Wonderful summers

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Shot this afternoon between one rainfall and the next. Nice and cool.

AT SOME POINT in the 1980s, my last wife and I found ourselves a few miles north of Guanajuato, up near the silver mines, staying in a new hotel just across the way from an old church. We hadn’t been able to find a hotel downtown due to arriving late on a Friday night. Everywhere was booked up with Mexico City people.

It was August, and we’d arrived from Houston or maybe it was New Orleans. I don’t remember, but it doesn’t matter because both are sweat holes in the summertime. The next morning, I walked out of that hotel and was gobsmacked.

It was August and about 50 degrees! A wonderful experience for a fellow who’d spent most of his life in the American southeast, sweating through summers.

And loathing every second of it.

Flash forward to today. It’s raining outside as I write this, Thursday evening. It’s not August but July, but in Houston and New Orleans, there’s no difference. You suffer.

It’s 67 degrees outside, though it feels even cooler.

When I moved over the border two decades back, I brought two pairs of khaki shorts, the sort you might find on Crocodile Dundee. I’ve never worn them, and they live deep in the closet. On second thought, I believe I have worn them a few times, but never at home. I’ve worn them at the beach in Zihuatanejo, just 3.5 hours away.

You’ll die of sweat there in summer, and we always go in summer.

Though the beach is just 3.5 hours away, the weather is not the same due to altitude. The pants I wear here are Rider jeans, every day, no exception. I own lots of them.

Riders feel fine in our cool summers, and they work equally well in winter with thermal long johns beneath. Riders are versatile, all-weather trousers.

During Houston summers, I often wore long pants of khaki to the newsroom, topped off with Hawaiian floral shirts of rayon. My job did not require interaction with the public, so I was often the most colorful fellow in the office.

Reporters sported ties, and so did ambitious editors. But I went Hawaiian.

The news in March

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IT’S BEEN BEAUTIFUL of late, and my child bride and her sister think winter is over. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. March is a dicey month. I took the above photo from the upstairs terraza about six or eight years ago. That’s snow on yon mountains … in March.

It did not snow that week at the Hacienda, but it was darn frigid. When the dry, warm days of April arrive, then you can declare winter’s demise, not before.

Just for the heck of it, here’s another photo taken from the upstairs terraza. It was shot in June of last year. Those are the same mountains, of course. Sweet.

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We’ve been a bit busy since we returned from Guanajuato, and we were busy before going to Guanajuato too. We’ve had a circular stairway installed from the balcony to the roof of our Downtown Casita. And now I’m waiting for our painter to finish work he’s doing for someone else in order to paint the Casita’s exterior.

And we have new cell phones, both of us, as of last week, and we bought the same model. Motorola G8 Plus, it’s called, and it’s a big improvement over her previous Samsung and my old Alcatel. There are people who still shun cell phones, which mystifies me. It’s like an electronic Swiss Army knife.

I use mine for reminders, checking my bank balance, using “virtual” credit cards so as not to get ripped off, and I’m a YouTube addict, so there’s that. Right on my Motorola. And there’s a calculator, a call blocker, the app of our car insurance which lets one immediately report an accident while the app pinpoints the car’s location.

How can you live without this stuff? Sometimes I even make calls on my phone. Messages are more common, mostly to my child bride. Speaking of calls, I recently canceled my Skype subscription after many years. It’s pricey, and I almost never used it, mostly to phone my investment company in the United States.

I discovered a better option for me. I have no interest in video calls, but I do need a U.S. number. There are several online phone services that work fine (PopTox, LetsBrik) but they don’t provide a U.S. phone number like Skype can.

It’s a sweet little app called Dingtone. You get a U.S. number, call waiting, message box, all the usual services, and it’s free to cheap. But no video calls. Meh.

I’m writing this at midday on Super Tuesday, so I don’t know the results yet. Bernie gonna win again? Are the Democrat candidates still screaming at one another? Will the Democrat National Committee steal the nomination once more from the crusty, old communist? Will the little-girl-groper Joe Biden be the nominee? Such fun!

As least Pocahontas is flaming out, silly broad. And Mayor Pete has bit the dust. I don’t think America is ready for a gay president with a First Man spouse. More to the point, I don’t think powerful, non-woke nations like China and Russia are ready for it, to put it mildly.

Too soon, way too soon.

Barbra Streisand says the United States could be “extinguished if Trump wins again. Extinguished! You just gotta howl at this stuff. Here we are, nearing the end of Trump’s first — but not last — four years, and the Republic still stands, hearty and healthy.

There are no troops goose-stepping in D.C., no midnight knocks at the door, no blacks hanging from trees. None of those Democrat predictions came true.

Quite the contrary. Things are far better than during the Obama administration. At least America doesn’t have a First Lady who is a cross-dresser.

And that’s enough news in March for now.

Hope it’s a lovely day wherever you are.

Grape leaves in Guanajuato

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The bar in the Teatro Juarez where Porfirio Díaz once imbibed. Set ’em up, José.

WE RETURNED from Guanajuato yesterday evening. We fled there Saturday to escape Carnival in our hardscrabble barrio where the natives go berserk.

It’s so bad during Carnival — also called Mardi Gras elsewhere — that a high, chicken-wire fence is erected around parts of our neighborhood plaza to keep drunks corralled.

Chicken wire. So we hightail it out of town.

Though Guanajuato is only about three hours away from our Hacienda, it was just my fourth visit, and the first in over a decade. My initial visit was in the mid-1980s with my second ex-wife. We made the obligatory trip to see the mummies who were stacked up against the walls in a carefree manner. Absolutely lovely.

Flash forward about two decades, which was my 2002 honeymoon. I returned to the mummies, but the exhibit had been sanitized. The corpses were behind climate-controlled glass cases. Most of the grotesquery had been eliminated. Damn shame.

We did not revisit the mummies during this trip.

This week we stayed in a great hotel directly downtown because we did not drive the Honda. Driving in the middle of Guanajuato is a nightmare, which is why I had not visited in a long time. The streets are narrow, bend all over the place and often vanish into ancient, underground tunnels. So we traveled by bus.

Visit highlights included dining at a Vietnamese restaurant, something that cannot be found even in our nearby capital city. I love pho. There was also an Arabic restaurant where we enjoyed stuffed grape leaves, pita bread and hummus! Yum.

Guanajuato is hyper-touristy, very different from my initial visit in the 1980s. Especially on Sunday, I felt like I was in Venice, Italy, due to the horrendous mobs of people. It improved on Monday and Tuesday, but not all that much.

It’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there, even for Vietnamese pho and stuffed, Mohammedan grape leaves. It’s good to be home again.

Some of the chicken wire is still up, but the drunks have been carted away.

Morgue, jail, home. Who knows?

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In case you missed them at the mummy museum.
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Guanajuato from on high. In color, of course.

Home alone

macMY CHILD BRIDE has gone off and left me, at least till Monday.

She hightailed it this morning at 8 a.m. to visit Guanajuato with two sisters and three nephews. I could have gone, but decided not to, so here I am, abandoned.

But I’m not completely alone because the house painter is here. If I fall down and break a leg or have a heart attack, he will haul me to the hospital, I hope.

The first thing I did after she departed was to enter the downstairs closet, climb atop a frayed, wicker-top stool and clean off the top shelf which harbored junk from many years ago. I’ll toss that trash into a dumpster this afternoon.

I found a machete up there. I bought it years ago, put it on the top shelf and forgot about it. Machetes are scary. Don’t remember why I bought it. Not going to throw it away, however. You never know when you might want to maim someone unpleasant.

At 1:30 I have a dental appointment downtown. I’ll leave the painter here alone while I do that. He’s applying red, waterproof paint to the roof of the kitchen and dining room. After the dentist, I’ll do lunch at a restaurant, then come home.

About 5 p.m., I’ll head out again with the aforementioned trash, pass by the dumpster, which is actually a parked truck, then head to the plaza for my usual afternoon café Americano negro and some down time with the Kindle.

I’m reading a bio of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Don’t tell Antifa.

Later, as the sun sinks beyond the Yuletide-festooned plaza, I’ll hop into the Honda for the drive back to the Hacienda. Only then, I suspect, will my abandonment hit me hard. It will be dark and solitary. I’ll likely eat an egg sandwich instead of the usual salad.

The king bed will feel like a soccer field where I’m the solitary player.

I prefer a team of two.