Moments in Mexican time

HERE WE SIT, self-quarantining on the mountaintop this morning with time to kill. We’ll be self-quarantining for a couple hours more till we get into the Honda and head to a German-style restaurant that abuts the big lake nearby. With luck, it will be open. If not, we’ll continue down the old, curvy highway till we find an eatery that is open.

You gotta eat.

Meanwhile, for your entertainment because I know you too are self-quarantined, here are a few videos that I’ve taken over the years.

Sometimes we get hot-air balloons high in the sky.

There was also that day when we were driving the twisty two-laner with a great view of the lake near Ucazanastacua. Can you say Ucazanastacua? I know you can say Bob Dylan and Mr. Tambourine Man. There was lots of wind.

Every year during Easter Week, we get these people making tamales on one of the downtown plazas. It gets really smoky, and at night it looks spooky, the fires and all. But it won’t happen this year. It’s been canceled due to the Kung Flu hysteria. Sad.

A train passes just past dawn five years ago near the Hacienda. Trains rumble by six or seven times every 24 hours, day and night. You get used to it. Some are noisier than others. It depends on the engineers and their desire to honk the horn.

If the German restaurant is open, and I’m guessing it will be, I’ll order Bratwurst and sauerkraut. After packing it all in, we’ll return to the Hacienda to start that self-quarantine thing again with Netflix’s help. At least till tomorrow when we’ll likely drive to the nearby state capital to stock up on goods. Get some toilet paper and lettuce.

The sweet thing about self-quarantining is that you can decide when and if to do it. There’s a freedom about it, which I embrace. Stay clean.

The bedroom wall

wall

RETURNING HOME late yesterday afternoon after sitting on the big plaza downtown, watching workmen erect metal scaffolds to support canvas roofs under which the yearly Semana Santa market will unfold next week, I walked into the bedroom and noticed this part of the wall in the light of early evening.

The camera asked for a flash, but I ignored it.

The lamp light did the trick, along with a little extra from the nearby window. Sometimes, you just gotta follow your gut instinct.

The guitarist

EASTER WEEK, or Semana Santa, brings tons of tourists to our mountaintop town. Tourists bring money.

And street musicians hope to score some.

I was sitting yesterday at a sidewalk table with my electronic book and a cup of hot café Americano negro when this old boy appeared and struck up a tune or two.

He got 10 pesos from me, and other tables also contributed.

If I’d had my best camera, the photo would be sharper, but I did not have my best camera. Maybe next time.

Music men

band

OUR MOUNTAINTOP is a magnet for tourists, especially during the Christmas holidays, Easter Week and the Day of the Dead. Most of the tourists are Mexicans.

But in all the years I’ve lived here, I don’t recall our having the hordes that we have right now.

We live on the outskirts of town, and every day we face a long line of creeping traffic heading downtown. Luckily, there is an alternative route, but I’m not going to advertise it.

A twist to this year’s Christmas season is a gasoline crisis. Lots of gas stations are out of fuel, and those that have some often have long lines of cars. A number of Mexican states are affected, and nobody seems to know why.

Rumors abound.

Our “Energy Reform” starts Sunday, the first day of 2017. Gradually, the Pemex monopoly will fall as foreign gas stations are phased in around the nation.

In theory this will lower prices, but on Sunday prices will increase from 15 to 20 percent, so people are angry.

But Mexicans are usually angry about something or other. Along with the Energy Reform, we’re getting a reform of the legal system, and reform of the educational system.

That latter has the teachers, a gang of union leftists, foaming at the mouth, which tickles me no end.

Mexico is changing.

The last gas crisis, earlier this year, only lasted about a week. The current one has gone on more than two weeks. Nobody seems to know how long it will last. I fill the Honda tank every time I pass an open station with no line.

Mexico is ever entertaining and challenging. If it’s not severed heads rolling down cantina floors or teachers apoplectic at having to take competency tests, it’s something else.

One way to stay mellow is to sit at a sidewalk table on the main plaza with a hot café americano negro, reading my Kindle and sometimes seeing street musicians.

I tipped those old boys in the photo.

And life goes on.