Tag Archives: Carnival

What the hey!?

new-image
Just this morning. Circle of hippie women and the green floral frog.

IT RAINED last night, which is against the rules.

Normally, February is clear, blue and cold at night, cool in the day. The last couple of days, however, have escaped the mold. It’s been overcast, cold and very windy.

This morning dawned overcast, but it’s mostly blue before 10 a.m., and the cursed wind has diminished.

Lots on the calendar. We will soon flee our hardscrabble barrio due to Carnival. We’ll go to San Miguel de Allende where, among other things, we’ll visit a friend of mine from high school. She and her husband are spending three months there.

They live in North Carolina.

She’ll be the first high school friend I’ve seen in over 40 years. She’s a retired professor of Chinese something-or-other. She’s very smart, which is why we were friends.

Shortly after returning, we’ll go to Mexico City for our twice-yearly airing of the condo. It’s highly likely that we will actually get our hands on the deed at last.

On returning from Mexico City, we’ll hire a crew to do stuff both here at the Hacienda and at our downtown Casita, mostly maintenance, but we’ll probably remove the grass, and plant stone and concrete in the yard’s semicircle.

yard
Photo from a few years back. We sold that blue Chevy in 2014.

I’ve been wanting to reduce the grass for years. Maybe it will start this year with that semicircle. Depends on the price. But the peso-dollar exchange rate makes me feel rich.

I’ll keep you posted next month because I know you’re on the edge of your seat about this.

In the meantime, I’ve got to walk the plaza now, take a shower, get dressed, drive to an outdoor market, buy veggies for stir-fry, and fix lunch. Pork chops, pasta and that stir-fry.

I’m a very handy hubby.

Remains of carnival

flags

WE’RE FIRMLY into Lent, but the banners of Mardi Gras still wave wearily in the street outside the Hacienda.

As if to cement the locals’ faith, none other than the Pope himself, the Argentine leftist Francis, arrives next Tuesday at the capital city just down the mountainside.

I’ve never been this close to a Pope, nor do I want to be. He will create traffic jams and other annoyances, but he will be gone on Wednesday, and we’ll settle into our sins again.

Train of thoughts

rail

CARNIVAL JUST ended. Bring out the ashes. My hardscrabble neighborhood, more than any other here on the mountaintop, goes bananas for Mardi Gras.

Living just a block and a half from the plaza presents problems. The worst are the monster concerts that blare for four nights straight. We sleep with silicone earplugs.

Having lived 18 years in New Orleans, I know Carnival. What passes for Carnival here pales in comparison, but I think my neighborhood excels in noise, a Mexican specialty.

Roundabouts August, I am weary of rain, every year. Roundabouts February, I am weary of cold, every year. Walking through the living room this morning, it was, I’m guessing, about 50 degrees at most.

We have no climate control in the house. Our electricity bills are constant all year long. Constantly cheap.  I have not been in the United States in seven years and was there only sporadically, briefly, the nine years before that.

Most Americans live in sealed houses, which is great where temps vary wildly, but it’s pretty even here with the exception of January and February when it can freeze at night.

There’s no playing with a dial on the wall to make life sweet. The temperature just is. Here are a couple of other things. No junk mail in my post office box. No sales calls as we sit down to supper. Is that still common in America? Bet so.

My wife is the most important thing in my life. A close second is my Kindle. Departing a restaurant yesterday alone in the state capital, I left it unseen on a chair. The waiter chased me down outside to return it. Bless him.

That was very unlike me. Long ago, I formulated what we’ll call Felipe’s First Law of Placement, which is that you never put something important out of sight in, say, a restaurant unless you literally cannot leave without it.

Car keys or an umbrella during a downpour.

I abide religiously by the law, usually. Why did I break it yesterday? No clue. Got me to thinking. While I do not have a backup wife, I need a backup Kindle, so I ordered one today, a newer version, the Paperwhite.

A backup wife has appeal, but I don’t think I could get away with it, nor should I. Too old for that anyway.

I’ll close with that. We’re going to take our exercise walk around the plaza. Wonder what we’ll see this morning. Unconscious bodies? Blood stains on the cement?

We’ve seen both in the past.

Mardi Gras days

Carnival

CONTINUING THE old-photo theme I started Friday, we have here a shot from early 1966. That is me with my first wife, who went by the name of Ginger in those times, but not anymore.

She was, as the baggy blouse indicates, in a family way.

I was, as the beads draped around my head and neck and the Dixie beer can in my grip indicate, in an inebriated way. However, my fondness for booze did not really start till five years later.

We are standing outside a rooming house on St. Charles Avenue in Uptown New Orleans on Mardi Gras. A parade was passing in the street, which is how I caught those beads. I was 21, and she was 20.

This first marriage — for both of us — lasted a bit over five years. Ginger later married a more appropriate fellow, a great guy, and they’ve been together for decades. She had two more children. She’s now a therapist in New Orleans and, from what little I know, doing well.

Mardi Gras Mexicano

carnival

I LIVED 18 YEARS in New Orleans, which is a lot of Mardi Gras beads, raw oysters and Dixie beer.

Fact is that I’ve seen enough of Mardi Gras. I’m weary of it, but here I am living in the most Carnival-crazy neighborhood of my Mexican mountaintop town.

We don’t have parades that rival the Krewes of Louisiana, of course, but gangs of kids and grownups dress up and move through the streets, sometimes accompanied by trombones and tubas. And, of course, explosions because Mexicans never overlook an opportunity to light a fuse.

And there are huge concerts on the plaza a block and a half away. Every year there’s a concert Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night and one year, sacrilegiously, on Ash Wednesday night too. They just could not put a brake to it. They were too jazzed up.

I opened our front gate this morning to let a plumber in, and I found not just the plumber but this group of boys passing by. I had them pose for a photo, so I could share with you.

I am a sharing sort of fellow.

Carnival craziness

IT’S FAT TUESDAY, Mardi Gras or, as it’s called in my hardscrabble neighborhood, Carnival!

CarnivalOur town celebrates the occasion in a subdued manner. That’s downtown, I mean. Out here on the edge, in my own neighborhood or barrio as we correctly call it, the citizens go hog wild.

But we will dodge most of it because we are in Mexico City, or will be later today via bus, the wonderful ETN line. We are staying at the Hotel Milán in the stylish Roma neighborhood, which is not far from the famous Zona Rosa.

We have to be in the Zona Rosa tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, at noon to renew my child bride’s U.S. visa, which expired — after a 10-year run — last October.

You can renew it up to a year after its expiration. Otherwise, you have to start from scratch, which entails standing in a long line outside the U.S. Embassy on the elegant Paseo de la Reforma in the pre-dawn darkness. No joke.

There’s nothing Barry’s boys love more than abusing us Mexicans. First, the Gringos steal half our nation, and then they make us stand in line at dawn for permission to visit!

It’s an abomination!

The two of us have not set foot above the Rio Bravo since early 2008, which is to say that we have never experienced Barry’s America first-hand. We likely will continue our hurdle over these nasty eight years, landing perhaps in 2017 when, I hope, the nation will have returned to its previous fairly good sense.

When I made the appointment a month ago for the visa renewal, I did not realize that we would be missing Carnival here in the barrio. It was pure dumb luck. Our nutty neighbors erect a huge sound stage on a plaza less than two blocks away and, for four or five nights, blare music racket till the early hours.

They started Saturday night. We slept with ear plugs. It continued Sunday night. We slept with ear plugs again. For last night we decided to sleep in our downtown casita, something we had not done in a few years.

Having lived in New Orleans, I can tell you that what my neighbors do pales in comparison, style-wise and numbers-wise, but they make up for that in pure, bone-cracking noise.

Sometimes the Carnival momentum is so extreme that they cannot apply the brakes at midnight Tuesday, the dawn of Ash Wednesday. They are in such a frenzy they throw another party on Wednesday night, abusing all rules and regulations of the Vatican.

Sacrilege!

But what’s it to us? We’re in Mexico City for a spell longer. When we get home, all the bodies and beer cans will have been swept up, and everything will be back to normal.