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Moving to San Miguel de Allende: Chapter 3: The Purple Villa

Chapter 3: The Purple Villa

San Miguel is starting to green up – we had a nice steady rain a few nights ago and some drizzle last night. The morning view is now veiled in delicate shrouds of mist and the dew-covered trees glisten emerald green as they are warmed by the sun. The mild humidity is wonderful; it’s not suffocating, just revitalizing.

Moving Day

On our merry way to the purple villa in Salvador’s pick-up.

We moved to our second house (the purple villa) last Saturday, and what a move it was! Our kindly realtor, Armando, sent his gofer, Salvador, to help us move. Salvador sounds bilingual, he has a decidedly Midwestern U.S. accent which makes him seem completely fluent, but he often seems to have no idea what he’s saying and his English ends up being quite hilarious. Apparently he had no idea what he was sent for, because he looked with shock at the suitcases and bolsas we were lugging out the gate. He had, unfortunately, parked his pick-up at the very top of our very steep Callejon.

He began his trek up this hill rather dubiously, with one of the smaller suitcases, and after a few feet he stopped and put his hands to his head in despair.

“I’m going to start to sweat!” he said, plainly shocked by the idea.

When I came out to assist with the luggage, the first words out of his mouth were: “Hi. Could you give me a hand?”

I said I would, as all my images of the typical Mexican male, suffering under any circumstances to demonstrate his machismo, were shattered.

Dire thoughts of having to carry an unconscious Salvador up the hill flashed across my mind as we proceeded, Salvador nearly in tears. When we finally reached his truck, panting and, much to Salvador’s dismay, sweating, he attempted a suave, carefree toss of the bag into the truck, but instead received a nasty bump as he hit his head with a resounding thud against the metal side.

“Ow,” he remarked trying to sound matter-of-fact as he started reluctantly back down the hill for more bags, the lump on his forehead growing larger by the minute.

Purple Villa

In the courtyard of the la villa morada.

We finally packed all our belongings (three large suitcases, two small ones and several large bolsas) into the back of the truck, but then came the question of seating arrangements. Only two could fit in the front, so it was decided, after a little trepidation on Mom’s part and assurances from Salvador that he would drive very slowly, that all four girls should pile in the back, on top of the luggage. Once we were all perched in our various spots, feeling as secure as one can atop one’s suitcase in the back of an ancient pick-up truck, we sallied forth down the uncomfortably narrow and very bumpy cobblestone streets.

Annie, Laurie, Leigh and I decided that, aside from the speed bumps, this wasn’t a bad way to travel. We must have looked somewhat like exotic birds to the gaping Mexican natives – I was perched on the highest suitcase in a bright yellow shirt and hat, Leigh a little lower down on the stack of suitcases in turquoise attire, and the two little girls in their equally bright clothing bouncing and laughing at every bump and jolt in the road. I have never gotten so many strange looks from people in my life! Laurie took this opportunity to master the royal wave…

Mom, meanwhile, was carrying on an interesting conversation with Salvador.

“God, it’s really hot in here. I’m cooking in my own juices,” said Salvador, wiping the sweat from his forehead.

Mom was silent in her attempts to stifle gales of laughter. Salvador, apparently stricken by the urge to sing, broke into a ditty, of what origin and what meaning we may never know:

“The birds and the bees and the sycamore trees…” he crooned in his Midwestern twang.

We lurched to a stop at the bottom of the hill (can we ever escape them?) leading to the purple villa.

“I’m not driving up that hill. No way,” said Salvador obstinately.


One of the many colonial fountains on our purple villa’s street, Aldama.

Thus began the second lugging of suitcases up yet another hill. Salvador decided that this time an overseer might be needed, and that he was certainly the best candidate for this task. After he carried a few bags up the hill, asking Laurie to get her sister to help him, he proceeded to direct the operation.

“Here, you can take this one up.”

“Get your sister to help with that one.”

“Good. Only a few more – here take this one.”

Once his truck was emptied of kids and suitcases, he felt he had more than fulfilled his task and bade us a tired and relieved farewell. He left us in tears of laughter as we imagined him taking a day off to recover from moving five gringas across town.

However, Salvador was destined for another adventure with the Bohnes that day. We soon realized we had no hot water and called Armando for help. He promptly sent off his long-suffering assistant to our aid. I heard someone say “knock-knock” a few minutes later and let in a bumped, bruised and tired Salvador. After he found the gas, he tried to show us how to light it, very cautiously of course, as he didn’t want his “being all over the place.” Unfortunately, Salvador’s fix-it abilities are about as impressive as his luggage-carrying abilities, and when he left we still had no hot water, only discouraging assurances from Salvador that “the gas-man would have gas” in a few days.

Armando and his electrician came to our rescue and promptly lit the pilot. We were very grateful not to have to take cold showers for two days, despite Salvador’s belief that “they make you feel alive.”

Our move to the purple villa was certainly one to remember, as is our utterly peculiar and totally hilarious friend, Salvador. And thus was the auspicious beginning of a new phase of our life in San Miguel in la villa morada.