Christmas lights on the mountaintop

HERE WE ARE, the last day of 2017, which was a very good year for me, and I hope for you too. Let us pray that 2018 will be equally good or better.

I’ll be elated tomorrow. January First is always my favorite day of the year because it’s as distant as you can get from the next holiday season. There’s just too much hubbub here, too much traffic, too many people.

I shot this brief video — my videos are always brief — Friday evening. We’re all dolled up downtown. What you cannot see is the humongous Nativity Scene spread all over the plaza, which is over to the right. It’s so overboard that tourists come from far and wide, which was the objective, of course. Bring cash.

A few short years ago we elected a new mayor, one of many since I moved here over 17 years back. The mayors came. The mayors went. And you never noticed a lick of difference … until the last election when we elected a fellow named Baéz.

The huge Nativity Scene is, one must assume, due to Baéz. So is the massive street renovation currently under way around the plaza. Other streets downtown have been, or are in the process of being, renovated too. Lord knows they needed it.

Those Christmas lights on the buildings around the plaza are new too.

The scuttlebutt is that Baéz has wider political aspirations, state or national. That’s fine by me. In spite of his being the candidate of the leftist PRD, I voted for him due to the advice of a local sage (R.I.P.) whose knowledge I trusted.

Tomorrow I awake with a smile on my face. January First. Most of the tourists will be leaving, but we still have another week till Three Kings Day. Things won’t completely return to normal till after that. God give me patience.

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.