Take a Hike

Where I live in San Miguel is a 10-15-minute walk to the center of town where the Parroquia and Jardin are located. And walking is what I do daily. 

If I want to go to the small (by U.S. standards) mall I can take a bus or cab, it’s just more of a hike than I want to make. There are 2 large (by U.S. standards) super markets within walking distance, so I strap on my shoes and hoof it to get items I can’t find in the nearer convenience stores, known in Mexico as tiendas.

There are 6 to 8 of those located within a couple of blocks of my house so I can pick up eggs, milk, fresh veggies, dog food, rice, sugar, beans, and my go-to dinner, microwave popcorn. Who can live without that?  The answer to that question is someone who cooks. But since that is not what I do, popcorn is often my go-to meal. I do try to share it with the doglets, but sometimes I’m just too hungry to give them more than a popped kernel or two.

What all this says is my non-desire to own a car.  Almost all the cobble stone streets are narrow and watching someone attempting to get their car out of or into a garage would be laughable if not painful to see. It is never done with one try and usually it takes 3-4 attempts for a small standard sized vehicle to finally get maneuvered into the parking spot.

Now understand, most gringos who drive in Mexico are well over the age of 65 or 70. Their vision has or is fading and understanding of Mexican driving laws has not been carefully studied. It is better to catch a taxi than ride with a losing sight, accommodating neighbor. Or better, to walk.

Pedestrians have the right of way, and I’ve heard there are major consequences if someone is hit by a vehicle. Drivers may not like it, but jaywalking is permitted and cars stop to let you cross. They prefer if you go to a walkway, but drivers are alert for those wandering souls who don’t know where the walkways are located or what they look like. 

They are not marked with white lines and they aren’t necessarily at a corner, but rather at speed bumps strategically placed on every road in town at some distanced decided by the workers who repair the loose cobblestones. 

Their locations are just another little-known fact you learn about by bouncing over the hump and having your muffler torn off.

All of these are reasons most folks I know prefer to walk. Besides, it’s nice to stop on sidewalks and have a 5-minute chat with a stranger or an acquaintance to give directions, share a funny story, or talk about your neighbors. 

I remember hearing a man say when I first came here, always add 15 minutes to your walk time, because you will find at least one person who will want to stop you and chat. And sure enough, it happens almost every day.

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