Arriving in San Luís Potosí, I purchased a taxi voucher in the bus terminal at a fixed rate
of 31 pesos and told the driver, “Hotel Real Plaza.” I've been a regular at the Real Plaza
for years, since I first taught finance and English at the Mexican Cross Cultural Institu-
te in the mid 1990s. I was immersed in the culture and community, became acquainted
with artists, politicians and of course managers and executives, my students. The school
closed in 2000 when the owner fell in love and moved to Spain. It's the only time I've ever
regretted someone falling in love.
The cab driver was a young man who had worked in Napa Valley, California for three
years. “Were you able to save up and bring home some money?” I asked.
He tapped the steering wheel with his hand. “I bought this taxi,” he said.
Hotel Real Plaza's posted rate was 640 pesos, but I asked for the “promotional rate” and
the price was reduced to 512 ($48) a night. I checked in and went to the tenth floor.
I looked out the window and to my surprise there was a new gated residential development
two blocks north. I had to take a closer look. I walked down the ten flights of stairs just
for the exercise,
walked three blocks north and found the subdivision. There were 103 townhouses; two
were for rent. I spoke with a woman who was washing her car in front of her three-bed-
room, two-bath townhouse. “Could you give me an idea of the range of prices?”
She said, “Last year I paid 800,000 pesos ($75,000).”
“Location, location, location,” is the real estate agent's mantra, and it surely is true about
the townhouses at Villa Vallarta. Across from the entrance is La Bodega, a major super-
market. In five minutes, a resident could walk to Parque Tequis and sit in the sun, or read
a newspaper in the shade, enjoy the fountains, or meet a friend for coffee at Italian Coffee.
It's located on Avenida Carranza, the main thoroughfare where buses arrive frequently.
On a hot day Parque Tequis offers shade, and you can try any of forty-two ice cream or
sherbet flavors at Tequisnieves (Tequis Snow). It's a couple of doors down from Italian
Coffee. Tequisnieves offers many flavors, such as Springtime, Cinderella's Kiss, Angel's
Kiss, Serenade of Love, Moonscape, Wind's Prayer, Song of the Mermaids and 1,000