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.

Rain, book, berries

IT’S AUGUST when I normally start to weary of the rain, but that hasn’t happened yet, the weariness. I am still loving it.

Yesterday about 4 p.m., I headed out the door to drive downtown and have a nice café Americano negro, but it was raining, so I sat a spell on a wicker rocker on the veranda.

Pulling the Canon from my man bag, I shot the video. When the rain slacked, I drove downtown. It wasn’t raining there.

I sat with the black cafecito and read my Kindle. I’m about halfway through a wonderful novel, A Gentleman in Moscow by the oddly named Amor Towles who’s a guy.

Who births a man child and names him Love?

While my normal drink at this time of day and at this location is the café Americano negro, I’ve been known to wander off the reservation. That wandering often leads me to the ice cream shop around the corner where one can purchase this pink thing you see below. Agua de fresa con coco.

Water of strawberry with coconut. There is also dairy in there, and it tastes really good. Costs about 68 cents, Americano.

Living where I do provides many pleasures.

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.)