Going to Mexico – From Conroe to San Miguel de Allende

Conroe, Texas: population 53,075, elevation 247 feet

From Galveston, our next stop was Conroe, Texas.  This is a sprawling suburb north of Houston that is at least 6 freeway exits wide.  We found a super deal on an out-of-season lakeside resort so we grabbed it.  This week was not so much sightseeing as getting ready for Mexico.  We got our flu shots, sorted our clothing down into one suitcase each, bought a few things, made plans.  The most notable things about Conroe were the meals we had.

At the Copperhead Brewery, we were having a great time sampling the beers and talking with crew and locals when a friend of theirs, a BBQ pit master, came in with a big box of end-of-the-day leftovers: brisket, sausage, chicken, and ham.  He gets free beer, we get free BBQ.  What a great treat!

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Great logo, done in stained glass, on the bar front

At the 7 Lequas Mexican Restaurant we enjoyed some very creative cooking with a unique seaside Mexican flair.  I had grilled chicken, smothered in a spicy mushroom gravy, topped with grilled shrimp and catfish tails.  Such a great departure from the usual “stuff wrapped in a tortilla” Mexican food you find everywhere.  Me gusta el mucho!

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We left the resort early to get to a Red Roof hotel near the airport in Houston.  The hotel has a big parking lot where we can leave our trusty, dusty car, Gypsy, for the next month, much cheaper than the big commercial lots.  They also have a shuttle to run us to the airport.  By 7:30, we are at Bush Intercontinental, going through the airport security gauntlet, getting set for the 9:00 flight to Leon.

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Early morning at the airport
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The world at 35,000 feet

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico:  Population =  139,297, elevation = 6,200 feet, average January low temp = 42.8, Average July high temp = 81

By 11:00, we are in Leon.  The line through immigration is short and our luggage is prompt.  At the door, we see our shuttle driver holding a card with our names on it.  He somehow magically fits 6 people and their luggage into a Suburban and off we go, snuggly squished together.  For the next 90 minutes or so, we experience rural Mexican roads.  The roads are about 1 3/4 cars wide so oncoming and passing traffic is a game of nerves and timing, played on a washboard with many speed bumps.

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The approach to Leon is a high mountain plateau, dotted with little villages.
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Gabriel is ready for us with the shuttle

We are the last unloaded and it takes a while for the driver to find the place.  There are two series of numbers on this street and ours is not obvious.  The street is very steep, narrow, and cobblestoned.  Our place is like a shotgun house, stood on end; one room wide and three stories tall.

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Callejon Ojo de Auga is steeper than it looks here
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Our Casa in SMA

Mexican housing looks very strange to this Gringo.  The street is all walls and doors, a blank face to the public.  The houses are one continuous brick and concrete row with no gaps between units.  Most have yards behind the walls; either tidy little gardens or junk piles.  Inside the homes are big airy rooms with lots of ceramics and wood and windows.  Many have rooftop patios.  Count on a LOT of stairs.  From what we have seen so far, ours is kind of typical for a rental.

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A comfy living room with a LOT of window
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The kitchen fits one small cook. Love the little hobbit pantry.
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The bathroom is compact too, but the tile work is nice.

Once we get settled in, we need to take care of some business: get some lunch and buy groceries.  We heard in the shuttle ride that it is a short hike to downtown and there is a store there, so we set off on foot.  It turns out that all of the streets here are very narrow and the cobblestones are not the nice smooth round ones you find in Europe.  We are, essentially, walking down a cheese grater.  After we find lunch, a “tour guide” directs us to a bigger, more modern store so we taxi over to that.  The selection is good, yet odd.  There are a lot of things we have never seen before and a lot of familiar things we do not see.  No frozen food, for instance.  Eggs and milk are not refrigerated.  We taxi back to our casa, exhausted after our long day and climb the many steps inside.

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Next up:  exploring SMA

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footloosefogeys

We are two recent retirees who decided to sell the house, pull up stakes, and explore North America. We are both being tourists and looking for the right blend of people, place, and geography that makes for the perfect place to retire.

5 thoughts on “Going to Mexico – From Conroe to San Miguel de Allende”

  1. Super Bowl Sunday, is the 4th full day in our new community. We’re getting accustomed to the altitude and the cobblestones, but they do challenge our aging bodies. Recent acquaintances live closer to the square and recommended taking taxis to and from “downtown” so we save our legs for sightseeing – great advice! San Miguel has lots to offer residents and visitors alike.

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