Mexico City lives!

THERE WE WERE, walking down the sidewalk in the middle of the leafy Calle Amsterdam last Tuesday in the trendy Colónia Roma, one of the worst-hit, we had read, areas of Mexico City during September’s killer quake.

We did not see any damage whatsoever.

Quake? What quake?

Not only that, we didn’t spot any earthquake damage at all during the four days we spent in the nation’s chaotic capital.

We go to Mexico City twice a year to air out our small condo and pay a few bills we can’t pay online. About the only thing left in that category is the security service, listless guys who hang out at the entrance to our “gated community.”

This condo, one might recall, is where my child bride lived when we met during a visit she made in 2001 to my mountaintop town. The rest, as they say, is history.

She worked as a civil engineer for the federal highway department, and the “gated community,” a series of five-story buildings, each with 10 apartments, was constructed specifically for, and sold to, employees of the highway department.

Deed at last!

We paid off our unit years ago but only received the deed last Spring. Mexican bureaucracy moves at its own laughable pace.

Aside from airing out the place and paying the security service, we didn’t do much. Washed sheets and towels from the previous visit and hit a few dining spots, our favorites being Rock N’ Burger, a food truck across the street, and a new restaurant a short taxi ride away that serves the best caldo de gallina on Earth.

The caldo de gallina was served at a restaurant named La Jefa. I wrote a review for TripAdvisor, but since the eight-month-old restaurant had never been reviewed, it has not yet appeared on that travel website.

We found La Jefa by sheer luck, walking down the street.

Caldo explained

FYI: Caldo de gallina is chicken soup, but it’s better than your mama’s chicken soup.* It comes with garbanzo beans, rice, and other ingredients, depending on the eatery in question. La Jefa serves a knockout caldo de gallina.

I view our Mexico City digs only as an investment for my wife. It’s worth a good bit more now than when she signed the mortgage in 1997. We spotted a For Rent sign on one of the identical apartments, so we called to inquire.

They were asking 6,000 pesos monthly, which surprised us, favorably. We may rent it in the future, especially when I cannot walk up the four floors due to decrepitude. That day, however, has yet to arrive. I still bound up like a teenager.

Sardine can

The two-bedroom condo is small, so small that it would fit, literally, inside the living room here at the Hacienda. This makes it easy to tidy up. It gives me claustrophobia at times. However, entire families of four or more, plus dogs, live in some of the adjoining, identical units. Incredible.

lr

Here’s the living room. We sit here evenings and watch DVD movies and, like back at the Hacienda, dine on salads made by me.

I remember well the first time I set hoof in this place back in 2001. She had invited me to visit. The furnishings and wall colors were entirely different, but I recall the visit fondly.

Memories

I took this photo that first night while she was in the kitchen fixing something for supper. It’s one of my favorite shots, and she hasn’t changed much in the last 16 years.

Some women age very well.

* * * *

* Unless your mama’s Mexican.

Hacienda doings

BEEN QUIET of late, so here’s what’s happening.

As I write this around 9 a.m. Saturday, I’m waiting for Abel the Deadpan Yardman to arrive for the weekly lawn trim. For a few days it looked like the rainy season had wound down, but Thursday we were deluged with torrents and hail.

Enough already!

* * * *

Soon, for a few days, we’ll be in Mexico City tending to chores related to having an apartment there, dusting, sweeping, paying bills. The visit will end the longest spell we’ve not done this since we “moved in” over a decade ago.

Eight months of absence.

We were planning, as usual, to visit the first week of September, but we held off for some reason I don’t recall. This was fortunate because we would have been sleeping in our fourth-floor bedroom when the first quake hit.

Let’s wait a month, we decided.  Then, two weeks later, the larger quake hit. Growing more apprehensive, we delayed again. So, in a few days more … with our fingers crossed.

If we don’t survive, know that I’ve enjoyed interacting with you — well, some of you. Most remain mum — these 12 years.

* * * *

I have a tip regarding the internet.

I’ve used all the major browsers and some lesser-known ones too. I like to experiment, plus I have all the free time in the world. You know the biggies, Chrome, Explorer, Firefox and Safari. Opera’s fairly big too, used mostly by Europeans.

Opera is excellent, by the way.

serveimageI’ve also tried Brave, Yandex, Vivaldi and others that I’ve forgotten. But recently I hit the jackpot with a browser I’d never heard off. I found it on a list of ten-best for 2017. It was right there in the middle.

Maxthon.

Had it been my list, I would have put it at the top. It is clean, logical, fast and good-looking (looks count!). There is a fast-responding user forum if you need it.

Copying photos off the web requires one click! Maxthon is full of fun surprises, and it’s superior to all the biggies.

One particular item I like is its password saver. Most browsers include their own password saver, but they don’t seem serious about it. Maxthon’s is locked tighter than the proverbial drum, but is also incredibly easy to use. This means you don’t have to mess with Dashlane, Lastpass and their ilk.

Maxthon was born in 2003, and it’s the brainchild of Chinamen. Now it’s headquartered in San Francisco, California, not China.

No charge for this tip.

(An internet amiga is still using Netscape!)

* * *  *

My child bride began the process last Tuesday of getting four tooth implants. A few weeks ago, I ended the same process with only one implant. She is something of a dental sissy, and we’ve had lots of drama since Tuesday.

The immediate aftereffects of having four posts pushed into her jaws have calmed a bit by this morning, and we’re both happy for that. She returns to the dentist next Thursday. I don’t know what for, and neither does she.

A checkup, one imagines.

Usually, a three-month wait follows the post insertions. Then the new teeth are screwed into the posts. Currently, her posts sport temporary teeth.

My temp tooth fell off twice in the first month, so I just passed the next two months looking like a Caribbean pirate.

Modern dental technology is amazing and, of course, it costs far less here than it does above the Rio Bravo.

Another great reason to live in Mexico.

* * * *

And that’s all the news for this morning.

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.