A WEEK AGO this sidewalk was stuffed with tourists and endless stalls of Mexican handicrafts — the good, the mediocre and the incredibly beautiful.
It was leading up to our annual death fest, Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.
But it’s over now, and the vendors have gone home, leaving only the tarped roof that extends over most of our huge, downtown plaza, and this too will vanish soon, stored somewhere till Easter Week. Life will return now to normal, peaceful and lovely.
We were not here, the first Day of the Dead I’ve missed in the 19 years I’ve lived on our mountaintop. The overwhelming tourist crowds and, even worse, the traffic jams drove us away. Think Daytona Beach on Memorial Day Weekend.
We locked the Hacienda and boarded a bus to Guadalajara, where neither of us had visited in about 20 years. It was comparatively quiet there in Mexico’s second largest city.
We went to the zoo (excellent!). We visited a Vietnamese restaurant to eat pho (pretty good). We took a tour-bus ride about town (so-so). We walked around a lot.
On the afternoon of Nov. 1, we were in one of the huge plazas in the city center. That’s where I shot the video below. True, I’m no Cecil B. DeMille. I’m not even Quentin Tarantino.
We stayed in a small hotel downtown that was two blocks from where I spent my first three nights after landing in Mexico alone on Jan. 20, 2000, the Hotel Morales. We would have stayed there this trip, but the Morales was booked solid.
Our last evening, we sat in the lovely lobby of the Morales, and I saw that young, weary traveler walk through the entrance at midnight with two bags. They gave me a room near the kitchen due to the dismal hour. It was the only bed available.
I’ll probably elaborate on that in January, the 20th anniversary of my Mexican adventure. I embrace anniversaries, clocks and calendars. I arrived on a Delta jet that managed to get off the ground in Atlanta just minutes before an ice storm closed the airport for days.
Getting out of Dodge for the Day of the Dead was a good idea. We returned Sunday afternoon to peace and quiet. The tourists had skedaddled. Our fleeing will likely become a tradition. If we go back to Guadalajara, I’ll make a timely reservation at the Morales.
It’s a far snazzier place now than it was back then. But it’s sweet to be home now.
I’VE LONG NOTICED the occasional cultural difference where you wouldn’t normally expect it — in the medical community. Isn’t Science Settled? No, it’s not.
An interesting example popped up in my life this week.
Yesterday, I received a minor dental surgery, two stitches. Before leaving the dentist’s office, he gave me instructions, one of which was to avoid dairy products for three days. No milk, no cheese, no yogurt, no nada.
This struck me as odd, but I decided to obey orders, so last night, instead of my usual small bowl of cereal and milk before bed, I downed a croissant with orange marmalade.
But this morning, I decided to do a little online sleuthing because I like my bedtime cereal and milk, and I eat it again for Second Breakfast.
I typed into my search engine (DuckDuckGo, never Google), “What foods should be avoided after dental surgery?” I phrased the question in English, so I received U.S. medical websites. I read three of them, and nowhere did it say to avoid dairy products. On the contrary, yogurt was one of the recommendations.
I then typed the same question in Spanish, so I got Mexican medical websites. The very first one told me to avoid all dairy products. So what’s happening here? Cultural differences is what. I’ve decided to be a Gringo and enjoy my cereal and milk.
A CANADIAN who goes by Kris because that’s his name mentioned on another blog today that he does not have a blog because his life lacks events that are sufficiently interesting to merit a write-up. Truth is, you can write about anything.
It’s often not so much the topic but how you present it.
Steve Cotton who lives inexplicably in Casa Cotton in the sweltering, insect-infested, Mexican beach town of Melaque often writes on potentially boring subjects, but his manner of writing makes it interesting. I’ll return to this theme down the way.
* * * *
Steve’s latest post was not on a boring topic. It was a death.
Yesterday, Steve wrote about Ken Kushnir, a first-generation American whose family hailed from Russia and who retired to Mexico many years ago from California with his Honduran wife. Ken died a few weeks ago.
I knew Ken, and I liked him. He was always smiling.
Ken, like Steve, like me, wrote a blog. His nom de internet was Tancho. His is the latest death among a group of Gringo bloggers who moved to Mexico in the last 20 or so years.
Another went by Sparks, but his real last name was Parks. And there was John Calypso who wrote an interesting blog dubbed Viva Veracruz which has been taken offline. Also, not long ago, Michael Warshauer died of cancer. The focus of his blog, My Mexican Kitchen, was, not surprisingly, on cooking and eating. He was a retired baker.
It seems we’re dropping like those proverbial flies.
Ken Kushnir, R.I.P. And, a tad tardy, Michael Warshauer too. Another good guy gone.
* * * *
But back to the topic of blog-writing and how having an interesting life is not required, though it surely helps. A bit of imagination can put, with luck, a fairly engaging spin on most dreary doings. Let’s look briefly at my fascinating day so far.
I noticed recently that the motion-sensor light attached to the outside of our bedroom was not coming on when I walked up the Romance Sidewalk from the most critical direction at night. I climbed a ladder to adjust it this morning. Can’t test it till tonight.
I do incredible things.
(Update: The adjustment worked! Just so you know.)
Also today, I stopped procrastinating about trimming the bougainvillea you see in the photo. It’s one of four bougainvilleas in the Hacienda yard, plants I wish I’d never installed here way back when, about 16 years ago.
I went so far as to skip my customary exercise walk around the plaza this morning in order to adjust the light, trim the bougainvillea and write this blather for you. I did complete my gym routine at 7:30, however. I have a gym set here upstairs, and I use it.
The Canadian Kris (see first paragraph) used to leave good comments fairly frequently here, but he decided to stop when I took issue with a positive comment he made about the communist dictatorship of Cuba. Quite a few Canadians seem to have a positive view of Cuba, incredibly. Commenters come and go. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
Kris is welcome to come back. But Canadians are oddballs.
You never know who is reading your stuff. I recently heard from my daughter after a very long absence. She used to read my website years ago, and maybe still does. And she’d leave comments on rare occasion, sometimes to cuss me out.
Yes, I am a defective dad. As was my father before me.
She said that she’d uncovered some of her paternal grandfather’s artwork tucked away in her home. My father liked to paint. And she noticed for the first time some were reproductions of famous artists. Like my father, I also was an artist of sorts.
About the same time, I received an unexpected email from my last ex-wife. Aside from the occasional birthday greeting, I never hear anything from her, so this was a surprise. She wanted to know why I am a Trump fan. She seemed genuinely mystified, and she asked politely, as most Trump foes do not, so I sent her a reply that went something like this:
Trump thumbs his nose daily at Political Correctness, a movement that is quite literally destroying Western Civilization.
He knows the need for borders, and is doing what he can about it.
He’s fighting the Regulatory State and making headway. I don’t recall any other president even mentioning the growing threat of the Regulatory State. Do you?
My response to her was a bit more detailed on those three points. Of course, there are numerous excellent reasons to be a Trump fan, but those are the three I mentioned.
I also mentioned to her the #WalkAway campaign, a movement of former Democrats like me who have abandoned that nefarious party. It’s most visible on YouTube.
Here’s a thoughtful video by a woman who worked in the Clinton Administration. She states why she’s abandoned the Democrat Party and is now a Trump supporter.
I’ve long wondered if my ex-wife reads my website, so she does. I’ve never mentioned my Trump love directly to her. I invited her to join me on the Trump Train because there is room for her. We do not discriminate. We’re a diverse bunch of cheerful folks.
Some of us make moonshine and marry our cousins, but most do not.
It was strange that I received communication from both my daughter and my last ex-wife in the same week. It’s always nice to hear from them, rare as it is.
I think our chat has come to an end. I probably should pack my bag for Guadalajara.