I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these days about what corner of the world I might want to move to should the unthinkable happen this coming Election Day. My wife and I have given some thought to Greenland. I, however, have had an allergic reaction to whale blubber since childhood. We considered Mongolia before I realized that yak milk is pink and I made a devout promise to myself years ago to never drink anything the color of baby clothes. New Zealand was on our radar for a bit, but since being traumatized by a Haka dance as a child it would be all I could do to not bite the head off an emu.
So, in our never-ending search to find a Trump-free utopia, we find ourselves this week in San Miguel Allende, Mexico. This is a city unique in many ways. To begin with it’s in the mountains, so while the beach towns of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco hover somewhere around the “broil” mark temperature-wise, San Miguel is at 6,000 feet altitude, where the days are warm and the nights require a comforter or at the very least, a large dog.
The other unique thing about this quaint Mexican artist’s town is that ex-pat Americans seem to outnumber the Mexican population about dos to uno. This in itself is enough for us to reconsider Greenland.
Tonight, we look forward to experiencing a true Mexican tradition. Hamburger Night at a restaurant called — are you ready? — The Restaurant. It’s OK. When I was a kid there was a highly successful commercial campaign, which touted Tuesday as Red’s Tamale Night. Well, it was big in our house. Red has long since left the building. Rumor has it he’s pushing hamburgers Thursday nights at The Restaurant in San Miguel Allende. Hopefully they’re better than his tamales.
It’s easy to spot the ex-pats in this town. They’re the ones wearing the serapes and Indian jewelry and speaking a form of Spanish wherein if the word can’t be properly pronounced, say it louder. The locals speak perfect English.
The fact is, this place was on Conde Nast’s top 10 list of where in the entire world to visit. And with good reason. It’s a place you don’t just happen by. It’s an hour and a half from the closest airport and as a result it doesn’t have the frenetic pace and hysteric energy of its coastal cousins. There aren’t a dozen guys who look like they’ve just come from the Running of the Bulls accosting you to invest in time-shares as you leave the airport.
The locals here are sincerely proud of their city and I don’t think we’ve been asked to buy a single wicker tote by a street peddler or been touted on a “great” taco place just up the street.
The taxi drivers are polite and helpful, the merchants are welcoming without being overbearing, the bartenders and waiters are efficient and friendly, and you get a heck of a lot of bang for your pesos.
As my mother used to say, “What’s not to like?”
Our search for desirable living should the ridiculous happen this November has been narrowed. We’re down to staying put in Sausalito or crossing the border before the wall’s built and settling in San Miguel Allende. Two things can sway our decision: the election — and Hamburger Night.
Bay Area sportscaster Barry Tompkins, seen on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011, in Fairfax, Calif., began his career in San Francisco in 1965 and has worked for HBO and Fox Sports Net. He is known for his work as a boxing commentator, but has covered football and other sports. He lives nearby in Ross. IJ photo/Frankie Frost
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