Saturday, October 29, 2022

Hike To Presita El Pretil - San Marcos de Begoña
I haven't posted yet about Aguascalientes although it was a fun two days.  I will put up some pictures soon.  When we arrived to SMA, the skies were clear and the weather was warm during the day.  Kind of tired from the drive from Aguascalientes, we stayed home and went to bed early.  The next day we decided to go for a hike.  I am attempting to locate small towns nearby to visit.  We did that last month.

I took a look at the map and saw a town called San Marcos de Begoña.  It is 16km from SMA on the road to Queretaro.  What caught my eye was Happy Valley.  It appeared to be a trail and we decided to go for it.  Sometimes a little town like that may not even be a town but just a collection of small homes with vegetable gardens or a couple of farm animals.  

We hopped in the car and took off.  Not really, we watched the news and had coffee and a shower.  We arrived 15 minutes later only to find some very rocky dirt roads.  We followed Maps which sometimes can be misleading, and it was.  We finally stumbled across the placita where there is a kiosk and a small park.  It had been inaugurated in 2019.  

There was a woman talking on her cell phone and it appeared she was going to sell something. How did I know?  There was a kindergarten next door so it was obvious she would be selling food.  We asked her how we could find the small press or reservoir and she shrugged us off.  Bitter woman! 

Across the road was the local church.  The gate was locked so we couldn't go in.  Juan jumped on the wall to take the picture.  One thing we have noticed more and more over the years is that many of these churches are locked and have no access unless there is an event.  A sign of the times as there are fewer local police and patrols and crime has more than doubled.  

Juan set Google Maps in walking mode and off we went.  We passed a lot of small homes, most very rustic and others that were large and under construction and some abandoned.  We passed horses, burros and egrets which were looking for seeds in the excrement from the animals.  We knew then that the water was nearby.  It was quiet and we didn't see people but the Maps app didn't seem to be taking us anywhere so instinct kicked it.  It had been foggy earlier in the morning we could see fog or in reality, steam rising and we headed toward it. 

Sure enough, we found what we had come for.  There are many very good pics of the dam on the internet.   I'm still looking for information on the construction and how old it is.  It is three-tiered and the water goes over the top.

There is a walkway on the side down below.  We would have had to come from the other side and walk through the canyon.  We'll save that for another day now that we know where we are going.  

We had several appointments for minor repairs and the installation of lights. Later in the day, we took off for a walk into SMA looking for some steel wool.  Not easy to find and I didn't have any success.  Not only is it steel wool but the fine grade 0000.  I want to use it on the car and SUV windshields and also to clean the stainless steel kitchen sink.

Since so many ex-pats walk around with their noses in the air or their heads buried in the calles empedradas (rock roads), I decided to always look at passersby and smile.  A woman was coming down the street and she looked at me and I gave her a big smile.  She had a scowl on her mug and I said to Juan, "sourpuss".  He turned around and said to me, "and she looked at you and thought, "cheerful bastard".   

Sunday, October 23, 2022

San Luis Potosi Historic Center
We love history and we enjoy museums.  It is interesting to see and read about things that are related to our daily lives.  We find Mexican history in every part of our daily lives.  The names of the streets we live on and drive on, places we have traveled to and walked some of the same paths.  Entering homes of historic figures; religious, political, artistic, and famous writers and poets.  

San Luis Potosi was one of the most important then territories and now states that helped to shape Mexico.  San Luis Potosi is famous for mining, cattle production, and agriculture.  Many of the viceroys were sent from Spain to Mexico to settle and tame the wild.  Not so nice to hear today but certainly helped to shape the Mexico we know today both good and bad.  

María Francisca de la Gándara y Cardona de Calleja was the last virriena from old Spain.  The end of the line for Spanish royalty who ruled Mexico for two hundred years in the northern part of the country.  What is interesting about this painting and most of those from this era is that there were three painters involved.  The original portrait painter who did the face and the hands, the official, who painted the clothing and background, and the apprentice who mixed paints and prepared the canvas.

One of the most painted images in Mexico is the Virgin.  In this area of the country, it is the Virgin of Los Dolores.

Teatro de la Paz -  Theater of the city.  Built in 1889.

Each side of the kiosk in the main plaza has a name inscribed along the top.  On the left side of the picture is the name Julian Carrillo.  He was an early 20th-century composer who was responsible for discovering the 13th chord.  Centuries had gone by in composing before this discovery was made.  When we lived in Monterrey with lived on the street with his name.

This is the interior of the Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen is part of a 16th-century convent that, during the time of Independence (1810) was invaded by revolutionary rebels who commandeered the convent and the church.  The altar is covered in gold leaf.

On one side of the church is another altar that contains life-size statues of the seven archangels Michael, Raphael, Jophiel, Gabriel, Zadkiel, Chamuel and Uriel.

In the city center is a 900-acre park, Tangamanga, a former Hacienda.  We spent most of Saturday morning walking around the park.  There were bicyclists in mass, a 5K run, runners, and families enjoying the fresh air.  There is no sale of food or drinks.  The park is pristine, covered in a forest of trees and flowers.  

While we were there, they were sponsoring a flu vaccination drive.  We got our shot and off to the market we went.

Friday, October 21, 2022

I Never Posted About Our Trip

Lots of murals around town these days.  SMA is doing a good job of keeping the graffiti out.

We arrived back home from SMA on the 12th of October.  It was a fun yet productive week.  We had the vertical blinds installed and had the patio pavers taken up, leveled, and laid.  Looks much nicer and much cleaner.  Still more to do.

I'm writing this post from San Luis Potosi.  We decided this week we would take off for another week.   We'll be here for a couple of days and then off to Aguascalientes.   After, a quick stop in SMA to buy some furniture we have had our eye on.  So the house is coming together and just in time for winter guests.

The rv isn't with us on this trip.  Instead, we decided to take the VW and stay at Airbnbs.  They are truly inexpensive and here is a pic of where we are staying.  It is in Lomas, an area of expensive residential homes.  Each culdesac has it's own park and they are all well-manicured.  The base price before tax is 550 pesos  ($27 USD).  You can't beat that and the host is a super host.

Lots of restaurants, banks, Walmart, and everything close by.  It's 8:30 and we are heading downtown for a spell and looking for some excitement.  There are several museums and a hike not too far from where we are staying.  We made the reservation to leave tomorrow but we may stay through the weekend.

More later.  HAGD!

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

We Found A Temporary Workaround

We've never been much to accept "no" as an answer.  Wednesday we leave for the house in San Miguel de Allende (SMA).  I still don't have my first IMSS check.  IMSS is undergoing a major restructuring in the pension system.  My paperwork was accepted but not sure when the data entry to release the funds will happen.

In the case of Juan, paperwork snafus that will take him until December to get fixed.  It is fixed but like mine, it's just a matter of time.  Too many details to bore you with but it will happen.  In the meantime, he has asked for a permit from his classes.  He found a teacher to take his place and he will be paying her his salary minus any bonuses which he usually receives for seniority, union benefits, etc.  We're free until December to roam as we please.  

There are things we have ordered for SMA that are waiting for us to install and have some minor changes done for now.  We'll probably be driving in the rain as Hurricane Orlene will be hitting the west coast and driving north through Chihuahua and to the northeast.  I'm thinking we will pass on the mountain road we normally take and take the highway to Saltillo and then head south.  

You're probably wondering what we've been up to since my last post over a month ago.  Thank Kevin as he sent me a message wondering where we were and why I hadn't posted.  It's just that you'd get bored with the little trivial things we do around the house.  It was the worst summer ever and one reason we like Guanajuato.   Summers are cool and nights are chilly.   This summer here in the north it has been hell literally without water and temps in the mid-100s.  We received the highest electric bill ever, 1245 pesos for two months.  That's roughly $32 USD per month.  

We had a dog for a spell.  He appeared on the road and was living under some junk in the empty lot next door.  I began feeding him twice a day.  He's a playful guy and very obedient and easy to train.  We couldn't keep with our upcoming adventures plus he is a big dog,  I went to the city and applied for an adoption process.  They have an agreement with a local vet (they change the vet every year so there is no corruption) who will spay or neuter the pet, vaccinate and eliminate parasites and fleas, and ticks.  The city pays them a stipend and puts them on the adoption page.  The new owners pay a part of the bill.

I also put in a petition to add street lights to our road.  A new one and replace an old one.  If you remember, they changed out a post across the street that was about ready to fall and never put the light back.  The CFE still had the light and never turned it over to the street light department (departamento de luz alumbrada).  I went to the town hall, found the lighting guy and he called the CFE only to find out they still had it sitting in their warehouse.  That's how we roll, out of sight out of mind. 

The road was never paved and won't be in my lifetime.  I am working on a new agreement to have river rock spread after they level the road.  I used to have the leveling done every couple of years and I got tired of being the fall guy.  No one was ever happy and after the last time, maybe three years ago, the neighbors were not happy with the work and made themselves very clear.

Nuevo Leon weathered the drought.  Water is filling up our three reservoirs but we still have a long way to go.  Monterrey was without any water for more than six weeks.  The faucet is back on and people are being advised not to get water happy just yet.  The lake here is open again and catamarans are floating and taking their restaurant guests out on the lake.  This last Sunday it was so packed they had to close down the entrances because of overcrowding.

The three major things we hope to accomplish this trip to SMA will be having the vertical blinds hung that we ordered, screens for all the windows (not common in SMA especially aluminum), and repairing the aljibe.  An aljibe is like an underground cistern and is used in addition to the 5000-liter tinaco we have on the roof.  The aljibe has an electric switch in it, still working but corroded and the register is exposed to excess water when it rains.  That will have to be addressed.  All in all, this will be a week or more of relaxing and visiting with friends.  I need to post pics so you can see some of the people we know and the neighbors as well.