Evening on the plaza

plaza

I WAS WALKING to the Honda yesterday about 6:30 p.m. when I looked over thataway and thought, That sure looks sweet.

Luckily, I was toting the small Fujifilm Finepix camera in my man bag. I pulled it out, pointed, and snapped.

City Hall says our plaza is the nation’s largest after the Zócalo in Mexico City. Maybe it is. Another notable characteristic is that there is no church on this plaza, which is almost unknown in Latin America.

It’s not Terre Haute.

Another waning day

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A waning day makes nice light.

TWENTY-FOUR hours after the last post, I was walking to the Honda again. But this time I was returning from the Basilica.

I had gone there with my child bride, her sister and the nephew we once called The Little Vaquero. But he’s not so little anymore at age 15.

Once a year, the local luminaries pull our version of the Virgin Mary from her high perch in the Basilica and parade her around town upon shoulders. People take this very seriously. Being neither Catholic nor Christian, I view it less as a religious event and more as a tourist attraction.

It was supposed to start at a civilized hour but being Mexicans we got off to a tardy beginning. So tardy that I wearied of waiting and left, which is when I walked down the hill and shot these pretty photos.

The rest of my crew hung around, but an hour later they too tossed up their hands, figuratively speaking, and left. I’m sure the Virgin managed to make her annual trek through the cobblestone streets of our mountaintop town, but none of us bore witness to the sacred event.

Anyway, if you’ve seen it once, and I have, you’ve seen it sufficiently.

A friend of ours, a fellow who went by the nickname of Don Chino, used to manage this event, but he died last year. When Don Chino was in charge, the Virgin headed out the Basilica door with a spring in her step.

Now she has fallen into bad Mexican habits.

R.I.P., Don Chino. We miss you.

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This is not the Basilica. It’s a big church just one block from the Basilica.

Don’t tread on slick ceramic

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Central courtyard of the hospital.

MY CHILD BRIDE stepped into the kitchen from the service patio yesterday morning. It had been raining, and she was wearing old Crocs sandals.

The kitchen has a smooth ceramic floor. Her soles were wet. This is a very bad combination. She took a swan dive, landing on her left arm.

It really, really hurt, she said.

We hoped it would calm down after an hour or two, but it didn’t, so we drove downtown to a hospital connected to a church — Catholic, of course.

Someone saw us rapidly, and an X-ray was taken. No broken bones. Whew! Because, like me, she has never broken a bone in her life.

The arm is inflamed, the doctor said, as he wrote a prescription for a pain reliever. He said she might want to return Monday afternoon when the traumatologist is available. We’re hoping that won’t be necessary.

armOnce again, the Mexican healthcare system makes a mockery of what Gringos endure north of the Rio Bravo.

Here’s what happened. We walked to the hospital reception where there was no line. We paid 70 pesos to see a doctor. That’s about $3.60 U.S. A doctor is on duty 24-7. From the reception we walked nearby where a nurse took her blood pressure, which was okay.

We immediately walked next door where the doctor was waiting. He felt her arm, asked a few questions and decided on an X-ray. We stepped back into the passageway and took a few steps to the right to the X-ray room.

The X-ray was taken immediately, and the doctor reviewed it. No broken bones. That’s when he gave us the OTC, pain-reliever prescription. As we left, we passed by the reception again and paid 400 pesos for the X-ray. That’s about $21 U.S.

The doctor had suggested that an arm sling would be a good idea. Out on the street, we walked to the first corner, turned right, and there sits a small business that sells such things. We bought the sling you see in the photo. It cost 90 pesos. That’s about $4.70 U.S.

A nearby pharmacy sold us the pain reliever for 120 pesos, about $6.30 U.S. Total time for all of this: about an hour. Total cost: about $35.60 U.S.

The hospital is neither a government bureaucracy nor an appendage of the church. It’s a local charity run and funded by citizens.

How’s that Obamacare working out for you? Or if you’re Canadian, how are you liking that high-tax-injected “free” socialized medicine? Chortle.

Hacienda happenings and pilgrims too

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Some pilgrims travel this way.

HOLA, AMIGOS. It’s a lovely day at the Hacienda, and here’s what’s happening.

I am alone today, abandoned by my child bride who, with her sister and the nephew formerly known as The Little Vaquero, has gone on a pilgrimage. The trio is walking to a town about 12 miles distant.

They left at 10 a.m.

This is an annual event, and hundreds of folks hereabouts do it. But not me. I have no desire to go on pilgrimages. It’s a religious event — Catholic, of course — but that’s not why my trio does it. They just like the walk, which takes about three hours.

They switched to this pilgrimage two years ago. They previously went on a far longer one to a town called Caracuaro to visit the “Black Jesus.”

I once went on that pilgrimage, years back, out of curiosity. The traditional way is to walk, but I drove because I am a lazy pilgrim.

I walked through throngs of other pilgrims in the streets of Caracuaro, some on their knees. I ate tacos and beans, and I came home. It was my only visit. The Black Jesus will have to get along without me in the future.

I said I was alone today, but that’s not quite true. There are workmen here. January and February are when we do renovations at the Hacienda. It doesn’t rain in January and February normally, so it’s a good time for renovations.

We’re having work done on some windows, and there’s painting too. I’ll have a full post on that in a few days because I know you’re curious.

Meanwhile, here I sit, alone, while my pilgrims stroll in the sunshine.