Poetic justice

THERE ARE countless beauties and advantages to living below the border. And there are a few drawbacks.

High on the list of drawbacks is the nation’s love of noise. This usually comes in two forms:

  1. A neighbor sets up a sound stage in his back yard. It’s got speakers about 20 feet high. This is not an exaggeration. A live band is hired, and they holler till 2 a.m. on a Wednesday night. It can be heard a mile away, literally.
  2. Fireworks, eternal fireworks. There is little that Mexico loves more than a good blast, preferably and repeatedly at 5 a.m. and preferably on Sunday, your day of rest.

I attribute this fascination with endless racket to a broad current of childishness in the culture.

The good news is that after a few years you get used to it. When the sounds of Verdun start on our neighborhood plaza before the crack of dawn, I rarely even wake up anymore. If I do awaken, I swiftly go back to sleep.

On concert nights, we both sleep with silicone earplugs.

The video above is a fireworks market in Tultepec, State of Mexico. It’s the largest, retail fireworks market in Mexico. Or was. Someone was careless with a match yesterday. Sixteen people died, and over 70 were injured.

Will we learn a lesson from this? We will not.

Mardi Gras Mexicano


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.