Last week I posted a piece on the Kung Flu hysteria. Just yesterday I happened upon what might be the most over-the-top hysterical reaction to the pandemic anywhere in Mexico. Or maybe the entire world. First off, a little background:
We know the YUGE political element to the Kung Flu, especially above the border where leftists want everyone to hide at home and shut all businesses and schools, effectively bringing civilization to a halt. Think California and New York.
Conservatives are more clear-headed and embrace personal choice and freedom when confronted with health issues. Think Texas, Florida and South Dakota.
Back to Mexico now.
Most Gringos who relocate below the Rio Bravo are leftists. It must be their inner hippie that causes them to settle down here. Conservatives tend to stay closer to home. I am an exception. Maybe not because I was a Democrat voter 21 years ago when I pulled up stakes in Texas to flee south.
San Miguel de Allende, which is crammed to the roof tiles with Gringos, most of whom are Democrat Socialists, has been transformed by the YUGE presence of foreigners. Now look at the top photo. To enter downtown San Miguel, you must pass through that archway which sprays your entire body with antiseptic liquid.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which means yesterday was Mardi Gras or, as we call it hereabouts, Carnaval. Normally, it’s one of the worst periods in our hardscrabble barrio because the locals go loco with up to four nights of blaring concerts on the neighborhood plaza just a block and a half away.
In recent years, we’ve made it a habit to skedaddle to somewhere that’s not here. Last year we went to Guanajuato. This year we went nowhere because it was nice and quiet even though a Gringa who lives not far away in our hardscrabble barrio was complaining about freelance festivities on her street. I heard nothing.
No official Carnaval this year thanks to the Kung Flu.
Yes, I am not the only norteamericano who lives in the neighborhood, but I have been here the longest. Actually, I have been on the mountaintop longer than almost all Gringos and Canucks who now reside here, too many for my taste, actually.
Most belong in San Miguel de Allende.
Just here in the barrio, there is a Gringa in one home and a Gringo couple in another, all of whom arrived here long after we built the Hacienda. The Gringa lived downtown before moving nearby, and the couple, who are in their 90s, bought a big, fancy home from another Gringo couple who had bought it from another sole Gringo even earlier. I watched all these goings and comings from right here.
The initial owner of that property was a gay bookseller who returned to the United States and shortly died at a fairly young age. The second owners fled to Uruguay due to some police problems, according to gossip. The current owners seem to be really fine folks.
We had been warned yesterday that our state and quite a few others likely would suffer rolling blackouts as Mexico tried to cope with an energy crisis in the north of the nation, which was a result of the problems above the Rio Bravo, the Texans and their hippie fans. But nothing happened here. The lights stayed lit. More importantly, Netflix stayed lit.
Speaking of lights, over the past few days, a crew has traveled around our barrio changing street lights. Before, we had the large bulbous variety — the one outside the Hacienda had been burned out for over a year — and now we have the sleek version you see in the photo. I’m thinking that little circular, blue thing on the top means it’s solar-powered. I hope so. It’s a good use of solar power.
We have a solar water heater on our roof that does next to nothing. I have disconnected and given up on it. If you want it, it’s yours for the taking. No joke. It’s our second solar heater. The first did not work at all. The current one simply works badly, at times sending scalding water to the shower via the cold tap. Yes, the cold faucet.
This morning dawned cold, but it did not freeze last night as it did the previous three nights. How do I know? I check the birdbath at 8 a.m. Solid or not? Low-tech information.
Here’s a photo update on the storefront construction that lumbers on across the street. As previously mentioned, it’s being built by one man with the occasional assist of his wife who totes things. He works most days, but he wasn’t at work this morning. I suspect that’s because it’s Ash Wednesday.
It’s a lovely day, and we’ll be dining on beans, rice and sausage (from San Antonio) this afternoon. Later I’ll drive to a carwash, and after that I’ll head downtown for a nice café Americano negro on the plaza with a chocolate-chip cookie.
Saturdays are pretty routine as are the other six days of the week, but Saturday morning is when Abel the Deadpan Yardman comes calling with his weedeater. I provide the mower and gasoline for both machines.
Why do I call him deadpan? Well, he can smile. I have seen it, but not often. He’s been cutting the grass and doing the occasional other yard chore for years, ever since I got too shiftless to do it. He has never said a word to me beyond responding to a question.
Nary a peep.
As mentioned some weeks back, he’s more a musician than a yardman, specifically a trumpter with a local noise band.
I did some yardwork before he arrived at 10. I cleared out a small area that was filled with both sweet alyssum and weeds. The latter was getting the better of the former, and they could not be separated, so out they went, the whole little zone.
Next I watered the potted plants on the downstairs terraza before resting on a rocking chair with a glass of green juice and collagen that my child bride whipped up.
The sky is overcast, and it’s cool. Amazon.mx says my new Kindle and its cover will arrive today. I hope so. It left San Miguel de Allende a bit after 6 a.m. I don’t know why it was in that Gringo-infested burg since it started its journey my way from Mexico City.
And that reminds me. There’s a big encampment of people in Mexico City’s Zocalo, citizens who want our megalomaniac president to resign. I hope they are successful. Someone in the opposition PAN party has introduced legislation, or something, to have the president’s mental faculties examined. Makes sense to me. He’s a whack job.
We’ll be having chicken, beans and rice for lunch today. I hope the Kindle arrives soon because I want to go downtown this afternoon and put my feet up for a spell.
I WAS READING yesterday on the blog of an old Gringo who lives in the sticks outside the touristy, Gringo-infested burg of San Miguel de Allende that the old Gringo in question — his name is Alfredo — was finding life in the Plague Year “onerous.”
I am not finding it onerous, just a bit inconvenient at times, but mostly I’m doing just fine. I read, I watch Netflix, I fix lunch, which is the main meal of the day in Mexico, I power walk around the neighborhood plaza every weekday, and I tend to the yard. With some exceptions, it’s what I did before the Kung Flu tossed everyone into a tizzy.
I don’t garden every day — not the lazy days — but I do what needs to be done, and Abel the Deadpan Yardman does the heavy lifting, so to speak, and there’s rarely much heavy lifting. This morning, I hosed the yard plants for the first time in a couple of weeks, just the plants, not the grass, which fends for itself.
Then I rested on a downstairs veranda rocker and shot this picture of myself. That’s me in a good mood. I already had the camera at hand because I planned to photograph the butcher minutes later during the power walk. The butcher is named Felipe too.
That young man is a red-meat entrepreneur. I like him. He has a wife and a young boy, and they are all well-behaved.
I’m a little scraggly, but I tidied up later. One must maintain standards of appearance and deportment. I learned that in the Air Force decades ago. Or not. Just after snapping this shot, I grabbed my mahogany cane — to thrash unruly dogs — ushered my child bride through the big, red gate, and we powered around the nearby plaza.
Perhaps there was a bounce in my step. She detoured to a little store to buy peanuts for cookies this afternoon. They are tasty cookies and go great with coffee.
The plaza was empty, so we didn’t have to maintain social distancing. The space was all ours on this lovely, blue-skied, cool-aired, carefree day.
We’re not letting the Kung Flu get us down. Tomorrow I’ll be meeting a guy named Miguel at the Downtown Casita, and he’ll do some renovation in the carport that will entail removing plants — one of my preferred activities — and installing ceramic floor tile.
Faux brick. It will look sweet.
To date, the Plague Year has prompted two cancellations for the Downtown Casita, leaving just one in place, a couple who’ll arrive in late October for only two weeks. I don’t much care for two-week reservations because the income is hardly worth the effort.
There’s plenty of time for them to cancel too. I rather hope so.