Archives for the month of: October, 2015

It’s been 2 years and 9 months since I started this blog.

After 475 posts and 232,172 words (about three medium size novels worth), I think that I’ve shared all there is I want to say about my transition from an engineer living in Washington, DC and working in the defense industry to that of an apprentice bag and sandal maker living these past three years down here in beautiful old Mexico.

As another fellow blogger ended her public writing, so shall I – and again – aptly borrowing from Douglas Adams:

“So long and thanks for all the fish.”


I’ve been here 3 years now and there is still this wonderful freshness to the experience of being here.

And even though I’ve got this place totally dialed in, when I wake up in the morning it is still miraculously all new to me. For instance, I am finally living in a great place, with a great view, that is clean and private and consequently so very livable. But each morning when I step out onto the street there is no question that I am in one of the sweetest most undiscovered spots in all of Mexico.

I got up this morning just before light and brewed up a cup of strong Mexican coffee. Then took the stairs to the 5th floor rooftop, watered my plants and watched the tangerine sunrise over the broad expanse of valley to the east.

A Tangerine Sunrise

A Tangerine Sunrise

At 9:30 I put on a pair of running shorts, grabbed a t-shirt and a bandanna, then slipped on my running sandals parked at the bottom of the stairs before heading out the door. I picked up a bottle of water from the coffee shop across the street and then walked two blocks to catch the grey combi-bus for the 20 minute ride out into the valley.

The sun was hot but the air was cool and there was a light breeze that made my run especially pleasurable. The valley and environs sit about a mile above sea-level and the weather is consistently gorgeous just about every day.

Ran for an hour before catching the combi back into town. Sluiced off with the garden hose on the roof then changed into a pair of cargo shorts and a different pair of sandals before walking the three blocks to Beto’s Carnitas Fonda in the Mercado.

I had three pork tacos: a rib meat taco, a taco made from the crunchy cartilage of the ear, and a kidney taco. All the meat was cooked in freshly rendered lard in a big stainless steel pot over a gas grill. I dressed them each independently with chopped onions, cilantro, hot chilies, avocado sauce and picked onions and carrots.

Some Typical Mexican Condiments

Some Typical Mexican Condiments

A couple of other men sat down at the counter while I was eating and like always I enjoyed watching Beto make up their plates. Everyone likes their carnitas different. And everyone has their own special way to dress them up.

Luz, who woks in Katya’s Fonda, patted me on the arm as she walked by. Ramon (still working his own fonda at 83) came up from behind while I was paying and put his arm around my shoulder and said hello.

These people are all so happily alive and my life here is so simple and delightfully small but packed with a richness that I am joyfully thankful for every single day.

PS – Classically speaking, this isn’t one of those picturesquely charming Mexican towns. Architecturally the town is common. The buildings are utilitarian. The materials of construction are brick. Some walls painted. Some not. But marvelously there is still a beauty to be found in so many local houses and buildings with that worn down quality that can best be described as benign neglect. Where in places, left to time and the elements, eroded plaster partially covered by faded paint exposing crumbled earthen adobe walls.

Art or decay?

Art or decay?