that Reggie was going to the party she decided not to go. She told Moose that he couldn’t be friends with Reggie because of what he had said to her at the party.

Scene 4

At the party Archie asked Betty where Midge and Moose where and soon found out. He then asked Reggie what had happened. Reggie started going on about Midge and how she favored fat people..

archieSee what I mean!  This is high school but real life to some people who have moved here.  There are Gangs within Gangs.  I want Archie to solve all this and make the world a happy place again.  Why can’t Archie bring back the Magic and Harmony that is San Miguel.  Why can’t he get these people to act like they graduated instead of still being in high school.

San Miguel ADD Dinner Party

I went to an ADD* Dinner Party the other night. I am not sure if that was the theme of the party or the criteria for the guest list but I was not informed of the nature of the evening ahead of time. I had to learn that myself.  This is not the first time I have attended such an event in San Miguel but it was the first time I classified it as an ADD Dinner Party.

tennis ballI knew something was different when everyone started talking at the same time. It felt like seven Tennis Ball Servers all firing at the same time.  Let’s push the metaphor. The Tennis Balls in the server represent ADD Conversation Tidbits. These are bites of conversation, preloaded and tested at other ADD Dinner Parties.   That are lobbed either at you or just into the room.   The long tube represents the mouth of the dinner party guest.  It can rotate.  It can be speeded up or slowed down. The Tennis Ball Servers starts the minute Guest walks in the door.

tennis ball sayingsThis is merely a sampling of ADD Conversation Tidbits.   Each one is lobbed at you and you only have 1 second to return it. It took a while to realize that you actually didn’t have to return it as a few seconds later the next ADD Conversation Tidbit was coming your way.  I was totally unprepared because I didn’t come with a server and I was not interested in any of the ADD Conversation Tidbits.   So I just started to dodge them.  It didn’t take long for the ADD Guests to realize I wasn’t a player.  So they lobbed them elsewhere.  I just sat and watched the game.

I started to make list of the signs you are at an ADD Dinner Party

  • interrupting – never let anyone fully respond
  • talking too much – this is a setting on the server to increase speed
  • talking too fast
  • going off track – new lob
  • not maintaining balance in relationships -lobbing from guest to guest
  • impulsively blurting out words that would be better left unsaid.  This really describes everything that was said.
  • inappropriate body language.

You begin by asking a question to the guest on your right.  When they  answer, wait 2 seconds and then turn to the person on the left and ask another question.

Guest 1 to Guest 2: Did you enjoy Turkey?

Guest 2: Yes we had a great time in Turkey.

Guest 1 to Guest 3: What is in this soup?

Guest 2 to Guest 3: Hello I am Helen.

Guest 1 to Guest 4:   How is your dog?

Guest 4: My dog is not doing well.

Guest 1 to Hostess:  I love that new painting you have?

Hostess:    Thanks I bought it at that gallery on….

Guest 3:  Who went to Turkey?

Guest 2: Hey is that a new ring you are wearing where did you get it.

Summary Guest 2 went to Turkey but had no chance to talk about the trip or any observation. Guest 1 knew Guest 2 went to Turkey but really wanted to talk about the recipe for the Soup. Guest 4 wanted to talk about their pet who was sick but had their Tennis Ball Server set to low. Guest 2 gave up talking about Turkey and decide to try an Accessory Tidbit.

Nothing gets finished. Nothing gets said.  There is no conversation thread.  You leave with ADD Conversation Tidbits dents all over your psyche.

* ADD = Attention Deficit Disorder


Get me some Kulture Gang – Exploring Classical Music

The other day my friend, who is real cultured, asked me if I wanted to go to a music concert.   I asked about the music and he said the Cannons of TacoBell and Vivaldi and Bach and some Water Thing.  He made me realize how much I had been limiting my cultural experiences.  The concert was at the Angela Peralta Theatre and I had never been there.

programHe got tickets for the real nice seats but then told me there were no seat numbers.  It was first come, first serve so I wanted to get there and get good seats.  When we got to the seats there was a program.

The first words I saw were Pro Musica.  I sighed.  Oh no, here we go with some Pro Choice or Pro Life Event.  But then I thought what would the other side be Pro Silence?

Then some guy with a pony tail stood up and told us it was a Broke Concert and that the tickets didn’t cover the cost of the evening and that we should consider joining his Pro Musica Movement.  I looked around and saw all the empty seats.  Why wasn’t it packed?  Dread started to fill me.  There had to be a reason no one was there.  The seats were subsidized so therefore CHEAP.  Oh Oh.  Cheap seats.  No-one there.  Danger Will Robinson.,

wpid-20140125_112921-1.jpgSo what I thought, I was expanding my artist world.  Then I found an insert in the program.  Suddenly I felt stupid when I saw it Baroque not Broke.  It had to be a type of music like Flamenco or Tango.  Good dancers.

I was ready.  I had brought matches and a candle so I could participate.

Then the Orquestra came on stage.  It was seven people, two women and five guys.  They must have just come from work because they had their work clothes on.  I was expecting a costume or the very least that they would all be dressed in black.   There were some violins, a miniature  piano and three different sized guitars.  One of guitar was so big the lady had to rest it on the floor.


This picture doesn’t show the mini piano and I never saw that rectangular like box that guy is holding.

They then started practicing by making all sorts of noises and looking at each other.  I thought they would have practiced before the concert. Now I knew why the seats were subsidized.

The first song was by Tony Vivaldi.  No one sang.  They just played.  Oh it an instrumental group I thought.  I started to get bored.  It wasn’t like Cirque du Soleil.  There weren’t any acrobats or people on stilts just them playing their instruments.  I wanted to look at the program to see what was next but it was all dark.

clappingThey stopped for a minute and the audience started clapping.  Strange world because some guy with Tourettes, sitting behind me, keep yelling brraaavvvvoooo and other strange sounds.  This concert seemed to attract a lot of people with Tourettes.  The clapping I understood because people in San Miguel clap for everything.

I thought it was over until some guy with an oboe came out.  Before he started, they practiced a bit more and a two guys dropped their music.  I couldn’t figure out why they had to drop the music but it was my first time listening to Classical Music and it is a different world.  I hid my candles.

So before my eyes they had gone from a septet to an octet.  He started and played until the clapping and the Tourette calls started.

The oboe player left and then two guys with Christmas horns came out.  Now it was an ennead.  They practiced a bit more and looked at each other. They finished and someone pulled the side curtains back.  It’s over I thought.


Nope.  My friend said it was Intermission.  They were adding this to just drag out the program.  We went outside and some lady said to us that the music was a bomb to her.  I thought – I am not alone until I realized she meant balm.  Then they started using words like movement, concerto, high register, interplay of strings.  I glazed over and pretended I was dead.

bird callsAfter Intermission it started again. This time the mini piano player had a kazoo like instrument but kept spoiling the music with bird calls and whistles  two cardinals, a sparrow and a robin I believe.

I had looked at the program and knew that the Cannons of TacoBell were next.  They had mispelled it and called it Pachebel’s Canon.  When they started I realized my mistake.  No Tacos, no bells no cannons just plucking and practicing and dropping music.

My biggest disappointment other than the music was the Ushers.  I asked one for a hot dog and she looked at me like I was an idiot.  So I asked for popcorn.  Silence.  Aw she was Pro Silence.  I knew at that moment I wasn’t Pro Musica but Pro Silence.

Onto the next experience.  No Baroque for me

Woman’s Best Friend

Gangs of San Miguel de Allende

Dogs are very important in San Miguel. 

With a ratio of six single women to one man, the next best alternative is a dog. 

Living alone changes people but living alone with a dog changes them even more.  Dogs provide structure to life.  They can take an aimless life and give it purpose. 

Walking the dog fills many hours.

But walking the dog requires intuitive listening.  Dogs can sense if a single man is about or if new products have arrived in a store or if a boring friend is close.

A good dog owner listens.

This dog can sense danger ahead and has alerted his owner to what is around the corner to the left.

He knows that the dreaded Emma Simpson is coming up 28 de Abril from her Yoga Class.  He knows Emma upsets his owner, with her talk of renovating her big house.  He knows his owner is…

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