Tag Archives: burros

Change of scenery

houston
Where I lived for 15 years. Houston.
street
Where I’ve lived for 17 years.

THE FIRST five years of my life, I resided in the countryside, a farm not far from Sylvester, Georgia.

The latest census puts Sylvester’s population at about 6,000 souls. Lord knows what it was in the late 1940s when I was toddling around there in the dirt.

My current mountaintop pueblo is home to about 80,000 folks, dwarfing the population of Sylvester, but 80,000 is a far cry from the 6 million you’ll find in Houston’s metropolitan area or even the 2 million in the city itself.

Before moving to my mountaintop, Houston was where I lived and worked. I don’t work anymore unless you count pulling weeds and watering veranda potted plants.

I play and relax.

The switch from Houston to this mountaintop pueblo was a drastic move. I’m a big-city boy. And my child bride is a big-city girl. Why are we here?

Lack of communication.

One morning, about two years after constructing and moving into the Hacienda, we were sitting on the veranda in our wicker rockers, talking. We discovered that we’d both have preferred settling in a big city.

How did we not know this? Answer: I assumed she wanted to live here because relatives live here, especially her favorite sister. She assumed I wanted to live here because I was here and had moved here intentionally.

But we never discussed it specifically. Dumb, huh?

Why not sell the Hacienda and move elsewhere? Actually, about that time, I did advertise it online, and got an offer for twice what we had paid to build this place.

But I chickened out because I love our home, and there is a large city nearby, the capital down the mountainside. But, aside from weekly Costco shopping jaunts, we rarely go there.

We’ve become small-city folks. But every time I see a photo of Houston, I sigh. And she likely does the same when we make our twice-a-year visits to Mexico City, which is where she lived when I found her.

But we can stand in the yard on dark nights and see stars from horizon to horizon. And I never heard roosters at dawn or burros anytime in Houston.

Just occasional gunfire.

* * * *

(Note: We’ll be home this afternoon from San Miguel de Allende where we fled on Sunday to avoid the worst of Carnival in our hardscrabble neighborhood.)

The perfect time

bedroom
Smaller bedroom window.

NOVEMBER, THAT IS. It’s the perfect time here, not that other times aren’t swell too, but you can’t beat November.

There’s something strange about our perfect time being ushered in by the Day of the Dead when we embrace and drink to the notion of death and mortality.

But don’t dwell on that. November is almost upon us. And why is November so sweet? Because the summer rains have ended, but everything is still fresh and green.

Plus, frigid winter hasn’t arrived.

Friday morning was full of chores while my child bride was out working in her pastry kitchen. Chores for me, that is.

One was window-washing which inspired me to shoot the two photos. At the top is the smaller window in the bedroom, and at the bottom is one of two huge, dining room* windows.

Note the very green grass. People have asked me online why in the world I have a green lawn in Mexico, that it makes no sense. I guess they expect dust and burros.

The grass makes sense to me, especially now that I don’t mow it anymore. Someone else does.  I just admire it.

And sometimes I clean the windows for a better view.

kitchen
Big dining room window.

* Why is dining room two words while bedroom is one word?

(Note: The stained-glass items hanging on the bottom window were made by the two of us about a decade ago at a trade school in a nearby town. There are much larger ones hanging in the living room window.)

(Note 2: An astute observer might notice the black dot on the middle pane of the bottom photo. That’s a very small piece of broken mirror my child bride pasted to the spot. She uses that little mirror to pluck her eyebrows under natural light. Women are strange sometimes.)

The other direction

New Image
Pirates buried here?

THE BEST-LAID plans often fly awry. Our plan yesterday of doing lunch on the shore of a nearby, high-mountain, lake was thwarted by a huge traffic jam caused, it appeared, by the balloon festival downtown.

So we went in the other direction.

We ended up in a restaurant just past a village with the cute name of Tzintzuntzan where we had fish and chicken and mole and guacamole and sopa Tarasca.

Instead of returning directly home after dining, we continued all the way around our local high-mountain lake, a jaunt of just under an hour, depending.

This route is a rural two-laner with spectacular views of mountains and lake. One passes wandering burros and indigenous women toting this, that and the other.

During the ride, I snapped the above photo of a cemetery gate. The photo might have been better had I not forgotten that I’d put the camera on video mode earlier.

It was on video mode because just as we were leaving for lunch, it started pouring rain. I stood on the veranda and used the video of my Canon camera for the first time.

The rain ended quickly, and we had a great afternoon. At times, the other direction is the best route.

It’s a good Rule of Life.

Object of envy

New Image
How it looked today, June 30 of 2016.

HERE I SIT on the veranda, just in from the morning walk around the neighborhood plaza, something I do most days to maintain my boyish physique and high humor.

I am an ideal object of envy. No job. No money worries. My health is good. My wife is young and beautiful. The weather is wonderful. Waffles and maple syrup (100%) await.

Birds sing. Burros bray. Horses neigh. Dogs bark. Hogs oink. All within earshot, night and day. And last night till 2 a.m., musicians howled on the plaza, so we slept with earplugs, something that doesn’t warrant envy, alas.

Hereabouts 11 a.m., the sky is blue and white. The temperature is 69. My utility bills are low, and my grass is high, green and damp. My wives are all alive and my daughter too.

I have no dogs, no cats, no outstanding bills, and both of our cars run smoothly though they could use a wash. It’s the rainy season, a constant battle for self-respecting vehicles.

The waffles are ready now, I’m advised. The maple syrup too, the daily second breakfast around the hour of 11.

It’s an enviable position in which to find oneself.

Rise for the judge

TWO “RAPE” CASES have gotten lots of buzz above the Rio Bravo.  Here’s how Judge Zapata would have ruled:

(1) At a Stanford University frat party, a young woman, 23, got herself plastered, passed out, and a horny boy, 19, had his way with her behind a dumpster. How romantic.

She reportedly was unconscious during the encounter, a vital point to remember as we move along.

New ImageA judge gave the frat boy a six-month sentence, which has hordes of people up in arms. A petition for his recall has many thousands of signatures.

The boy is the primary guilty party, of course. The girl is the secondary guilty party, in spite of feminist blather that the “victim” never shares any fault at all.

In this case, she does, big-time.

If she hadn’t drunk to excess — her choice — and passed out at a frat party surrounded by boozed-up, hormone-charged adolescents and young men, she would not have had her skirt lifted. Where was her brain?

Since she was unconscious during the booze-fueled event, she was not traumatized in spite of a long, weepy letter she sent to the judge after sobering up and hoping to excuse herself.

And she wasn’t a virgin. No university coed of 23 is these days with the possible exception of Brigham Young University students, certainly not at Stanford.

Had I been the judge, my sentence would be this:

For the horny frat boy: 40 days of community service.

For the very stupid girl: 30 days of community service.

I wouldn’t have been recalled. I would have been tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a burro’s backside.

Such are the silly times in which we live.

* * * *

(2) A woman schoolteacher — I forget where — was arrested and charged after it came to light that she had an ongoing sexual relationship with a male student, aged 13. She faces some very serious hard time in prison. Decades.

This is arrant nonsense.

A grown man taking advantage of girl of 13 is one thing, but it’s different when the roles are reversed. In spite of current cultural fads, males and females are very different.

The boy of 13 was not abused. As a former teenager — and every honest man is nodding his head — I can tell you without the slightest chance of being mistaken, that the kid has a smile plastered permanently on his face, and all his guy friends are giving him high-fives. The teacher is a looker.

Here is what Judge Zapata would do in this case:

Fire the teacher. Period. She clearly lacks sufficient sense and self-control for the job. Better that she works at Hooters.

But prison? Gimme a break.

* * * *

The court is now out of session. The judge is napping.

* * * *

(Note: The first sexual encounter would never have been publicized had not two European grad students happened by. It would have been just another of thousands of inebriated sexual encounters that occur at boozed-up frat parties.)

Little comas

THE HUMAN body does strange things.

For instance, we spend a third of our lives in a coma, a state of suspended animation. We have a soft place to lie down for this, and we put on comfy clothing, or we just strip naked.

I refer to our need for sleep, of course.

I sleep like the proverbial log, normally. It helps to not have something worrying you. Have you noticed that worries magnify magnificently at night? A trifling concern in daytime becomes a monster worry after the lights go out.

And then when you wake in the morning, that same worry shrinks to its proper proportion, easily resolved.

My child bride worries about everything, so she doesn’t sleep as soundly as I do. She has a mob of relatives, all of whom have big-time issues, being Mexican and all, and she worries about every one of those relatives, nonstop.

I don’t worry about her relatives at all, and I only have two on my side. My daughter who lives in a field of clover, and my nutty sister whom I have not heard from in three years.

You’d think I might worry about that latter, but I do not. Quite the contrary. It gives me peace of mind.

Unlike lots of aging men, I don’t get up repeatedly at night to take a whiz. Just once, usually. Sometimes not even that. My svelte body  works well — he said, as he knocks on wood, the desk I had made by carpenters years back.

This happened just once last night, about 4 a.m. Waking up at night here is interesting. There are sounds. Last night, I heard a burro bray and there were the unsettled chickens that overnight in the neighbors’ apple tree.

croissantIt’s also said we require less sleep as we age. I haven’t found that to be true. I get a good seven or eight hours as always.

Maybe my nights pass smoothly because I have a beautiful babe next to me, even if she is fretting over relatives.

Our comas end with bagels and Philadelphia cream cheese or, on special occasions, croissants and orange marmalade.

It’s a great way to return from the world of the comatose.

Home Sweet Home

house

THIS HOUSE sits directly across the street, and its upper reaches are clearly visible from our upstairs terraza, which is where I was standing as I snapped this shot.

It’s been sitting there, unpainted, unfinished, for years. I imagine it’s someone’s retirement home, down the line. Building homes, very slowly, bit by bit, is common in Mexico. Often the cash is being sent by illegals in the United States.

But I don’t think that’s the situation here. About two years ago, there was a snazzy sedan parked outside, and I spotted a middle-aged couple on the roof, looking our way. I waved, and they waved back. New neighbors, someday.

Maybe they work in Guadalajara or Mexico City.

Prior to that, for a year or so, construction was under way over there. It reached the point you see here, and stopped. Nothing has happened since, a couple of years now.

When it’s finished and painted, it will join the Hacienda as one of the nicest homes in our hardscrabble neighborhood.

Home Sweet Home — for them.

Recently, I learned of another Home Sweet Home, but it is being sold. It belongs to a cyber-amiga named Debi and her husband, Tom. They are selling their house in downtown Mérida in order to return to the United States.

You encounter this on occasion. Gringos or Canucks who move to Mexico but discover it’s too much for them, the changes.

What’s unusual in Debi and Tom’s case is the long time they’ve lived here. Most people, I believe, see the error of their ways rather rapidly, within a year or two — or even months. Debi and Tom have lived in Mexico almost a decade.

If you’re looking to move to Mexico, their Mérida home would be a nice choice. They even have a low-mileage, Mexican-plated 2002 Chevy Corsa that appears to come with the deal.

But returning to the United States after a decade in Mexico is an inexplicable move as I see it. A team of wild, angry burros could not drag me back across the Rio Bravo.

debi
Back yard with pool at Debi’s house.

 

Rambling man

THIS MORNING, shortly after  dawn, I stepped out onto the upstairs terraza, as I often do at that hour, looked at the thermometer and saw 60 degrees. That rarely varies a degree much of the year at that hour.

The moment brings the standard thought: I’m lucky to live here.

I pause. I listen to the roosters. I listen to the burros. I listen to the dogs, all distant enough. Sometimes I listen to a passing freight train. It’s music to my ears, as someone famous once said.

Almost every day I head downtown in the afternoons for café at a sidewalk table, and there are options for baked sweet potato, lemon ice, shrimp cocktails from sidewalk stands and hot fig bread from a woman with a basket on the small plaza two blocks away.

Truth is, I rarely am interested in going elsewhere. When you’ve landed in a sweet spot, as I have, why climb out of the bowl? I’d just as soon not, but sometimes it’s necessary.

We’re heading to Mexico City shortly for as brief a visit as I can manage. We have to air out and dust the condo, plus my wife is going to try to make a hair more headway toward getting the deed to that place.

We paid it off years ago.

And then we’ll come home. Bus both ways. And the following morning, just at dawn, I’ll step out onto the upstairs terraza. There will be sounds of dogs and burros and roosters, and the air will measure 60 degrees.

And the red sun will just be creeping over the mountains.

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.

* * * *

(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.)