Fred and I have moved to a little town that gets big reviews. In almost any list of “Best Places..” San Miguel de Allende shows up. It is certainly the best place we have ever been. We frequently look at each other and say, “Can you believe we did this?”
We anticipate quite a few guests here in San Miguel. In fact, one of the things we love about this place is that it is a place that our friends are happy to visit. Let’s face it…you are going to have more visitors in a World Heritage City than you are in, say, Keokuk, Iowa or Cherokee, Alabama.
This past week we had our first houseguests, Jonny and Amanda Gleaton. I have to say, they were the perfect guests. They could write a book about how to be a perfect guest. But, since they probably have no plans to do that, I am going to write a little blog post about it. Here goes: 1. If you are visiting someone who has frequent houseguests, remember that you are the one who is on vacation. They are actually living their real lives and have routine things they need to do on a daily basis. Come prepared to spend some time entertaining yourself. Get a map. Get a guidebook. Head out on your own for part of the day. 2. Even though they may have a housekeeper, they still have to set the table, prepare food, and clean up. Help out with this. Load the dishwasher. Unload the dishwasher. Make your bed. The housekeeper here only comes twice a week. And, while you’re at it, put your sheets in a pile before you leave. She will really appreciate that. 3. Tip people. Remember, these are people that your hosts are going to continue to do business with. A good tip in Mexico is 15%. If you want to really rock, go ahead and tip 20%. Whatever service you are tipping for is going to be a bargain, because that’s how it is in Mexico. Your generosity reflects well on your hosts. 4. Take your hosts out to a nice dinner. They love treats. Go easy on Host Gifts. Jonny and Amanda came up with a Jim Dandy, but remember that your hosts have worked hard to edit their stuff. 5. If your hosts suggest an activity that doesn’t really sound like fun, say so. They are just trying to make you happy. Whatever it is. If they really want to go, they’ll go anyway or they’ll go another time. Don’t hesitate to speak up. Also be aware that there may be some things you would like to do that either may not interest your hosts, or they may have done it and gotten over it. Taxis here are inexpensive. For example, if you want to go to the Hot Springs, be prepared to take a taxi. We have been twice and are done. 6. Be prepared. San Miguel is certainly fabulous, but it is Mexico. You will see things that might upset or puzzle you because you are in a different culture. It isn’t your job to judge it. Remember, your hosts have chosen to completely sell out and live here. They are okay with it, and probably don’t want to hear your negative feedback. They also don’t want to hear your complaints. Seriously. If you are a whiner, stay at home. 7. If you know a little Spanish, don’t be afraid to use it. The people here are generally very patient and appreciate it when you try.
That’s about it. Jonny and Amanda fulfilled all these suggestions beautifully. It was so wonderfully easy to have them around. Jonny and Fred had fun playing guitar together, and Jonny even sang a song at a New Year’s Eve party, much to the delight of his hostess there. On the last day they were here we took them out to our friends Anado and Richard’s house. That was an example of keeping the best for the last. The week they were here flew by, and we hope they will return many times. We look forward to other guests as well. Guests in our home have always brought us a great deal of pleasure. Especially when they are as well-behaved as Jonny and Amanda.