Change of scenery

I SPENT MOST of my life before age 55 in hot zones. Southwest Georgia, northeast Florida, south Louisiana and east Texas.

I know sweat, and I don’t like it one bit.

So when I leaped off the treadmill, I opted for a big — very big — change of scenery not only in moving to Mexico but in settling atop an ever-cool mountain.

We  live 7,200 feet above the faraway sea — the Pacific Ocean — and we enjoy cool weather year-round. It can get a bit stuffy in the afternoons and early evenings of springtime, but it’s a small price to pay for the other 98 percent of the year.

Sometimes we like to visit a beach, and almost invariably we go to Zihuatanejo, which is about three hours from the Hacienda down a smooth autopista* past mango and avocado trees and high mountain lakes.

That’s our favorite beach, La Ropa, in the video.

If the urge to visit a throbbing megalopolis strikes, it’s about four hours, also on a smooth autopista, to Mexico City, or three hours in the other direction to Guadalajara.

If I don’t want to fight the traffic or teeming mobs of Mexico City, but I do want a wider variety of restaurants than we have here on the mountaintop, it’s less than a three-hour drive northeast to San Miguel de Allende.

Also on, of course, a smooth autopista.

In San Miguel, we now overnight at the Hotel Quinta Loreto right downtown, wonderfully located, not elegant but quite comfy, and a big room costs about $38 these days.**

The fabulous Café MuRo is less than a block away.

Sure, you have to elbow aside hordes of Gringos in San Miguel, both those who live there so they don’t have to learn Spanish and tourists who flock there for the same reason.

But that’s a minor distraction.

Then we return to the cool mountain air.

Changes of scenery are available in every direction.

It’s dang sweet.

* * * *

* An autopista is a fast-traveling toll highway. The tolls, which can be a bit high, keep the riffraff away.

** Including tax!

Hula hoop girls

hula

SITTING ON the big plaza eating a cupcake I purchased from the bakery just back of the concrete bench where I was perched, I watched the hula hoop girls yesterday.

Girls just wanna have fun.

Purple banners are going up around the plaza in preparation for Semana Santa, Holy Week, which is a big deal around here, almost as big — or HUGE, as  Donald Trump would say –as Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

silencio

There are a number of religious processions downtown during Holy Week, and my favorite is the Procession of Silence, which passes by silently, as advertised. That’s it in the photo, another year, and, yes, they dress up like Klansmen.

But we’ll be missing that parade this year because part of next week will find us in the Gringo-infested town of San Miguel de Allende. I’ll be visiting the consular office to renew my U.S. passport, a passport I don’t anticipate ever needing again, but it’s a habit I cannot seem to break.

We’ll be staying downtown at the Hotel Quinta Loreto. It will be our first stay at that hotel.

While Friday will be spent renewing the passport, on Saturday we’ll be visiting with an old friend whom I’ve not seen in 15 years, the psychologist who stitched my heart back together after my last divorce in the mid-1990s.

He’s visiting San Miguel for only four days, his first trip there. He lives in Austin, Texas.

But that is next week. This week — today, actually — we’re having a birthday party at the Hacienda. Our nephew, the lad once known as the Little Vaquero — turns 13. It seems like only yesterday that he was brought home from the hospital with those huge ears that look quite normal now.

And there you have it: hula hoop girls, Holy Week, San Miguel de Allende and the birthday party.

It’s just one thing after another.