Churro man

THIS IS … well, I don’t know his name in spite of having known him more than a decade.

Twelve or so years ago he walked our streets with a cardboard jar requesting donations for a drug-rehab center. I don’t know if he was a patient or just a helper. I suspect the former.

But that didn’t last very long — a couple of years — and then he started selling churros, a sugar-coated pastry. He’s been doing that on downtown streets ever since.

You can hear him coming a block away as he yells churros, churros, churros. Sometimes I buy one to go with my café Americano negro. That’s what I did yesterday.

He totes the basket and loops that collapsible stand over his forearm. And he’s always very upbeat.

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(Note: For a superior version of this shot and other fabulous photos, take a look here.)

Watch your step

THERE’S A street project right off the main plaza downtown that’s been going on since last autumn, which is a long time because the renovation is just two lengthy blocks.

This project interests me, and I take a stroll by there almost every weekday after sitting at a sidewalk table with my Kindle and a café Americano negro.

In the United States, it would have been done far faster, and the entire work site would be blocked off so pedestrians and gawkers like me could not walk all over the place.

Around the workmen. Hopping over wet cement.

Here, no effort is made to keep pedestrians out of the work area, and none of the workers sports a hard hat. The main reason the project is taking so long is that there is little mechanized about it. It’s strictly manual labor.

If a passerby trips on something, falls and busts his noodle, he should have watched where he was going. He does not sue the city. We are not litigious that way.

The work started last year with an extensive excavation. New sewer and water lines were buried deep as were electric cables and wires in fat orange conduits.

Part of the reason the project is taking so long is the detail work, primarily on the sidewalks.

I should have photographed some of the detail, but I didn’t. This is fine rock work that will last a century.

There is sunken lighting for a nice nighttime look.

About the only nod to modernity are wheelchair ramps.

This photo shows the area where most of the stone is being worked to make it usable. It was a rose garden outside the church/hospital to the left before the renovation began.

Big stones are cut to size by hammer and chisel.

The scenes of the first two photos are at the end of the block down thataway, the far side.

We don’t have the reams of rules and regulations here that are so prevalent above the Rio Bravo, rules and regs made necessary by lawyers and government meddling. No environmental impact study was required.

Bugs were just squashed.

Here, if you need something done you hire some guys and do it. There are always guys available, plenty of idle hands of men who never grasped the need for schooling.

Just around the corner from the renovation I noticed this sign outside a tiny pharmacy. Look what you can have done. (Excuse the photos’ blurry edges. I had the camera set for that effect, but I did not notice till later.)

You can measure your blood sugar and blood pressure, or get a pap test.

You can get a medical certificate, maybe to get out of class. A problem with your toenails? No sweat.

A wound will be bandaged, and if you need an injection, they’ll stick you with the appropriate needle.

And all will cost next to nothing, and no pricey doctor reference is needed, but a doctor is likely there. Just go in, pay a buck or two if you want some medical advice or a prescription.

Living here is easy. Even if renovating a street takes forever. It will last forever after it’s finished.

Marvelous Mexican medicine

THERE IS LITTLE that pleases me more than rubbing the Gringo and Canuck socialistic noses into our marvelous Mexican medical system. We have a routine that works.

pillsIf you get sick and you’re poor, go to a government clinic and you’ll be cured for free or next to it. Are these clinics on the level of the Johns Hopkins? Of course not, but they get the job done far more often than not. Health care is not a “right,” but it is highly desirable.

The government clinics are paid for, of course, by the government. But — unlike ObamaCare — it is not coercive in any fashion. You are not bludgeoned into being a part of it.

If you get sick and you’re not poor, go to a private doctor or hospital, and you’ll be cured for a reasonable price that you normally can pay out of pocket. And you won’t spend time in a waiting room with 20 other people, and you won’t later spend even more time in a cubicle with your butt chilled behind an open gown.

You will have made the appointment the previous day or perhaps that very morning.

What brings this issue to the forefront today? Why, something that happened to me, of course. For a number of days, I’ve had an annoying ache on the outside of my right calf. I’m a little slow-witted at times, and it took me almost a week to remember that I had this precise problem two years ago.

So what did I do? Did I make an appointment with a doctor three weeks from now because she is booked up till then? No. Did I see a doctor at all? No. I went to my file folder labeled Health, and I found the prescription from two years ago. I had noted on the back what the problem had been:

Ache on outside of leg. Nerve issue.


Unlike above the Rio Bravo, the prescription had not been confiscated by the pharmacy two years ago. It was returned to me, as are all prescriptions that do not involve feel-good stuff like Valium. And antibiotics have also been added to that category, which is good because Mexicans used to eat antibiotics like candy.

I drove to the drugstore and re-filled the prescription. I expect to back back to normal pronto.

Hassle-free, reasonably priced, rapid, non-socialistic healthcare.