First day of fall

AUTUMN’S ARRIVED, and it’s still raining. I shot the video yesterday from the bedroom. Yesterday also was my child bride’s birthday. She turned 59 though she still looks 40.

One more year, and she can get Mexico’s Old Folks Discount card, which I’ve had for years. That gets you into museums, etc., free most of the time, but its best feature is travel discounts, often 50 percent. The two of us will be able to use buses and planes for the price of one. Of course, we almost never use buses or planes, but we may rethink that habit.

Our last flight occurred in 2013. A trek to Mérida.

Just before that, 2012, a trek to Havana.

Nothing since, at least by air.

We celebrated the birthday with a lunch out and have a trip planned to Querétaro next weekend to continue the birthday festivities a full week. Among the thrilling activities planned for Querétaro will be a visit to the new H.E.B mega-supermarket which has traveled down from Texas. Perhaps we’ll see some Lipton tea.

Querétaro is one of Mexico’s best cities.

The rainy season has about a month to go, although it could stop on Oct. 1 as it did one year. Normally, however, it drags on into October and sometimes dumps rain on the eve of the Day of the Dead just to be annoying and muddy. Hope not.

The waiting game

pole
We’re in the rainy season, obviously.

THIS IS A major traffic artery in my hardscrabble barrio. Doesn’t look like it, but it is. It goes over a railroad track you can make out down thataway. It is one of only two routes to drive from one side of the barrio to the other.

And the other way is a long way off.

The pole began to lean about a month ago. It leans more every day. It’s a telephone pole, not electricity. The butcher down on the corner told me. This is personally a good thing because we have no land line, but we do have electricity.

We live just a block from here.

The butcher also told me it’s been reported to TelMex a number of times, but there it stands, leaning more by the day, a tendency not helped by daily rains and the rumble of passing trains. The good news is that it will not fall on the track, derailing a train.

That could get nasty and bloody.

I walked down there to see where it will fall. It doesn’t look like it will hit anything of note when it goes. As long as one of the minivans that make up our public transportation system is not in the right place at the wrong time. Could get ugly.

It will block the street, cutting access to the other side of the barrio by 50 percent. I guess TelMex will then get off its duff and do something.

Meanwhile, it’s a daily visual entertainment.

Mail on a misty morning

PO
This is my post office on Calle Obregon.

WE ATE WARM biscuits and honey for First Breakfast* today instead of our usual options of croissants and orange marmalade or bagels with Philly cheese Lite.

At quarter till 9, I jumped into the Honda and headed downtown to the post office, a biweekly trip, to check my box, a service I’ve had for 19 years.

I rarely find anything there anymore, which is why I rarely check it. It has to be checked though. Recently, a threatening letter from the IRS** lurked in there longer than it should. But usually, nothing is there, which is how I like it.

These early morning drives to the post office are fun. Traffic is light, and I see things I don’t see in the late afternoons, which is when I’m normally downtown.

An old Mexican town waking up.

Up until about five years ago, I checked my box on any afternoon. It was easy to drive down Calle Obregon and park near the post office. But then City Hall was moved from the main plaza where, I imagine, it had sat for centuries to the same block as the post office. The block became way more congested and nearby parking is impossible weekdays.

So now it’s early every other Saturday morning.

I park at a nearby corner on Calle Carrillo Cárdenas.

carrillo cardenas
That’s my Honda. Clearly, parking is no problem at the early hour.

I read a local internet forum aimed at Gringos. There are always things to chuckle at there. Most participants seem to embrace the notion that the Mexican postal system does not work, which it does. People are often asking if someone is headed to the border and if it would be possible to take a letter or package to mail in the United States.

Mexican mail works fine. It’s just slow, and if you’re in a rush, it has an express service, which costs a good bit more, and there is registered mail too. You can track both express and registered items to their destinations above the border via the internet.

Not only does the Mexican mail work, so does the healthcare system, another issue that provides me laughter because, as they don’t trust the mail, the Gringos don’t trust the healthcare system either and if it’s anything more than a routine doctor visit, they often flee above the border for “real” healthcare.

Okay, many do it for “free” Medicare, I admit, but even major issues can be addressed here at a minuscule fraction of the ripoff prices above the border. And, more importantly, healthcare here is nicer and more personal.

There was nothing in my post office box this morning except a routine advisory that my pension from the Hearst Corp. had again been sent electronically to my Mexican bank. It’s a waste of postage on Hearst’s part, but they send it anyway.

At least there was nothing dire from the IRS.

* * * *

* Second Breakfast arrives at 11 a.m. Lunch at 2 p.m., and supper at 8 p.m.

** I phoned the Internal Revenue Service and discovered the problem was their error, not mine, and all was ironed out peacefully.

The feel of fall

TWICE IN THE past week, I’ve noticed a feel of fall, which is odd because it’s cool here most of the time. But this feel was different. It felt like fall, which is still more than a week away.

fallDuring the 15-plus years I lived in Houston, the arrival of fall was a huge deal because summer was such a misery, weather-wise. The arrival of fall here is less notable, but it’s sweet to feel it anyway. At times, some of our leaves actually change color. Not spectacularly like they do in Atlanta, but it’s a nice touch.

In Houston, the arrival of autumn almost invariably happened on the 21st to 23rd of September, a very narrow time span. I defined the debut of fall, officially or not, as the arrival of the first front that dropped the temp to 59 or less.

It did not matter if the temperature rose above 60 later in the day or even to 70, the mere fact that it hit the 50s at dawn was good enough for me. It was exhilarating.

Autumn of the year takes on an additional significance for those in the fall of their lives, and even more so for those of us in chill winter with snow-white heads.

Time moves on and, with luck, we’re still around in springtime.

There’s no guarantee.