Life on the streets

vendors

I’VE NOT BEEN shooting as many photos as I used to. I’m good at photography, so this is a loss to the art world. The main reason is that my best camera, a Canon, is heavy, and I  weary of lugging it in my man bag.

So I’ve taken to toting the other camera, a Fujifilm Finepix, which is far lighter, but the zoom is significantly less. I have to be closer to things. No matter. I used the Finepix yesterday to get the above shot of street vendors. I’m acquainted with those two. They are very friendly people though they look quite serious in the photo.

paulaframe

I also got this photo of Paula Romina, a great-niece of mine. It appears she was happy to see me. Maybe she was just happy to see the camera. She’s a drama queen.

I’m going to make a matte hard copy of that photo for her parents.

I have no grandchildren, nor nieces and nephews above the border and never will have. My father’s only sister was a lesbian. My only sister is a (grumpy) lesbian. My mother was an only child. My sole offspring, a daughter, is almost 53 and childless.

Our line of the family ends with my daughter. We are so conflictive and nuts, especially the distaff side, perhaps it’s for the best. Dr. Laura pointed out that it’s men who cause problems between nations, but it’s women who cause problems in families. Quite so.

What I lack in living Gringo relatives, I make up in Mexican relatives. While the generation of my child bride has passed beyond child-bearing age, the generation just after is breeding like bunnies, often without the benefit of matrimony.

If you’ve not seen my great collection of black-and-white shots, feel free to see it here.

Strolling the streets like a Gachupín

IT WAS LATE afternoon on Sunday. We were walking the block and a half from the Hacienda to the barrio plaza.

I was wearing saggy, gray sweatpants, a newer, gray sweatshirt, a gray, wool beebop cap and, incongruously, tan loafers by Dockers.

You look like a Gachupín, said my child bride in español, using the derogatory Mexican term for a Spaniard. Maybe I did.

She is not fond of Spaniards, a sentiment shared by many Mexicans.

It’s similar to how Social Justice Warriors feel about Chris Columbus and the crews of the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, hauling their Spanish privilege.

My child bride studied six months in Spain in the middle ’90s. She loved the food but concluded that Spaniards, for the most part, are sangrones. Grumps and arrogant. Her favorite dishes were paella and fabada Asturiana.

She also went to a bullfight in Madrid, more to watch the people than the bulls. It wasn’t until a decade later than I attended my first bullfight. I went with her in Mexico City at the enormous Plaza México.

In Gachupín mode, I continued with her to the plaza where we sat on a steel bench facing the ancient church. I had my Canon, so I shot the video. Were it not for the minivan the scene might have been filmed a century ago.

The church — 16th Century, I’m guessing — is undergoing renovation.

You can’t see it here because they started on the roof. Contributions were solicited from neighborhood residents months back, and we ponied up 1,000 pesos even though we never use the church, and I’m no Catholic.

The music was coming from behind us on the far side of the plaza. Mexicans usually get dressed up on Sundays and walk around their plazas, but the people in our hardscrabble barrio don’t uphold that tradition.

After sitting half an hour, we moseyed home and watched a movie on Netflix. I traded my Gachupín gear for pajamas that were not gray.

 

Moments in time

FOLLOWING MY afternoon café yesterday, I stepped across the street to sit a spell on a stone bench. I whipped out the Canon from my man bag and shot a brief video.

It was about 6 p.m., and nothing much was going on. Kids were playing. You can hear them. You can also hear music, which is coming from ground speakers installed around our plaza, part of a renovation about five years ago.

City Hall says it’s the largest main plaza in the country after the Zócalo in Mexico City. Maybe it is.

The rainy season is easing in. We got a good blow just last night, rain and wind colliding with the windows that face in that direction. The bedroom windows.

The Hacienda lawn got cut last Saturday, first of the year. Within three days it needed cutting again, but once a week is the limit. The rest of the time we’ll just wade through grass.

Things are getting cooler, which is the main advantage of the five-month rainy season. Cool summers! Who would have imagined it? I had no idea before I moved down here because I had done little research about anything at all.

I’m writing this at 8 a.m. It’s time to go downstairs for croissants and orange marmalade. Then I’ll sweep the veranda of the crap that storm last night blew into there.

It won’t take long.

(Post-croissant update: We played Pancho & Lefty on the music machine. A hummingbird flew into the veranda and looked directly at us through the dining room window screen.)

Like a dead day

THIS MORNING dawned cool and gray.

At 8 a.m. the thermometer on the upstairs terraza measured 58 degrees. It felt cooler. Fall is in the air.

More notable is that the Day of the Dead is near. As my child bride noted while walking the neighborhood plaza yesterday, practicing her English: It feels like a dead day.

Oh, well. She tries.

Noticing that it looked like a dead day this morning, I toted the Canon out on the terraza to make this sweep. There toward the end, you can see a lamp lit in the left window.

That’s where I sit to write this stuff.

On both dead days and lively ones.