Marketplace on the plaza

As has been mentioned many times, weekday mornings find us — sometimes just me — doing exercise walks around the town plaza.*

Most of the time, the plaza is devoid of activity, but Thursday is an exception. A street market is thrown up from scratch, and all manner of things are sold, used clothing, fruits and vegetables, pots and pans, galvanized tubs, most anything made of plastic, a dairyman selling cheese and yoghurt, you name it.

The morning walk is more interesting on Thursdays.

In one sector, the smells of cooking dominate. And that’s where I shot this photo.


In other news

Since the annual monsoon ended a couple of months ago, I’ve been eager to get started on another phase of grass removal and replacement with stone and concrete.

Alas, my main construction guy has been tied up with building a large home somewhere. But he phoned almost two weeks ago to tell me that he could start here in about two weeks. That two weeks was Mexican time, but at least he has me down on the list.

Alas, that work may keep us trapped here over the Carnival weekend. Mardi Gras is March 1, and we like to get out of Dodge due to the drunkenness, the racket and general confusion.

But maybe we’ll get lucky. I pray so.


*I used to say the neighborhood plaza, but I discovered recently that I live in a separate town from the very nearby principal mountaintop burg. Silly me. Where was my mind?

Tacos in a window

The young chef grills beef, onions and chiles.


We renew our post office box every year in early January. It costs the peso equivalent of about $15 U.S., well worth the outlay.

I opened the account 21 years ago because the rental where I first lived had no mailbox. The mailman — and it’s always a man — just tossed everything over the wall where it landed on the ground, a particularly bad system during the five months of the monsoon.

Here in the nearby burg where we live now, the problem is even greater. There is no residential mail delivery at all. Mail is dropped off at two or three places, small stores or homes, where the owner has agreed to serve as a pickup point. I’m sure they get paid for that.

So your mail is first delivered to a neighbor, near or far, and you must go to that neighbor and ask for your letters. At times, no one is at home, and you must return. I do not like that system. But I do like my PO box. And I get so little mail that I only check the box twice a month.

But this afternoon we headed to the post office to renew the account. Coming as no surprise, the paperwork was not available, and we were told to return after the 15th.

It was lunchtime, so we crossed the street to an eatery that consists of a few uncomfortable tables and benches in a small space. The grub is prepared in the window over a homemade BBQ grill.

I shot the photo with my phone as he grilled my beef.

I’m a nincompoop

My town’s plaza with the obligatory church.
Part of that other town’s plaza. Meh.

I’ve resided in what I habitually call my woebegone barrio for 19 years. Another, more formal, name for barrio in Mexico is colonia.

Ever since we built the Hacienda, I’ve thought our barrio was a colonia of the nearby mountaintop town even though there is a fairly open stretch of highway a mile or two between here and the edge of there.

Incredibly, I learned last week that my barrio/colonia is actually a separate town, part of what Steve Cotton refers to as the county over which presides the “county seat,” i.e. the bigger town next door. This “county” has the same name as the neighboring, principal town.

How I have gone 19 years without knowing this can be explained in only one way: I am a nincompoop. That and the fact that I do not socialize with my neighbors. Nor do I participate in civic events.

On mentioning this revelation to my child bride, she said, “I’ve told you that before.” If that is true, and I have my doubts, she did it in the Mexican fashion, low-key, quickly, almost quietly, and she never mentioned it again even though I’ve referred to our colonia a billion times. She just let it slide.

But this discovery pleases me. I like our woebegone barrio, town which, in decades long gone, was referred to as The Village of the Damned. Though we’re not called that anymore, it provides a badass chill up my backbone, which is agreeable.


The cat invasion

As mentioned in the previous post, cats from the neighbors’ property have grown fond of sneaking over here in the dead of night to sleep and crap on the furniture of our upstairs terraza. Kind readers suggested various solutions.

I have started out with one of those suggestions: Mothballs. Apparently, cats dislike the smell of mothballs. I bought a bag yesterday, put the furniture back in place (sans cushions) and left mothballs. With luck, the cats will have modified their travel habits by springtime, which is when we’ll be sitting out there again, preferably atop cushions.

Mothballs rest on the seats.

Curse of cats

Steve Cotton’s eternal orchid provides a floral touch.

Our neighbors on the side opposite the sex motel are a troublesome bunch. It starts with their personalities and goes downhill from there.

They have at least two cats, and the unruly beasts have discovered our upstairs terraza, the nice faux-wicker chairs and the soft cushions. At some point during the night, they come over here — it’s easy for them atop walls and roofs — to sleep and perform other functions.

A month or so ago, I walked out there one morning and stepped directly into a big pile of cat caca. It seemed like a lot for a cat, but my child bride says she’s seen cats drop that quantity. I was thinking raccoon or mountain lion. It had been left on a rubber rug at the door.

I simply picked up the rug, took it outside and hosed the poop off.

This morning, I stepped out there, and one of the cushions had an equally copious deposit of caca. It was my child bride’s turn, so she took it outside and hosed it down too. Clearly, measures must be taken.

Winter is here, and we don’t spend time out there, so the cushions are now stored in a closet, and the chairs upended against a wall. We have three months till Springtime arrives, so perhaps the nasty cats will have adopted another home that’s not theirs by then.

If not, I may purchase a shotgun.

A pre-cat scene from last year.