Easter tamales

DURING EASTER week, people arrive in our mountaintop town from distant points, places you’d call the boonies.

Many camp in this plaza, which is named San Francisco, for much of the week, and they make tons of tamales. If you walk through here at night, it’s interesting with the fires and smoke.

My child bride and I walked along here today, and I shot this video. It’s not the best video in the world, I admit.

The Easter Bunny doesn’t hop up the mountaintop with colored eggs, but if you want tamales, we got ’em

Man versus beasts

Photo shot April 12, 2017. Almost high noon.

IT’S SPRINGTIME, and the two banes of my life are muscling up in the yard, threats sans mercy. Monster thorns.

On the left is what I imagine is the world’s biggest nopal tree. Perhaps I should notify Guinness. On the right is the bougainvillea that, of the four in the yard, I let fly out of control.*

It’s hardly the biggest in the world, however. Bigger ones abound in my town. They never, ever stop growing.

I inserted myself into the photo to provide perspective. I planted both the beasts when they were tiny tykes.

Click on the photo for a closer look. Yes, the grass is mostly brown due to our being in the dry season. All is dark and dusty. The sky is not dark. It’s blue and beautiful.

The house is off to the left. The pastry kitchen and Nissan carport are off to the right. The sex motel is behind that wall. It’s what appears to be a white stripe. Actually, it’s yellow.

* * * *

* The other three I keep firmly under my green thumb.

The guitarist

EASTER WEEK, or Semana Santa, brings tons of tourists to our mountaintop town. Tourists bring money.

And street musicians hope to score some.

I was sitting yesterday at a sidewalk table with my electronic book and a cup of hot café Americano negro when this old boy appeared and struck up a tune or two.

He got 10 pesos from me, and other tables also contributed.

If I’d had my best camera, the photo would be sharper, but I did not have my best camera. Maybe next time.

The doggie dance

ELEANOR POWELL was Glenn Ford’s first wife, the mother of his only child. Fred Astaire said she was the best dancer in Hollywood, and that included him too.

This is worth watching. She even turns into a gymnast toward the finale. Four minutes of your time well-spent.

The clip is from the 1941 movie Lady Be Good, and Powell was 29 years old. Glenn Ford was a fool to let her get away.

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.

The rooster

I WAS LIGHTING incense with a stove torch in the living room yesterday, standing next to this. The sunlight from the big window was doing a swell job of illuminating.

I took a photo.

Cockfighting is alive and well in Mexico. You see fighting birds quite often while you’re out and about. Not fighting, but you see them, mostly in little roadside cages.

Or guys with cowboy hats and mustaches carrying them down the sidewalk or in the rear of pickup trucks.

I’ve been to a cockfight once, but it was in Puerto Rico 40 years ago. Don’t recall much about it. I likely was not sober. I do remember the covered arena, but not the fight itself.

I’ve also been to a bullfight once. That was in the Plaza México in Mexico City. As with the cockfight, once was enough. I have nothing against cockfights, however. Bullfights either.*

Chickens are dumb as rocks, and cattle suffer far more in slaughterhouses around the world. Toros in bullfights actually get a pretty good shake, as shakes go.

But the rooster theme is quite common in Mexico. In addition to this artwork of papier-mâché, you’ll see other roosters in the Hacienda. Lots of skeletons too.

* * * *

* Never been to a dogfight. That would bother me.

An utter calm

Fan palm towers behind the sour orange bush.

ROUNDABOUTS noon on a spring day is the perfect time to sit in the yard with an electronic book.

If the natives have nothing to celebrate, which happens often enough, you’ll find a smooth calm. The air will be cool. The sky will be blue. The breeze will be blowing stiff enough to wiggle the wind chimes hanging in the nearby veranda.

Bottle brush

At this hour the hummingbirds will be dining about the bottle-brush tree and so will butterflies. Sparrows will be chirping.

I’ll be sitting in a mesh chair next to the glass-top table, and I’ll be shaded from the sun, which grows a bit brutal in spring, by the big brown umbrella. It’s a good mix altogether.

Two things might disturb this scene. One is that I doze off, which is common, no matter how engaging the book. This does not affect the calm. It simply renders it moot for moments.

The other is that a freight train will blow by, but this lasts no longer than 60 seconds, and the calm returns. The butterflies and hummingbirds don’t seem to notice.

Even on a calm spring midday, I like the passing train especially since it’s brief. It sounds of vagabonds, a life that appealed back when I was very young.

This midday peace is broken when my child bride comes out of the house and says she’s ready to go to the restaurant.

She looks very pretty.

Border wall

This is today, April 5, 2017.

I AM BIG on border walls. We have one here at the Hacienda. It separates us from the sex motel next door.

Walls create happy neighbors.

Stepping out to the terraza this morning — it was 48 degrees! — I snapped this photo to illustrate the difference between the two worlds of Hacienda and, well, you know.

When the motel was constructed almost a decade ago, I had this section of wall raised about a foot so folks in the motel rooms could not peer directly into our yard.

But we still can peer directly into their rooms.

You’re also looking at our two border guards, which are yuge!* The nopal and the bougainvillea, both of which I planted when they were little pups out of pots.

The sex motel manager recently asked if I would mind if they cut the bougainvillea on their side of the wall. I cannot imagine why they would want to do that. It’s quite pretty.

I replied yes. What they do on their side of the wall is their own business, not mine.

What I am particularly pleased about this morning is the temperature of 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

It makes me happy to be alive.

That and other factors too, of course. Like the V-formation of white egrets that just flew overhead.

* * * *

* Tip of the sombrero to the Blond Bomber in the Oval Office for adding this spelling variation to the language.

Down the mountain

I OFTEN refer to the capital city that sits down the mountain, about 40 minutes from here on a smooth four-laner.

We drive there at least once a week, almost exclusively for shopping. My mountaintop’s shopping is restricted mostly to tacos, tires and rebozos.

My first eight months in Mexico were spent in the capital city where I studied Spanish at a language school while living two months over a garage. I then spent another six months just walking around and living in a rented house.

I didn’t much like the town. Before moving there I read online that it was similar to the American Midwest, sorta dull. It was to Mexico what Topeka or Omaha are to America.

One day I took at bus up the mountain to visit the ancient and very different town where I’ve been a long time now. I liked it. I moved here. Been here ever since. Gonna die here.

However, in the past 17 years, the capital city has improved immensely. I would not mind living there now. I might even prefer it, but I’m not going to move.

Recently, an online piece from two years ago was brought to my attention by the inimitable Jennifer Rose. It describes our capital city in an admirable and accurate way.

Take a look. There are also great photos. The author, Stephenie Harris, claims it’s the most beautiful city in Mexico that nobody visits. And she says why she thinks that is the case.

Fact, Fiction and Opinion Stirred in an Odd Pot

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