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Telecommuters give Mexican life a try

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico—Nicole and John Gordon spent their 20s in San Francisco, riding the best years of the technology boom. But with two kids, Nicole Gordon started asking herself, "What do you do after San Francisco?"

The answer, it turned out, in the hills of Guanajuato state, was this colonial Mexican town with high-speed Internet, cheap day care, decent restaurants and plenty of large, open homes for rent.

"There's no reason why we couldn't stay here," said John Gordon, a software developer who's trying out the Mexican life with his young family for about six months.

Gordon, whose mother retired to San Miguel, considers himself at the forefront of a demographic trend: high-tech professionals who can work anywhere in the world.

While municipal officials are trying to crack down on Americans who are running unregistered vacation rentals, they have no problem with telecommuting as long as the source of income is in the United States, said Christopher Finkelstein Franyuti, the international relations coordinator for the municipality.

"San Miguel is what it is nowadays because of the foreign community," he said.

Before coming to San Miguel, the Gordons owned a two-unit San Francisco condo with Mike Taylor, 44, and his partner, Tony Cervantez, 36. Taylor and Cervantez also moved to San Miguel and just bought a home there.

"San Miguel had all the things, as urban people coming from San Francisco, that we needed," Taylor said. He was referring to the city's art scene, liberal crowd and bodegas on every corner.

He also plans to telecommute, writing software for a Florida company and using a portable Internet-based phone number.

"They have no idea when they call me if I am in San Francisco, San Miguel or Miami," he said.

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(c) 2006, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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