The plague year

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This is not how it is.

THINGS ARE moving along relatively peacefully in my end of the world, plague-wise. Four cases of Kung Flu have been reported in our state just recently, the first ones. All four people had returned recently from Europe.

There are many advantages to living in Mexico. One is that stores still have merchandise. This morning I drove down the mountainside early to the nearby capital city to visit Costco and Chedraui, which is a Walmart-like Mexican chain. I arrived at both just after they opened because they open at different hours.

Few people were waiting at either door. I rapidly passed through both well-stocked stores, paid, hopped into the Honda and headed home. There was plenty of T-P in both places. I bought a few more rolls just in case.

Meanwhile, I see photos of supermarkets above the border stripped bare.

The reaction down here between Gringos and Mexicans is quite a contrast too. The Gringos are hunkering down in their houses, quivering in their Crocs. The Mexican reaction is far calmer. The Gringo- and Canuck-infested pueblo of Ajijic is almost a ghost town, I hear. Probably San Miguel de Allende is too.

Yesterday we ate in one of our favorite restaurants downtown, Casa del Naranjo. We were the first customers to arrive at the traditional 2 p.m. Mexican lunch hour, but by the time we left about 45 minutes later, there were about 12 other diners, all Mexicans.

No one was quivering in their boots. Jollity prevailed.

The waiters wore face masks and gloves, and the restaurant gave customers a 20 percent discount on paying with cash, which I did. I’m a cash man, as are most Mexicans. There was a big bottle of disinfectant gel at the register.

Later we walked across the plaza to my sister-in-law’s coffee shop. No one there was wearing face masks or gloves, and there was no hand gel. It was business as usual.

I had a nice café Americano negro.

Looking at this year’s plague I see engaging elements.

  1. Political. The U.S. news media, mostly an arm of the Democrat Party, are going wild. That affects the media in other nations and even the conservative U.S. media. Sad. I do not know to what extent, but to some degree their aim is to torpedo Trump. This is causing grievous economic damage.
  2. Hysteria. Do you remember the 2009-10 swine flu epidemic in the United States? Likely not. There were 60 million cases and over 12,000 fatalities. In contrast, the Kung Flu has killed to date about 500 Americans out of about 41,000 cases. Sure, it will get worse, but that much worse? Ninety-five percent of cases are mild.

And how will it end? Here is an interesting look by a prominent physician familiar with the situation. He outlines various possibilities.

We’re eating at home today, chicken and rice. Later we’ll head downtown for the customary sit on the plaza. Then we’ll come home and wash our hands.

It’s Springtime!

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WINTER PACKED UP yesterday and headed home, wherever that is.

Now it’s Springtime, the season of hope and rejuvenation. I’m feeling rejuvenated already. Are you? Worried about the coronavirus?* It’s winding down in China where it began. Worldwide, about 10,000 people have died so far.

Yes, it will likely get somewhat worse, but think of this:

Every year, the seasonal flu kills about 650,000. Every year. Do we quiver in our homes each flu season? Do we torpedo the economy? Do we stock up on tons of T-P?

Do we initiate “social distancing”?

Every single, solitary year there is a pandemic of flu that kills hundreds of thousands, and what do we do? We are accustomed to it, so we shrug it off.

This flu season in the United States, which hasn’t ended, from 12,000 to 30,000 people have died. That’s just this season in the United States. That’s quite a bit more than the global fatalities from coronavirus. Getting the picture?

Also remember, most coronavirus cases are mild.

Life at the Hacienda is going on mostly as usual. The only extra precaution we’re taking is that we’re not doing the Mexican kissy-kissy and huggy-huggy for a spell. Of course, I stopped that about a year ago, but now my child bride is on board.

We lunched yesterday in a nice new Japanese restaurant here in town. We eat out every Thursday and Sunday, and we’ll continue with that.

Today our lunch is Greek chicken that I made in the crockpot. It includes onion, potatoes and garlic up the kazoo.

My child bride will be downtown on the main plaza tomorrow hawking her pastries, a regular Saturday event. Come on by. And she’s still going to the gym. Muscling her out of the gym would be a major undertaking.

In spite of warnings, even here in Mexico, to avoid large gatherings, there was a monster blowout last night on our neighborhood plaza. Tons in attendance to celebrate some saint, which is our usual excuse to make a racket and get drunk.

We two did not go, of course.

Nico the Curtain Man was here Wednesday to take measurements and give us a price to replace parts of the canvas curtains on the upstairs terraza after they were damaged — one totally blown out — by the horrendous hailstorm last week.

So life goes on, as it should. After an abortive trip to Costco in the nearby capital city on Tuesday, a trip we make every week, we’re short on some items, so this afternoon I’ll be going to a supermarket here in town.

Maybe they’ll  have some T-P. You always have to wipe yourself.

In any event, don’t worry! Be happy!

* * * *

* A prominent political wag called it Kung Flu recently and was promptly labeled A RACIST! Those nutty Democrats never give it a rest, do they? Sad.

Birds, paint & plague

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Playground of the orioles.

SPRINGTIME, THOUGH we’re not officially in springtime yet, brings birds to the Hacienda, pretty birds and fun ways to watch them.

It began three days ago. In the early mornings, between 7 and 8, I’m generally upstairs checking out the woeful state of the world via the internet. There’s a bank of windows just beyond my desk, and they open to the upstairs terraza.

orioleHanging out there, pure decoration, are two large balls made of straw or something like a thick vine. The larger is about 18 inches across. It’s the big one that’s become a post-dawn playground to black-vented orioles.

They fly under the glass roof and at the top of the ball is an opening through which the orioles, two of them, descend into the ball, flit about inside, and then depart to climb around the outside of the globe. This goes on for a minute or two, and they leave.

Three days in a row now, about 7:30 or so. They have a schedule.

This morning I tried to sneak to the door with my camera, but orioles are cautious, unlike house sparrows and hummingbirds which are fine with human company, and when I merely stood up from my desk, the orioles fled, lickety-split.

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The Downtown Casita’s new look.

We’ve gussied up the Downtown Casita, a fresh coat of light yellow and an artsy circular stairway from the balcony to the roof. The twirly design is the same we have on the stairwell inside the Hacienda. I found that style online years ago.

The ironwork was done by a young, very talented and artistic blacksmith. That would cost a small fortune above the Rio Bravo if you could even find someone who could do it.

It’s available for vacation rentals, plus we house visiting relatives occasionally, which comes in handy because Mexicans have lots of relatives, and they like to visit.

* * * *

Moving on to the spreading plague of coronavirus that is leaving millions dead in its wake worldwide. No? Well, okay, but it’s scaring plenty of people.

We have very few cases in Mexico, about eight, last I heard. Just south of us, Guatemala and El Salvador are quarantining themselves. El Salvador will let no foreigners enter for the next month. Guatemala is barring people who’ve been in China.

Here in Mexico, on the other hand, our nincompoop leftist president is doing next to nothing. On the contrary, he’s sticking with his hug approach, the one he extends to narcos. He always favors hugs, he says. Narcos, plague? No matter, he wants to hug.

Leftists love hugs because it distracts you while your pocket is picked.

Don’t fault me. I voted for the other guy. Maybe the other guy was corrupt. Who knows? But at least he wasn’t a nincompoop.

The news in March

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IT’S BEEN BEAUTIFUL of late, and my child bride and her sister think winter is over. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. March is a dicey month. I took the above photo from the upstairs terraza about six or eight years ago. That’s snow on yon mountains … in March.

It did not snow that week at the Hacienda, but it was darn frigid. When the dry, warm days of April arrive, then you can declare winter’s demise, not before.

Just for the heck of it, here’s another photo taken from the upstairs terraza. It was shot in June of last year. Those are the same mountains, of course. Sweet.

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We’ve been a bit busy since we returned from Guanajuato, and we were busy before going to Guanajuato too. We’ve had a circular stairway installed from the balcony to the roof of our Downtown Casita. And now I’m waiting for our painter to finish work he’s doing for someone else in order to paint the Casita’s exterior.

And we have new cell phones, both of us, as of last week, and we bought the same model. Motorola G8 Plus, it’s called, and it’s a big improvement over her previous Samsung and my old Alcatel. There are people who still shun cell phones, which mystifies me. It’s like an electronic Swiss Army knife.

I use mine for reminders, checking my bank balance, using “virtual” credit cards so as not to get ripped off, and I’m a YouTube addict, so there’s that. Right on my Motorola. And there’s a calculator, a call blocker, the app of our car insurance which lets one immediately report an accident while the app pinpoints the car’s location.

How can you live without this stuff? Sometimes I even make calls on my phone. Messages are more common, mostly to my child bride. Speaking of calls, I recently canceled my Skype subscription after many years. It’s pricey, and I almost never used it, mostly to phone my investment company in the United States.

I discovered a better option for me. I have no interest in video calls, but I do need a U.S. number. There are several online phone services that work fine (PopTox, LetsBrik) but they don’t provide a U.S. phone number like Skype can.

It’s a sweet little app called Dingtone. You get a U.S. number, call waiting, message box, all the usual services, and it’s free to cheap. But no video calls. Meh.

I’m writing this at midday on Super Tuesday, so I don’t know the results yet. Bernie gonna win again? Are the Democrat candidates still screaming at one another? Will the Democrat National Committee steal the nomination once more from the crusty, old communist? Will the little-girl-groper Joe Biden be the nominee? Such fun!

As least Pocahontas is flaming out, silly broad. And Mayor Pete has bit the dust. I don’t think America is ready for a gay president with a First Man spouse. More to the point, I don’t think powerful, non-woke nations like China and Russia are ready for it, to put it mildly.

Too soon, way too soon.

Barbra Streisand says the United States could be “extinguished if Trump wins again. Extinguished! You just gotta howl at this stuff. Here we are, nearing the end of Trump’s first — but not last — four years, and the Republic still stands, hearty and healthy.

There are no troops goose-stepping in D.C., no midnight knocks at the door, no blacks hanging from trees. None of those Democrat predictions came true.

Quite the contrary. Things are far better than during the Obama administration. At least America doesn’t have a First Lady who is a cross-dresser.

And that’s enough news in March for now.

Hope it’s a lovely day wherever you are.