Tag: Mexico

The Mexican relatives

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WHILE MY surviving Gringa relatives — all two of them — above the Rio Bravo have vanished, lamentably, into the shadows of the past, I have no lack of family that I’ve married into.

I took this shot downtown earlier this week. One of the newer relatives is that smaller example in the middle. Her name is Paula Romina, and she’s very nice, not quite 2 years old.

Paula Romina thinks my child bride hung the moon.

And so do I. That’s not my child bride holding Paula Romina, however. That’s her mama, Margarita.

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This young woman is named Alma, which is  Spanish for soul. She is the widow of our nephew who died two years ago at 32 from cancer. We took the nephew to the state capital for chemo treatments almost weekly for a year, but it did not work out.

They are good people. Buena gente.* A picnic is scheduled this afternoon, and the main dish will be roasted chicken.

* * * *

* With a couple of exceptions.

There goes the roof tile!

NOW THAT the Jesus Patio has been replaced with simply the Yard Patio, we’re moving onto other renovations, the largest leap of all, replacing the relatively small, clay-tile roof that has shaded part of the upstairs terraza for 16 years with, well, you’ll see later.

It’s gonna be YUGE!

The guys who renovated the yard patio returned yesterday morning and began dismantling the clay-tile roof. It took them just three hours. It would have taken me three weeks, even with help. Here’s how it looked:

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First, you remove the clay tiles which are just sitting there, unsecured.
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Then you remove the boards and beams.
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Then you remove one support column. The other will follow. Where the fellow is standing is where the circular stairs to the roof lived for years. It was relocated about a month ago.

They left after three hours due to having work elsewhere, but they will return this morning to continue.

That space under the clay tiles holds many memories. A hammock hung there for about a decade, and I used to swing in the lovely breezes while reading books. But for some reason I stopped using the hammock and finally it was removed. Habits change.

Most of the upstairs terraza was open to the elements, which are extreme out there. Daily rains for five months, mostly during summer, with insufficient drainage. Glaring sun in winter and spring.

Parts of the ceramic floor were replaced twice because it simply popped up. Then, just a few months ago, water began leaking into our bedroom below. It became clear that a drastic solution was necessary.

We’ll be covering the entire area with steel and tempered glass which, hopefully, will result in the space being useful. It never was very useful before. Stay tuned! It’s gonna be exciting.

The truth about Roma

romaTHE MOVIE Roma is receiving lots of hoopla, as is its star, an indigenous schoolteacher from the Mexican state of Oaxaca and first-time actress with the name of Yalitza Aparizio.

The hoopla perhaps is greatest over Aparizio.

At the risk of being labeled a Philistine — I don’t care — I hold a less breathy opinion of the movie and its star who has been nominated for an Academy Award (Best Actress!), something I find silly.

The movie is quite good, but it’s no Casablanca or Sophie’s Choice. It’s not even The Wild Bunch, another movie set in Mexico.

I’ve seen Casablanca maybe three times, Sophie’s Choice twice, and The Wild Bunch about 14 or 15 times. It’s a cult classic. I’m a cultist.

Roma is quite good. It has subtleties I doubt many people outside of Mexico will notice and/or understand. I’ve seen it twice. I did the repeat after reading that lots of nuances are missed the first time, so a second visit is advisable. I liked it more the first time.

But I’ll grant it’s a very good movie. That is if you can make it past the first 20-25 minutes which are glacially slow. Snooze time.

Now let’s move onto the star, Aparizio. For most of the movie her character is as deadpan as Keanu Reeves. It requires little talent to deadpan. However, this is one of the subtleties non-Mexicans will miss. Domestics in Mexico are indeed deadpan more often than not.

This is especially true if they’re indigenous.

The only scene in Roma where Aparizio shines is the segment in the hospital where she has her baby. It’s a gripping scene, and she does a great job of acting. Kudos to her.

Here is why the movie, and Aparizio especially, are receiving so much praise and why she’s laughably been nominated for an Oscar. The movie pushes all the PC buttons for Hollywood types.

  1. Filmed in black and white.
  2. There are subtitles.
  3. The star is Mexican
  4. The star is indigenous and female.

These factors have sent America’s West and Northeast coasts into a swoon. I predict the movie will win the Best Picture Oscar and Aparitzio will win as Best Actress, all for the four reasons just stated.

Recall that the 2013 Best Picture winner was 12 Years a Slave, another movie dear to politically correct hearts. After winning that year, it came to light that a number of Academy members voted for 12 Years a Slave without actually having seen the movie. Incredible.

So Aparizio will take the Oscar home.

And in another year, she will be forgotten, back to teaching in Oaxaca, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Good teachers have value.

The Oscar has become as political as the Nobel Prize, a fact that has rendered them virtually meaningless. Aparizio’s winning as Best Actress will be up there with Barry Obama winning the Peace Prize and Bob Dylan the prize for Literature. Sad.

Goulash, first dates & gnomes

LAST NOVEMBER, I wrote about a Sunday drive. If you wish, you can revisit it here. During most of last month, due to the gasoline crisis that left most gas stations empty, we didn’t drive anywhere for fun, just necessity.

But we’re back to normal with the gas stations, so we took a ride around our huge lake yesterday. The principal objective was to eat lunch in a restaurant named Campestre Alemán. We just call it the German restaurant.

I shot photos and videos so you could feel like you were with us.

I filmed this video from our table which overlooked the restaurant’s man-made lake, complete with geese.

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Yum, yum, yum!

Here are our plates of goulash. Campestre Alemán serves a mean goulash. I intended to order white German sausage, but it wasn’t available.

This is a photo of another of the restaurant customers. I took this shot because I liked the look of the woman. She did not notice me.

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Some things are better in black and white.

Having downed the goulash, we hopped back in the Honda and continued the circular route around the lake. Minutes later, we passed the restaurant where my child bride and I had our first date 18 years ago.

She was so nervous she wanted to bring a niece along for the ride. Luckily, the niece begged off, so we were on our own, as we have remained for almost 17 years.

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We sat out on the porch you see up there in 2001. It was great.

Continuing along, we passed this odd house, so I braked to take a photo. Some folks exhibit lots of imagination with little money.

oddhouse
Mexican gnomes might live here.

I later spotted this clothesline and the lake beyond.

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The only view of the lake I have to offer today, but we saw it quite a bit.

It was at the end of our jaunt that I shot the video at the very top. We were almost home. The Hacienda is only about mile farther.

Sometimes it’s good to get out of the house.