UNLESS YOU’RE a relative stranger hereabouts you know I live next door to a sex motel, a fascinating neighbor.
It wasn’t there when we purchased the property and built the Hacienda 14 years back. There was a cow pasture next door where a lone cow lived and attracted flies.
About four years later, the construction crew arrived and started building the sex hotel. There are just eight rooms.
The hotel is part of a nationwide phenomenon called Hoteles de Paso, meaning “pass-by hotels.” These establishments are noted for their very low prices.
Our neighbor, for instance, charges the peso equivalent of about 10 dollars for eight hours; 14 dollars for 12 hours; and 22 dollars for a 24-hour stay, all taxes included.
Take that! Motel 6.
They are usually nicely appointed places with discreet parking. Three sorts of customers, basically. Single folks with nowhere else to get it on. Married folks who just want to have some “us” time away from the 12 children and Granny.
And anyone else who simply wants a nice, inexpensive place to bed down for the night, mostly travelers.
Not being on a major highway, we don’t get much No. 3 trade. It’s almost exclusively Nos. 1 and 2.
We were very apprehensive when the construction began because we thought the hotel would be a noisy neighbor.
Mexicans are noisy.
But no. It’s been tranquil these last 10 years, and the place even serves as a 24-hour guard service of sorts since it’s always open, and the office is out front.
The hotel has provided us with some entertainment over the years, as you might guess. If you walk out to the edge of the upstairs terraza and peer over, you’re looking directly into a couple of the bedrooms.
Toward the tail of the construction process, my wife and I crept over there one afternoon and slipped up the stairs of the back room. Very impressive, beautifully appointed, even with crown moulding. One of the rooms sports a jacuzzi.
But after a decade it began to look a bit scuzzy, and a week ago a couple of fellows showed up with paint and brushes.
Now it looks like it did on its debut day, a place you’d be proud to take your pants off to have a little fun.
AMERICAN SOCIALISTS* are fond of saying President Trump lost the popular vote. They then conclude his presidency is bogus even though the popular vote does not determine who is elected. That’s the Electoral College, of course.
Trump won handily, fair and square, where it counts.
Just like JFK, Nixon and FDR.
Since the election, I have pointed out repeatedly that many of the popular votes scored by Hillary were cast by illegal aliens. This is because, in many places, all you need to flash at the polling station is a driver’s license.
Many states issue driver’s licenses to illegals.
And all you need to register to vote is check that you are a citizen. Beyond your word, nobody verifies it.
So, with Lord knows how many illegals with driver’s licenses, and with 100 percent of them voting Democrat, it may well have caused Hillary’s “popular” vote victory.
She was popular with illegals, no doubt.
I have been dissed for pointing this out, but now there is a legit study that backs me up. I am correct again. An independent think tank, Just Facts, has issued a report on the matter.
Almost 6 million illegals may have voted.
President Trump has formed a commission to look into this problem of people voting who have no right to vote, just one of the many positive things coming out of Trump’s Oval Office.
Meanwhile, Democrats continue to howl in the streets, whining, crying, rioting and issuing death threats. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
It’s enough to make this old Mexican roll his eyeballs.
* * * *
* Democrat Party voters! But I concede that some Democrats, almost exclusively older people, vote Democrat out of long habit. They also think, incorrectly, that the Democrat Party is the “nice” party and Republicans are old meanies. And plenty of these geriatric Democrats have been stoned since 1968.
WE PASSED the 15-year point in our happy matrimony back in April. We had intended to go to the beach for a couple of days for the occasion, but we never got around to it.
Then I remembered our previous visit to a place called Mineral de Pozos. That first jaunt was eight or 10 years ago. It was mostly a ghost town, having previously thrived due to mines in the area, but those good times were long gone.
We hopped in the Honda and headed there this past weekend for a way-overdue anniversary blow-out.
Pozos, as it is usually called, reminded me of Real de Catorce, another ghost town resurrected by tourism.
A Brad Pitt movie called The Mexican was filmed in Real de Catorce. It was a fun flick. Also starred Julia Roberts.
But forget Brad and Julia. We’re talking about Mineral de Pozos here. Way back when, the town had another name, Ciudad de Porfirio Díaz, after the old dictator.
During our first visit, I thought, “This place will never get off the ground.” It was primarily shells of old stone buildings, mangy dogs and deserted streets.
We had driven up there from San Miguel de Allende, just for a few hours. We didn’t spend the night.
We noticed a couple of hotels that were under construction. We poked our heads into one during that visit, and it coincidentally was the same hotel we stayed in Sunday night.
It’s called Posada de Las Minas, and it’s a very nice place. The hotel consists of eight rooms and two apartments, the difference being that the apartments are larger and have kitchens.
Since the apartments cost the same as the rooms, 1,800 pesos, we opted for an apartment. The view from the windows and balcony was spectacular, and the hotel has a great restaurant.
Since our first visit, Pozos has been named one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos. Magic Towns. We Mexicans are fond of thinking ourselves as magic in one way or another.
Here on the mountaintop is also officially magic.
If a Mexican town has a cobblestone street, the chances of the government calling it magic are pretty good.
The designation seems to have given Mineral de Pozos a shot in the proverbial arm because when we returned Sunday, things had picked up considerably.
Of particular note is an art school that’s being constructed on the edge of town, an art school that will be the largest in Mexico and, according to some, the biggest in Latin America.
We drove by the place, which is not yet open. It’s huge and beautiful, as an art school should be. Even the dusty neighborhood is being renovated in spots.
As mentioned, we were there just one night. The bed was comfy, the view was wonderful, the restaurant was delish, and the art school was stupendous.
We’re not likely to make a third visit, however.
It’s just a one-hour drive northeast of the Gringo-infested burg of San Miguel de Allende, which is where we had lunch on the drive up and again on the return trip.
But we’re back home now, and happy for that. And well into our 16th year of matrimonial bliss.
A FREQUENT warning to people visiting Mexico is not to eat food from street vendors, advice that I’ve ignored for 17 years, and I haven’t died yet.
This afternoon, sitting at a sidewalk table on the main plaza with a café Americano negro, I hankered for something solid. I narrowed the options down to two.
One was a shrimp cocktail from a street vendor on the small plaza a couple of blocks away. Two was whole-wheat fig bread from another vendor quite near the shrimp stand.
I chose Option Two, the fig bread. That’s it in the photo. I brought it back to my coffee shop sidewalk table and cut into it with my pocketknife, the one you see there.
The fig bread is a great example of an amazing phenomenon you often encounter down here. Persistent food heat. I purchased the fig bread out of a basket. The bread had a cloth covering both it and its compañeros, all awaiting diners.
The vendor likely had left home, or wherever the bread was baked, a couple of hours previously, but the bread was still quite warm as she tucked it into a plastic bag.
I walked the two blocks back to the coffee shop, sat, opened the bag, and the bread was warm still. I cut it in half for the photo. Then I ate a good deal. Still warm.
How do they do that?
After slipping what remained of the bread back into its bag, I was surprised by the sudden appearance of the inimitable Jennifer Rose who sat with me a spell.
I offered her some fig bread, but she declined.
FOLLOWING MY afternoon café yesterday, I stepped across the street to sit a spell on a stone bench. I whipped out the Canon from my man bag and shot a brief video.
It was about 6 p.m., and nothing much was going on. Kids were playing. You can hear them. You can also hear music, which is coming from ground speakers installed around our plaza, part of a renovation about five years ago.
City Hall says it’s the largest main plaza in the country after the Zócalo in Mexico City. Maybe it is.
The rainy season is easing in. We got a good blow just last night, rain and wind colliding with the windows that face in that direction. The bedroom windows.
The Hacienda lawn got cut last Saturday, first of the year. Within three days it needed cutting again, but once a week is the limit. The rest of the time we’ll just wade through grass.
Things are getting cooler, which is the main advantage of the five-month rainy season. Cool summers! Who would have imagined it? I had no idea before I moved down here because I had done little research about anything at all.
I’m writing this at 8 a.m. It’s time to go downstairs for croissants and orange marmalade. Then I’ll sweep the veranda of the crap that storm last night blew into there.
It won’t take long.
(Post-croissant update: We played Pancho & Lefty on the music machine. A hummingbird flew into the veranda and looked directly at us through the dining room window screen.)
I’LL TURN 73 toward the end of summer. This aging thing is quite interesting. I don’t recommend it, but it’s interesting.
Forget that malarkey about age being just a number. That’s arrant nonsense. The difference between a child of 10, a middle-ager of 45 and a coot of 73 is just a number?
Dream on, brother.
When you’re in your 60s, you realize you’re no kid or anywhere near it. But turning 70 is quite an eye-opener.
More and more I notice this phenomenon: “Future” vanishes. That long, straight macadam that disappears into the distance as if you’re motoring toward a faraway mountain chain, the Highway of Future. Well, you’re not driving it anymore, Bub.
Instead, you’re on Present Lane.
When you’re younger, “future” is simply something that’s out there, and it’s way out there, so far out there that you don’t really dwell on it. It’s just there, and you know it.
In your bones.
This mostly subconscious notion of an endless future affects lots of things — attitudes, lifestyle, decisions, plans.
Passing 70 years delivers an immediacy to life that you’d never known before. It’s very interesting. I do not recommend it, but there ain’t nothing you can do about it.
Not one blessed thing.
I OFFER this as a public service.
Alas, most folks who read The Unseen Moon, I imagine, are far from being adults with young children.
I read a news story not long ago, an interview with an Army drill sergeant. He said that most recruits today had clearly never had anyone tell them “no” and mean it.
Most of these kids are in universities now, not the Army.
THERE’S A street project right off the main plaza downtown that’s been going on since last autumn, which is a long time because the renovation is just two lengthy blocks.
This project interests me, and I take a stroll by there almost every weekday after sitting at a sidewalk table with my Kindle and a café Americano negro.
In the United States, it would have been done far faster, and the entire work site would be blocked off so pedestrians and gawkers like me could not walk all over the place.
Around the workmen. Hopping over wet cement.
Here, no effort is made to keep pedestrians out of the work area, and none of the workers sports a hard hat. The main reason the project is taking so long is that there is little mechanized about it. It’s strictly manual labor.
If a passerby trips on something, falls and busts his noodle, he should have watched where he was going. He does not sue the city. We are not litigious that way.
The work started last year with an extensive excavation. New sewer and water lines were buried deep as were electric cables and wires in fat orange conduits.
Part of the reason the project is taking so long is the detail work, primarily on the sidewalks.
I should have photographed some of the detail, but I didn’t. This is fine rock work that will last a century.
There is sunken lighting for a nice nighttime look.
About the only nod to modernity are wheelchair ramps.
This photo shows the area where most of the stone is being worked to make it usable. It was a rose garden outside the church/hospital to the left before the renovation began.
Big stones are cut to size by hammer and chisel.
The scenes of the first two photos are at the end of the block down thataway, the far side.
We don’t have the reams of rules and regulations here that are so prevalent above the Rio Bravo, rules and regs made necessary by lawyers and government meddling. No environmental impact study was required.
Bugs were just squashed.
Here, if you need something done you hire some guys and do it. There are always guys available, plenty of idle hands of men who never grasped the need for schooling.
Just around the corner from the renovation I noticed this sign outside a tiny pharmacy. Look what you can have done. (Excuse the photos’ blurry edges. I had the camera set for that effect, but I did not notice till later.)
You can measure your blood sugar and blood pressure, or get a pap test.
You can get a medical certificate, maybe to get out of class. A problem with your toenails? No sweat.
A wound will be bandaged, and if you need an injection, they’ll stick you with the appropriate needle.
And all will cost next to nothing, and no pricey doctor reference is needed, but a doctor is likely there. Just go in, pay a buck or two if you want some medical advice or a prescription.
Living here is easy. Even if renovating a street takes forever. It will last forever after it’s finished.