1. The Jardin is where everything happens. Fireworks over the church at night. Mariachi bands. Even the old folks dance. You can spend an entire day just sitting in the Jardin watching the world pass and feeling like you’re doing something special. New Year’s Eve in the Jardin was like every night in the Jardin, but larger than life.
2. There are chihuahuas everywhere in the Jardin, followed by poodles, and then various other dogs, almost all of them small, almost all of them in coats since it’s winter. These dogs are mixed in with children, pigeons, and balloons, often to hilarious effect.
3. San Miguel has been Disney-fied. Don’t complain. It’s clean, tourist friendly, and everyone speaks English. Just like Amsterdam, but we don’t say Amsterdam is Disney-fied. Why is that, exactly?
4. The soundtrack to the city is bossa lounge covers of classic rock and 90s grunge/punk. Restaurant sound systems play bad Diana Krall-sounding Nirvana covers when the Mariachis finish performing at your table.
5. Jesus, Mary, and Frida Kahlo. Religious icons are everywhere. It’s a Catholic town. What do you expect?
6. The High-Speed Internet is not high speed.
7. There is a Starbucks. But not on every street corner, thereby making statement #3 above only partially true.
8. The street performers range from mariachi to rockabilly to opera.
9. San Miguel Shoes. The city has its own shoe, designed specifically to handle the hilly cobblestone streets that wreak havoc on high heels, shins, and calves.
10. The Biblioteca Publica, the public library, is the best resource for entertainment and cultural events. It publishes the local event newspaper. It houses a theatre, a cafe, sponsors a city tour, hosts “authentic” musicians and speakers, and everyone speaks English.