Mexican life

The times they are a’changing

Not open to traffic yet.

IN THE NEARLY two decades I’ve lived in my mountaintop town, I’ve seen mayors come and go. No matter their political party there didn’t seem to be a dime’s worth of difference between any of them as far as municipal changes were concerned.

I’m sure they all lined their pockets, spent a few hours in City Hall every few days, and waited out their terms. There was one notable exception, a woman who was caught red-handed on video making a deal with a narco boss. She ended up in the slammer where she belonged. She died not long after.

And then came the fellow we have now, a mayor named Báez. I voted for him even though he was not running as the candidate of my usual party. Someone I trust who keeps up with such things recommended him. It was a good call.

Since he came into office, we’ve seen excellent improvements about town. A notable one is downtown street renovation that started a couple of years ago, and has been nonstop ever since. The photo above is just one side of the big plaza, and it’s the only one of the four sides that’s nearly finished.

I may die of old age before it’s all completed, but no matter. It’s good work, and I watch its progress almost every day. It’s fun. One reason it’s taking so long, far longer than street renovation would last above the Rio Bravo, is the tedious hand work.

This fellow below is a good example.

He’s working on a new sidewalk with just a  hammer and chisel. The rainy season starts in June, which will only make the toil more challenging for these guys.

So many people above the border believe that Mexican life is just endless gunplay. There is some of that, but mostly we’re just getting better and better every day.



8 thoughts on “The times they are a’changing

  1. Yes indeed. Handwork is a lost art NOB. I doubt you could find enough guys with these skills in an entire state up here to complete a project of this magnitude. Wish I was there to observe some of this first hand. And maybe I will be soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ricardo: We had a housewarming of sorts here at the Hacienda just after moving in almost 15 years ago. That was back when I was still a social butterfly. Someone I invited brought along an architect from the U.S. who was visiting. There is a brick archway between our living room and dining room. The architect took a look at it and said it would be almost impossible to find someone in the U.S. who could do such a thing. I imagine he was quite correct. The fellow who did ours is dead now.


  2. Beautiful street. Craftsmanship is the future, even here in the North. Several decades of “you have to go to college to make a good living” are over. Welders are in six figures. Liberal Arts can’t find a job.

    Do you know the origin of the custom of painting the tree trunks? It seems to be common in Central America as well.


    1. Ray: Yes, the street is remarkable. One reason the section in the photo is not open to traffic is they have not filled in the spaces between the cobblestones yet. A close look, and you can see that.

      No, I do not know the origin of painting tree trunks. Being a Southern boy, of course, I have seen that very often. I always assumed it was purely for looks, and it does look sharp, but I’ve read some other explanations of late, such as it’s an insect-fighting measure. Clue me in. If anyone knows, it would be you.


  3. The changes that Báez chap has brought about are incredible. Morelia’s presidente municipal, Alfonso Martinez, has spearheaded some incredible changes here as well. It’s times like these that make me ever so proud to be a Mexican.


    1. Ms. Shoes: The changes here are a source of ongoing surprise and pleasure to me. I often see Báez standing there when I drive past some of the ongoing work. I was not aware that similar stuff was happening in the capital city too. I hear they are building a tunnel to Altozano. That will be great.


  4. So how is he funding this? Was the prior administration simply pocketing the money that would otherwise have been spent on improvement? It all sounds a little too good to be true.

    And between that and your blog calling attention to the loveliness of Pátzcuaro, can hordes of expats be far behind?


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we are now quite proficient at dodging all the same holes in the road.


    1. Kim: How this is funded, I am not sure. I have heard that the state is footing at least part of the bill. No matter, it’s all for the best. As for my calling attention to the beauty of my town, I never mention its name. Only folks like you do at times. Tsk, tsk. As for more Gringos moving here, it’s already reached crisis proportions.


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