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Imagine:  a beautiful city with daytime temperatures in the 70s year round, charming cobblestone streets with pastel buildings, boutiques and restaurants.  Spacious houses there cost a fraction of US prices, taxes and utilities run less than $500 a year – and you can get a housekeeper-cook for under $15 a day and a gardener for $10 a day.

We didn’t believe there was such a place until our longtime Fort Lauderdale friends suddenly announced they were moving to Mexico.  We figured we should research this in person so about a month later we headed for San Miguel de Allende.  Our friends weren’t as crazy as we thought.

“SMA” is a preserved colonial city three hours northwest of Mexico City.  Because it’s a National Monument, the major center of the city has no traffic lights, neon signs, fast food places or even ugly garbage cans.  Home to the popular Instituto Allende Art School, SMA has a large foreign community of Americans and Canadians.  About 135,000 people live within 10 miles and approximately 20,000 speak English as their first language.

A magnificent steak dinner for two with wine can be had for under $20.  The better residential areas offer the fine design of Mexican architects plus all the comforts we crave, such as sunken living rooms, modern kitchens, huge windows without bars, cable TV, and buried electric lines.   But the big moment was discovering that two large shopping malls were nearing completion within walking distance from San Miguel’s city center, and that there were cities within an hour’s drive with everything from the Office Depot to huge furniture stores.

The seduction was complete.  We’re now land owners in Mexico.  Perhaps we’ll build a house in another year or two.  Or maybe we’ll remain where we are.  Mexico isn’t for everyone, but it may be worth a visit.

For information on San Miguel go to www.Roadlovers.com.


This month’s dirtiest statistic:  Drinking fountains are bound to be germy, but school fountains are the worst, with anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot.
Reduce the risk: Send your child to school with plenty of their own beverages and tell them to wash their hands throughout the day.
Excerpt from “The 12 Germiest Places in Your Life” on www.Health.com.

Big Band Sound is Alive in Hollywood

If you haven’t heard of Louis Prima, there’s still time to hear one of his clarinet players.  Harvey Nevins, 82, heads a trio that plays at the Hillcrest Club every Wednesday evening, 6:30-9:30.  On piano is the talented Willie Kaplan and Marcel Saint Laurent provides the beat.  There’s a dance floor and the great melodies from the 1940s…  why not come and get some exercise?
 Directions: Hillcrest Club, Go south on I-95, Go west on Hollywood Blvd to PARK Avenue, Turn LEFT and go south on PARK to Hillcrest; Turn RIGHT and go towards the tall buildings (condos) until you find the country club. Enter the club and follow the music
COST: $25 per person (the buffet with tip is $21, plus the two-drink cover)
To confirm that the guys aren't playing in New York or on a cruise ship, call 954 987 5000 “The Big Band Hotline” at the Hillcrest and reserve a table.