Ano Nuevo en San Miguel

January 2, 2008

San Miguel in the Christmas holidays is overflowing with tourists. 

There isn´t a hotel room to be found, the restaurants are packed, and there are no empty benches in the Jardin.

For my first New Year´s Eve in San Miguel, I didn´t want to spend the evening in a packed bar with drunken Texans waiting for the fireworks at midnight.  What to do, to make this a special event?

I had heard of a hotel, Casa de Aves, at a distance from the city, that had a reputation for serene charm.  So, I convinced my friends that an elegant retreat was more in keeping with new beginnings than a rowdy party.

I made a reservation, and at 8 PM we started off down unpaved dark roads to our destination…..with occasional sightings of small signs pointing the way to the hotel.

By the time we arrive, I feel like Hansel and Gretel at the vision of the witch´s cottage.

The hotel is charming and welcoming.  The stars are blazing in the clear night air–and a telescope is out on the patio, if I remembered any of my astronomy.  But more inviting is the crackling fire in the den, and the bookshelves with books about Mexico and architecture, and history and, of course, birds.

The dining room has one long table–we shall eat family style, with the eight other people who have gathered here.  Our hosts welcome us with drinks and appetizers, and we introduce ourselves to our new acquaintances.  Dinner will not be served for another hour, so one of the guests suggest blackjack (not for money–only for chips), and we adjourn to the game room to play around the table with Johnny Mathis singing in the background.  Drinks keep flowing…I am beginning to wonder how much this will cost….hoping I haven’t led my friends into penury.

We sit down to dinner and a lively conversation–eat to repletion, and step out to the patio  for fireworks, and embraces at midnight.

Donna and Alberto (fellow guests) demonstrate for us their mastery of the tango (product of a visit to Argentina) and we attempt to imitate their grace, and fail miserably.

We think it is about time to head back to the city, and we request the bill–at this point, I am hoping I have enough credit left on my credit card, for surely I don´t have enough cash.  Three hundred pesos–which is about $28.

Feliz Ano Nuevo.

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