Man versus beasts

Photo shot April 12, 2017. Almost high noon.

IT’S SPRINGTIME, and the two banes of my life are muscling up in the yard, threats sans mercy. Monster thorns.

On the left is what I imagine is the world’s biggest nopal tree. Perhaps I should notify Guinness. On the right is the bougainvillea that, of the four in the yard, I let fly out of control.*

It’s hardly the biggest in the world, however. Bigger ones abound in my town. They never, ever stop growing.

I inserted myself into the photo to provide perspective. I planted both the beasts when they were tiny tykes.

Click on the photo for a closer look. Yes, the grass is mostly brown due to our being in the dry season. All is dark and dusty. The sky is not dark. It’s blue and beautiful.

The house is off to the left. The pastry kitchen and Nissan carport are off to the right. The sex motel is behind that wall. It’s what appears to be a white stripe. Actually, it’s yellow.

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* The other three I keep firmly under my green thumb.

The switcheroo

New ImageA PAIR OF YOUNG ladies rang our doorbell this week. They said they were from City Hall and that all the house numbers in our neighborhood were being changed. They even had a can of black paint and a brush to slapdash the new numbers on the exteriors.

They said they wouldn’t do it on our front wall due to our stunning new paint job, done during the recent bakery construction, plus the old address numbers attached out there are artsy ceramic tile.

But we will have to do it. You can’t opt out.

My child bride answered the gate, not me. I would have asked questions. The first to enter my mind was, Does CFE know about this? That’s the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, the light company. In order to get most anything official recorded here, one usually must show a comprobante de domicilio, a proof of residence.

Your latest CFE bill normally does the trick. Your phone bill will work too, but we have no phone bill. A water receipt will suffice, but our water receipt is handwritten down on the plaza and doesn’t show an address.

The only option we have is the CFE bill.

You might ask: Can’t you just show your driver’s license? Makes sense, but you usually cannot. We also — unlike the silly Gringos — have laminated voter-identification cards.* That won’t work either, even though you have to show the light bill, etc., to get a driver’s license or a voter-identification card at the get-go.

Sometimes logic is in short supply hereabouts, but it’s what makes us so freaking colorful.

I went to CFE’s website and signed into my account. There is the old address, not the new one.

Here’s what I will do. I will buy the new numbers on more artsy ceramic tile, and I will attach them to the property wall just below the previous numbers. Yes, we will have both. Other than that, I’m not changing anything unless the CFE bill appears with the new numbers one day.

If that happens, I may have to change lots of stuff — banks, driver’s licenses, passports, online shipping addresses and so on. The list will be lengthy. Time will tell, but until then we’ll just have two addresses.

While this will be an inconvenience, I understand why it’s being done and embrace it. Currently, many — likely most — houses in our neighborhood have no number outside at all. And when they do, they often make no sense, as if the residents simply made them up, which is quite possible.

Let’s say our old number is 32. Guess where the old 34 is? Instead of next door where it belongs, it’s about four blocks down that-a-way — and on the other side of the street!

This explains why deliverymen often ask not only your house number but what two cross streets you are between. Our being next door to the only sex motel in the neighborhood simplifies matters for us.

If you’re delivering something, and you hear squeaking bed springs and howls of glee mixed with moans, well, you’re almost at the Hacienda. Brake soon and keep an eye peeled.

This standardization of addresses is just one detail in the ongoing modernization of Mexico, a good thing.

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* This sensibly insures that only citizens vote, plus it doubles as an official ID. Nobody thinks there’s anything discriminatory about their voter ID. We think it’s just common sense.

Mexican palette

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SWEEPING THE Garden Patio at the back of the property yesterday, I noticed this combination of colors.

You don’t get this type of view often above the Rio Bravo. It just wouldn’t look right, so people rarely do it. But this is very Mexican. You’ve got your strong contrasts of yellow, green, red and the clear blue sky. You’ve also got your water tank up there, something that’s usually black.

There’s the white tank of the solar water heater too, a gizmo that heats water sometimes, and sometimes not. It disappoints me. The yellow building is the sex motel next door. Only at its rear is there a third story that houses the laundry, a room with washers but no dryers. There are clotheslines in there!

Since the sex motel has only eight rooms, and it doesn’t stay real busy, that works out for them.

Lots of color pleases me. And living here is an endless delight.

The summer scene

WE’RE WELL into summer, and every year or two I like to take a photo from the upstairs terraza to show changes in the Hacienda compound.* One shot, years back, showed a place in progress, rather bare.

But this is 2014’s scene, fully developed:

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And looking down to the left. The nopal tree is at least 13 feet tall, and the bananas are even higher. On the far side of the ochre wall is the sex motel:

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Now doing a full turn to the right, out toward the back. That angled tile roof behind the red wall is relatively new. That’s where I keep the lawn mower and garden gear:

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Abel, the deadpan neighbor who cuts the grass every Saturday morning, had done just that about an hour before the photos were taken. I planted 95 percent of what you see with my own grubby fingers.

I like living here. You really can’t beat it.

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* Yes, compound. I like to think I’m kinda like the Kennedys. Or the Bushes of Kennebunkport.