Mexican life

Hightailing it from Carnival chaos

I LIVED 18 YEARS in New Orleans, so I know Mardi Gras.

Now I’ve lived 18 years on my Mexican mountaintop, on the hardscrabble outskirts of town. My new paisanos do Mardi Gras too. And of all the neighborhoods, mine embraces Carnival the most. It goes bat-shit crazy.

Carnival is best if you’re a drinking man, which I was during most of my time in New Orleans. Some events are best enjoyed while sloshed.

I embraced the bottle for almost precisely 25 years, from age 26 to age 51. Not coincidentally, that quarter century, which should have been my best and most productive, was precisely the opposite, and booze did it.

I’m going to list the pros and cons of boozing. First the pros:

  1. You feel real good for the first hour.
  2. There is no No. 2.

Let’s move on to the cons:

  1. Your life lacks focus.
  2. Your relationships suffer.
  3. Your job suffers.
  4. You lack concentration.
  5. It’s expensive.
  6. It’s dangerous.

There are others I could put on the cons. Going on the wagon was my best decision ever. My life changed overnight, literally.

New ImageBut being sober, I don’t enjoy Carnival anymore, especially how it’s done where I live now. We try to get out of town, and we’ll be hightailing it tomorrow to a suite hotel in the boondocks between San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo. The place is called the Grand Las Nubes by Inmense. La-dee-dah.

So while the neighborhood plaza at home roars with nightly concerts, we’ll be in the boonies sleeping blissfully with the only sounds being the occasional coyote singing in the moonlight.

And there will be no morning hangovers.

Libertarian view

Mansplaining Trump to Mexicans

PRESIDENT TRUMP is not a popular man in Mexico.

If I had a MAGA cap, and I wish I did, I would not wear it on the street. You may recall that I ordered a Trump coffee mug via eBay after the presidential election. Someone at Mexican Customs smashed it, put it back in the box, and sent it on to me.

I glued it back together as best I could, and now it sits proudly on my desk as a pen-and-pencil holder. Trump’s grinning at me as I write this.

Mexicans’ attitude toward Trump is understandable. Were I a born Mexican instead of merely a made one I probably would dislike him too. It’s human nature. The stuff he said during the campaign was pretty harsh, but he was campaigning like Teddy Roosevelt, and what he said was for American consumption. It worked!

On a couple of occasions, I’ve had Mexicans ask me what I think about Trump. I tell them I voted for him, and then I provide this analogy:

How would Mexicans feel if, instead of the two Gringo-infested havens of San Miguel de Allende and the Lake Chapala area, there were literally hundreds of San Miguels sprinkled across Mexico?

And these hundreds of San Miguels were infested with Gringos who lacked visas because they had entered Mexico via tunnels, climbing over fences and swimming south over the Rio Bravo, dodging the law.

And how would Mexicans feel if these millions, literally millions, of illegal Gringos, most of whom spoke no Spanish and had no interest in doing so, were fond of marching in our streets waving American flags and demanding their “rights”?

I’ll tell you how Mexicans would feel. They would be apoplectic. Of course, this would never happen because Mexico would not allow it in the first place.

Mexicans are not that stupid. We would deport you.

If Mexicans want to get angry at the election of Trump, and they decidedly do, they should know who caused it. They need only look into a mirror. They themselves caused it with their lawless, decades-long border invasion. That plus the collusion of the vote-grubbing Democrat Party and the acquiescence of the numbskull Republicans.

Mexicans and the two corrupt U.S. political parties created Trump.

You did it, amigos. Nobody else.

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

Dream from half a century ago

ROOF
Didn’t envision this half a century ago, but here I am.

WHEN I WAS 22 years old, married to the first of three wives, I drew plans for a Mexican-style home I would have liked to have built. I was broke, of course, so there was no way to do it. I thought maybe with cinder blocks it would be possible.

Cinder blocks?

The plans reflected my thoughts of a single-story hacienda (small h, not big H) that was completely enclosed with an open courtyard in the middle.

Nobody in my family had ever lived or aspired to live in Mexico, so where did this architectural dream come from? I didn’t think of living in Mexico either. I simply liked the idea of that type of house. I wanted it there in New Orleans.

I was a serial renter, not buying a home until I was 42 years old, and I bought it in Houston, Texas, not New Orleans. The house was not Spanish-style. It was a Texas ranch house of medium size, not a ranch house on a ranch, of course. Ranch house is a style: single-story, low roof, yard out front and back.

My second ex-wife lives there today, more than three decades later.

But I am living in a Hacienda with a big H. And, like the one I designed half a century ago, I designed this one too. I used graph paper. My child bride assisted with her civil engineering skills, but the design is 95 percent mine.

Perhaps the design would have more closely copied my ideas of 50 years ago except for one thing: I wanted a mountain view, and for that I needed a second story due to the brick wall that surrounds our property, Mexican-style.

So here I am. In the circle of life. What goes around comes around. If you manage to live long enough, stuff happens. And so on.

Maybe I should have been an architect.

* * * *

Color and current events

New Image
With luck, we’ll start burying utility cables soon, but it’s still pretty.

My child bride is abandoning me today, heading to Querétaro by bus for a belated Baptism and 4th birthday party for a niece named Sophie. I’ll be batching it here until Sunday evening. It will be lonely but quiet.

For years I tried to participate in these sorts of family activities, but I’ve given up. I’m not cut out for endless chitchat and peals of hysterical laughter.

Thursday afternoon I was taking a leisurely stroll alone down a back street of downtown, thinking of the above, when I noticed the scene in the photo. I had my camera. Our mountaintop town is changing rapidly.

I do not believe most, or even any, of those houses up there existed when I moved here over 17 years ago. And the city recently began a major renovation of streets and sidewalks around the main plaza. It will take months, if not years, to finish but we will be so pretty when it’s completed. The downside is that it likely will attract more Gringos.

I prefer they stay put in San Miguel de Allende, being all artsy-like.