Cool mountain air


IT WAS 39 degrees when I catapulted myself from the king bed before dawn.

January is one of my favorite months, mostly because the holidays are done with, but also because I get a few more bucks in the Social Security check. There are also yearly chores. I like to complete chores because I am an orderly fellow.

I have to pay property taxes on three residences. I won’t mention how much that is because if you live in a nation where English is spoken you will grind your teeth in envy.

Property taxes. Water bills. The annual mailbox fee. Car taxes. Not too many years ago, these things had to be done in person. Now most can be done online.

A week from today we will travel to Mexico City in a plush bus. The following day we will fly to the Yucatán where I have never been if you don’t count being taken off an airliner in Mérida in the early 1970s. I was flying from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to Mexico City, but they took me off the plane in Mérida to vaccinate me against Haitian cooties.

After rambling the Yucatán a few days, where it will not be 39 degrees, we will fly back to Mexico City for a week. Then we’ll return to our Hacienda via the plush bus again.

That’s when other aspects of the new year will continue. Repairs. The roof tile in the downstairs terraza must be reconnected to the wall. It leaks. Some waterproofing paint will see other parts of the house. In the downtown casita, something must be done about persistent leaks in a skylight. Hacienda yard plants must be severely whacked.

Some windows at the Hacienda must be sanded and painted. Floor tile needs new grout. If I still have any money after all these expenses, I’m going to buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, which will replace the old Acer Notebook my wife has used for years.

Looking through the window over my computer screen, I see the hanging plant in the photo at the top. Hummingbirds love those flowers. And I love January.

22 thoughts on “Cool mountain air

  1. It was January 2007, when F and I came to (your town) and had the fortune to see your lovely burg, and meet you, La Guapa Señora, La Cuñada, and El Pequeño Vaquero. I’d imagine the latter is now a feisty teenager. Does he still want to be a priest?

    January was chilly there, but warmed up nicely during the day. I’ll never forget the hotel where we stayed, with a wood-burning fireplace in each room, and a wood-burning water heater out back. Before showering, we had to phone the front desk, and they fired up the water heater. Literally. Then we’d shower a half-hour later.


    Kim G
    San Francisco, CA
    Where the fog is just beginning to burn off to reveal yet another beautiful day.


    1. Kim: I recall the visit, of course, but I would not have remembered the year. Been quite a while. The Little Vaquero is not a teenager yet. He will be 11 in March. He is an odd and very smart boy, and I like him.

      He does not appear to still want to be a priest, but he has a fixation on statues of Jesus.

      My mother and sister visited me just once, in 2000, when I still lived in the nearby state capital. We took a bus over here and spent a few nights in that same hotel. I do not recall the wood-burning water heater, however. Nice place to stay if you don’t mind being jolted awake at dawn by the church bells across street.


  2. Nice clear, crisp view. I see your datura has not suffered like mine has. All leaves and blossoms are shriveled and pathetic looking. One of my chores will be to prune the branches and try to root some of the cuttings. Also need to tend my chaya which doesn’t take kindly to freezing cold, either.


    1. Carole: I had to take a close look at the photo before realizing that, yes, there is the datura down there. It’s one of two. At the first freeze, it will go out like the proverbial light. Then I will whack it back severely, which is easy to do, as you likely know, due to the wood being so soft. Cuttings are easy to root too.

      Had to look up chaya. Never heard of it before.


  3. What made you pick the Yucatán? I heard there are some lovely places to explore like the Agua Azul waterfalls, in Palenque.


  4. You are going to love the Yucatan. Turquoise waters, great historical sites. Let me know how you like it when you get back, Felipe.


    1. Cat: Not exactly sure. We’re going to rent a car and run around. With luck, as far as we can run.

      Funny you should mention Quintana Roo. It’s the only Mexican state my wife has never visited. I have been in a ridiculously small bit of Mexico.


      1. Renting a car is the best way to go! I love the coast in Quintana Roo, but I also love Valladolid and Mérida and places in between. Where are you flying to?


  5. I was looking forward to a trip to the peninsula in February. But it appears my duty as trustee will call me north to worship at the tax altar.

    And I get to figure out what I need to do this month to satisfy the local regulators — now that I am the proud drive of a Jalisco-plated vehicle.


  6. The new model AutoVías double deck bus has some nice features. With luck, Felipe, you will get to ride one.

    The new model has wooden floors and wider aisles, so you don’t have to walk sideways to go forward and aft.

    The seats, alas, are a bit narrower, yet still comfortable. I had some difficulty at first figuring out how to engage the seatbelt buckle, and then, similarly, how to recline the seat back. The fellow across the aisle helped, and now I know. As far as the touch screen entertainment and Internet center, well, I’m not going to touch that.

    The best thing is that the baños are oriented cross wise to the aisle of the lower deck, and much easier to enter and leave, and with less chance of injury to yourself.

    The big windows are tinted a tamarind brown, but they change with the light and in sunlight don’t create so much gloom.

    If you decide to sit upstairs, the stairs are more straightforward and easier than the old model.

    The only bad thing, no matter what model vehicle, is that the line has eliminated BOING! in favor of some colored, flavored water. You also get a small bag of Sabritas chips upon boarding in Pátzcuaro. (We, of course, made and brought our own tortas).

    Don Cuevas


    1. Don Cuevas: Someday I may be forced back onto Autovias, but not this month. I have seen photos of their new buses, and they do look nice, but those ridiculous restrooms of the older models have left a permanent bad taste in my mind. And since you mention that seats are even more narrow than before caps the deal. Not for me. We’ll be going to the state capital on another line, possibly Autovias, but no big deal with that short route, and then switching to ETN.

      ETN is my main man.

      ETN, you may not know, is also going to get those two-decker models. Don’t know if they have done it yet.

      As for dining, we always bring our own. Sandwich makings and Pringles.


  7. Yucatán? Are you going to do beaches? Or ruins and perhaps Mérida? I’m still annoyed with myself that I didn’t visit Uxmal either time I was there. If I ever get back, it WILL happen.

    Saludos desde San Francisco. Actually, El Granada, CA.


    1. Kim: Likely will not do beaches. We have Zihuatanejo for beaches. Probably will do Uxmal. Actually, the dance card is kind of floating free. We’ll follow our noses.


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