Change of scenery

I SPENT MOST of my life before age 55 in hot zones. Southwest Georgia, northeast Florida, south Louisiana and east Texas.

I know sweat, and I don’t like it one bit.

So when I leaped off the treadmill, I opted for a big — very big — change of scenery not only in moving to Mexico but in settling atop an ever-cool mountain.

We  live 7,200 feet above the faraway sea — the Pacific Ocean — and we enjoy cool weather year-round. It can get a bit stuffy in the afternoons and early evenings of springtime, but it’s a small price to pay for the other 98 percent of the year.

Sometimes we like to visit a beach, and almost invariably we go to Zihuatanejo, which is about three hours from the Hacienda down a smooth autopista* past mango and avocado trees and high mountain lakes.

That’s our favorite beach, La Ropa, in the video.

If the urge to visit a throbbing megalopolis strikes, it’s about four hours, also on a smooth autopista, to Mexico City, or three hours in the other direction to Guadalajara.

If I don’t want to fight the traffic or teeming mobs of Mexico City, but I do want a wider variety of restaurants than we have here on the mountaintop, it’s less than a three-hour drive northeast to San Miguel de Allende.

Also on, of course, a smooth autopista.

In San Miguel, we now overnight at the Hotel Quinta Loreto right downtown, wonderfully located, not elegant but quite comfy, and a big room costs about $38 these days.**

The fabulous Café MuRo is less than a block away.

Sure, you have to elbow aside hordes of Gringos in San Miguel, both those who live there so they don’t have to learn Spanish and tourists who flock there for the same reason.

But that’s a minor distraction.

Then we return to the cool mountain air.

Changes of scenery are available in every direction.

It’s dang sweet.

* * * *

* An autopista is a fast-traveling toll highway. The tolls, which can be a bit high, keep the riffraff away.

** Including tax!

Green revolution


IT’S RAINED a lot recently, and that means work. Yuck!

I don’t mow the lawn anymore. I’ve, uh, outgrown it. I farm it out, so to speak, to the deadpan neighbor named Abel who has no brother called Cain. That I know of. He does have a brother, however. Probably named Pablo.

Abel came Saturday for the first mow of the season. The rainy days have not arrived in full force just yet. It’s a touch early. But it’s been coming down more than normal for May, and the grass is gobbling it up, turning green, and growing at an incredible pace, especially around the edges.

This photo shows a corner in the yard, very near the dining room window, so we look at this corner quite a bit. Two-thirds of it was planted years back by my child bride who has the annoying habit of putting down things that spread. Then she goes about her business, baking pastries and leaving her plant mischief to me. I do so wish she would not do that.

There are three things growing in that corner. A philodendron, the centerpiece which I planted, and the stuff she planted: that ground cover — a real hog-wild spreader — and the vine growing up the wall, another constant battle for me, not her.

I have to keep that vine from crawling over into the neighbor’s property (They are grumpy people) on the left and over into our Garden Patio on the right. I call it the Garden Patio back there because it’s where I store yard gear. It’s not attractive. But the name’s nice.

Garden Patio. Sounds like a grand place to sit, but it isn’t. It’s concrete and a buried water tank.

The rains of summer bring major changes to our world. It cools us off. It puts mud on our boots and constant puddles on our terrazas, niggling stuff to deal with. But the overall effect is positive, mostly because it keeps us cool through summertime. And the world turns lovely.

Here at 7,200 feet above the not-so-distant Pacific shores.