My five dentists

Dr. Silva’s office. My old Honda on the corner yesterday.

As I have three water heaters, I have five dentists.

When I arrived in the state capital more than 21 years ago, among the first things I looked for was a dentist. A Gringo couple I met at the language school recommended a woman dentist, and she was exceptional. Even after moving to my mountaintop town eight months later, I continued with the same dentist until 2014.

Why did I abandon her? She became scandalously pricey. By 2014 she was charging 1,250 pesos for a standard cleaning. That is high today, and it was even more so seven years ago. I asked around, and a friend recommended a dentist named Baltazar Silva. He was charging half the other dentist’s price for a cleaning, and the cleaning was better.

Silva has a woman dentist working for him who does mostly cleanings, and she does better cleanings than anyone I’ve ever encountered in my life. I thought she was a dental hygienist till about two years ago when I heard someone refer to her as doctor. I asked her if she were a dentist. She said yes.

So, a dentist employed by another dentist. I imagine she simply did not have the finances to open her own practice, or she just prefers less hassle in her life, which her own practice would entail.

She’s been working with Dr. Silva for about 20 years, so it’s not a temporary situation.

Coincidentally, the first dentist also employed a dentist, but the employee was young, and I think it was a temporary gig. Above the border, I never encountered a dentist employing another dentist for any reason. Maybe it’s a Mexican thing.

Silva is a tall, good-looking guy and a superlative dentist. In addition to normal upkeep, he’s given me one implant and four to my child bride, all expertly done and reasonably priced. Oddly, however, he does not do root canals. For that, he sends patients to a nearby specialist.

That’s his office in the top photo. Do you notice something strange? That is correct. There is no indication of any sort that it’s a dental office. He is purely word of mouth.

Not even in the Yellow Pages.

My mountaintop dental office where there is a sign.

Truth be told, I’ve long wished for an equally talented dentist in my mountaintop town, purely for convenience, and I’ve tried two or three here over the years, but Silva was always far better.

But a couple of years ago, a cap fell off a tooth, and I walked to a dental office I’d noticed downtown simply to have it glued back on. It was, from the street, a humble looking establishment.

A woman dentist ushered me in, and glued the cap in place. I was surprised at the office because the entrance and tiny waiting room were very misleading. Inside there are three modern work areas and lots of high-tech gear, more than Silva has. There are three work areas because there are three dentists, siblings with different specialties.

The woman and two younger brothers.

They even have their own laboratory in the rear, staffed by one or more technicians, where they make their own dental gear. And the woman dentist, unlike Silva, does root canals.

So I’ve found a local dentist where you sometimes get three for the price of one. She consults with her brothers. I let her do a cleaning once, and it was adequate but not even close to the loony thoroughness of the lady doctor at Silva’s place. So I still drive to the state capital for cleanings.

Plus if I ever need another implant, I’ll return to Silva even though one of the local siblings does implants too. Actually, I would return to Silva for anything big-league. I just have lots of faith in him.

View from inside the waiting room, which is where I was today.

Dentists, dust, cars, maids, Lent, etc.

WE WENT TO the dentist yesterday, both of us. Actually, it was two dentists. One for her, and another for me.

My child bride was to get, after three months of waiting for the posts to set in her jaw, her four new implants. She ended up getting three. There was some detail with the fourth, and she’ll be returning in about 10 days to get that last one.

While she was doing that for over three hours, I drove about 10 blocks away to a specialist who does root canals. That went well, if longer than usual, two hours in the chair, and then I returned to the other dentist to pick up my better half.

A friend in Arizona told me yesterday that he needs a root canal, and his dentist’s fee will be $2,500. That’s U.S. dollars. My root canal cost $3,200 pesos, which is about $172 in U.S. dollars. This cost difference is astounding.

We have no dental insurance, but we don’t need it. Unfortunately, my friend in Arizona does not have dental insurance either, and he does need it. Just one more example of how life in Mexico is superior to life above the Rio Bravo.

* * * *


Veranda shelves where dust and bat poop accumulate.

This morning, like most mornings, I swept the downstairs veranda and wiped off the shelves. All the shelves were dusty, and some harbored bat turds that had dropped from the roof tiles where bats doze during the day.

We’re heading into full-tilt dry season, which means lots of dust, inside and out. The dust inside drives my child bride nuts. We really should hire a maid, but we never do. The minor reason is that we don’t want another ongoing household expense. The major reason is that we don’t want anyone underfoot here.

In the years we’ve lived here, we’ve had two maids. I forget why we fired the first, but we fired the second because she was unreliable. For months after she departed, we noticed things had been stolen, mostly clothing and music CDs. If we ever hire another maid, we will not leave her here by herself, which is another reason not to hire a maid.

* * * *


Unlike so many Gringos who make the wise decision to move over the Rio Bravo, I did not bring a car with me. Delta Airlines provided my transportation.

I bought my first car in September 2000. It was a little Chevy Pop, something that was not sold in the United States. It was almost a clone of the Geo Metro, a very nice little ride. Four years later, we bought a 2004 Chevrolet Meriva, another car that’s not sold in the United States. It was made in Brazil and sold in other nations around the world as a Vauxhall, sometimes an Opel. It too was a very nice car.

A bit over four years later, we bought our 2009 Honda CR-V. Aside from some design flaws that only the driver notices, this is a very nice car, and it’s still serving us well.

About four years later, again, we bought my wife’s 2014 Nissan March, and yet again, it’s a car that is not sold in the United States. It is small and sweet.

The Honda is almost a decade old now. It’s been great. However, a large plastic part  where the front bumper should be — why do cars no longer have bumpers? — fell off recently in the state capital. No huge issue, and a mechanic reattached it for free.

Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will we be tooling down the autopista through avocado groves and narco hangouts toward the sands of the Pacific when something else falls off or simply stops functioning? It’s a concern.

I don’t know when I’ll buy it, but I have decided on its replacement: the Kia Soul.


It’s smaller than the Honda CR-V, but it’s far roomier than it looks. We went by the dealership in the capital city recently to see if my tall, lanky, aging self could get into the Soul with no problem. It was a piece of cake.

The front seat is incredibly spacious. The back seat not so much, but we never sit in the back seat. The safety ratings are good, and so are customer reviews.

Inexplicably, when I tried to sit in the significantly larger Kia Sportage, I cracked my skull on the top of the door opening. Kia, a South Korean firm, has been making a big splash in Mexico the last couple of years.

When this change will take place is unknown. Currently, the Honda is working fine. I recently bought new floor mats and had it waxed for the first time. Soon, I’ll need four new tires, no small expense. But when a new car is purchased, I’ll become a Soul Man.

* * * *


I wrote the above this morning before heading out on my daily exercise march around the neighborhood plaza. The butcher shop in the next block, run by another Felipe, was closed due to its being Friday during Lent.

Semana Santa is just a couple of weeks away, so he’ll soon be able to sell again on Fridays. That won’t affect me, however, because I rarely eat beef, being more of a chicken and salad man. It always amuses me that Catholics think God worries about what they eat.

And Jews think God wants guys to cut off the tip of their dingus.

I’m sure he has more important things on his mind, like how to get the Mohammedans to see the light and put down the scimitars.