Gringos in San Miguel alternately fill me with amusement and consternation. Some examples:
Things gringos can’t live without: They have found a way to import…wait for it… Wolf’s Brand Chili! (The retching sound you hear in the background is me…retching. To any Southwesterner who has eaten real chilli, Wolf’s Brand is a nasty can of artificial color, artificial flavor, and fatty, gelatinous shredded meat-like substance interspersed with the occasional chunk of gristle. It is to real chili as military music is to music. Yet some gringos go to great lengths to get someone who goes to the border regularly to import this stuff for them.
For those benighted souls who think Wolf’s Brand Chili is actually food, I have an additional culinary delight–canned tamales. Many years go when I lived in Dallas and there was no authentic San Antonio style Tex-Mex available, I bought a can of tamales. Truly, they looked like large, colorless Vienna sausages. Instead of being wrapped in traditional corn shucks (which probably begin to deteriorate after a few years on the shelf), these things were wrapped in paper. One small, tentative bite convinced me they were inedible, an affront to taste buds.
But fans of Wolf’s Brand Chili probably would love them.
In summary, we live in Mexico, home of real Mexican food, and people pay a premium to eat a nasty, greasy mess of non-food.
Mexicans Celebrating Mexican Holidays: A newcomer to SMA complained on a chat site about the three days (and nights) of exploding fireworks. Why, he wondered, did no one complain to the police. A sympathizer agreed that the fireworks have gotten out of hand and that the police should intervene so he could get his sleep.
Let’s see…hmmm…Mexicans in Mexico are celebrating one of their most significant holidays in the traditional manner, but police (also Mexicans) should put a stop to it so gringos can get their beauty sleep.
My thought: go back to the gated community whence you came, where leaf blowers are not permitted before 10 am.
In fairness, I have to admit that many others explained the situation, noted how much they enjoy these aspects of living in Mexico, and urged him to get over himself. When apprised of the facts, the complainer apologized in good humor and agreed to get into the culture that surrounds him.
However, every time fireworks explode hordes of gringos demand that this inexcusable intrusion on their silent life be stopped.
Unique House for Rent: A few months ago I expected to have to move because the owner of the house I’m renting would want it back. I hadn’t been looking for a new place, but when I read a notice for a unique home in my price range, I had to check it out. The owner/builder is probably a creative genius (really!), but he lacks a basic understanding of what a renter will expect. The house has an amazing free-form concrete staircase, a half-barrel ceiling of stone mosaics, a tiled dome in another room, wonderful stained-glass doors and sky-lights. I was wowed, despite its unfinished areas, including rough concrete floors in most spaces, and sparse, tacky furnishings.
My initial problem was that one entire room is full of construction materials, and it will be locked for the duration of the lease term. Ummm…
Half of the master half-bath is taken up with sacks of sand and cement. Most of the roof terrace is also full of sacks of cement and sand, plus head-high stacks of wooden pallets. The creative genius couldn’t comprehend that I didn’t want to live among building materials, and he was loath to remove them, except at my expense.
As I was negotiating the removal of the materials, I recognized a deal killer: There is–by design–no roof over half of the house. No, I’m not talking about a courtyard with trees, shrubs, and flowers. I mean that part of the interior of the house does not have–and never will have–a roof.
Folks, it rains in San Miguel–sometimes up to 7 inches per month. It sometimes snows. Then there are the swarms of voracious mosquitoes.
To put this is the most elemental terms: If it is raining and I’m in the (dry) upstairs bedroom and feel the need for a cup of coffee–okay, realistically, a big ol’ glass of wine–I would have to slog through the rain along the length of the house, down the creative staircase, and half the length of the house to the (hopefully dry) kitchen for my libation, assuming that neither the coffee maker nor the refrigerator electrocute my soggy body.
Hmmmmmm. Think I’ll keep looking.
The owner later ran another ad describing the house and noting that it would be perfect for an artist or writer. Well, maybe for a truly starving artist writer who has been living in a packing crate beneath a bridge. Half a roof is better than none.
Update: The owner likely won’t return until sometime in 2015, sparing me the task of finding another abode.
Hair Color Gone Wild
Here’s a photo of a woman wearing her real hair–not a fright wig borrowed from Bozo the Clown. My first thought was, “Good God, your head is on fire!”
Since seeing her, I’ve discovered there are at least three women in SMA with this hair color. Prior to those cornea-damaging sightings, I’d have bet there weren’t three women on the planet who would intentionally turn their hair that color. Can you buy this dye, or must one concoct it from a mix of less disgusting hues? On reflection, I think this color might look cool on a cute twenty-something. Lumpy old women? Noooooo.
Ladies, do us all a favor and put a bag over your head when you venture outdoors.
This even offends an atheist:
Someone posted on a chat site that she wanted to acquire an old baptismal font. Okay…..
But, she wanted to turn it into a sink in her bathroom! In which to wash her dirty–perhaps shitty–hands.
I’m a thoroughgoing atheist, don’t buy anyone’s concept of god or gods or practices relating thereto, but really! The 2012 Award for Bad Taste and Insensitivity goes to….
It could have been worse. She could have turned the font into a bidet.
While dining at a new Thai restaurant with friends, we complimented the chef/owner on the wonderful meal. She was grateful for our kind words, having just been told by a customer from Los Angeles that her offerings weren’t real Thai food. Hmmm….the owner/chef is Thai, grew up in Thailand, learned to cook in Thailand, but of course a gringo from Los Angeles (which we all know is the capital of Thailand) knows real Thai food.
Go figure. ((I’m betting the customer loves him some Wolf’s Brand Chili.)
Just another perfect day in paradise, despite the occasional weird gringo.