Urban renewal

neighbors

THIS IS THE street out back of the Hacienda. It stands in stark contrast to the street out front, which is colorless.

Out front, drab. Out back, LSD trip.

Out back is getting changes which might have been inspired by our recent removal of weeds and construction of a new sidewalk, work detailed in Home Improvement last month.

We noticed during that work that a house down on the corner, the rear of which also included a weed strip, had someone removing its weeds. They have yet to build a sidewalk.

And then a few days later, this yellow house in the photo, was repainted, the yellow part, at least. It was yellow before. It’s just more yellow now. The yellow house and the neighboring orange one are inhabited by the same family.

A notable architectural note on the yellow house is the naked woman painted on the façade. Now there’s something you’ll never see on a home in Kennebunkport.

The naked woman was painted about eight years ago by a hormone-fueled young man who lives there.

It’s an interesting block, which I’ll be seeing more of because of the new steps and sidewalk we had built. Why, I was out there just yesterday sweeping my new sidewalk.

The block goes like this, on the other side, starting on the right: A hovel with a large lot. A hovel with a smaller lot and lots of bamboo and chickens. This yellow house, the orange one, a weeded lot, and then another humble home.

On this side, starting on the right: the humble home of Abel who cuts our grass, the sex motel, the Hacienda, the sourpuss family with the white horse and assorted beasts, and the corner house where they recently dug up their weeds.

There is scant traffic on this street because our block is the final one. It’s a dead end past Abel’s place, terminating in a ravine where green trash gets dumped.

The neighborhood septic tank is down there too.

23 thoughts on “Urban renewal”

  1. I like the colorful buildings. I can see a Homeowner’s Association back here going into shock.

    Do you Mexicans associate with your neighbors? Up here it varies. Some places everyone knows each other and in others places you can live there for decades and not know anyone on the street.

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    1. Steve: I like colorful buildings too, and it’s what Mexico has long been famous for. Interestingly, new homes here more often are resembling the bland styles of the United States, a pity.

      I think Mexicans generally associate with neighbors more than in the U.S. That is, if they like each other, which they often do not. We are big on resentments, grudges, rumors, jealousy, etc.

      I do not socialize with my neighbors at all. This is due to a number of factors. One is that I simply am not sociable. The other is that the cultural divide between me and Mexicans in general is gaping, and with working-class people, who are the people of my neighborhood, it’s even wider.

      We do smile and exchange pleasantries on passing in the street with some of them, but not all, depends. It’s a very different world.

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      1. There may be another blog post in this comment. You’re absolutely right about the cultural divide. So many foreigners just don’t get it, taking that invitation to be madrina or padrino at their gardener’s third cousin’s uncle’s son’s baptism as a sign of social acceptance. Now, these same people likely weren’t best of friends forever with everyone on their block back in the Old Country, but they seem to think that things are just different down here, because “Mexicans are so friendly.”

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        1. Ms. Shoes: The divide, I imagine, is wider in a working-class neighborhood like mine than it is in a higher-style zone such as yours, but maybe not. As for its being a post possibility here, I don’t think so. I believe I’ve already touched on it but, again, maybe not.

          It is said, and it is true, there are no two abutting nations on earth more different than the U.S. and Mexico. As you know, and I know and, as you note, so many other Gringos living down here appear not to know, the chasm is wide, wide, wide. It’s like we live in different universes. It’s difficult to socialize in any meaningful way. I’m sure it’s easier when the locals are further up the educational ladder, but you won’t find many of them in my barrio.

          I’ve long made peace with the fact that I’m a stranger in a strange land. The many advantages to Mexican life mostly make up for that, especially for someone who’s not that outgoing in the first place.

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    1. Angeline: It’s a picker-upper just to walk out back. I like it. Yes, she’s not entirely naked, but memory tells me that the white bikini was added later. She was naked for quite a spell at first. I guess mama had second thoughts about what sonny had put out there.

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  2. I love the colors of Mexico…we have many streets here in the big city that resemble yours…every house a different bright color…however sometimes they give up on the painting before it is quite finished…but that is Mexico. The naked lady would hardly be noticed in Tijuana or Juarez…

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    1. Charles: The colors are great if you like that sort of thing, and we do. These colors would just look silly in some places, like much of the U.S. As I mentioned elsewhere, lots of new construction here, especially for the middle class, is bland. They’re copying the U.S.

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      1. I’ve thought about the colors in Mexico vs. New England. Here in Boston, you’ll see the odd house painted in wild, Mexican-style colors, but it does indeed look ridiculous, quite unlike it would look in Mexico or Jamaica. And I’ve often pondered why those colors look so out-of-place here. And I’ve concluded that it has something to do with the light, which is different here. It’s difficult to explain in words, but you see it when your here vs. there.

        My own house is fairly intensely colored, but it’s a deep, Prussian blue, which somehow looks fine in New England. But Mexican colors simply wouldn’t work.

        As for the bland outskirts of Morelia, I’ll bet than in a decade or two, they are repainted in more riotous colors.

        Saludos,

        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where the inside of our house is far more colorful than average. And everyone seems to love it.

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        1. Kim: Light likely figures into the situation, but I think it’s more than that. It’s culture and history. Some things simply look more right in certain worlds than they do in others.

          My second wife and I noticed something like that when we moved from New Orleans to San Antonio in the mid-1980s.

          As for the new housing on the outskirts of the state capital here, they’ll be bland still in a decade or two. I’d bet big money on it.

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      1. I’d be eager to know what you liked about San Antonio. I’ve been there as a tourist a couple of times and thought it was wonderful, but the natives didn’t seem to appreciate it as much.

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        1. Kim: It’s changed a lot in the past 30 years. I liked the dry climate, the semi-desert topography, the Mexican airs, the chorizo, the Alamo, its being on the edge of the beautiful Hill Country. It was totally different from New Orleans. I only lived there briefly, a few months. Wish it had been longer.

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  3. I have noticed that often only the front of the house gets painted. The rear is totally ignored.
    A lot of the new Mexican real estate now days are those houses built one after another with the same forms. It is like someone used a cookie cutter. They all look alike.
    Worse, they all have cars parked on what would be the lawn. The whole neighborhood looks like a used car lot. But they do love their new houses.

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    1. Señor Gill: Quite right on the house painting, especially for the working class. This is due to two factors: 1. It’s appearance that matters, the face we turn to the outside world. 2. We ain’t got that much money.

      There’s a high-falootin’ zone on the ourskirts of the state capital. Lots of new homes are being built there for the middle and upper classes. It’s an endless sea of beige and white.

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      1. Looking on Google Earth, I can see the house that used to belong to my wife’s uncle and aunt. It was sold out of the family when they settled their estates.

        Now it has a dollar sign on the wall. I suppose that means it is for sale. I told her it was on the market, but she will not live more than a couple of blocks away from the grandkids.

        It was a really nice house.

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        1. Señor Gill: Our sumptuous spread is also visible on Google Earth, but only a satellite shot, and it’s really blurry. You have to know where to look to see it. There is no street view.

          So your wife is one of the legions who are obsessed with and self-trapped by grandchildren. That always interests and amuses me because I am convinced that kids think far less about their grandparents than vice versa.

          Grandchildren are not an issue in my life. I have none and I never will have any. Wish I did, actually, but I wouldn’t decide where I live because of them. It’s why God invented planes.

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