Up in the sky

SUNDAY WAS the final installment of a three-day, hot-air balloon festival in our mountaintop town.

I shot this brief video from our upstairs terraza.

The airport, and that’s using the term loosely, rests on the edge of my neighborhood on the outskirts of town. It’s a dirt strip that goes virtually unused all year.

There is a hangar there, and a DC-9 without wings on display. A funny story that. The DC-9 was brought here on a massive flatbed tractor-trailer some years back.

It had almost completed the trip when it had to make a right turn from one highway to a lesser road just three blocks from the Hacienda. There is an incline to the roadbed and, halfway around the curve, the jet fell off the trailer.

It rolled briefly toward a carnitas stand about 20 feet away. I imagine those seconds were endless to the crew cutting carnitas. It’s not often you see a DC-9 rolling your way.

The jet was hoisted back upon the trailer and continued the short distance to our airport where it now lives.

The hangar there, the DC-9 and, previously, an ultralight service is owned by some well-off individual. The ultralight service has gone out of business due to lack of, well, business.

Once I drove over there to inquire about learning to fly ultralights, something I never got around to, and the fellow let me go inside the DC-9, which was lots of fun.

I have a private-pilot’s license though I haven’t used it since the 1970s. It never expires. I also took a number of sailplane lessons in Central Texas, but I never got that license either.

There’s something a bit unnerving about being up in a plane with no means of propulsion whatsoever.

I skydived once in Louisiana, and I went up in a hot-air balloon once in Texas. Giving my mother near heart attacks apparently was an unconscious, lifetime goal.

And then there were the motorcycles.

She’s dead now, so I’ve quit doing all that stuff.

My father could not have cared less.

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(Promo! For those of you who have not recently visited — or never have — my SlickPic photos, there is a new look and new photos. The SlickPic Gallery is where you’ll find gobs of photos of the Hacienda through the years, our Cuba visit in 2012, photos of the Downtown Casita (available on AirBnB), my art furniture, Mexico in general and, last but not least, a blow by blow — photo-wise — of the construction of our free-standing pastry kitchen.)

Weekend wrap-up

IT’S BEEN a long time since the last Odds & Ends post:

1. I’ve abandoned my Facebook page. As so many people ahead of me have noticed, it’s a real time-waster. It’s the second time I have abandoned it, but I think it will stick this go-around. Perhaps now I’ll use my Twitter account more (under my real name), but I need to learn to be pithy.

2. I’ve started an album in my SlickPic website that will be devoted to almost daily photos of the storefront construction here at the Hacienda. When we built the Hacienda’s residence back in 2002-2003, I took scads of digital photos. One day, after it was all done, my hard drive committed suicide. Everything was lost.

odds__endsYes, I should have backed it up somewhere. In some areas, I am an ignoramus.

Mexican construction is very interesting and — in many respects — quite different than how it’s done north of the Rio Bravo. I was fascinated by the process, especially the use of tree trunks to hold up the ceilings until the cement dries. Of course, there are no crawl spaces or even basements, nor empty spaces in the walls where you can blow insulation. It’s solid brick and concrete.

3. You may have heard of the conflict in the state of Guerrero where a bunch of radical students (almost an oxymoron here) met up with a bunch of men with guns, some in police uniforms. There was gunfire, a few deaths on the students’ side, and 43 of the students were hauled off somewhere, presumably dead now.

It’s hard to pick the good guys because there aren’t any. The state of Guerrero has long had a particularly severe corruption problem, and that includes — obviously — part of the police.

But the students have long had a sour reputation too. They are called Normalistas, due to the type of school they attend, which are named Normal Schools, and they turn out uniformly left-wing teachers.

The student teachers are given to blocking highways and streets. (Pick your radical issue.) Generally, they have made an horrendous nuisance of themselves all over the nation for years. To get an idea of the “education” they receive, see this YouTube video. Note Karl Marx, Che Guevara and lots of raised fists.

This is particularly true in my neck of the Mexican woods, so I am not sympathetic. At times, when a gang of these youngsters want to go en masse somewhere to stir up trouble, they simply stop buses on the highways, kick the passengers out, and off they go, free bus ride. Cops usually no nothing.

Since thuggish President Gustavo Diáz Ordaz ordered  the Tlatelolco Massacre in 1968, which severely backfired on his administration, students have been given mostly free rein all over Mexico. They have become as most children become without parental discipline: spoiled brats. Spankings are long overdue.

Think billy clubs and tear gas because these are older children, far past puberty.

Perhaps some judiciously applied billy clubs and tear gas years ago would have prevented what has happened in the state of Guerrero. I think so. In the meantime, God knows where those 43 kids are.

4. It’s Saturday, which means we’ll be downtown this afternoon selling my wife’s pastries out of the wicker basket. There are some new items on the menu, especially quiche with caramelized onions. Two weeks ago, we sold out completely — about 40 items — in 30 minutes. Last week, all was gone in 40 minutes.

So, don’t show up late. That’s my advice.