2008 Tercera Edad Blogs

Blogging from San Pancho/San Francisco, Mexico in the new decade.

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A black market ... in babies

A black market ... in babies

My favorite pediatrician is in Puerto Vallarta. Now, obviously, I don't have a baby, but I have a young friend with a baby.

When I took her and the baby to the doctor for his two month checkup, the doctor not only examined, weighed, and measured the baby, but gave the mother a list of things she should be doing for her baby at that age.

Most were pretty simple ... spend time singing to the baby ... talk to the baby ... put pictures around his crib so he has something to look at and think about ... hang a mobile. 

And ... don't throw the baby up in the air.

The doctor noted that the baby should be smiling and holding his head up at this age.

So far, so good. Everything was in Spanish, but I understood everything. Except the last line.

"IMPORTANTE: No descidar a su nino pueden secuestrarlo."

That, the doctor said, means "don't leave your baby with someone you don't know very well. They could kidnap it. And you will never see him again."

This ties in with a recent story out of San Miguel de Allende, where a woman took a baby out of a stroller at the new mall and took off with him. She grabbed a taxi and ordered the cabbie to go to Mexico City, but the cab was stopped because someone saw the kidnapping, got the license plate number and the police arrived in time to save the baby. 

Trigger, Jezabell, Blackie ... and friends

Trigger, Jezabell, Blackie ... and friends

You know you're getting used to a new village when you start recognizing the dogs ... and knowing them by name.

Among my favorites are Trigger and Jezabell. Generally together, and usually playing on the beach, you can tell they are best friends. Trigger is a large, let's just say "well fed," Dalmatian type. Jezabell is a big, blond Golden Retriever.

They spend the better part of each day running in and out of the ocean, resting on the beach, wrestling in the sand and waiting for their owner to come down with leashes when it's time to go home.

But Jezabell has taken to visiting San Pancho's beauty parlor, where a new, tiny Chihuahua puppy named Blackie has taken up residence. Jezabell seems to think that Blackie is her puppy. And Blackie seems happy to let Jezabell think so. Jezabell, of indeterminate age, but not young, is willing to let the puppy climb all over her, and she rolls around on her back to oblige. Then gently licks the puppy and plays some more.

There's a black dog named Negra, who generally travels with her owner while he works. One day on the beach I asked a friend if a black dog was Negra. He said "no, it's just another black dog." Which seems to be the favored color of the family of dogs that spend their days sleeping in the street on Tercera del Mundo. (Black dogs may be second in number only to the number of small white poodles in San Pancho.)

Stress? In San Pancho?

Stress? In San Pancho?

A nurse in a hospital recently was doing a survey ... you know, medical history, prescriptions, operations. Questions about activities, memory. And, stress?

"How do you handle stress?" she asked. And I couldn't answer right away.

"Stress in traveling to Boston the week before?" No, no stress. Everything went smoothly. I was just glad to get there for some surgery.

"Stress at home?"

In San Pancho? I couldn't think of any stress. No kidding. With plenty of time to do whatever I want ... reading, computering, swimming. Going to the beach. Seeing friends. Volunteering. Shopping.

No Boston prices. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

No hurry to get anywhere. No big city traffic. We laugh at the Mexican drivers, macho enough to pass you on the highway on a blind curve. We can't get mad...or stressed. It just happens.

The dog, the cats. Okay, so the semi-Siamese knows how to climb the wall and escape. We got her a collar and tag so people won't think she's a stray.

I don't have to clean, or do laundry, or iron, or vacuum. I don't have to wash dishes or load or unload the dishwasher. I don't even have to make the bed.

Being a "Fallen Woman"

Being a "Fallen Woman"

San Miguel de Allende has such bumpiy cobblestone streets and narrow sidewalks that it's most likely that you will trip and take a tumble sooner or later. Some folks call it the city of "fallen women."

Well, I've fallen there, I've fallen here in San Pancho, and I've fallen around the world. Most notably into a hole where a large tree had been removed in Venezuela and sliding along the icy winter sidewalk in front of an open restaurant in Barcelona.

Last summer, I fell in Puerto Vallarta, tripping over a tope, or speed bump. That sent me to Cornerstone Hospital for stitches in my lip and repair of three teeth. It could have been worse.

After getting a new knee last year, I started falling. My kneecap was not doing what kneecaps are supposed to do, tossing me to the ground in my house, in the street and on the beach.

All minor falls, although I guess I could be called a "fallen woman," San Miguel or San Pancho.

Just over a year ago, I fell in our home in San Miguel Viejo, on a step that was taller than the other steps, just a tiny bit, but enough to trip me up. Which gets me to the point of the story.

Meat, Real Meat

Meat, Real Meat

Call it the luck of the Irish ... or the luck of Saint Patrick's Day. We actually got a real piece of corned beef that day!

Now all you of U.S. supermarket users may not think this a big deal. But, it is.

Here is Mexico the pork and chicken are the best we've ever eaten. But beef? Uh, uh. Never bought a good piece yet.

So, imagine walking into a butcher shop on Saint Patrick's Day and having the butcher pull a piece right out of the briney bucket! Okay, the price was a little high, but maybe US prices match it by now. I don't know.

And, that's not all!

He had just slaughtered three lambs and had lamb for sale (another rarity). Of course we had a loin cut into lamb chops for my birthday.

And, corned beef and lamb are back on the menu.

Along with some other great cuts of beef. The place is Carne del Mundo, Meat of the World, in Bucerias, Jalisco State, Mexico.

The butcher is our new best friend!

No sex scandals here

No sex scandals here

Hey, Eliot, come on down to Mexico!

As a prominent doctor told me, "we don't have sex scandals down here. It's just understood that men with extra sex partners is so common that nobody cares." What we do have," he continued, "are money scandals." Everyone is high office seems to be on the take.

And, Eliot, prostitution is legal in Mexico!

In fact, when we lived in San Miguel de Allende, we knew of at least two brothels, or nocturnos ... one near the boys orphanage and another in Los Frailes.

So, Eliot, come on down!

Round and round again

Round and round again

Did you know you can't get a credit card in Mexico if you are over 60? Maybe 62?

We had a purchase we wanted to make. The online retailer said they couldn't let us use a U.S. credit card and have the product delivered in Mexico.

So we put the required amount of money in our Mexican bank account and called the retailer again ... to use our debit card. Ooops! Debit card had to be scanned at the retailer, and you sure can't scan it by telephone.

Off to apply for a credit card only to find out we are both too old. No worries about age discrimination here!

So, we mailed a check.

More about stoves, pinatas, cats, geckoes, roosters, the frog & more

More about stoves, pinatas, cats, geckoes, roosters, the frog & more

So where, someone asked, is the stove? Still in the hall?

No, I didn't have to cover it with a tablecloth and call it a Christmas tree stand afterall. The store, finally, came for it and we are now thoroughly enjoying our GE.

The geckoes? Can't find any this month. Maybe they hibernate, or sleep, when it's cooler. Frogs, too? Since our frog, that comes to the kitchen, my office and front hall, can't be found either.

Our ladron, thief Chica, has outdone her self. She got into Curt's closet, stole all his socks, and gave them to the dog. Oro ate parts of all of them, even the Christmas socks.

The roosters are still next door. Even more of them. Unfortunately (for the roosters) they are for sale. I can only guess what end they will meet. The sign in Sayulita says "cockfights every Sunday."

We can buy even more at the front door now ... we added chairs and empanadas, this week.

And the pinata, the beautiful burro-ito. We finally realized it wouldn't be too cool to have our three-year-old grandaughter watch us beat it to pieces. So we dumped it upside down to free all the candy.

There's a Thief in the House

There's a Thief in the House

Cana and Chica

Yes, a ladron, a thief.

Last night she stole two washcloths from a bathroom, two dinner napkins from atop the microwave, a cleaning cloth from the laundry and ... Well, she steals a lot of things.

And brings them to us, even if it means carrying them up a flight of stairs, dragging them between her front paws. She succeeded once in hauling a complete sheepskin up a flight of stairs. When she arrives with the treasures she meows loud enough to wake us up so we can say "thank you".

She is Chica ("small"), our semi-Siamese, rescue cat.

When we got her from the San Miguel animal shelter she was the last of a litter of 10 tiny kittens abandoned by their mother. The shelter said they were Himalayan but her marks are Siamese-like. Except for her white tuxedo chest, so-called snow shoe feet (i.e. white). And a wide white "smile" permanently on her face.

Her sister cat Cana (means "white hair") is also a rescue cat, saved by a friend and adopted by us. We've had both almost three years now and Cana is not a thief. She much prefers to be busy sleeping on the second floor balcony wall in the sun. And hopefully she will not take another two-story fall into the palm below.

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