My year’s transition

fish

LATE YESTERDAY, around 6:30, I was standing at this seafood stand on our mountaintop town’s smaller plaza, the one  where the ancient, colonial library abuts. I was enjoying a shrimp cocktail.

Like Christmas Eve, I was flying solo, but there was no hotel waiting. All I had to do was drive home, lock the big, red gate, put on my jammies, write this and slide into the king bed well before midnight.

And that’s exactly what I did. My child bride, yet again, was overnighting with 500 or so of her closest kinfolks, but this time it was downtown at her sister’s home on our big plaza.

One day earlier, on Sunday, we had planned to lunch at a seafood restaurant on the ring road because we knew going downtown would be difficult due to tourist traffic. But the traffic was far worse than we’d imagined. We were stopped dead in our tracks in less than one block from the Hacienda.

We switched to Plan B, which was devised on the spot. We went away from town, not toward it. We drove to another town, Quiroga, to hunt a restaurant. We parked on one end of Quiroga’s main drag and walked almost entirely to the other end before spotting a Chinese restaurant.

And that was lunch. It wasn’t bad.

Returning down the jammed main drag afoot, we sat a spell on a steel bench in Quiroga’s main plaza for a bit of people-gawking. Then, on the way to where the Honda was parked, we bought an ice cream cone and shared. Vanilla with Oreo bits.

Driving toward home, we passed through another little town with the odd name of Tzintzuntzan. Can you say Tzintzuntzan? Just outside Tzintzuntzan, there’s a series of stone-carving businesses.

I stopped and took the photo below. Then we went home.

Yesterday, my child bride was busy most of the day fixing grub for last night’s New Year’s Hoopla with her 500 or so relatives. In the afternoon, I went downtown for a nice café Americano negro on the plaza. Then the shrimp cocktail. The traffic was quite light for some reason.

Then I came home and did what I already told you I did in the paragraphs above. I hope 2019 is a fine year for one and all.

I’ll continue what I’ve been doing for many years, which is not much of anything aside from awaiting the Grim Reaper. I find it suits me.

carved

Two neighborhoods on high

THE FIRST VIDEO shows pre-Hispanic, indigenous ruins that remain near where I now live. It’s about a 20-minute drive away.

The second is the nearby state capital. The park where the video takes off is about a five-minute walk from where I lived my first eight months in Mexico, from January to September of 2000.

I often sat alone on a bench in that small park with an ice cream cone and wondered what the devil I had done to myself.

But it all ended well.

Ice cream for sale

ice cream

WE HAVE TWO primary plazas in our Colonial downtown. One is a good bit bigger than the other.

We call the bigger one the Big Plaza, and we call the smaller one the Small Plaza, but we do it in Spanish, not English.

The two are just one block apart.

They are very distinctive, those two plazas. The Big Plaza is where fancy people hang out. The Small Plaza is where the working class gathers. It appears to be self-segregation.

I, of course, hang out in the Big Plaza.

There are other differences. The Big Plaza has far fewer sidewalk vendors than the Small Plaza, which not only has more vendors but a wider variety of products.

The vendors on the Big Plaza mostly sell corn on the cob. The far more numerous vendors on the Small Plaza sell all sorts of stuff. I’m particularly fond of shrimp cocktails.

I was slumming the other day by walking through the Small Plaza, and I noticed this smiling woman selling ice cream. I took her photo, and here it is.

Cemetery visit

dead
Somebody’s tomb with bouquets of old marigolds.

MY WIFE WAS born at home and delivered by her father who was a physician. The town was Uruapan where they lived briefly before relocating to the nearby village of Taretan.

It’s a town that’s on nobody’s tourist trail.

It was Taretan where another child was born, a girl, then another, a boy, and that ended Mama. Dead at 31.

Mama is buried at the cemetery in Taretan and so is Father who died many years later at age 61 — still too young.

Normally, on the day following the Day of the Dead, we drive to Taretan to tidy up the tombs. That would have been a week back, but we didn’t make it due to a renovation project ongoing at the Hacienda. More on that in a week or two.

So we went yesterday. The cemetery was deserted, which is how I like a cemetery. There was Mama and, some distance away, there was Father. They are not buried side by side.

We never knew the reason for the separation. Of course, Father remarried, so maybe the new wife separated them in death, or maybe it was this reason that we discovered yesterday:

The inscription on the grave adjoining Father’s is totally illegible to the casual observer. My wife decided to figure it out and, with much effort, did so. It’s one of Father’s brothers who was shot dead at the age of 18 in the 1930s.

We doubt anyone in the family who is currently alive is aware of that, and it partly explains why Father is buried in the adjoining plot instead of next to Mama. It was another brother who decided to bury Father in that particular spot.

Moving another plot to the left, there is a well-tended tomb on which the inscription is quite clear. My wife recognizes the name of an old friend of her father’s.

The inscription says that he was murdered by “an enemy of the people.” One wonders about the details in that case.

It was the 1950s.

Following the cemetery visit, we drove to the plaza where there is an ice cream parlor. She got coconut and I picked strawberry. We sat on a sidewalk table and watched people pass by.

Sort of a Mexican Mayberry but with darker tones.

dead2
A bonus tomb that looks like a Civil War Ironclad.