Mexican life

Coffee, cookie and construction

cafe

OUR MOUNTAIN town is packed to the treetops with tourists. Not fond of it myself, but it’s good for the local economy, and I’m down with that.

Much of Mexico goes on vacation between Christmas and New Year’s, and at times it seems they all come here. Many of them do.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at a sidewalk table with a café Americano negro and a chocolate chip cookie from Costco. Most of the sidewalk tables were occupied, and hordes of folks were walking by. It was good people-watching.

Finishing my café and cookie — I ate just one, which is why I am so svelte. I don’t make a pig of myself — I stood and walked across the street and the plaza to the far side where a yuge renovation project is under way.

The renovation is taking a very long time, months, and my video illustrates why. Watch those guys detailing the flat stones of the sidewalk. It will last a century or more.

We don’t do prefab.

Another interesting element is that the construction work is not closed off. Pedestrians walk all around the workmen and through the half-finished street and sidewalk.

In the United States, the area would be closed, and all the workmen would be sporting hard hats. It’s probably more perilous the way we do it, but it’s far more interesting too.

Mexican life

December means medical checkup

lab
This is my wonderful lab.

WHEN I WINGED south over the Rio Bravo way back in the Dark Ages, I had the hysterical healthcare mentality of a typical Gringo.

Live without health insurance? Why, that would be sheer madness, so I purchased coverage with a system called IMSS. If memory serves, it was the peso equivalent of about 300 U.S. bucks for a year of full coverage. But after that first year, I knew better and did not renew.

One must go to an IMSS clinic, and I didn’t want to. They’re dicey.

Health insurance? Who needs health insurance? Pick your own excellent doctor and pay cash or yank out your debit or credit card.

After marrying in 2002, my child bride talked me into getting a complete checkup in 2004 at the Star Medica Hospital in the state capital. I repeated the process in 2007. In 2013, I decided on a simpler approach.

Every December I pick a day and head to the outpost of a lab downtown at 8 a.m., and I get my cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and poop tested. The last I hand over with some cute comment. On some years — not all — I get an EKG and chest X-rays. I do those elsewhere. The first in a doctor’s office ($25 U.S.), and the second ($16 U.S.) in a different lab.

I skipped those this year because I did them last year.

After the pretty nurse takes my blood and poop sample, I head home where I arrive by 8:30 — there’s rarely any wait at the lab because I get there when it opens — and I dine on a nice, warm croissant accompanied by hot café Americano negro and a beautiful woman.

In the afternoon of the same day, I return to the lab to pick up the results. Yes, same-day service and, of course, there was no physician’s referral required. Charge: $27. Now that’s healthcare for you.

That all took place yesterday.

How you folks lovin’ that ObamaCare?

This year’s results: I’m in tiptop condition.

Mexican life

Gonna be a hard winter

clock

IT FROZE at the Hacienda Monday night. A little birdie told me, or rather a little birdie bath. That’s the most obvious sign of an overnight freeze, the talavera birdbath on the Jesus Patio freezes over.

Another clue is frost on the grass.

This does not make me happy. Just because I loathe heat, and that being one of the main reasons I chose to end my life here on the mountaintop, does not mean that shivering pastes a smile on my face. It does not.

The cold does serve one fine purpose. It keeps the Gringos from moving here, or rather it used to, or seemed to. It doesn’t appear to be working so well these last few years because more and more have followed me here to altitude.

The Gringos are a hoot. Yeah, I know I used to be one, but I’m less so now than before even though I make a really lousy Mexican. Caught somewhere in the middle, a sort of weirdo limbo.

Late yesterday afternoon I was sitting at a sidewalk table on the big plaza, as I often do, with a nice café Americano negro when a couple of Gringo tourists walked by. Maybe they were Canucks. They all look alike.

I was bundled up with a jacket and scarf, wishing I had gloves, and this goofy pair walks by in shorts, tank tops and flip-flops. I doubt they did that intentionally. I suspect it’s the only sort of clothing they brought.

It’s Mexico, you know. It’s hot. Everywhere.

After finishing my café, I walked around the plaza, investigating the extensive street renovation that’s under way that will take months. I took the photo during that unscheduled scroll. As you can see, it was just after 6 p.m.

It’s gonna be a hard winter.

Mexican life

Water & chocolate

AFTER A FIVE-DAY, unusual dry spell here last week, it’s raining again, which is what the Goddess intends for our neck of the woods through all of September.

And, as usual too, I headed downtown yesterday afternoon for a café Americano negro, which I normally get free at my sister-in-law’s coffee shop. But she closed yesterday to rest.

Seems the Independence Day festivities over the weekend pooped her out. She had to sit with her cigarettes and Coke while watching the cash register fill with tourist pesos.

Darn near did her in.

So I walked to another side of the plaza and sat at a different coffee shop where I had to pay. I ordered hot chocolate. It started to rain. I grabbed my camera and panned around.

You might have heard of our latest earthquake. It did quite a bit of damage in Mexico City, more than the previous one a couple of weeks ago. When it struck yesterday we were in a supermarket in the nearby capital of our state.

I was walking down an aisle, and about five little cartons of something fell off the shelf directly in my path. I had felt nothing, but the store alarm went off, and we had to stand in the parking lot about five minutes.

Then we went back in and finished shopping. It was only later that we learned of the extensive damage and deaths in Mexico City. We had initially planned on making our twice-yearly visit to our condo there the first week of this month.

That was when the last quake struck. It was centered far away in the Pacific and didn’t do much damage, if any, in Mexico City. But our neighbors emailed us it was quite a jolt.

We rescheduled the trip for the first week of October, but now I’m a bit concerned. Gotta do it, however. We’re in the northern part of Mexico City, and our building suffered no damage yesterday. Bet it scared the neighbors, however.

Would have scared us too had we been there. Our apartment is on the fourth floor of a five-story building.