Carnival leftovers

morn

SEE THOSE hanging flags? They were placed there for our Mardi Gras festivities —  in February.

Folks put them up, but nobody ever takes them down. Eventually, the lines break, and they fall, little by little over months. But the banners keep us ever in a party mood.

The photo was taken about 7:30 a.m. Monday. Though it’s mid-April, it was just above 50 degrees, bracing, especially for an old coot in a black T-shirt. There was a bit of morning fog.

I came back in from that terraza, developed the photo and deposited it here. The sun rose more, the flags grew more colorful, a train passed, and another day began.

Bagels were served, and birds sang.

Faces of Easter

jesus
A very unhappy Jesus passes in a street of San Miguel.

WE SPENT two nights in San Miguel de Allende that, by pure chance, sat in Semana Santa, Easter Week.

We drove there to visit an old friend who had flown down from Texas with a couple who had invited him to share a few days in a vacation rental in the Gringo-infested town.

The old friend and I had planned this get-together months ago, neither realizing it was Semana Santa. It just dawned on me about two weeks ago.

Semana Santa, to Mexicans, is Spring Break with Jesus Christ. We have a multitude of religious ceremonies and Easter parades here on the mountaintop and tons of tourists, but I figured it would be calmer in San Miguel.

I could not have been more mistaken.

It was almost like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Downtown was mobbed with people. Lines waited outside restaurants.

Streets were blocked.

We arrived Thursday for two nights and one full day — Good Friday — in a downtown hotel, and we left yesterday.

We had a great visit with the friend, and we came away with these two faces — photos — of Semana Santa.

A third photo shows another face, a sad one, a man who passed on the street in the best way he could. Every few feet he would stop, squat upright on the street, and jiggle his coin can.

What struck me most about him, apart from his disability, was that his hair was trimmed and slicked back very neatly.

Everyone has pride.

family
Everybody smile for the cameras, theirs and mine too.

Remains of carnival

flags

WE’RE FIRMLY into Lent, but the banners of Mardi Gras still wave wearily in the street outside the Hacienda.

As if to cement the locals’ faith, none other than the Pope himself, the Argentine leftist Francis, arrives next Tuesday at the capital city just down the mountainside.

I’ve never been this close to a Pope, nor do I want to be. He will create traffic jams and other annoyances, but he will be gone on Wednesday, and we’ll settle into our sins again.

Train of thoughts

rail

CARNIVAL JUST ended. Bring out the ashes. My hardscrabble neighborhood, more than any other here on the mountaintop, goes bananas for Mardi Gras.

Living just a block and a half from the plaza presents problems. The worst are the monster concerts that blare for four nights straight. We sleep with silicone earplugs.

Having lived 18 years in New Orleans, I know Carnival. What passes for Carnival here pales in comparison, but I think my neighborhood excels in noise, a Mexican specialty.

Roundabouts August, I am weary of rain, every year. Roundabouts February, I am weary of cold, every year. Walking through the living room this morning, it was, I’m guessing, about 50 degrees at most.

We have no climate control in the house. Our electricity bills are constant all year long. Constantly cheap.  I have not been in the United States in seven years and was there only sporadically, briefly, the nine years before that.

Most Americans live in sealed houses, which is great where temps vary wildly, but it’s pretty even here with the exception of January and February when it can freeze at night.

There’s no playing with a dial on the wall to make life sweet. The temperature just is. Here are a couple of other things. No junk mail in my post office box. No sales calls as we sit down to supper. Is that still common in America? Bet so.

My wife is the most important thing in my life. A close second is my Kindle. Departing a restaurant yesterday alone in the state capital, I left it unseen on a chair. The waiter chased me down outside to return it. Bless him.

That was very unlike me. Long ago, I formulated what we’ll call Felipe’s First Law of Placement, which is that you never put something important out of sight in, say, a restaurant unless you literally cannot leave without it.

Car keys or an umbrella during a downpour.

I abide religiously by the law, usually. Why did I break it yesterday? No clue. Got me to thinking. While I do not have a backup wife, I need a backup Kindle, so I ordered one today, a newer version, the Paperwhite.

A backup wife has appeal, but I don’t think I could get away with it, nor should I. Too old for that anyway.

I’ll close with that. We’re going to take our exercise walk around the plaza. Wonder what we’ll see this morning. Unconscious bodies? Blood stains on the cement?

We’ve seen both in the past.