Category Archives: Edición dominical

Just like home

SEVENTEEN YEARS ago when I packed my two bags and flew to Mexico alone to reinvent myself in late middle age, I arrived in a spectacularly strange world.

Many of the things I was accustomed to simply were not available down here, and most of those things were commercial. I am a fan of capitalism and the goodies it offers.

Flash forward from 2000 to 2017 and — oh, my — how things have changed. Just about anything you can buy above the Rio Bravo is now available Down Mejico Way.

There is even a Mexican version of Amazon.com even though I much prefer our homegrown MercadoLibre.

The list of Gringo chain stores in Mexico is too lengthy to repeat here, and it seems to grow longer each year.*

I was particularly delighted when Bed Bath & Beyond, one of my favorite stores when I lived up north, opened recently in the nearby state capital. I shop there often.

There are eight BB&Bs in Mexico. Six are in Mexico City or its environs. A seventh is in Cuernavaca, the not-too-distant Mexico City playground,  and the eighth is in our capital city, the only one relatively remote from Mexico City.

Why were we chosen over the considerably larger burgs of Guadalajara or Monterrey? God knows.

Mexico commercially improves on a daily basis. You can now get most of what is available to the Gringos up north. Plus, we have great tacos, fresh avocados and beautiful babes.

Best of both worlds.

* * * *

* Very incomplete list: Best Buy, Sears, Costco, Walmart, McDonald’s, Burger King, Chili’s, Sirloin Stockade, iHop, Home Depot, Office Depot, Office Max, KFC, DQ, Starbucks.

(Note: We don’t depend entirely on the Gringos for great shopping. For example, the Mexican chain El Palacio de Hierro — The Iron Palace — will knock your high-end socks off, especially the flagship store in Mexico City’s Polanco.)

A dental case

I MADE IT more than 72 years with the big-boy teeth the Goddess installed in me when I was a kiddie.

Never lost a one, neither to decay, accidents nor bar fights.

I joined the Air Force at 18, and one day early on I was ordered to report to the dentist. I had no idea why. When I got there, he told me that he was going to yank my wisdom teeth.

When I protested, he sent me on my way with my wisdom teeth intact. I still don’t know what that was about.

Keeping my wisdom teeth contributed to the wisdom I possess to this day, the wisdom to move to Mexico, the wisdom to marry a Mexican, the wisdom to vote for Trump.

Well, the long run with my own teeth came to a halt on Friday. One had to be pulled, and I was faced with two options: a bridge or an implant. I chose the implant, of course.

Bridges are for old people like my grandparents.

I sat in my dentist’s chair in the state capital, totally ignorant. I had not even Googled tooth implants. I was flying blind with faith that my good dentist would do me right.

And he did, both on price and service.

I was reclined in the chair, except for a brief break, for two-and-a-half hours. My mouth was deadened, so I felt nothing. Actually, I saw nothing either because a cloth was over my head, executioner-style, leaving just my mouth accessible.

First, my defunct tooth was broken into parts and removed. Then a post (yipes!) was screwed into my jawbone. Then a temporary fake tooth was attached to that post.

The permanent tooth will be installed in three months after the jawbone has firmly grown around the post.

I expected the area to be inflamed and ugly from the abuse when he was finished, and I was worried about what would happen when the anesthetic wore off.

When I walked out of the office almost three hours later and peeked into my mouth with the car mirror, it looked totally normal, as if nothing had been done. Later, the anesthetic wore off, but I never felt any serious discomfort.

I’m writing this 24 hours later, and I feel fine. I am taking a week’s worth of antibiotics. The whole shebang, excluding the antibiotics, cost about $750 U.S.

Like all things medical here, I paid out of pocket.

Life is good, and I can chew.

Paula comes calling

Who’s the Gringo with the camera?

OLE FELIPE’S not really a baby person, but sometimes you gotta make allowances.

The second generation of the Mexican relatives are mostly in their 20s, so they’re breeding like hamsters.

A baby slept here last night with her mama whose name is Margarita, just like the beverage, frozen or otherwise. This kid is named Paula, and she’s about a month old.

Paula brought her mother from the state capital yesterday due to a baby shower held last night for yet another niece who’s about to deposit yet another Mexican into this world.

For a baby, Paula is remarkable. She is nice and quiet. She sleeps through the night. She minds her own business. If she poops, I have neither seen nor smelled it.

Gracias to Margarita.

I scratched Paula’s head occasionally so she knows she’s not alone in the world. She held my finger.

Paula doesn’t howl. She doesn’t barf. She meditates.  If she keeps up the superlative behavior, she can visit again.

When she starts walking, we’ll have to renegotiate. Ambulatory humans below the age of 7 are nuisances.

But I own rope.

Ride to Ucazanastacua

It’s also the road to Cucuchucho.

WE LIVE IN a beautiful area, and some spots approach spectacular, but you have to know where they are.

One is the road to Ucazanastacua.

Yesterday, while my child bride was gossiping downtown with visiting relatives, I decided to take a jaunt.

As you may know, we live near a huge, high-altitude lake. There’s a two-laner that circles that lake, and it’s a nice ride.

But there’s a nearby route that’s relatively unknown. It does not circle the lake, but it abuts it for a spell in a spectacular manner. It reminds me of Route 1 along the Big Sur coast.

Up until about eight years ago, this road was primarily unpaved, consisting of dirt and potholes, only marginally usable. In the rainy season, it was mostly mud.

Then it was paved. It remains, however, little used even though small restaurants are appearing along the way.

I snapped this through the Honda windshield. Lake is to the right.

What the above photo doesn’t show clearly is that along much of the drive, it’s a deep drop-off down to the water. And look! No traffic. On a major holiday weekend.

I did not notice the post till I got home and downloaded the photo. Silly me.
Somebody’s home down thataway.

Being Easter weekend, I spotted a number of crosses along the way. They were decked out in purple crepe paper. The below is not a cross, but it was there for Easter.

Not a cross but an arch.

I stopped at an overlook, rolled down the Honda window and shot this brief video. Bob Dylan was crooning on the car’s music machine and competing with the sound of stiff wind.

I never did get to Ucazanastacua. A sign pointed down a steep road to the water’s edge. I did go through Cucuchucho, however.

And that’s your brief tour for the day. Leave tips in the jar on your way out. A joyous Easter to you Christians. To you Jews, shame on you for what you did! Tsk, tsk, tsk.

No Easter eggs for you people.

Getting stoned

IF YOU’VE ever wondered what a cobblestone street in the making looks like, wonder no more. Behold!

For a few months now, major work has been under way on two streets radiating out from the southwest corner of our spectacular main plaza. It was supposed to be completed by Easter Week, but that’s not going to happen.

A major component of the labor is installing wider sidewalks. The sidewalk to the right side was about half as wide and, of course, that meant the street was wider.

Now the street will be narrower, a trade-off.

That sidewalk surface is just a concrete base now. Flat stone will be installed atop it. It will be quite snazzy.

The street itself won’t be smooth. Cobblestone streets never are, but newly installed ones are smoother than older ones.

Time takes its toll. After about a decade, driving on a cobblestone street goes something like this.

I’m not a fan of cobblestone streets. I prefer smooth concrete or, barring that, asphalt. But our town trades on tourism, and tourists like to see cobblestone streets.

They go nicely with our tile roofs of red clay.

The fact is that our mountaintop town improves yearly. And the same goes for our property values.

Two party gals

PICTURES ARE worth thousands of words.

On the left is Rosa DeLauro, a U.S. representative from Connecticut.* Can you guess which party she belongs to?

On the right is Tomi Lahren. She is not a politician. She is a well-known television political commentator. Can you guess which party she belongs to?

DeLauro came to my attention yesterday due to a speech she made Friday during the debate on the ObamaCare replacement. Here is a short excerpt of her rant.

The ObamaCare replacement, something abysmal from Paul Ryan, was pulled at the last moment, thank God, but that’s not the theme of today’s post.

The theme is that these photos illustrate beautifully — literally in Lahren’s case — the difference between today’s Republican and Democrat parties.

Tip of the sombrero to The Gateway Pundit for bringing this to my attention.

* * * *

* Click on DeLauro’s photo to get the full impact, to see her in all her wacky splendor. She’s 73 years old, the Woodstock Generation! She could strut the streets of San Miguel de Allende, and no one would even notice.

Time to gloat

city-hall
Our City Hall. We pay property tax here, the casita water bill too.

IT WOULD NOT be January if I neglected to showcase one of the many great aspects to Mexican life: It’s inexpensive.

January is when many of us pay annual bills like property tax, the post office box, water service, car tax, etc.

The inimitable Steve Cotton wrote this almost obligatory posearlier this month on his website.

Now it’s my turn. I will state prices in U.S. dollars using the current exchange rate of about 21/1.

The post office box: This set us back $16. Mail comes down here slowly, but it arrives. Be patient.

Water: We pay annually at City Hall for the downtown Casita. It was $90.* Here in the hardscrabble outskirts of town where the Hacienda sits, we pay at an office on our local plaza. I usually pay four months in advance. The monthly price for unlimited water is $2.38. The Mexico City condo is about $1.60.

Property tax: We own three homes. I’ll add them together and announce the total of (drum roll) $84. If you need smelling salts, I’ll mail some to you. Be patient.

We pay property tax for the Hacienda and the Downtown Casita, plus the Casita’s water bill at City Hall. See photo. It’s efficient. We were in and out in 15 minutes. I pay the Mexico City condo’s property tax online.

Garbage pickup: Whatever you want to tip the guys.

I suggest 50 cents.

Car tax: We have two cars. Up until a few years ago, this was pretty steep for late-model cars, but then they canceled the tax. I never understood exactly why. Now we just pay for window stickers. The total for the 2009 Honda and the 2014 Nissan was $78. That was last year. It will be about the same this year. We have until March 1 to pay. I do it online.

Bank Trust Deed: I mention this only because Steve Cotton has it on his list. He lives on the sweaty, bug-infested coast, and there are laws about foreigners buying coastal property. He doesn’t own the land where Casa Cotton sits.

We own the land on which our Hacienda sits. There is no bank trust deed to mess with. He paid $522. We paid squat. In fact, the sum of all our payments — property tax, water, trash pickup, etc., on three homes, car taxes  — is about half of Steve’s bank trust deed alone.

Remember those old tour books titled Mexico on $5 a Day? Of course, you can’t do Mexico on $5 a day anymore, but it’s still inexpensive to visit — and to live here too.

* * * *

* This one thing, the Casita water bill, is by far the highest single payment we owe every year.

Note: Steve Cotton and two family members will drive to the mountaintop next week. They’ll stay a week in the Downtown Casita for free. If you’re nice to me, you might be able to stay there free too.

Man with child

kid

I’VE HAD A nodding acquaintance with this fellow for over 15 years. On passing, we nod, smile and say hi.

I have no idea who he is or what he does. But he’s always struck me as a good egg. I like him.

Yesterday, I spotted him downtown toting a tot.

Based on appearance, it would be easy to mistake him for one of the Gringos who live here, but he’s not. He’s Mexican.