Sunlight and tacos

New Image
7:30 a.m. Sunlight hits the arch that separates the living room and dining room.

BACK IN 1999, just before I packed two bags and moved over the southern border for good, an artist and gallery owner acquaintance who sold my stuff in Houston told me he had lived a spell in Puebla and that what most stuck in his mind was the light.

He had the Gauguin eye.

I’m not sure the light is any different here, but at moments it’s more noticeable than at other times. We’re approaching the rainy season right about now, and that should diminish the blinding sun of springtime, which is mostly a good thing.

I need to haul the lawnmower to the shop for servicing.

plandt
9:30 a.m. Stone, big succulent, bridal bouquets, aloe vera and dead grass beyond.

Tuesday was a breakthrough day for us here in the Plague Year. We barreled down the mountainside to the nearby capital city, and we ventured farther afield than just Costco, which has been our sole destination, along with the Chedraui supermarket, since early March, maybe even late February.

Those two stores are on the relative outskirts of town.

We went to a bank. We went to a Soriana supermarket in a shopping center to buy lemon-pepper spice, which is a nightly salad essential, and we ran out last week. Not available at Costco or Chedraui for some reason. While my child bride was in the bank, I entered a monster mall to buy vitamins at GNC. For the first time, I had my temperature checked with one of those pistol things, and I was declared free of Kung Flu.

The day’s high point was going back to our favorite drowned-taco eatery, Las Ahoganitas where we downed four each, accompanied by the best horchata you’re gonna find anywhere in this life or the next.

On returning to our hardscrabble neighborhood on the mountaintop, we noticed it had rained. Perhaps there is some urgency in getting that lawnmower serviced and running. The lawn rejuvenates rapidly with just a few good gulps of rainwater.

A quiet day at home

pozole

THAT’S CHICKEN pozole of the green variety, lunch today.

By 1 p.m., I was showered and back into my pajamas because it’s going to be a quiet afternoon. All the busyness happened earlier, before 11, which is when we had Second Breakfast. I did some tidying in the yard, gave the garbageman up the street a couple of bags, did our exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza and so on.

I’m writing this just before lunch at 2, our usual lunch hour. While I’ve slipped into lazy mode, my child bride continues full blast as usual. Doing chores. There are no lazy days for her. She wouldn’t know what to do with one, not a problem I have.

We’ll be quite busy mañana because we’re heading down the mountainside to the nearby state capital to run errands that have stacked up for weeks due to the Plague Year. Plus, we’ll eat in a restaurant there, something we haven’t done in about two months, and we used to do every week.

I’ve been watching the Gringos go nuts above the Rio Bravo, and I’m so happy not to live with them anymore. The United States is demonstrating spectacularly why it’s a lousy idea to encourage multiculturalism and diversity. It just leads to violence.

America has been through hissy-fits before, of course, but I was surprised by the numbers of people taking to the streets, the sheer volume which seems much higher than similar uproars in the past. I think this demonstrates how successful the leftist educational system has been in convincing American youth that it lives in a horrible nation.

As for that rogue cop who killed the George Floyd, I think public hanging would be an appropriate punishment, perhaps preceded by some additional Medieval tortures. But let’s not overlook the scores of black citizens who are killed weekly across the nation not by cops but by other black dudes. Where’s the uproar, the trashing of Targets and police cars?

Nowhere in sight.

Our pozole will be accompanied by cheese cubes, avocado, diced onion and tortilla chips. It goes real good with Coca-Cola, but we have none, so it’s gonna be filtered water.

There are clouds in the distance. Perhaps it will rain. We’re about due for the start of the rainy season, which will cool things off quite a bit. Life is good. Here at least.

Mexico is mostly uni-cultural. It works best. We don’t have race wars.

Strolling the streets like a Gachupín

IT WAS LATE afternoon on Sunday. We were walking the block and a half from the Hacienda to the barrio plaza.

I was wearing saggy, gray sweatpants, a newer, gray sweatshirt, a gray, wool beebop cap and, incongruously, tan loafers by Dockers.

You look like a Gachupín, said my child bride in español, using the derogatory Mexican term for a Spaniard. Maybe I did.

She is not fond of Spaniards, a sentiment shared by many Mexicans.

It’s similar to how Social Justice Warriors feel about Chris Columbus and the crews of the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, hauling their Spanish privilege.

My child bride studied six months in Spain in the middle ’90s. She loved the food but concluded that Spaniards, for the most part, are sangrones. Grumps and arrogant. Her favorite dishes were paella and fabada Asturiana.

She also went to a bullfight in Madrid, more to watch the people than the bulls. It wasn’t until a decade later than I attended my first bullfight. I went with her in Mexico City at the enormous Plaza México.

In Gachupín mode, I continued with her to the plaza where we sat on a steel bench facing the ancient church. I had my Canon, so I shot the video. Were it not for the minivan the scene might have been filmed a century ago.

The church — 16th Century, I’m guessing — is undergoing renovation.

You can’t see it here because they started on the roof. Contributions were solicited from neighborhood residents months back, and we ponied up 1,000 pesos even though we never use the church, and I’m no Catholic.

The music was coming from behind us on the far side of the plaza. Mexicans usually get dressed up on Sundays and walk around their plazas, but the people in our hardscrabble barrio don’t uphold that tradition.

After sitting half an hour, we moseyed home and watched a movie on Netflix. I traded my Gachupín gear for pajamas that were not gray.

 

Mexico City lives!

THERE WE WERE, walking down the sidewalk in the middle of the leafy Calle Amsterdam last Tuesday in the trendy Colónia Roma, one of the worst-hit, we had read, areas of Mexico City during September’s killer quake.

We did not see any damage whatsoever.

Quake? What quake?

Not only that, we didn’t spot any earthquake damage at all during the four days we spent in the nation’s chaotic capital.

We go to Mexico City twice a year to air out our small condo and pay a few bills we can’t pay online. About the only thing left in that category is the security service, listless guys who hang out at the entrance to our “gated community.”

This condo, one might recall, is where my child bride lived when we met during a visit she made in 2001 to my mountaintop town. The rest, as they say, is history.

She worked as a civil engineer for the federal highway department, and the “gated community,” a series of five-story buildings, each with 10 apartments, was constructed specifically for, and sold to, employees of the highway department.

Deed at last!

We paid off our unit years ago but only received the deed last Spring. Mexican bureaucracy moves at its own laughable pace.

Aside from airing out the place and paying the security service, we didn’t do much. Washed sheets and towels from the previous visit and hit a few dining spots, our favorites being Rock N’ Burger, a food truck across the street, and a new restaurant a short taxi ride away that serves the best caldo de gallina on Earth.

The caldo de gallina was served at a restaurant named La Jefa. I wrote a review for TripAdvisor, but since the eight-month-old restaurant had never been reviewed, it has not yet appeared on that travel website.

We found La Jefa by sheer luck, walking down the street.

Caldo explained

FYI: Caldo de gallina is chicken soup, but it’s better than your mama’s chicken soup.* It comes with garbanzo beans, rice, and other ingredients, depending on the eatery in question. La Jefa serves a knockout caldo de gallina.

I view our Mexico City digs only as an investment for my wife. It’s worth a good bit more now than when she signed the mortgage in 1997. We spotted a For Rent sign on one of the identical apartments, so we called to inquire.

They were asking 6,000 pesos monthly, which surprised us, favorably. We may rent it in the future, especially when I cannot walk up the four floors due to decrepitude. That day, however, has yet to arrive. I still bound up like a teenager.

Sardine can

The two-bedroom condo is small, so small that it would fit, literally, inside the living room here at the Hacienda. This makes it easy to tidy up. It gives me claustrophobia at times. However, entire families of four or more, plus dogs, live in some of the adjoining, identical units. Incredible.

lr

Here’s the living room. We sit here evenings and watch DVD movies and, like back at the Hacienda, dine on salads made by me.

I remember well the first time I set hoof in this place back in 2001. She had invited me to visit. The furnishings and wall colors were entirely different, but I recall the visit fondly.

Memories

I took this photo that first night while she was in the kitchen fixing something for supper. It’s one of my favorite shots, and she hasn’t changed much in the last 16 years.

Some women age very well.

* * * *

* Unless your mama’s Mexican.