Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Guest-Blogger John Scherber, Author of Into the Heart of Mexico: 5 Expat Meccas

My San Miguel de Allende-based fellow-American, fellow writer and bodaciously successful publisher of San Miguel de Allende Books-- if you're lucky enough to attend this year's San Miguel Writer's Conference, look for him in the conference's bookstore-- John Scherber has a new book out, timely and informative reading for anyone considering a move south of the border: Into the Heart of Mexico: Expatriates Find Themselves Off the Beaten Path. 

Herewith his guest-blog for Madam Mayo, featuring five of the several places he went to speak with expats for the insider story:

Everyone has been to Cancun. Everyone has heard of the large expat colonies in San Miguel de Allende and Lake Chapala. Exploring the expat phenomenon, I wanted to do a book about those living in places without much support from their own kind. Was this a different kind of expat? Or only one with better Spanish? The towns they lived in would each be a character in this story. Here’s where I went to talk with them:
  1. Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato. A near ghost town, with a population that fell from 75,000 in 1900 to 200 in 1950. Now it lingers around three to four thousand, with two dozen expats. Its ambience is crumbly chic, as most of the ancient town continues to dissolve into the soil. On the hill above, the hulking remains of the old mining buildings await their apotheosis.
  2. Patzcuáro and the lake villages. An unknown number of expats reside in this small city among an exuberance of native crafts and arts. An alpine setting rich with tall trees and unsuspected joys.
  3. Puebla. México’s Chicago-style town. The expats are from all over, drawn mainly to its industry. English speakers are a small minority of this group and are not close. At the edge, the volcano lives and breathes.
  4. Zacatecas, another mining era charmer. At nine expats and a gorgeous urban fabric, I wondered when it was going to be discovered.
  5. Oaxaca. The jewel of the south. A larger expat community, but I spoke with three people who weren’t much connected. Sixteen ethnic groups ply their ancient, magical trades.
-- John Scherber


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>Find all Madam Mayo guest-blogs archived here.