Tacos in a window

The young chef grills beef, onions and chiles.

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We renew our post office box every year in early January. It costs the peso equivalent of about $15 U.S., well worth the outlay.

I opened the account 21 years ago because the rental where I first lived had no mailbox. The mailman — and it’s always a man — just tossed everything over the wall where it landed on the ground, a particularly bad system during the five months of the monsoon.

Here in the nearby burg where we live now, the problem is even greater. There is no residential mail delivery at all. Mail is dropped off at two or three places, small stores or homes, where the owner has agreed to serve as a pickup point. I’m sure they get paid for that.

So your mail is first delivered to a neighbor, near or far, and you must go to that neighbor and ask for your letters. At times, no one is at home, and you must return. I do not like that system. But I do like my PO box. And I get so little mail that I only check the box twice a month.

But this afternoon we headed to the post office to renew the account. Coming as no surprise, the paperwork was not available, and we were told to return after the 15th.

It was lunchtime, so we crossed the street to an eatery that consists of a few uncomfortable tables and benches in a small space. The grub is prepared in the window over a homemade BBQ grill.

I shot the photo with my phone as he grilled my beef.

Beef and tortas

Yesterday, I addressed the issue of caldo de res, one of my favorite meals. I mentioned that I rarely ordered it in a restaurant because the beef is usually gristly. I attributed this not to Mexicans’ liking it gristly, but to the fact that gristly beef is cheaper to buy.

Later, my child bride told me it’s because Mexicans like gristly beef. I prefer to think it’s that she likes it, for some godforsaken reason, not that Mexicans in general like gristly beef. But when she makes it at home, she does not use gristly beef because she knows I don’t want it, and she is an accommodating woman.

Above you see the caldo de res she made for our lunch today.

Caldo de res tastes better if it sits a good spell. Same goes for pozole. So, instead of lunching on the caldo de res yesterday, we hopped in the Honda and drove down the highway to a torta restaurant where we enjoyed Cubanos, the torta, not the cigar, although Cuban cigars are available here downtown.

We are amigos to the commies.

Driving home after the tortas, I took these photos along the highway to provide another taste, so to speak, of our area, which is moist and green in September due to months of daily rain.

I call this shot “Yellow House and Tree.”
Let’s call this one “Foggy Mountain and Overpass.”

Actually, “Yellow House and Tree” was photographed from outside the torta restaurant. It was directly across the highway.

Lazy Sunday

colorcasa

WE DECIDED to veg out on Sunday. We often do that.

After driving downtown for a restaurant meal at Mexican lunch time, 2 o’clock, we returned about 3:30, put on our jammies, and started a movie on Netflix.

After an hour, however, we got antsy, so we paused the movie (City of Tiny Lights, quite good), got dressed again and headed out the gate for a neighborhood stroll.

I carried the camera.

Generally preferring black & white photography, I made an exception for the top shot because it’s all about color.

It’s a relatively new house near us that was constructed about two years ago. It’s the only casa in the barrio that gives us competition in the color category. But let’s continue on.

mural1

This is a mural right off the plaza. It’s pretty new too. The fellow looking over the mountains is Lázaro Cárdenas, president of Mexico in the late 1930s, and the guy responsible for nationalizing the oil industry, a mistake.

boys

We sat on a steel bench on the plaza and watched people. There weren’t many people out and about, but these two boys were enjoying non-electronic toys.

trio

These ladies were sitting outside a small store.

mural2

This wall facing the plaza is directly next to the 16th Century church. That’s church property behind the wall. Some young folks painted this stuff a few months ago. It includes Pancho Villa and the obligatory Ché Guevara.

I’ve thought about coming down here one night and blotting Ché out, but I likely will never get around to it.

Pancho Villa was no prize either.

door

Before we headed back to the Hacienda, I entered an open building, turned around, and took this photo. I like open-door photos. The entryway gave access to an interior courtyard where local ladies cook and sell grub on Sundays.

Over open fires.

I took about 25 shots total, but I didn’t want to test your patience as most people would do. These are my favorites.

18 quiches, to go

quiche

MY CHILD BRIDE is a baker, a very good baker.

She hawks her wares downtown on the main plaza most Saturday afternoons. She does it for fun and profit, the profit going into a separate bank account that sports only her name, not mine. It’s her mad money.

On very rare occasion, she does special orders. That’s one in the photo, 18 individual quiches that were delivered to a private party Tuesday. They were ordered by a woman doctor who runs a chain of medical labs in town.

Finding quiche in this neck of the Mexican woods — well, probably in most parts of Mexico — is not easy to do. It was my suggestion in the first place, way back when.

Quiche, that is.

Many people who pass her basket downtown pause, point at the quiches, and ask: What is that? Pizza?

If the locals don’t spot a tortilla around it, they’re perplexed.

She cooks a variety of quiches. These have spinach, bacon and some other tasty stuff. And she sells them for just 25 pesos each, which is about $1.50 U.S.

When we met in 2001, she was a civil engineer for the federal highway department. Now she’s a love slave and part-time street vendor. Life changes, often for the better.