Step back in time

Wind chime we bought in Zihuatanejo years ago. Enjoying Sunday morn.

Mexico switched its clocks in the middle of last night. Doesn’t happen above the border till later. Has there ever been such an annoying custom that covers so much of the world that continues due to sheer inertia?

Why won’t someone say, Enough already!? Or, as we say in español, ¡Ya, basta!

Here at the Hacienda, we try to soften the blow by moving the clock only 30 minutes on Sunday and then the other half hour mañana. It helps. One of the two switches, fall and spring, feels worse than the other, but I forget which. I think it’s the spring switch.

Reeling from the change of even 30 minutes, we sat down this morning at some vague hour for biscuits, honey and coffee. Then we sat on the scarlet sofa for 30 minutes more, which is our habit every day of the week, a plus to not having real jobs.

Breakfast-recovery time. With music.

Then I put on grubby sweatpants, grabbed yard tools and sat on the rock/concrete out there pulling weeds from around the base of two little palms we were gifted years back by friends of my child bride’s in her long-ago home of Los Reyes, Michoacán.

Weed-free circle.

When you’re 76, getting down and — even more so — getting up from a rock/concrete surface can be a challenge, but it’s all part of the fun, I prefer telling myself. Yipee!

Meanwhile, the Kung Flu terror continues. I once more compared the number of people who have been infected and those who’ve died against the total population, and the results are always the same. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning or gored by a rampaging bull or kicked by a donkey in downtown Seattle.

It’s another cool, lovely day. We’ll be lunching this afternoon in a downtown hotel that serves some killer stuffed chiles. Wish you were here.

The tail of October

Here’s my little pumpkin for Autumn 2020.

Back in my newspaper days in Texas, I always marked October’s arrival with a small pumpkin that I sat atop my office computer terminal. In time, even a few of my coworkers started doing the same. Well, one at least, that I recall.

Now I don’t have the fat computer console we used in the 1990s, so I sit my little October fruit atop the Epson printer just a tad to the left of my H-P screen.

Autumn brings changes, and one happened this morning as I told Abel the Deadpan Yardman that mowing is done for this year. The rain has ended, and some yellow spots are appearing in the grass. In time, the whole lawn will be brown, dead and crunchy.

I know Abel wasn’t happy with the news since it’s a good little chunk of change for less than two hours of relatively easy toil once a week. No matter. It had to be done.

He still has his day job, tooting a trumpet.

Speaking of toil, I enjoy witnessing the ongoing house construction across the street. You may recall that one guy alone is doing the work. Well, mostly. His wife shows up to tote some stuff for him, and a couple of times a month, a younger fellow chips in, but it’s primarily a one-man operation.

He was working this morning, but he took off for a spell. Noon shot.

A sharp eye will notice that he’s building his own wall to the left directly abutting the property wall of his neighbor, as he should. It would be cheaper and faster to just utilize the neighbor’s property wall. When the sex motel was built next to our house, the owner should have done the same, but he opted to take advantage of our property wall.

Our town is one of Mexico’s primary Day of the Dead destinations for tourists. Due to the Kung Flu, festivities were cancelled a month or two ago. Then, due to complaints from business owners because it’s a YUGE income generator, it was back on again. And now it’s off again.

The graveyards will be closed to tourists and, if I understand correctly, to the locals also. Sad situation, both spiritually and financially.

We’ve been told to build our altars in our homes. We usually do that anyway. Well, my child bride does while I sit, watch and offer moral support from the sofa.

It’s a lovely day here on the mountaintop. The sky is blue. The air is cool and breezy, and we’ll be dining this afternoon on ravioli from Costco. Yum!

Credit cards & corruption

Just back from the exercise walk today on a lovely morning.

When I arrived on the south side of the Rio Bravo these many years ago, I came with two credit cards, one from Wells Fargo, the other from a bank I now forget. I used the latter in 2003 to make monthly payments automatically for a Sky TV service. Sky almost immediately started to hose me, overcharging the card.

Oddly, the bank would not let me block future charges, so I had to cancel the card, leaving me with just one, the Wells Fargo. A year or two later, when I received a renewal card in the mail from up north, the fraud department wanted me to jump through so many hoops to activate it that I canceled it too. So, no credit card.

I started using a debit card online, which is a dreadful idea. I had two banks at that point, a Mexican account at Banamex, and a U.S. account at Banamex USA in Los Angeles. I finally obtained a Visa card from the Banamex account. It had a very low limit, the peso equivalent of about $150 U.S, so rule out a European splurge.

It was the same sort of starter card they offer campesinos.

My credit card history above the border was stellar, but credit history does not travel across the Rio Bravo. Down here, you start from scratch. Mexico has a credit bureau.

In 2014, due to the nincompoop FATCA legislation from the Obama Administration, Banamex USA closed my account with little warning, leaving me just the Mexican bank account with its almost useless credit card.

I was mad at Banamex in general, so I opened another Mexican account at HSBC only to learn it would not give me a credit card, in part due to my age. You read that right. HSBC is a nightmare bank. Avoid it. And I had canceled the Banamex account.

I then opened an account at BBVA Bancomer to have a fallback. After a wait of about three months, they gave me a Visa credit card with a free additional with my wife’s name on it. I have since requested a second one which also came with a free spouse card, plus the two have digital cards connected. So, all told, I have six Mexican credit cards.

BBVA Bancomer is an excellent bank. It has dropped the Bancomer name, and is just BBVA now. I have also tried out and found wanting accounts at Banco Santander and Banco Azteca. I investigated opening an account once at Banorte, but the woman with whom I was dealing briefly was so surly, I decided against it.

And I dumped the HSBC account. BBVA now serves all my needs nicely.

I have the BBVA app on my Motorola cell, and I check it daily. On two or three occasions, I found fraudulent charges. Since the cards never leave home, I wonder how that’s done. I suspect it’s bank employees. No matter, a phone call to the bank gets the matter resolved, the card in question cancelled, and a replacement rapidly arrives at my door.

Fraudulent charges, quite a lot, appeared on one of my cards just last week. Someone was having a field day purchasing goodies from Mercado Libre. A replacement card is en route. I’m a big fan of BBVA even though I do think it’s bank employees who occasionally buy stuff with my card. Let’s just call them bad apples.

From what I see on internet forums, lots, probably most, Gringos who move to Mexico live here for years without Mexican bank accounts and without Mexican credit cards, relying totally on their accounts up north. This often gets them into binds.

If you’re gonna live in Mexico, you need a Mexican bank and credit cards.

Now let’s turn to politics, always fun.

Have you heard about last week’s revelations in the New York Post that Hunter Biden, in cahoots with his creepy dad, aka The Big Guy, were selling access to the White House when Sleepy Joe was vice president?

Have you read about Facebook and Twitter censoring mentions of the scandal? And how that censoring is blowing up in their partisan faces? If you know little or nothing about these things, that means you get your “news” from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, the Houston Chronicle and others of their ilk in the mainstream media.

All for now, amigos. Vote for Trump.

Beans and buildings

How it looked just yesterday.

The fellow who’s building his home across the street almost single-handedly is making great progress. As mentioned in previous posts, aside from his wife who comes now and then to help him haul material and a younger fellow who appears about twice a month — probably a son — the one guy is doing this completely solo.

Very impressive. I’ll keep you posted.

I made a great discovery yesterday. L.L. Bean has an international website. They didn’t the last time I checked, which was years ago. Before I packed my two bags and flew over the Rio Bravo two decades ago, I was a L.L. Bean man. I was especially fond of those gumshoes.

The website even gives me prices in real money, i.e. Mexican pesos. They’re not cheap, but they’re not cheap in the United States either, though American buyers don’t have to pony up an import tax.

I suspect there are flannel-lined, rubber-soled boots in my future, and probably some of those shirts that make me look like a lumberjack. And can fleece pullovers be far behind?