Agua! agua! agua!

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Pastry kitchen’s water supply, added last year.

SHORTLY AFTER purchasing the double lot where now stands the Hacienda, I mentioned our future location to an old Gringo of my acquaintance.

But there’s no water out there, he said, referring to the hardscrabble neighborhood on the edge of town.

Knowing there were hundreds of people in the neighborhood, I scratched my head and wondered, so how are so many people living there if there’s no water?

As in so many things, the truth sat in the middle.

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Big tank out back, badly painted.

We discovered on moving that there was water, it was simply nasty water. The municipal supply here had a brown cast to it. Good for flushing, not bathing, certainly not drinking, but that’s true most everywhere in Mexico.

So, in addition to the customary underground cistern and the roof tank, we installed an additional, large, above-ground tank out back and a smaller one out by the front gate.

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Tinaco on the roof.

Water was brought to us in tanker trucks. It cost about 20 bucks a month and was only slightly inconvenient. This went on for about eight years until a neighbor mentioned that the municipal water had improved.

He was correct. It was crystal clear spring water.

We had the small tank out front and the underground cistern out back connected to the municipal supply.

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Small tank out front.

No more tanker trucks.

And instead of paying 20 bucks a month, we now pay about three bucks a month for an unlimited supply.

Somewhere along the line we also installed another, larger tank out front about 20 feet from the smaller tank.

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Underground cistern.

I filled that big tank with a hose from the nearby smaller tank, and had a pump attached. We then had a way to water the yard and wash the two cars.

The large above-ground tank out back also was filled with a hose from the small tank out front, a block away. It was a very long hose indeed, a pain in the kazoo to do.

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Big tank out front.

The inspiration for this post came just this week when I finally had a plumber add pipes that fill the large, above-ground tank out front and the large, above-ground tank out back automatically from the municipal supply.

We are fully automated, water-wise. Our water supply rivals the Mediterranean Sea. Survivalists will envy us. We could float a fleet of Somalian pirates.

That old Gringo who said there was no water in our neighborhood might have been half right 14 years ago, but he’s not right now. In fact, he vanished years ago.

And I remain. With agua galore.

* * * *

(Note: The very top photo shows the tinaco above the new pastry workshop that was built last year. It was immediately hooked to the municipal supply.)

The other direction

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Pirates buried here?

THE BEST-LAID plans often fly awry. Our plan yesterday of doing lunch on the shore of a nearby, high-mountain, lake was thwarted by a huge traffic jam caused, it appeared, by the balloon festival downtown.

So we went in the other direction.

We ended up in a restaurant just past a village with the cute name of Tzintzuntzan where we had fish and chicken and mole and guacamole and sopa Tarasca.

Instead of returning directly home after dining, we continued all the way around our local high-mountain lake, a jaunt of just under an hour, depending.

This route is a rural two-laner with spectacular views of mountains and lake. One passes wandering burros and indigenous women toting this, that and the other.

During the ride, I snapped the above photo of a cemetery gate. The photo might have been better had I not forgotten that I’d put the camera on video mode earlier.

It was on video mode because just as we were leaving for lunch, it started pouring rain. I stood on the veranda and used the video of my Canon camera for the first time.

The rain ended quickly, and we had a great afternoon. At times, the other direction is the best route.

It’s a good Rule of Life.

Oh, the suffering

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Ivy on the Alamo Wall is returning.

TODAY DAWNED marvelously and not for the first time.

It stormed and rained for most of yesterday, but this day has a different character, a smiley one.

I read a news story this morning about the poverty income level in the United States and, yet again, noticed that our income only slightly betters that number.

It is laughable.

I also scan news stories occasionally that report the necessary income to retire in the United States, always an incredible amount but likely realistic for up there.

If only more folks had the nerve to get out of Dodge.

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A bumper crop of red-hot pokers.

The top photo shows the Alamo Wall and its condition today. I had Abel the Deadpan Yardman trim back the ivy some months ago and, like most Mexicans, he got carried away.

Extremism’s in the Latino blood.

My fault really since I know of this local trait. I told him to trim it, and then I vanished inside the house. Big mistake. When I went back outside, the wall was almost bald.

But it’s a renewable resource, requiring patience.

The second photo displays one of our red-hot poker plants. It’s called cigarro in Spanish. It’s going bonkers this summer.

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Veranda

We’ll be doing lunch today at a restaurant on the shore of a nearby lake, not our local lake but another, nicer one a few miles distant.

This life of poverty can grow on you.

Oh, the misery!

Change of scenery

I SPENT MOST of my life before age 55 in hot zones. Southwest Georgia, northeast Florida, south Louisiana and east Texas.

I know sweat, and I don’t like it one bit.

So when I leaped off the treadmill, I opted for a big — very big — change of scenery not only in moving to Mexico but in settling atop an ever-cool mountain.

We  live 7,200 feet above the faraway sea — the Pacific Ocean — and we enjoy cool weather year-round. It can get a bit stuffy in the afternoons and early evenings of springtime, but it’s a small price to pay for the other 98 percent of the year.

Sometimes we like to visit a beach, and almost invariably we go to Zihuatanejo, which is about three hours from the Hacienda down a smooth autopista* past mango and avocado trees and high mountain lakes.

That’s our favorite beach, La Ropa, in the video.

If the urge to visit a throbbing megalopolis strikes, it’s about four hours, also on a smooth autopista, to Mexico City, or three hours in the other direction to Guadalajara.

If I don’t want to fight the traffic or teeming mobs of Mexico City, but I do want a wider variety of restaurants than we have here on the mountaintop, it’s less than a three-hour drive northeast to San Miguel de Allende.

Also on, of course, a smooth autopista.

In San Miguel, we now overnight at the Hotel Quinta Loreto right downtown, wonderfully located, not elegant but quite comfy, and a big room costs about $38 these days.**

The fabulous Café MuRo is less than a block away.

Sure, you have to elbow aside hordes of Gringos in San Miguel, both those who live there so they don’t have to learn Spanish and tourists who flock there for the same reason.

But that’s a minor distraction.

Then we return to the cool mountain air.

Changes of scenery are available in every direction.

It’s dang sweet.

* * * *

* An autopista is a fast-traveling toll highway. The tolls, which can be a bit high, keep the riffraff away.

** Including tax!

The sinking states

LORDY, LORDY, how low the United States has sunk.

Hillary is a demonstrable crook, yet to be tried and convicted. Weepy Barry goes to a memorial for those cops killed in Dallas to push unconstitutional gun control and scoot along the edge of actually blaming police for the officers’ murders.

He’s a class act and Peace Prize winner!

While Hillary is the likely Democrat candidate for president, over on the opposite end we have the combed-over egomaniac whom I support due to his being the only other option.*

The United States continues to ignore my sage advice that promoting diversity invariably leads to bad stuff.

Oh, well, I do what I can from down here.

You’ve got a former Miss Alabama saying the creep who killed the Dallas officers is a martyr. Alabama must be proud.

But don’t think that black folks are all dimwits because they certainly are not. Too many of them are, and so are a lot of whites who live in places like New York, Wisconsin, Oregon, California and San Miguel de Allende.

Here’s a very sharp black American:

* Trump is a reaction to the left-wing nuttiness running rampant in the nation.

Time of crickets

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Rainy season makes plants go wild.

WHEN THE rains come, the crickets decide to move into the Hacienda uninvited. It’s an annual event.

They have a cat attitude toward water.

Their being inside wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t also love to croon, and they croon quite loudly.

The good thing is that the kitchen is their preferred location, and it’s a good distance from the bedroom. And they sing only when the lights are out at night.

But sometimes an adventurer will go exploring. He will hop into the living room, much closer to the bedroom. The adventurers are also singers, so something must be done.

When one heads out from the many hidey-holes available in the kitchen to the wide open spaces of the living room, he’s easier to spot and catch. I toss them back outdoors.

How do they get inside in the first place? you might wonder. Easy because Mexican home construction offers a plethora of pathways. One wonders why even more wildlife doesn’t live with us inside. So far, not one mouse.

That would send my wife over the brink.

Another phenomenon of the rainy season is teeny-tiny bugs the size of pinheads that appear on the ceiling of the downstairs bathroom. They  fall to the counter where we pick them up and toss them down the sink drain. That’s it.

Those guys haven’t appeared this year, and some years they do not appear at all. It’s a mystery.

New ImageNever a dull moment.

A hot-air balloon festival arrives this weekend, and since our local airport — a grassy strip — is quite near the Hacienda,  they’ll be floating over us, which is lovely.

I took a hot-air balloon ride early one morning in Houston years ago, and I did it with a beautiful woman, which is the best way to be in a big straw basket, floating, as the sun rises.

Ronnie knew best

I’M ALMOST finished with H. W. Brands’ biography of Ronald Reagan. I recommend it to you.

I invariably voted Democrat during Reagan’s times, and I wasn’t a fan of his due to being duped by the left-wing news media of which I was a card-carrying member. Oh, the shame!

But the dawn of the 21st century, my move to Mexico and my higher tortilla intake caused my intelligence quotient to soar, and Reagan now makes perfect sense.

This is one of those countless things from the past that seem so relevant today. The speech was delivered during Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. Reagan was simply stumping for Goldwater, but this speech put Reagan on the path that led to his own win of the presidency in 1980.

It is a famous speech with reason.

One wonders what Reagan would make of the tragic societal disintegration occurring in the United States as a result of political correctness and the glorifying of multiculturalism and its resulting and increasing bloodshed.

The Soviet Union did not threaten the United States half as much as “Black Lives Matter,” Weepy Barry and — on the horizon but creeping closer — savage Mohammedans who are endlessly discounted by America’s ruling class.

* * * *

(Note: There is a White House petition under way to formally name “Black Lives Matter” as a terrorist organization. Go sign right here.)

The last passport

CROOOOSH! squealed the black-haired, buxom, white-skinned, freckle-faced (think glass of goat milk sprinkled with cinnamon) Argentine as she leaned over the railing.

From five stories up, she had spotted the soft-drink truck parked on Calle Norzagaray in Old San Juan.*

It was Orange Crush that excited her 40 years ago. It wasn’t a soft drink that I favored then or now. But that moment seared onto my memory stone, and the memory appeared again this week in San Miguel de Allende.

I was with another young, lovely Latina, but this time sitting in El Comal de Doña Meche on Calle Insurgentes in the Gringo-infested outpost of San Miguel.

El Comal de Doña Meche is a gorditas joint.

Faced with a cooler stocked with varieties of soft drinks, I chose first an apple flavor, and we polished that off. I returned and spotted the Orange Crush, so I pulled that out, popped the top and set it on the table. Croooosh!

I can’t recall important things from last week. Yet I remember this silly thing decades later. I could almost smell the salt surf pounding the playa down at La Perla.

We were in San Miguel to renew my U.S. passport at the Consular Agency. It was a smooth process, and I arrived at 9:30 a.m. to find only one person ahead of me in line.

US-PassportcoverUnlike my Mexican passport, which is delivered on the same day it’s requested, the U.S. passport will be express-mailed to me in a couple of weeks.

Like the Mexican version, which I renewed not long ago, the document is good for 10 years. I will be into my early 80s, so these will, I imagine, be my last passport renewals.

And we celebrated with gorditas and Croooosh!

* * * *

* The photo seen in the link shows the five-story, pink building where I lived on the roof.

Fact, Fiction and Opinion Stirred in an Odd Pot

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