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.

Getting rid of the chicken

Caramba, mi amor! Caramba, mi amor! sang someone on FM 106.5 as I drove the Honda home in the dark of early evening.

Twenty minutes earlier, I had been walking in cool twilight across the beautiful, downtown plaza, clutching a brown paper bag containing two sugar donuts, and thinking of my chicken.

Our neighbors have chickens that roost overnight in an apple tree that abuts our property wall. Now and then, an adventuresome soul will make the leap and walk about in our yard for a spell. Then she’ll head home, back over the wall, in a flap of feathers because chickens don’t fly well. They have a low-max altitude.

This has been going on for years, and we didn’t mind much because the nasty things always went back where they came from. Till a week ago.

One came over and decided to stay. She sticks mostly to the side of the wall that abuts where her kin live, and she lurks beneath aloe vera and bougainvillea. Sometimes, she stands in the big, center semicircle of grass to taunt me.

I’ve tried to catch her, but I’m not as agile as I once was. My child bride assists on occasion, but so far the fowl has eluded our grasp.

New ImageOn Monday, a couple of guys come to lay talavera tile in the downstairs terraza. They’ll be out there for quite a few hours. They say the work will take two days, maybe three.

Here’s my plan: The first day, I’ll offer 50 pesos to whomever catches the chicken and tosses her into the street. If she’s still there on Day Two, I’ll offer 100 pesos, and that should inspire them enough.

I don’t want to eat her, and I don’t want her tossed back over the wall into the neighbors’ yard because this chicken has wanderlust and might revisit. That’s far less likely if she’s out in the street with multiple options for adventure.

The walk across the twilight plaza would have been more enjoyable had I not been thinking about the cursed chicken.

I would have focused fondly on those sugar donuts.

* * * *

(Update! My yardman came Saturday morning and had the bird in his clutches within a minute. Incredible. Mexicans can do anything.)

Goofy stuff happens

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Orchids that hang onto the peach tree are blooming in the yard.

A FUNNY THING happened on the way into what’s normally the stuffiest month of the year: It rained. Repeatedly. Cooling things off.

Usually, May is the final and worst month of our seven-month, bone-dry season. That “worst” is a relative matter because the weather here is about perfect all the time. What you read about Cuernavaca — that “eternal spring” business — forget that.  That’s what should be said about our mountaintop.

Oh, it will rain in the dry season, but it’s really rare, and it usually is just a one-day deal. However, the first week and more of May has seen almost daily rain. I hesitate to label it an early onset of the rainy season, as so many are doing. I think it’s a fluke, and a look at a satellite map seems to confirm that. A front the Gringos sent is very slowly moving through Mexico.

No matter. It’s been really nice the last week or so. Alas, the grass has started to sprout and needs a good trim. I dropped the Craftsman mower off at a shop yesterday for a tune-up and, with luck, Abel the Deadpan Yardman will come this weekend to put all in order.

In the meantime, we’re sleeping at night without the fan.

* * * *

LONG TIME GONE

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it would be like to visit the United States, something I have not done in almost a decade.

No two abutting nations in the world are more different than the United States and Mexico. This was startling, and quite disturbing, when I arrived at the dawn of the 21st Century. But it’s become normal now, and I imagine a return visit above the Rio Bravo would be weird at this point.

From what I read online, things have really changed up north.

I follow a Yahoo forum that caters to Gringos in my area, and it seems that most of them are going “back home” to visit on a regular basis. Nothing wrong with this, but I view them as vacationers here, not residents.

I have no plans to ever return to the United States, surely not to live but not to visit either. It would probably give me a headache. Everyone would be speaking English (except in those Sanctuary Cities), paying for stuff with greenbacks sporting pictures of George Washington and Alex Hamilton instead of pesos with pictures of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Damn communists.

The streets would be smooth, confounding my old Honda, and red-clay roof tiles would be a rarity, found only on rich-folks houses. And hard-shell tacos. What sort of person eats hard-shell tacos?

No, I better stay home. It’s cheaper, and the weather is better. Medical care is nicer, and the government generally leaves you in peace.

And the summer rains can come in May.

Though they usually don’t.

Three dry days

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IT’S GONE three consecutive days without rain here, and that’s mighty odd in mid-September. Has the rainy season ended early this year? I rather doubt it.

Most afternoons, after doing lunch at home, I go downtown to enjoy a nice café Americano negro with my Kindle while simultaneously admiring the beautiful babes who walk by. My child bride goes to, but she drives the Nissan because she does different things and comes home later than I do.

It’s not ecological. But I don’t care.

And I usually have my camera. Yesterday I spotted something I’d never noticed before in all the years I’ve walked by the same spot. The mountain in the mist behind the buildings in the top photo. How could I have overlooked that?

On arriving home later, getting out of the Honda, I shot the two photos below for no better reason than the scenes caught my eye, especially the wildly flowering aloe vera bush.

It does this every year. Lasts for a couple of months.

And the final photo shows my white roses. I generally roll my eyeballs at people who post flower photos on blogs because if you want to see flower photos, just do an internet image search, and there are thousands. Take your pick.

No matter. Here they are anyway.

I was inexplicably in a dark mood when I returned home, so maybe I subconsciously thought that snapping the flowers would boost my humor. I don’t think it worked.

I wonder if it will rain today. Cool things off.

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The tallest aloe vera blooms are about eight feet high.
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My measly white roses.