Edición dominical

‘Tis the season to light a fire

NORTHERN MEXICO is under snow today. Thank the Goddess that has not happened here in the nation’s middle. It’s never snowed since I’ve lived here, but a couple of years ago snow was visible atop the distant mountains.

It has been unseasonably cold for the first half of December, so I fired up the fireplace today. Some winters I never fire it up, mostly because it’s work and also because it does virtually nothing to heat the living room due to its large size and high ceiling, wood beams and all.

So it’s mostly a fun thing. Looks nice, and you can heat your fanny.

The music you hear is from a tape I bought at Starbucks in Atlanta many years ago. Fa-la-la! Boughs of holly. And Kalamazoo!

Mexican life

Big changes in our old town

OUR HUGE, beautiful plaza hasn’t changed that much in decades, but we’re seeing some major alterations now.

The cobblestone street circling the plaza, plus a street spoke shooting off thataway, are being totally torn up. There will be a narrowing of the streets, widening of the sidewalks, a bike path and improved drainage.

Drainage improvements may be the best of all.

Currently, the five-month rainy season creates deep lakes in parts of the street circling the plaza, lakes that wash up onto the sidewalks and sometimes into businesses, a massive problem.

The work started weeks ago, and will take months because lots of the work is done by hand. Right now, two sides of the plaza street are torn up, and all traffic has been rerouted to the other two streets. One imagines that when the two streets being renovated are completed, the two other streets will follow suit, and traffic will be routed over the renovated sides.

I’m real smart that way.

The work started as soon as the Day of the Dead hoopla ended in early November, and the tourist mobs went home.

Ever since I moved here and, one supposes, for years before, mayors came and went, and little changed. However, the last election, a couple of years ago, put a fellow into the mayor’s office, a guy named Báez, and there’s been ongoing change ever since, and it’s all been good change.

Other important downtown streets, previously potholed obstacle courses, are either being renovated or have been renovated. A sports center was recently opened. It has a soccer field, two tennis courts, a running track, a gym, and a municipal auditorium.

I voted for this guy Báez, and I’d do it again. He ran as the candidate of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, but was supported by the communist party too. They call themselves the Workers Party, but their scarlet flag with a yellow star tells you who they really are.

You never know with whom you’ll end up in bed.

Báez also initiated a humongous Christmas display on the plaza last year, life-sized artificial elephants, giraffes, burros, etc., and that drew lots of tourists here, which was the point. But it’s fun.

I’ve seen the plans for the plaza via video animation, and we’re going to be spectacular. Of course, if you’re planning to move here, be aware that you’ll freeze your butt off in winter. Go to San Miguel instead.

No Spanish required over there.

Mexican life

December means medical checkup

lab
This is my wonderful lab.

WHEN I WINGED south over the Rio Bravo way back in the Dark Ages, I had the hysterical healthcare mentality of a typical Gringo.

Live without health insurance? Why, that would be sheer madness, so I purchased coverage with a system called IMSS. If memory serves, it was the peso equivalent of about 300 U.S. bucks for a year of full coverage. But after that first year, I knew better and did not renew.

One must go to an IMSS clinic, and I didn’t want to. They’re dicey.

Health insurance? Who needs health insurance? Pick your own excellent doctor and pay cash or yank out your debit or credit card.

After marrying in 2002, my child bride talked me into getting a complete checkup in 2004 at the Star Medica Hospital in the state capital. I repeated the process in 2007. In 2013, I decided on a simpler approach.

Every December I pick a day and head to the outpost of a lab downtown at 8 a.m., and I get my cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and poop tested. The last I hand over with some cute comment. On some years — not all — I get an EKG and chest X-rays. I do those elsewhere. The first in a doctor’s office ($25 U.S.), and the second ($16 U.S.) in a different lab.

I skipped those this year because I did them last year.

After the pretty nurse takes my blood and poop sample, I head home where I arrive by 8:30 — there’s rarely any wait at the lab because I get there when it opens — and I dine on a nice, warm croissant accompanied by hot café Americano negro and a beautiful woman.

In the afternoon of the same day, I return to the lab to pick up the results. Yes, same-day service and, of course, there was no physician’s referral required. Charge: $27. Now that’s healthcare for you.

That all took place yesterday.

How you folks lovin’ that ObamaCare?

This year’s results: I’m in tiptop condition.

photography

Downtown women, young and old

twoladies

girl

I’VE RESURRECTED yet another aspect of my previous WordPress theme, a link to my engaging photography. You’ll find it in the right column.

Perhaps not if you’re reading this on one of those goofy little phones.

Above are the two most recent additions. I’ve known the woman on the right in the top photo for many years. She has a wicked sense of humor and always tells me hi on passing. The one with her, on the other hand, is a nag, incessantly insisting you purchase her wares, which I’ve never done. Both are street vendors.

The young girl, well, she’s a young girl. Cute though.