Wednesday, February 28, 2024

San Miguel de Allende Great Weather - The Surprise Party Was A Success
We've been here for almost a week and really haven't accomplished much.  We've been visiting rvers who have flown to Mexico again this year.  Two couples are renting very close to our house, both within a couple of blocks, and that makes getting together very easy.  

The weather has been hotter than usual with daily highs around 30C but nights are cool and the house never seems to get hot.  Morning exercise in the cool air makes for a great workout.  

On our trip down, we stayed at an Airbnb in Matehuala to break up the trip.  I found what I thought was a jewel at a bargain price of 580 pesos.  Well, Airbnb hasn't been doing a good job lately and it is obvious in the pictures below.  What you see and what you get aren't always the same thing.  This unit is very well located, has bus service at the front door, and a garage with a locked garage door.  That was the seller for us.  We could take the bus into centro and leave our car at the Airbnb.  Well, the next set of pictures are a bit disturbing.

For starters, the apartment is for four people with two bedrooms.  The walls are pretty marked up and could use repainting, the beds were okay but the pillows were like Kleenex.  This pic shows the complete set of cutlery.  There are no knives or utensils for food prep.  There are no glasses, napkins, or coffee filters.

I got up the next morning and because the hot water is heated via solar, I thought I should turn on the faucet while I put together my things for shaving and shower.  First off, it turns out there isn't any hot water in the bathroom or kitchen sinks.  I came back and the bathroom was flooding.  The sink was stopped up.  Juan took off the sink stopper and began digging out all the crud in the sink.  What a mess.

I'm glad we had decided early on to go out to Las Palmas for dinner.  I wouldn't cook on this stove.

Because we are good renters, we stopped by Walmart and bought two glasses, napkins, and coffee filters which we left behind for the next guy.  We almost always pick up an inexpensive item that is missing but would be useful and leave it in the Airbnb.

Our dinner out at the Las Palmas Motel and Rv Park.  After dinner, we drove around the back to the rv park and the lot was empty.  Sad.  We use the Hotel Oasis across the street with 30 amps, water, and wifi for 150 pesos.  Works great for an overnighter but this is sad not to see not even one rv at Las Palmas.

The hike we took the other day was really a walk.   Several locals offer tour services, some expensive some for donation only.  We met at the train station.  The group was 90% women and 90% were over 75 years old.  All very nice but not the most exciting bunch to hang out with.  We wanted to introduce our friend to some of the local walking/hiking groups as she will be here for another two months. This was a 2-mile walk to the old San Miguel de Allende chapel built over 400 years ago.   We met here at the train station.  The train station no longer has passenger service but cargo does go by at least once a day.  It was built in the 1800s.  If the current president has his way, he will force rail companies to provide passenger service on all rails. 

The fort below was built by friars when they arrived in the 1600s.  It was a fort to protect those friars living there during the conversion of the Chichimecas to Christianity.  Funny you have to force people to convert.

A maguey field that no longer produces tequila or pulque.  The owner of the ranch keeps it more for show.

The chapel was our final destination.  We're not allowed by the locals to enter without permission and there was no one around that could do that.  I'm not an expert but I do quite a bit of research.  The tour guide, who is bilingual, did a great job but there was some misinformation.  One important point was the floral designs around the doors and windows.  They flowers but they are actually peyote buttons used in rituals.  I think they just liked to get high like many people today.

Last Friday was Juan's birthday.  Number 66 and still quite young.  It's very hard to plan a party when the person is always there with you.  I ordered a cake from a woman who makes cakes.  I posted on a local Facebook group.  I received over 25 different offers and settled on Daniela.  She and her husband have a small restaurant that has a few tables.  She was easy to work with and I liked the work she showed me.  The cake was red velvet with buttercream frosting.  The joke that night was that when I picked up the cake it said "Jose Manuel" not "Juan Manuel".  I told everyone to say Jose that night and he couldn't figure it out until I told him the story.  The name was changed when I picked it up so no one really would have known but it was funny anyway.

We had quite a group, Paula and Jerry, Gail and Bill, Jared, Terri and Mike, Cheryl, Christine, Sarah, and Stephanie.  A great time was had by all!  He was surprised because he thought it was just the two of us for dinner and was not happy about that.  Surprise!!!!

Friday, February 16, 2024

A National March - Heading South - Helping A Friend

Photo of the march last year to protect Mexico's National Electoral Institute to ensure fair elections.

Gearing up for the national elections in June, the country is choosing sides and looking for ways to defeat their opponents.  This week alone the truckers across Mexico had a national strike blocking major highways, and intersections and shutting down border crossings.  They are fed up with the number of truck drivers being murdered, kidnapped and extorted.  The day before the railroad engineers shut down the railways and blocked intersections unhappy with their union.  On Sunday there will be marches in 106 cities throughout Mexico to demand fair and honest elections and to protect Mexican democracy.  We will be downtown bright and early.

Our president is on the attack since the claim came out that he accepted 2 million dollars from the cartels in his 2006 campaign.  He has talked about it every day this week in his three-hour morning talk show.  Well, yesterday afternoon a cartel leader was interviewed by a very famous news outlet and he confirmed that it is true.  The Catholic diocese in the state of Guerrero attempted to have talks and negotiate with the cartels this week but to no avail.  They are determined to take over local and state governmental positions.  Thanks to Abrazos no Balazos.

We're leaving on Monday and heading to Matehuala.  We found a great Airbnb at a super good price to break up our trip.  I want to see if it's something we may want to do from time to time if we are going to stay for longer periods in SMA.  It would be nice to take a break on the six or seven-hour trip down.  I like driving but I'm not the only one in the car.  We did the drive for years to San Antonio every few weeks and I wish we had stopped somewhere on the trip.  

The weather here in Monterrey has not been the best.  It's been cool and clouder bordering on cold in the mornings.  It doesn't stop me from my exercise though.  It actually makes it better than in the hot summers.  It's drizzling and chilly now and the temps will drop tonight and over the weekend.

On a somber note, a Canadian friend who blogs about Mexico had some not-so-good news.  Her daughter's family suffered a severe house fire. A good portion of the house was burned and the rest had heavy smoke and water damage.  Some of their beloved pets didn't make it out but the family is fine and looking to overcome this tragedy.

Here is a short reel or video taken at the time of the fire.  

Kathy's sister has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for expenses while their home is being rebuilt.  There are so many causes and GoFundMe pages but I am passing this one on.  

Saturday, February 10, 2024

House Is Painted - Weekend Trip To San Luis Potosi - Back Home Again

Great views from the rooftop!

Finally got the house painted.  We had bought the paint on the last trip and made the appointment.  It took for days and three guys painting the walls, trim, and the bars on the windows.  The previous colors were like the townhouse to the right.  I didn't like the red and that was the original paint from 12 years ago.

My walks/runs take me on new routes now to break up the exercise.  This corner shop has no name but it has the best quiche in town.  In fact, the quiche they sell comes from a baker who distributes them to many restaurants.  A full pie at one particular upscale place goes for 1100 pesos.  The last one we purchased at this place was 450 pesos.  Talk about price gouging but people buy them.  They also sell individual pies and a great one that is like a semi-hard chocolate with a fantastic pie crust.

Coming down through the Aldea there are some pretty cool and detailed murals.  These are just two examples.  Murals are becoming more common and keeps the graffiti guys at bay.

I've taken quite a few pictures over the years of places in Mexico that I know are several hundred years old and turning them into black and white or sepia.  It helps me imagine what it might have looked like in a photo from the 1800s.  

We left SMA on Friday morning.  Monday was a holiday and truckers were planning a national closure of highways.  Too many have been killed and robbed by cartels and they are fed up.  They are getting no help from "Abrazos no Balazos".  They canceled the strike later Sunday evening and are having a national highway blockage on February 15th.  We headed for San Luis Potosi and spent the weekend with friends Paula and Jerry.  They have a nice Airbnb with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths.  We had a blast catching up and also having some good laughs.  

We took off for home on Tuesday morning with no issues and missed the holiday rush.  Back home all is well and the weather has been great.  I've been consistent with my exercise routine and even take my weights to San Miguel.  

I had what I thought was a recent issue with a bridge.  Juan's brother is a dentist and he took a look and said the gums on the bottom have receded over the last 22 years since it was installed.  The gold cap underneath is well seated in the gums and presents no problems for now and there is no movement in the bridge.  His advice is to let sleeping dogs lie (mas vale dejarlo estar).  I was happy when he said I have excellent oral hygiene.  I had dental issues since I was a small child to the point where all my teeth were capped to keep them from breaking.