Living with fruits

WHEN I LIVED in Puerto Rico a million years ago, there was a lime tree in my yard. Whenever I made a Cuba libre, I had only to step outside to pluck a lime.

I don’t drink Cuba libres anymore — and I cannot fathom why I ever did due to their cloying sweetness — but I still live with fruit trees in my yard.

Some were already here when we purchased the lot almost 14 years ago, and some were gifted to us by a friend who brought them up, unannounced, from the tierra caliente.

We have a loquat, two pears, a peach and a sour orange. There was also a fig when we arrived, but it was removed to add a carport. The biggest bugaboo is the peach, which tosses crap on the grass nonstop in summer.

If I had total say, I’d remove the entire lot of them. I’m not a fruit man, but my child bride is fruit for fruits, so there they stay. I would like an avocado, but we don’t have that.

And we’re not gonna.

The sole plus to this plethora of fruit is that if you squeeze sour orange over a bowl of pineapple, yum!New Image

And there’s the organic element. Our fruit is organic, which is to say we do nothing to them one way or the other. It makes me feel like a freaking hippie.

Amazon punto com

Amazon-logoCAPITALIST BEHEMOTH Amazon.com opened its Mexican operation just a few weeks ago, and I have received my first order, a camera and two avocado holders.

I am very happy about Amazon coming to Mexico. It’s about time. They went to China first: Amazon 点,圆点 com. Damnable.

The Amazon Mexico website looks like the Gringo version except for being written in Spanish and having prices in pesos, which is how it should be.

My primary interest in Amazon is for my Kindle. I’ve purchased books from the Gringo Amazon for years, seamlessly and effortlessly.

I checked the Mexican version and pleasantly discovered over a million books available in English. It appears to be about the same pile available on the Gringo version. There is one glitch that will keep me from switching entirely to the Mexican website. No magazine subscriptions.

I salute Jeff Bezos and welcome him to Mexico, a country that improves daily. We have superhighways, snazzy shopping malls, low taxes, a growing economy, liberty, and our citizens are not at one another’s throats screaming racism, homophobia, sexism, till our burros wander home.

We do not care a hoot about being multicultural or diverse.

Quite the contrary.

And we carry voter ID cards, laminated with our mugshots because we don’t want anybody to vote who’s not a genuine Mexican.

And now we have Amazon. We’ve totally arrived.

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(Related matter: My lovely new photo site, Eyes of the Moon, has changed format and grown, and I haven’t even figured out the new camera yet.)

(Unrelated matter: Please go here and lend a hand. I did. It will improve your karma. It all got started because she was trying to rescue a hummingbird.)

Leaving Mexico

NO, NOT ME. Gadzooks! I’ll be here till I die.

But sometimes people from above the Rio Bravo move to Mexico, stay a spell, and then pack up and go back, after all the bother of coming here in the first place, and it is a bother. Culture shock too.

What inspires this post today is a recent blog entry from Debi Kuhn who lives with her husband, Tom, in Mérida. They’ve been in that sweltering city for 10 years, but are planning to pack up and return to the United States, an incomprehensible step, to my way of thinking.

Debi is a little vague on the cause of the return, pointing mostly at the difficulty of learning Spanish. And that can truly be a major problem. But it can be solved by moving to San Miguel de Allende where all Mexicans within the city limits are obligated to learn English for your convenience.

And the weather is way nicer than Mérida too.

The first two or three years, I would have returned to the United States had it been financially feasible. It would have required returning to the workforce — a horrible thought — due to the far higher U.S. cost of living. Living in Mexico is cheap. Don’t believe it when people say otherwise.

I moved south alone seven years before I was eligible for Social Security. I lived on a measly corporate pension of $540 a month, and I took up the slack with savings. And I lived just fine. When I got married at age 58, the two of us lived well on the same money for the next four years.

Time has passed, and I’ve grown used to Mexico. Culture shock is long gone. I feel utterly at home. Culture shock would likely hit me if I returned to America where I have not set foot since early 2009.

I like it here very much.

The language thing Debi mentions can be a bear. If you come here as a couple, which means you speak English daily, learning Spanish well enough to have conversations is almost impossible except for the very young.

Virtually everyone I know of who can converse in Spanish has either moved here solo or is married to a Latina.

flagIt takes time to acclimate to this very different world. But go back now? No way, José.

I love hearing burros braying in the distance at dawn, and roosters and dogs. I love sunrises over mountains that I watch every morning above this computer screen where I read the news from America and its ethnic conflicts, race riots, deficit spending and “social democracy.”

In an odd way, I even love the passing trains that gently rattle window panes in the middle of the night. I love the weekday morning exercise walks around the nearby plaza where sits a 16th century church.

I love that I can get a plumber or electrician or bricklayer or any talented workman to come to the Hacienda on a moment’s notice and do whatever needs to be done for a pittance of what it would cost up north.

I love that I can pay cheaply for traffic infractions on the spot without having all the bother of waiting in courthouses, even though that’s only happened once in 15 years. I still favor the system.

I love that our infrastructure improves daily, highways, shopping malls, and first-class, snazzy, inexpensive bus transportation nationwide. I love that you can fly an airliner anywhere — except to the United States — without being strip-searched and otherwise abused and humiliated.

I love that you can easily get a doctor appointment for tomorrow or even today in a modern facility, and when you leave you pay in cash and still have change left for Sears or Walmart or a café latte at Starbucks.

And I love that you can voice unpopular opinions without being fired from your job or socially ostracized or have your children turned over to the state. You may get punched in the nose, but that’s only fair.

I love perfect avocados in the outdoor market and high-quality, name-brand shirts with an invisible flaw that you can buy for eight bucks not far from where you just purchased those perfect avocados.

And I love that you never hear the words racist, sexist or transgender, and that television shows that regularly feature men passionately kissing other men are invariably beamed down from America, and that shows produced in Mexico feature manly men with mustaches, often clutching tequila bottles, sporting sidearms and punching other men, not kissing them.

MariawhoopiAnd women on Mexican television, from actresses to commentators to weather girls, always look like Penelope Cruz or Maria Grazia Cucinotta, not Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg or Rosie O’Donnell.

I love living in a PC-free world, and I love paying just $80 in property taxes on two homes and an apartment in Mexico City. Total.

I love that a beautiful, bright babe not much older than my daughter said yes when I asked her to marry me. I love it that when I pull back the bedroom drapes on summer mornings, I see a sea of golden datura.

And there’s the elegant, artsy Hacienda, which I could never have built or maintained in the United States. I do love that.

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I hope Debi and her husband, Tom, do not regret returning to the United States, but we will always welcome them back if they decide it was a mistake. For me, I cannot fathom such a move.