Years ago when my wife and I pulled up roots in America and moved to Guanajuato, Mexico, I began telling everyone who would listen that San Miguel de Allende was well on its way to Guanajuato. Mexicans as well as American Expats shook their heads and clicked their tongues at me. No one believed the expatriate debacle that has overtaken San Miguel de Allende could ever, in a million years, come to Guanajuato.
No! It’s here.
My recent article, “Guanajuato: The Death of Heritage,” spelled out one aspect of the gentrification of Guanajuato. The Mega Store, an anchor store in an indoor mall, and its deathblow to the local Mom-and-Pop Shops was the theme of that column. What ruined colonial Mexico all over this country is now here in Guanajuato to have its dubious way with the city’s ancient heritage.
Another issue coming at the speed of light is the steep increase in real estate prices. Landlords, Mexican and gringo alike, have seen the writing on the wall and are charging prices for rentals and real estate that were unheard of just four years ago. They are now asking, and getting, the prices that you expect to see in San Miguel de Allende and the west coast resort cities. It is tragic!
The next step that is officially here: excluding Mexicans from their own city. This has been going on in San Miguel de Allende now for a while with the “Mexican Free Zones—Gringos only.” That has now arrived in Guanajuato.
In doing some research for my new book, Can I Live and Work in Mexico?, I ran across an ad for a rental property that said “Americans Only.” They are actually beginning, in this lovely and very Mexican town, to exclude Mexicans from renting property in their own town and country! The owners of this particular property are excluding Mexicans from renting the property even if they can afford it. I guess the gringos are beginning the “Mexican-Free Zone” sooner than expected in Guanajuato.
None of this is shocking to me. I saw it coming years ago. What I think makes me madder than anything are those who dismissed me as “hysterical” or “he exaggerates too much,” or whatever. They poo-poo’ed me, patted me on the head, and asked me if I wanted another beer when I would try to sound the warning.
They were wrong.
I was right!
What I said would happen is happening right now. The gringos, the ones with lots and lots of money and who will never learn two words of Spanish to string together, are moving here and with them come all the joys of rich gringo expatriation.
If you want to see what the joyous place Guanajuato will be like in a short time, just visit San Miguel de Allende and stay about a month. Then you will know Guanajuato’s destiny.
Sad. So, very, very sad!