Did you set your clock back last night? Here in Mexico we did it last week. It was bad enough losing two hours when I got here, but now for one week I had to remember who was one hour back or one hour ahead instead of the usual two when I phoned friends up north. Glad that’s over with.
Dia de las muertos has come and gone for another year. The Catrinas have been tucked away and the vendors are nowhere in sight. Some of the bakeries still have pan de los muertos but that’s about it. The parade on Wednesday officially ended the celebrations.
I met friends for a drink last night on Carranzas. That street is always busy. There are lots of bars, coffee shops and restaurants as well as a variety of other shops. It’s a great place for people-watching and practicing my Spanish as I meander in and out of the shops.
I’m now watching Lifetime movies again in an effort to improve my Spanish. The odd one I’ve seen in English before but most are new so it’s a challenge. Some of them are pretty bizarre. I watched one the other night that was about murdering cheerleaders, most conducive to nightmares if there were any teens out there watching.
Apparently I’m not the only one doing any traveling. My driver’s license has been on the move since September when it was sent to me from Winnipeg. It never did arrive in East Wenatchee and has surfaced once again in Winnipeg this week. I’ve told my son to keep it there as sending it here to Mexico is an exercise in futility. I mean, it couldn’t even make it to East Wenatchee so I don’t expect that it would ever find its way to Aguascalientes. Besides, I’m enjoying using my Mexican Costco card as photo ID.
My friends back home tell me the smoke has cleared and the temperatures have cooled. They’ve even had some snow. It’s still in the 80s here and I’m looking forward to it cooling off a little. Of course, they can keep that white stuff up north. I know some of my Mexican friends are excited about snow but I keep telling them I’d rather watch it on the videos my friends put on Facebook than to actually be there and have to contend with it. That one winter in Washington during Covid was more than enough for me.
Speaking of Covid, there aren’t nearly as many masks on the streets here now as there were when I first arrived a month ago. And the shops that had signs up requiring masks are now letting people in without masks although some still have signs up. Yours truly was a bit of a rebel and totally disregarded the signs anyways.
Alexa’s joke today. A grasshopper hops into a bar. The bartender says, “I’m going to serve you a drink named after you.” The grasshopper responds,” You have a drink named ‘Steve’?”
It’s been an interesting week. It’s nice to be back in Las Flores. It hasn’t changed much since I left in the spring. Most of the tiendas and restaurants are as I remember them. And on my walks I’ve discovered new ones as well.
On Wednesday I went to breakfast with the Ags Ladies group. It was great to see my friends again and I also met new people. And yes, we all talk in English. A rare time when I do talk English. In my neighborhood everyone speaks Spanish. Some are eager to learn English but haven’t quite grasped the fact that when I tell them I’m retired, I really mean that I am retired.
I was wandering through the tienguis the other day when an adorable little boy asked me if I’d teach him English. I guess I’ll always sound like a gringa speaking Spanish. He overheard me talking with a woman selling fruit. In my opinion my grammar leaves a lot to be desired, and I don’t roll those Rs well, but I am pretty fluent.
The weather here is similar to when I left East Wenatchee. Temperatures are in the 80s but it’s sunny here instead of smoky. And I really should switch back over to Celsius from Fahrenheit. And I should also trade out my American chip for my Mexican chip in my phone.
I’m excited. My characters are still talking to me. I’d been writing up a storm back in the USA and I was concerned that they might be affected by the move to Mexico. But they seem to be quite content here. And of course I’m enjoying my new laptop. Much better for writing than on a tablet.
Final thoughts for today. There are three big differences between Aguascalientes and Washington state. In Mexico masks are still very visible and are required in some tiendas. People smoke cigarettes in Mexico. No vaping. And there are no pot shops in Mexico where I live.
On Saturday afternoon I flew out of Pangborn on the first of three flights to get to Aguascalientes. A layover at Sea-Tac, another at LAX and I arrived in Guadalajara Sunday afternoon right on time. Breezed through INM and my bag was one of the first off the conveyor. Grabbed a taxi to Central Nueva. Waited all of five minutes and was on a bus to Aguascalientes.
Needless to say I spent Sunday night and Monday morning sleeping. It’s great to be back in Las Flores. The neighborhood hasn’t changed much. I went to one of my favorite hamburger stands Monday night and visited with the owner. Tuesday morning I went to the gordita stand and was welcomed back. Yes, the English teacher is back. Somehow no one around here grasps the fact that I’m retired, although I’ve been telling them this since I first came to Aguascalientes back in 2019.
I finally got internet yesterday afternoon. And I feel like my right arm has been reattached. I haven’t changed over my American chip for my Mexican one on my phone yet, so that didn’t help either. It’s so nice to have Spotify back so I have music again while I’m writing. I’ve missed my music. Okay, I’ve missed Facebook too. Very happy that there is a new modem where I’m living.
To my friends back in Washington……………the air here is so clear. Not smokey at all. I sure hope that smoke vanishes soon up north. It was definitely maskworthy when I left. Speaking of masks, some places here in Aguascalientes still require them. I did bring a couple back with me and glad I did although I am not a fan of masks. People here are amazed that I’m both double vaxxed and double boosted.
Got to the ATM yesterday just as the bank was locking up. ATMs are shutting down early due to the homeless problem here. No longer available 24/7. That’s okay. I had my bodyguard Raul with me and he convinced them to let me in and use the ATM.
Temperatures here are similar to East Wenatchee when I left. 80s. I haven’t switched over to Celsius mode yet. Still in American Fahrenheit mindset.
Yesterday it felt really strange not to be on my way to Leavenworth to teach a fitness class. I must remember to take that reminder out of my phone. I won’t need it again for a few months.
Wenatchee Valley Crime and News is a group I belong to on Facebook. I am amazed at all the crime reported just about daily on this site. Everything from stolen bicycles to hit and runs to sexual assaults. Lots of videos posted too. The following event was Monday’s highlight.
To get to East Wenatchee from Wenatchee there is a bridge that crosses the Columbia River. There was a shooting in Wenatchee and the suspects led police on a chase over the bridge and then abandoned their vehicle. The chase continued by foot throughout our neighborhood. Schools were locked down and school buses were temporarily grounded. Two men were finally apprehended.
Tuesday’s highlight….Someone jumped off the bridge. He was rescued. Seems to be a popular place for jumpers. I recall reading about a couple when I was still in Mexico during the winter.
But the posts on this site are not all bad. Occasionally someone finds keys, glasses, phones or credit cards and they’re returned to their rightful owners. This kind of restores your faith in humanity.
On a high note, the mask mandate on public transit has been lifted. No violence or protests about that. Instead we’re all celebrating.
Here’s a pic of the snow on the mountains on the weekend. Most of it is gone now. Temperatures are rising and the streets are clear and dry again. No snow on the grass or trees.
Charlene and I were out for lunch at Sleeping Lady yesterday and were joined by this delightful robin.
I’m planning a trip to Winnipeg soon and am just waiting a while longer until the snow disappears and it warms up.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying spring here in Washington. It’s exciting to see bushes and trees budding and tulips growing.
When I taught ESL in Mexico, days of the week was one of the first lessons in all curriculums. The students were always amused at the nickname of humpday for Wednesday. But they readily embraced this term when they understood the significance of the day. As for me, I still chuckle at the Spanish term for Wednesday. Miercoles is quite a mouthful.
It’s still hot and dry here in Washington state. There is no rain in sight although some clouds did tease us momentarily yesterday. The outdoor pool in Leavenworth is becoming very popular.
Almost eleven months since I arrived from Mexico and I’m still here. Physically so close to Canada yet it seems to be getting farther away. Biding my time and wondering what the next announcement will be regarding Covid tests and borders.
The Olympics are well underway in Tokyo. It seems strange to see the stands so empty. And the competitors and coaches with masks are just too surreal. The athletes will definitely have stories to tell for years to come.
I’ve been reading more than usual lately. I highly recommend the two books co-authored by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. Big, heavy books but great reads nonetheless.
In the fall of 2010 I arrived in Culiacan to teach English at a private school. I did not speak Spanish and knew absolutely no-one in Mexico.
I was in the library on my break when one of the other teachers approached me. Juan spoke some English and wanted to improve his skills. He was also eager to help me learn Spanish. An intercambio exchange turned into a friendship. His wife Lucila taught at a different school and would come to drive him home. She also began to drive me home.
At the time they had one child, Juan Carlos, just over a year old. Over the years, our friendship has grown, and so has their family. They now have four children, and I have four nietos (grandsons) who call me abuelita (grandma). They and their extended family have all adopted me.
Juan Carlos phones me and we do video calls on Tuesdays and Fridays. I am amazed at how well he speaks English and am so very proud of him. He just graduated primaria (elementary school) earlier this month.
Since Covid arrived back in March of 2020, classes have been on the internet. For the most part, Juan and Lucila have been able to work from home. They go out only when absolutely necessary, usually for groceries. They wear masks and avoid crowds whenever possible.
Juan and Lucila each had one dose of Astra Zeneca, a vaccine not approved for use here in the USA. Sadly, they have both come down with Covid despite their efforts to stay healthy. My grandsons are all sick now as well.
The photo above was taken in happier times, back in December of 2019 when I last visited them in Culiacan.
I am so blessed to have this beautiful family in my life. Please keep them in your prayers.
When I talk to my friends in Winnipeg, it sounds like we live in two completely different worlds, despite the fact that the USA and Canada share a border.
Friday night we went out for dinner to Wok About, a Mongolian Barbecue style restaurant. We bumped into my friend who was there with her two grandchildren. And we all sat at a table together to have dinner. Four different households at one table. A buffet style restaurant. And in Winnipeg if you want to share a table you need to produce ID to prove you actually reside at the same address.
Let’s talk church. They’ve been open here for a while now. And even when they weren’t supposed to be open they were open. Masks are optional in several churches. Attempts at physical distancing aren’t always successful either.
Then there is the other extreme here in Washington state. Masks are required on public transit. Masks are required to enter most stores although Safeway tends to look the other way.
I met with my immigration attorney earlier in the week. He took my temperature and I had to sign a health form. And masks were mandatory throughout the two hour meeting. I almost felt like I was in Canada.
Walking through downtown Leavenworth on the weekend I’ve noticed that the majority of people wear masks. Until they sit down at all the outdoor tables that line the main street. Lots of restaurant seating when the streets are closed to vehicular traffic.
Texas leads the way in doing away with masks and other restrictions. And I thought Washingtonians were rebels.
When I tell my friends here what’s going on back in Winnipeg and the rest of Canada in terms of quarantine and other restrictions, they don’t believe it. Until I show them the newspaper articles and other news reports. Their response is always “They could never do that here in the USA. We wouldn’t stand for it.”
Please don’t even get me started on the quarantine cash grab issue in Canada right now. This is yet another example of the disorganization and inefficiency of the way Canada is mishandling this pandemic.
For the time being, I intend to mask up when necessary and maintain physical distancing when possible. And I’m looking forward to getting my second shot on Tuesday, months ahead of when I’d be vaccinated if I were in Canada.
I went to bed on May 31st and woke up to an entirely new world the next morning that suspiciously resembled life before COVID-19.
Although people are still wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, most of the smaller shops that have been closed for months have now reopened. Restaurants are also now open for dining in.
A friend came in from Zacatecas and we went to Terraza Italiana for coffee. In the photo below you will note the physical distancing I observed.The tianguis In Las Flores was in full swing this morning. Much more than just food was available for purchase. Physical distancing was not at all evident.My feelings are quite mixed about this reopening. I would have preferred a more gradual reopening in stages. By the same token I enjoyed sipping freshly brewed coffee in a cafe rather than the instant Nescafé which has been my norm for several weeks now. It’s also nice to see the streets filled with activity once again.
But thousands of new cases of COVID-19 are being confirmed every day. This virus is here to stay. On the one hand we need to protect ourselves but on the other hand we need to build up immunities.
I have no faith in the statistics they provide us with, especially here in Mexico where testing is practically non-existent.
I’m beginning to question the idea that travel is more dangerous than staying at home and I look forward to the borders opening up again so I can go home to Leavenworth.
Quarantine has done its job of slowing the spread. But quarantine does not prevent COVID-19.
The fact of the matter is that life simply cannot go back to the state it was in prior to COVID-19. The economy has been crushed. The fragility of our mental health is evident in the catastrophic increase in suicide rates. And now the anger and frustration of being confined is showing up in the forms of protests and race riots.
Enough of man’s inhumanity to man. There is a new reality now and society needs to adapt. And the sooner the better.
I’ve been reading a lot about June 1 lately. That’s the date tourism is supposed to resume in a big way here in Mexico. Hotels are to open again and the beaches are expected to fill with vacationers.
In the past week restaurants have begun to welcome customers once again. Of course they do have to follow some rigid guidelines. I’m still sticking to takeout for the time being. I’m quite content with that right now.
I must admit that I’m just a tad reluctant to go to a hairdresser yet. I’ve passed by a couple of them in my neighborhood and it just looks like business as usual. No physical distancing. In one of them the stylist was not even wearing a mask.
I noticed that several shops had signs stating that only two people were allowed in at a time. Some food stores limited their cliental to only one per family. Absolutely everywhere you go there are bottles of antibacterial gel on countertops. That’s something that I’ve usually found seriously lacking in the past here in Mexico.
By the same token, there are no shortages of soaps, disinfectants or other related products. Nor is there a shortage of toilet paper. Food shortages have never been an issue.
Just yesterday the internet was flooded with articles about how the whole country of Mexico has now been declared a red zone. Who do you believe?
June 1 is tomorrow. I wonder just how “open” this country will be.
Here in Mexico we entered Phase 3 last week. This is the most serious phase related to COVID-19 where community spread is supposed to really take off.
Where I live there is no curfew or strict rules other than physical distancing and wearing a mask. This is to be the norm until May 30th. There is purportedly a plan in place to begin opening things up a little come June 1st.
Of course very little testing is being done here so I have no idea how reliable the statistics are. Are we really in the worst part right now? There are professionals who argue that the summer will be the worst time. I guess that’s what happens when you make predictions based on unreliable statistics.
I don’t base much on statistics. What I do believe is that COVID-19 is a deadly disease spreading rapidly throughout the world. It is important to practice good hygiene and respect physical distancing. As far as when it will be safe to lift restrictions and resume a more normal life…..who knows?