May 31, 2005, 1:49 PM
Post #2 of 5
You can probably park your sailboat in the Hotel Sautto parking lot for about $35 a month. I've known people who have parked trucks there. You can enter it by turning on the one-way street Quebrada from Insurgentes and looking for a small tile #18 on the left side and turning left into the gate. Or the Hotel Siesta on Ancha San Antonio just before the glorieta has an RV campground out back which has plenty of space.They'd be a good place to try for space rental.
Re: [susieee] before i start packing...
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I have friends outside of Centro who rent parking space at places like their local radiator shop which is glad for a little extra income for their yard out back, especially if you're not having to move it in and out all the time like a car.
Of course if you get a few blocks out of the Jardin you can find places where far fewer gringos go. We buy most of our stuff in stores where very few gringos can be seen. Besides Tuesday Market, which is seen as a tourist attraction by many newby gringos but is still a major outdoor marketplace for mostly Mexicans, there are two major mercados within easy walk from Centro.
Centro, by the way, is usually considered as the historic district where there are strict rules on no U.S. chains, no big signs, only authentic colors and paints, etc., and the mayor wants all traffic banned eventually on the center eight square blocks. it's not just the square park in front of the Parroquia which is the Jardin. The other major city park is Park Juarez about four blocks away from the Jardin, but it is still considered Centro. There are dozens of colonias making up San Miguel. Technically only the one called Centro is Centro, but neighboring ones usually get the name too. In casual use, if you can walk there from the Jardin in five or ten minutes, it's Centro, no matter wha the colonia.
The first of the two major mercados that are almost totally Mexican-owned and frequented is Ramirez Market, behind Plaza Civica, probably 70 shops of all kinds including a fresh flower aisle, and it leads through more stalls iand small food stands into the Artisan's Alley of probably 100 small stalls that runs from Hotel Quinta Loreto on Calle Loreto through to Relox. We've found a Bachoca chicken store right alongside Plaza Civica where we can get fresher, cheaper chickens cut any way we want and the huge eggs usually have double yolks. We get sliced ham, bacon and cheeses at one of the dozens of shops bordering Plaza Civica and Ramirez Market. That's where we run when we need an 82-cent bottle of dish soap and 40 cents worth of bulk marjoram and a quarter's worth of salt, our purchases during this morning's walk before it got hot.
The second is San Juan de Dios, near the church of the same name, not quite as big. It connects with outdoor stalls that sell everything, including a big section of Christmas decorations in season. You will definitely know you are in Mexico when you shop at either area. We have a favorite produce vendor at each market who will toss in a free mango or apple as a gift for our continued patronage.
And the major streets a few blocks out of Centro are lined with all the usual shops of any Mexican city serving a population of 130,000. Along Insurgentes and Canal we find most of what we need. We only go to Costco once a month, either to the one in Celaya or Queretaro, for Costco catfood--a 20-pound bag of good-quality catfood is about $10, and we go through five bags a month. We save $35 a month by buying it there, and it allows us to feed all the feral cats we do and ahve money left over for sterilizations.
So while we're there we take advantage of the cheap bulkrate stuff Costco is famous for--24 rolls of TP, gallons of dishwashing and laundry soap and olive oil, etc. That's usually the only time we take the car out all month, or maybe a Gigante run when we stock up on heavy stuff like Norma's Diet Pepsi and boxes of milk and FibraMax cereal which only Gigante seems to carry. We put 1200 miles a year on our car compared to 40,000 miles a year in Phoenix, LA and rural Michigan.
Every day we discover more little Mexican-owned stores that sell stuff we didn't realize was available here. We'd like to cut out the monthly Costco run the day Social Security checks arrive but as I said, the cat food savings alone makes it worthwhile. So we take that opportunity to eat at a US chain restaurant, once a month.
Our favorite SMA restaurants do include one that is owned by a gringo, Harry's New Orleans Creole and Cajun in Centro, but it's a splurge restaurant. For Sunday brunch we go to Cafe de la Parroquia which is owned by a woman who is Venezuelan and French, so I don't know if you'd call that gringo-owned or not, but the menu is only in Spanish and the clientele is always at least half Mexican, and a deluxe brunch for two is under $14.
Despite the stereotyping of SMA as one huge U.S. city, most notably by one Mexconnect poster who hasn't even been here in more than 20 years, nothing can be farther from the truth. You will adore it, I make a bet: a hefty comida at Cafe Colon for about $3.50 if I'm wrong.