Fine September day

That was yesterday, but we’re hoping today will be equally delightful.

We’re approaching the end of the rainy season, thank the Goddess, which is always the attitude about this time each year as we wade in water, mud and overabundant greenery.

This was a celebratory week due to my child bride’s birthday on Wednesday. We headed to a snazzy restaurant here that normally exceeds our budget wishes, but birthdays warrant exceptions. It was the rooftop restaurant in the Hotel Casa Leal on the main plaza.

It’s a “boutique” hotel, and we are boutique-y people. At least we were on Wednesday.

Here are two photos I shot from the restaurant.

This town has changed so much, mostly for the better, in the two decades I’ve lived here, it’s astounding to me. I landed here by pure happenstance. There was little planning involved.

Since I’m posting photos, here’s one that’s primarily for my amigo Phil up in Arizona who’s taken a particular interest in the construction across the street that’s been plodding along for months, done almost entirely by a single man, the owner.

Last week, the two steel “curtains” and door were installed by an outfit that makes such things, blacksmiths. It took one day. I am impressed that the owner ordered an entry door that sports a little pizazz. Most would have chosen the standard, solid, black door.

Stay tuned, Phil!

Storefront construction progress

The owner, left, is helped by two guys on Saturday.

It’s fun to watch the construction of the two storefronts that are going up just across the street from the Hacienda. Previously, it was a weeded lot bordered on the sidewalk by a low, decaying adobe wall of ancient vintage.

Basically, it’s being built the same way the Hacienda was built 18 years ago, a construction method that, although quite common in Mexico, I had never seen before. The oddest part to me was how the roof gets up there. Wooden pallets are placed side by side at roof level, and they’re supported by posts that are usually former tree trunks.

Atop the pallets, rebar is crisscrossed. Threaded between the rebars are plumbing pipes and electrical conduits. Then a cement mixer — rarely the big truck, just a smaller, portable variety — mixes cement, and a bunch of guys, hired for the day, rush it up a makeshift ramp and spread it all over the roof, and then it’s smoothed out.

When we built the Hacienda, there was a vacant lot to our left, and now there’s the sex motel. Soon we’ll have commerce across the street. Change happens.


Today is election day. I have my voter ID in hand, and soon we’ll walk the couple of blocks to the polling station. Hint: We both will vote against any candidate associated with the Morena party of our doofus president. We’ve had lots of candidates murdered during this election cycle, but none of them has been Morena. Imagine that. Stay tuned.

Unfinished roof held up mostly by tree trunks.

Progress of the storefronts

This morning.

Watching the solitary fellow building the two storefronts across the street — with the assist of his wife on occasion — remains an interesting pastime. You can just see him on a low scaffold on the right side. Below is how it looked in October. I took the second photo from the water-tank roost atop my wife’s pasty kitchen, which abuts the street. When I took the October photo, I thought they were building a house, but nope.

Soon we’ll be a bustling commercial thoroughfare.

Changing faces

First

WHEN WE bought the double lot where the Hacienda now stands, this was the face we turned to the outside world. It was the face the property came with. It was humble, and we liked it that way.

The neighborhood is blue-collar, to state it politely, and we did not want to stand out. We kept this face to the world for about five or so years, but we wearied of it.  So we painted it like this:

Second

The white wall at the right is the entrance to our neighbor, the sex motel. A sharp observer will note there is no sidewalk outside our property and the stand of banana trees that I planted after a couple of years. It gives us a nice tropical look even though we’re nowhere near a beach or jungle.

While the recently completed storefront construction was under way, I decided to have the workmen repaint the entire façade, and this is how it looks now:

Today

There is a sidewalk the local government installed a few years ago. And we have a second entrance on the right, which is the storefront or, as it currently stands, my lovely wife’s pastry workshop. Since the ground level on the inside is significantly higher than street level, the workmen built stone steps.

Those stone steps, to my mind, are too narrow, so the workmen will return today, their last bit of labor, to make them wider. That brick tower between the two metal gates houses the water tank for the new storefront. I climbed up there a few weeks ago and took this really great photo of the street.

Last year we added a little red tile roof over the main entrance because it looks snazzy and Mexican. And we have lost all hope of blending into the neighborhood.

* * * *

The pastry shop is completed! And here are photos. Completed is not totally accurate because the space still lacks the counters and shelves that we’ll install, plus a big work table in the middle of the floor.

A photo gallery of the entire construction process is here. It too is completed.

outside

kitchen

inside

lavatory

For comparison, this is how it all started in November. That brick barbecue pit at the far right has been swept away. It was there when we purchased the property, and we never used it.

before