Gussied up for Christmas

tree

OUR TOWN IS decked out for Christmas.

I found these two photos on Facebook. The top one was shot by Jorge Villegas. The bottom was shot by Miguel Angel Garcia. I can take no credit.

This is our principal plaza. It’s very big.

The huge Christmas tree goes up every year. Till about four or five years ago, a flammable material was used, but not anymore. I was, by pure chance, walking on the plaza that fateful afternoon when a little kid tossed a match onto the tree.

I watched it all burn to the ground. Happened fast. They managed to rebuild it before the 25th, and it’s been made of fireproof material ever since.

You can say what you want about Mexico, but some parts are very pretty.

It’s not Kansas, Toto.

New Image

Sunday drive in October

floresonroad
Strawberry Lanes these days.

BACK IN TEXAS it was a delight to drive the state’s mid-section in Springtime and see the seas of wildflowers, the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and so on.

We get something similar here, but not in Springtime, in October. In Springtime here, everything is dry as the proverbial bone.

So we took a drive on Sunday, heading to the tiny town of Tupátaro. First, we ate in a restaurant there which served some excellent Sopa Tarasca, a regional specialty, and some dreadful pollo en mole. We won’t return to that restaurant.

On departing the restaurant, we walked a block farther to visit the church again, something we hadn’t done in a couple of years. It’s one of the most spectacular churches in the state. It’s not large, but it’s old, the 1700s, and what makes it special is the wooden ceiling that is painstakingly painted. The link above will give you a view.

Taking photos is prohibited inside the church because, you know, the flash will do harm, a common belief in these parts which is pure nonsense.

But here are two photos I snapped outside.

church-cross
First, in one direction.
church-combi
And then in the other direction. A minibus is passing.

Later, nearer home, we stopped at an ice cream joint and lapped up lemon ice, which is a good way to end a day driving in the pink-flowered countryside.

And walking in ancient churches.

 

Another waning day

one
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.

two
This is not the Basilica. It’s a big church just one block from the Basilica.

Getting stoned

IF YOU’VE ever wondered what a cobblestone street in the making looks like, wonder no more. Behold!

For a few months now, major work has been under way on two streets radiating out from the southwest corner of our spectacular main plaza. It was supposed to be completed by Easter Week, but that’s not going to happen.

A major component of the labor is installing wider sidewalks. The sidewalk to the right side was about half as wide and, of course, that meant the street was wider.

Now the street will be narrower, a trade-off.

That sidewalk surface is just a concrete base now. Flat stone will be installed atop it. It will be quite snazzy.

The street itself won’t be smooth. Cobblestone streets never are, but newly installed ones are smoother than older ones.

Time takes its toll. After about a decade, driving on a cobblestone street goes something like this.

I’m not a fan of cobblestone streets. I prefer smooth concrete or, barring that, asphalt. But our town trades on tourism, and tourists like to see cobblestone streets.

They go nicely with our tile roofs of red clay.

The fact is that our mountaintop town improves yearly. And the same goes for our property values.