The shopping trip and memories

church

THIS IS THE Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. It’s the most spectacularly colorful church I’ve ever seen. My child bride says there’s one just as impressive or better in Oaxaca, but I’ve never set foot in Oaxaca.

This photo doesn’t do it justice. I took it with my cell, having left my camera at the Hacienda when we visited the State Capital today, mostly for shopping and eating.

We ate lasagna. Then we visited the Modern Art Museum. Following that, we walked across the street, under an ancient aqueduct, and a block farther to this church.

We sat a spell.

Then we walked another block to a long, tree-lined pedestrian street full of old Spanish Colonial buildings, some of which are collapsing but some are restored and beautiful. We sat on a stone bench, and I shot the next photo.

phone
This is not a black-and-white photo.

We were less than two blocks from where I lived above a garage after arriving in Mexico in January of 2000. Square in the middle of this photo, you can see the back of a phone booth that’s been there at least 20 years, and who knows how much longer?

Maybe the Conquistadors installed it.

I had a Mexico City girlfriend before moving down here. We’d met on Match.com, and she’d already visited me twice in Houston before I retired youngish and moved south. She was 50 years old at the time but still a real babe. Some women can do that. Her mother was Mexican, and her father was a Spaniard. It mixed well in her, believe me.

Almost every night during the four months I lived above that garage just down the street, I walked to this phone booth and called her. The relationship did not pan out, and a year later we went our separate ways. Just as well because she was not as agreeable as the child bride I ended up with, who is also a real babe. Some women age well.

Then we stood up and headed to Costco and Walmart.

Scenes from over there

youth
Why is that old, pinche pendejo Gringo photographing me?

THE FAMILY coffee shop was closed yesterday (rare) so I was forced to hit the competition. There’s plenty of that around the plaza, competition, but my favorite is way over there, and it was there where I sat with a café expreso for a spell.

It was late afternoon. And quiet.

I never order café expreso at the family joint because the aging machine does not make good café expreso. But since I was sitting at the competition, I ordered expreso.

It’s a small world, they say, and as I sat there solo my sister-in-law walked by — on the way to her dentist  — and a bit later her son, our nephew, the Little Vaquero, walked by in the opposite direction, returning home from the gym. He’s 16.

I also shot the photo below. Like the first, it was while sitting with my café expreso. I didn’t even have to stand up. Call me the Lazy Photographer.

shot

Beheading Birds of Paradise

birds
Survivors. Birds of Paradise who made the cut … or didn’t.

THIS SUNDAY MORNING, I awoke and thought of Sundays of Long Ago, specifically when I was married to my second wife and living in Houston.

We had a routine. I’d retrieve the fat Houston Chronicle from the lawn, pour coffee for the two of us — maybe we ate something too, can’t recall — and back to bed we went for an hour or more, reading the newspaper. It was fun.

I wonder if the Houston Chronicle still publishes a print edition. The world has changed so much in the past two decades. Another former employer, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, does not. It’s only online.

Just like me.

But this morning, here at the Hacienda, a far cry from Houston and New Orleans in all aspects, after coffee and bagels and cream cheese (lite), I went out the veranda door to do a bit of yardwork.

Madeleine Peyroux was still singing on the music machine.

I deadheaded a few Birds of Paradise. I whacked back one of the small bougainvilleas. I picked up rotting golden datura blooms from the ground in the Willy-Nilly Zone. And I cut stalks of defunct aloe vera flowers.

The weather was wonderful, and it appears the rainy season, which long overstayed its welcome this year, may have retired till June. I pray so.

We have plenty of work planned around here,* and it awaits the genuine end of the rainy season because it’s outdoor work. Not work I will do, of course. Work that people I employ will do, guys who do cement and stone.

And colonial tile.

terraza
Potted plants sitting on a scruffy surface. But you just wait!

There are three arches in the veranda, as you can see in the photo. There are potted plants resting on the three ledges below. They sit on a dingy brick surface. In about a week, a guy will come and lay beautiful colonial tile. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this 15 years ago or even last year.

It will be a huge — Yuge! — improvement. I’ll post photos.

In the meantime, I wonder if my second ex-wife still reads the Sunday newspaper in bed. I almost emailed her this morning to inquire. But I didn’t.

* * * *

* More work than has been done by far since the Hacienda’s construction. Roofs will be razed. Stairs will be moved. Floors will be ripped up. The Jesus Patio will be destroyed. Fruit trees will fall. More on all that when it happens.

A walk in the park

ladies

TRUTH BE TOLD, it was a walk in the plaza yesterday, not a park.

But first I sat a spell on a concrete bench drinking an agua de frutas and watching lots of children playing with toys they received Saturday morning, Three Kings Day, which is the big deal for kids in Latin America, not Christmas, which is a white folks’ fiesta.

Mostly, the children were enjoying new bicycles, scooters and roller blades, and everyone had a smile on their faces.

An exception to smiley faces were the two women in the photo above. They were sitting on the concrete bench facing me across the way.

corn

In the other direction, a pretty girl was selling corn on the cob and potatoes.

After finishing the agua de frutas, I took a walk around the entire, humongous square, and in so doing, I noticed the final scene, which I’ve left in color. What makes it remarkable is that it’s free of power lines. I couldn’t resist that rare photographic opportunity.

It was a beautiful afternoon.

downtown