News of Springtime


IT RAINED YESTERDAY, which it should not have. April showers isn’t an expression that normally applies to our Mexican mountaintop. April drought is more like it. The forecast says it’ll do it again today, but the sky is blue so far.

I used to dread Springtime rain because it — unless brief — would rouse the lawn, and that would require mowing that big baby. But since I quit mowing a couple of years ago, it doesn’t matter if it rains. Our yardman, the dour Abel, just makes a bit of money.

Easter Week ended. That’s a big deal here, the resurrection of Jesus, so I mostly avoid it. Mobs of tourists arrive downtown. There’s a big artisan market on the plaza, and some of my Mexican relatives come visit. Fortunately, they stay downtown with my child bride’s sister or we let a chosen few stay in our downtown casita. The boozers, chain smokers, cheats, children and irresponsible can sleep elsewhere.

This year we gave the casita keys to a favored niece, about age 30 and married a year; her husband, a very nice fellow; and the niece’s papa, a good guy, and stepmother, whom I do not know. Four people, we thought. Of course, Mexicans often arrive with hordes of human baggage, and the papa and stepmother showed up, without warning, with their other two adult children.

None proved to be boozers, chain smokers, cheats or irresponsible, so it was okay. The casita has only a queen bed and a double bed, so God knows where they all slept. There was a small, fold-out mattress in a closet, leaving just one bedless. Probably snoozed on the sofa.

They were there only two nights, and they left yesterday afternoon. Later we passed by the casita and found it spic and span, which is how we like to find it after guests depart. There were neither cigarette butts nor dead bodies.

Next week we’ll be enjoying the Pacific beach at Zihuatenejo. Most Mexicans will be back at work or in school, so we should have the place pretty much to ourselves, which is how I like it. It’s a slightly late anniversary jaunt. We hit the 12-year point just two days ago.

This morning, under blue skies and enveloped in cool air and optimism, we walked our usual exercise laps around the neighborhood plaza. On returning, we sat a spell in the downstairs terraza with orange juice and grapefruit. That’s when I snapped the photo above.

Ready for rain

View from the Casa Sun & Moon’s deck.

This is the sole photo I took during our anniversary trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, last week. One shot, no more.

This is the Casa Sun & Moon, which is the Grande Dame of Zihua’s beachfront hotels. It was built in the 1960s, and was a favorite of famous folks. Though physically large, the hotel has fewer than 20 rooms.

Its glory days have long gone, and the hotel is rather tatty now. We’ve stayed there four or five times over the past few years, but we won’t be returning. It’s become preposterously overpriced. Plus, it’s for sale, not a good sign.

There are only three good rooms, large suites with jacuzzis that overlook the bay. We’ve always stayed in those suites. The other rooms are grim.

In the future, we’ll be staying directly next door at La Quinta de Don Andrés, which is where we stayed on our first visit to Zihua about six years ago.

Don Andrés once cost more than Casa Sun & Moon, but now they’ve switched places price-wise, plus the Don Andrés underwent a snazzy renovation.

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Today, May Day, is when Communists feel particularly proud of themselves. In spite of its colossal failure as a political-economic system, many people still embrace Marxist notions, proving the human race is hopeless indeed.

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I opened a new bar of soap this morning. Most folks, I imagine, do this without thinking, but for me it’s always a major event akin to popping the lid of a vacumn-packed can of coffee. My soap brand is Zest.

Coffee and soap improve our lives.

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Speaking of Communism, I just finished a fascinating book, The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag. Its author, Chol-hwan Kang, escaped to South Korea in 1992 and now lives in Seoul.

Chol-hwan Kang, along with most of his family, was sent to a slave-labor camp when he was 7 years old. He was kept there for ten years.

The next time you think about your crappy childhood, be grateful it was not spent eating rats, watching executions, and working deep in a mine.

Now that’s a crappy childhood.

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Last week I made a second round of trimming the yard with three types of cutters, small, medium and heavy-duty. As with the first round a couple of months ago, this activity ended with a mountain of green garbage.

This is to prepare for the rainy season, still about a month hence.

I got Abel, my deadpan neighbor there on the other side of the sex motel, to cart it all away, which he did for 150 pesos, about 12 bucks.

Among the victims of this latest round of trimming was the entire red trumpet vine that has graced, embraced and cursed the downstairs terraza for years. In its place, I planted a nice bush with blue flowers.

Like bougainvillea, think twice before planting a trumpet vine.

But now we are ready for rain.