Saturday, May 28, 2011


The heat spell finally broke last night. Our normal four weeks of intense heat doubled this year and for the last two weeks the temperatures did not drop significantly at night. It was sweltering. After 11am it was too hot to be walk further than a block or two and ants were everywhere. If I left a speck of food on my counter, in a few minutes it was covered with them. They took up residence in the pots on my roof garden. I killed thousands every time I watered my plants. Everyone is waiting for the rains. We’ve had sprinkles the last two nights, which hopefully is foreshadowing the beginning of the rainy season—the all-night downpours that transform our Puebla from dry and dusty to green

I haven’t seen the town this empty since the onset of the Swine Flu two years ago when every foreign tourist left San Miguel within 48-hours. The US warnings against travel in Mexico have been unrelenting since then—initially due to health concerns, since then because of the drug violence. Yes, there are areas that should be avoided, but most of Mexico is safe. The Canadians are still coming but Americans are reactionary. About six weeks ago reportage of beheading in Colonia San Miguel, a Mexico City suburb, prompted an avalanche of cancellations here, 200 miles away.

It’s always empty in May, our hottest month. Few tourists come and many in San Miguel’s foreign community leave the city. Hopefully the town will begin filling up, like always, mid-June. Since Martha arrived last November, for the launch of her friends’ artisanal tequila, several articles have been published that give a more balanced picture of Mexico. In January Travel and Leisure listed San Miguel as one of 2011’s hottest travel destinations and recently Vogue Daily featured San Miguel as The Destination of the Month. Both the San Francisco Chronicle and CNN published articles this spring that let their readers know there are safe and wonderful travel destinations in Mexico.

Uhm, maybe Steve Schwab’s March blog wasn’t just the latest conspiracy theory. Maybe the reason for the biased reportage of Mexico in the US press is economic. What did Deep Throat say in All the Presidents Men? “Follow the money.”