Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Questions Keep Coming In

The responses to my silly rant have been very positive.   The problem is that the effect of the policies forwarded by this administration would be, will be a disaster for this Republic as we know it.   There is little humour in that fact.

     There have been some questions concerning President Calderon's initiative to essentially "Nacionalizar" (nationalize) the local and State level police.   Without mincing words, I will tell you that, with few reservations, it is a policy that is needed.   The ill is far outweighed by the good.
      My inclination, as an old Confederate, is to maintain local control....if anything the extreme.    Little good can come of ordering society from some distant castle, far removed from the plague or flood or blight or riot.   Those who know best are most frequently found nearby, was a favourite saying of my parents
      The problem in Mexico is that the local police in thousands and thousands of municipios (counties), small ciudades (cities), delegaciones (subdivisions of municipios) and even Zonas Metropolitanas (metropolitan zones) and estados (States) are frequently working in very weak command and control structures...They are also exposed to very strong temptations, due to the fact that they frequently earn between 350 and 750 dollars per month.    Even with a fairly generous secondary benefit schedule...medical, small retirement, the job frequently presents more to lose than to gain.
     One of the main threats for anyone out in the hinterland is the fabled offer of the organized crime group which offers the policeman or public official the choice of "Plomo o plata", (lead or silver).  And the other famous tactic of making veiled or direct threat against a family member can be equally effective.
      It has been demonstrated that, while not perfect, the Mexican Army, the Mexican Naval Infantry, and the newly constituted uniformed national civilian police have performed between well-enough and stunningly effectively.   The military part of this formula has really been remarkable.   Self-cleansing, self-improving, self-reliant, self-disciplined, and obedient to civilian authority are all accurate terms to described the military units, now numbering 160,000 under arms and at the "front".     This does not count the "on the water" Navy which has also professionalized by quantum measure in the past 10 years.     Other military personnel not actively engaged in combat or neo-combat situations now number in the range of around 230,000 more uniformed effectives.
       These folks are dedicated to combat and combat support, they know, use, and understand cyber-combat application as well as cyber-warfare.   They have good basic and advanced education.   The federal police units make in the neighbourhood of 16,000 dollars/year along with a benefit package of about the same amount at the low end....while the military receives somewhat less at the lower ranks, but still far from subsistence.

     It appears to this observer that the processes, legal and military and constabularial, seem to function better if the recruits are gathered up from the provinces, trained well, and deployed under a single chain/level of command.   When there is a problem or a corruption issue, it is immensely more easily detected.   It is also immensely more easily guarded against by the establishment of procedures, active and passive observation and monitoring, and the building of an esprit de corps that frequently replaces temptation and avarice.     Many observers said that the possibility of  such a development in Colombia was  "impossible"  or "ridiculous", or "preposterous"....but it turned out to be very possible.

     Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to comment about the economic situation in Mexico....perhaps some surprizing observations.

Thanks for your time and attention,
El Gringo Viejo    

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

I Went and Did It!

Well, I finally did it. On the way to the polls to vote absentee I did a lot of thinking. It occurred to me that Obama was really a good guy who is trying to do his best for the country. I remembered all the good things the Democrats give me to make my life easier. And I thought about all those bums out on the golf course, playing golf, having a good time, just because George Bush let them have too much money.

     Then there was all the discrimination Obama's people suffered during slavery and Jim Crow, especially, or even if, none of his Kenyan people had ever heard of the United States of America until 1955, much less lived here.
      And all that stuff about Bush driving us into a ditch and letting all those people drown and die of starvation in New Orleans....over 10,000, some say it was more like 250, one will ever know. The fact is that the conspiracy to eliminate New Orleans began with Eisenhower and was finally implemented by Bush....and it could have been 623,000 people who died. Everyone knows this and that's why they have to keep it a secret.
     And I had to remember that "teachable moment" when Obama showed me the errors of my way of thinking....when the police in Massachusetts had "behaved stupidly" .....To think..a man so brilliant that he could use this as a "teachable moment" about the police "behaving stupidly" when He did not even have, according to He Himself, "all the facts". That truly speaks to inspired brilliance.
     All I can say is that for the first time....the first time in my adult life....I have been proud of my country. Any country that can run up 2,400,000,000,000 dollars of national debt load in two years with absolutely nothing to show for it....has to be a great country.
     What finally did it in for me was to think that Obama's aunt is an illegal alien, living on complete public support...and she recognized what it really meant when the people sing..."the land of the free (lunch, housing, electricity, everything)" is truly inspiring.....and of course, His half-brother who really is a Mohammedan with two wives...but wait...marry now and you get another wife...ABSOLUTELY FREE. And sho' nuff...Obama's brother in age 52, gets to have a third wife, aged 18, ABSOLUTELY FREE! You just have to admire Obama.... His family ties.... His intellectual enlightenment.
     As I went into the polls there was a homeless guy...pretty well known here in the McAllen area. He panhandles the bigger intersections mainly....and he came up to me and asked " Hey, buddy....I hope you can spare me some change." How could I resist?
      So, I went on in and voted straight Republican,  just like always.   

Thanks for your time and attention

The Old Gringo

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Few Observations

     There comes a point when a few small observations are required.   Everyone here knows my political orientation, so please do not think of me as un-American.
     I have a bit of passing familiarity with Falcon Reservoir.   It was my pleasure to be there when it was dedicated by President Eisenhower and President Adolfo Ruiz Cortinez back on one incredibly hot (before global warming was caused by Gerge Bush), terribly windy October day in 1953.   My Godfather had been the contractor who built all the housing for the "Dam workers" ....a requirement because Falcon Dam was pretty far removed from anything, and the personnel pretty much had to remain on-site.   The Employees' Village numbered about 30 nice homes, with 2, 3, and 4 bedrooms.    We thought it was pretty neat that someone could rent a really nice home with 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths for 12 dollars a month.
     We fished there after it filled from the effects of Hurricane Donna...which ended the drought of the early 1950's.   During my high-school days we fished there, and in the Rio Grande below the dam several miles to Chapen~o, Salinen~o, and "puntos intermedios".    We would always take advantage of the really excellent, even if a bit plain, restaurants in nearby places in Mexico where a guy could score a huge "Mexican Plate" for 3 pesos including a Coca-cola or a really good Gringo style hamburger and a Coke for 1 peso.    That was a range of 8 American cents to 24 American 1962-1964.
     We frequently travelled over to the old colonial city of Guerrero, originally known as Carrizales in the colonial period, to see the effects of its inundation.   My mother and various people in the Valley were saddened at the loss of the city because it was truly a little picture post-card town....very clean and  picturesque.
      We would camp out on the Rio Grande below Falcon Dam in various places....using the law in Texas which permitted people free access to cross over private property in order to gain access to rivers within the State.   Actually, I spent a good part of my senior year pretty much camped out there.  That did not help my grade point average.....but I was arrogant and knew that I would do well on the SAT.   (Of course, it would have been better to have a high SAT score and a high gpa.)
     It was all very pleasant.   There were few if any problems.   The Mexicans always treated us like human beings, whether we deserved it or not.   The scenery was magnificent...especially for flatlanders from McAllen....for it was from Falcon Dam where a person could frequently see the Sierra de los Picachos....which parallel the Sierra Madre Oriental....sixty miles to the west.   Monterrey itself....kind of like the Capital not just of Nuevo Leon but of Northern Mexico in a only 90 miles from the Dam by straight line.

     In any regard, with reference to the issues of to-day, there are things that are not reported and things that are reported incorrectly.   I am saddened that FOXNews and my local station KURV-710 have been just as misleading and inaccurate as the rest of the media in this matter.  
     One thing that needs to be stated at the beginning of this observation is that the Mexican military has just completed an incredibly successful operation in an hemispheric area 20 miles in radius from a point placed on the center of Falcon Dam.   This operation was conducted in September, and was puncuated by two major engagements; one between Parras, Nuevo Leon and  General Trevin~o, Nuevo Leon and the other in a place just southwest of Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas.   The two points are about 18 miles apart from one another.   In the two encounters 58 cartel members were killed, 20 were taken prisoner, a score of late-model motor-vehicles (SUV's, BMW's, etc.) were decommisioned along with much militaria.  They were, according to various reasonable observers, gradually isolating a peninsula near Old Guerrero, the submerged city, where a body of "mules" had set up something akin to a hobo camp.   These mules were/are guys who used to dedicate themselves to commercial fishing on the lake.
      As these times and opportunities came to them, they began taking loads of illegal drugs and marihuana and  illegal aliens across the lake at night in their "pangas".  A "panga" is a very high-prowed, bulky, very under-powered (25 horsepower), 20 foot,  plasti-foam boat which can carry considerable weight and low to moderate speeds.
      At first it was done for fun and profit and adventure....and then it became a matter of "do it or else" it is with all organized crime.   Various sweeps of lesser and greater intensity and commitment by civilian authority dented but did not eliminate this activity.   But with the steady criss-crossing offensive by the Mexican Army and the Mexican Naval Infantry occurring in the near distance....along with better measures taken by State and Federal police entities....the cartel people have been put at a disadvantage, leaving the "pangeros" (boatmen) to now huddle on a peninsula near Old Guerrero where they hide in an area of mesquite and willow thickets of about 120 acres extension.
      The purported visit by the Colorado couple for the purpose of taking pictures of the old parish church of Guerrero Viejo interrupted this scene, both for the "pangeros" and the military.   Throughout the American side of the Lake there are written announcements urging that people avoid that particular area of a huge lake that, at this moment is about 60 miles long and about 17 miles wide at its widest point...which includes the mouth of the Rio Salado.    The couple had lived and worked in Reynosa, across from McAllen, with an American company associated with the development of the massive natural gas reserves in the northeastern Mexico area,  for the past three years.    They had recently moved to McAllen...because the company had become concerned about the cartel activity....and the couple was going to be moving back to Colorado in any regard.    The pick-up they drove from McAllen to Zapata on the Lake with was still bearing Mexican license plates from the State of Tamaulipas.    In short, they had to have been well aware that Falcon Lake was a safe place to jet ski, fish, and have a good time...... EXCEPT FOR ONE PLACE.    This was not a stupid or ignorant couple, but at best, they did make a significant error in judgement
               NOT EVEN THE OLD GRINGO WOULD HAVE GONE INTO THAT PARTICULAR AREA OF FALCON LAKE IN THESE DAYS, AT THIS TIME.    Any of about 99.5% of Mexico you might find me....but not at that particular point.
     It should be pointed out that, contrary to published and broadcasted reports,  the Mexican Army began searching the area the day after the incident and gradually added capacity...machinery (helicopters, boats, dogs, American satellite information, GPS, etc.).   Searching has continued, even to this date, but there has been no jet ski....
     With more local people on the Mexican side feeling more comfortable because of the presence of a battalion of heavy infantry taking up positions in the town of Nuevo Guerrero (built to replace the old, inundated town) the local citizens are celebrating "liberation".....They are insistent that the Army not leave.    This fact has been recorded on Mexican and American television news programs, stated on camera by locals.     But there has been no jet ski.....and the Texas Rangers have not returned, to date, certain items of interest that they took for analysis on the day of the report of the incident.

Now, I am done.   Thank you as always for your interest and attention.
The Old Gringo

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


     This is a very serious matter to my psychological health....which .normally ranges between hopeless to incurable.   We have an old Dodge Dynasty...a 1992 model...which we keep in the family because it belonged to my father-in-law.    It was bought new by him and has been with the family, obviously, forever. 
     It has the 3.3 V6 and a five-speed automatic.     We have had a bit of trouble with this and that, but it has generally performed well.   It makes 30 miles to the gallon, cruising at 62 miles per hour and still, after 250,000 miles, uses no oil.   We also keep it, because it is so old that it attracts little attention   which serves well when driving around in Mexico, or anywhere during these days.   It is in such a good condition however, that, especially when in Mexico,  I rarely can stop without someone asking if it is for sale. 
     Anyway, we've replaced the radiator, a recently dysfunctional elevator for the driver's power window, an AM-FM-Cassette Stereo (no cd capacity), and it needs a new windshield.   We checked the brakes a while back....but the mechanic said there was really no need for any service....the squeaking had been caused by a bit of dust.   The car, oddly, has four-wheel disc brakes.
     The biggest problem is a cranky transmission that hates cold.   It will fail to shift from 2nd to 3rd and sometimes it will suddenly shift down from 3rd to 2nd for no reason and without warning.   If I can get it up into 5th gear then I can go forever.....but the trick is to warm everything up so that can do that.   Sometimes it helps to make sure there is transmission fluid as well.  (One time the Quicky-Lube people drained the wrong sprigot).
     During the last week it has given me a bit of trouble trying to shift up into 3rd gear, and I was losing patience, becoming depressed, moaning, and whining.     My search for the metal piercing 38 cal. cartridges was interrupted by a desire to give the old Dynasty one last chance.    So, I went out, warmed it up.....recalling that early morning temperatures have been hovering  around 59 and 60 degrees...well below the Dynasty's point of toleration.    "Perhaps", thought I " it is necessary to go through the warming up procedure a bit longer"
     The procedure is to drive it a short distance...two or three blocks...then stop, turn off the engine, count to 15 slowly....and start up and go again.   If the transmission fails to shift from 2nd to 3rd...then repeat procedure #1.     Normally, during the Summer it takes 3 to 4 tries...when necessary...and it's off we go.    During the Winter it is best to start the engine, let it idle for 2 minutes, and then take off.   It can take from 0 to 4 tries in the Winter depending upon the Moon stage or something. 
     Anyway...I have just returned from transmission therapy and I now have three mornings in a row that the transmission has returned to its old predictable now I am happy.   Once a person can get back into the "predictable dysfunction" range of a horse or motor-car then he can live with it.   The really odd thing is that once the Dynasty gets out of its "grumpy morning syndrome" then the rest of the matter how hot or cold....the transmission is a smooth as a button.    Really strange....probably had some estrogen in the transmission fluid one time.
Thanks again.
The Old Gringo

Friday, 1 October 2010

Thorns, loose gravel, problems, and things that go bump in the day....But Wait! If you begin to read now, you get another article, FREEE!

   It was about two weeks of being down this time...lots more rain....a couple of power outages...short ones, thankfully....and now I am back again.  The Rio Corona roared back up to nearly where it had been back in August.   Hurricane Karl did send the majority of its remants up along the face of the Sierra Madre Oriental during the period from September 18th through the 21st.  The next State to the South, Vera Cruz, suffered huge rainfall totals, up to 80 inches over a four day period.   This was covered almost the entirety of a fairly large coastal State in east-central most Mexico.

Pico de Orizaba, also known in the Nahuatl language
as Citlaltepetl....which means Star Mountain
     Vera Cruz is unique in the sense that it  is the only State in the Republic that touches the ocean and the highest point in Mexico at the same time.   Its entire eastern boundary is in contact with the Gulf of Mexico, while it also reaches to the heavens by sharing the uttermost pinnacle of the Peak of Orizaba as its boundary with the States of Puebla and Hidalgo.    The peak itself brushes up against the 19,000 foot elevation above sea level, and is one of the three permanent snow capped mountains, and glacial sites in Mexico.
      But, all this aside, Vera Cruz, Oaxaca, Tabasco, and Chiapas States are all being hit by catastrophic flooding, landslides, road closures, and other calamities.  Private, public, and all sorts of spontaneous assistance efforts are being made.   The area from Ciudad Victoria - more or less where we are -  up north through the Monterrey metroplex also was hit, but it was impressive to note that the people seemed resigned to even humerously digesting their losses and inconveniences.   Significant food, water, and clothing drives along with financial collections were being conducted and stuff and money being literally driven down to affected areas.   All of this is going on while the American press carries partially correct stories about organized crime violence and whether or not that violence might spill over into the United States.  (BULLETIN: Mexican organized crime and American organized crime has been joined at the hip for at least seventy years, and the crime "spillover" during this particular set of conditions started in the 1960's and has become worse each year since.)
      Another peculiar twist has hit our little existence at the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre.   Our back door neighbour, who has a humble but clean and sizable rambling domestic situation at our back door has new people "under the roof".   I use the term "domestic situation" because he has a large, one room adobe and thatched roof structure which serves as a bedroom and family gathering room for our neighbour, his son, and his daughter.   The children are in their late thirties as best I can tell, and have various types of conditions and disorders.   They are all quite pleasant, but their personalities are much more complex than one might think.  The father and the daughter are of normal intelligence, while the son has certain intellectual challenges and a condition involving seizures.
     Very recently, another couple has arrived, with two children, a girl about 12 and a boy aged about 9.   One or other of the adult couple is related to the owner of the compound in a father/child manner.    They are all pleasant enough, but the children can only speak English.  Their Spanish is very weak.  The mother can speak Spanish as can the father, but neither speaks English well at all.   The mother speaks a bit of broken English.   It must make for interesting conversation around the dinner table.
    As it turns out they have all arrived from Arizona, having left because of the fact that the "environment" did not seem conducive to their remaining.   They have taken up residence in the concrete room on the same property, equally spartan, one light bulb, very elementary shelter.
     With another woman on the grounds, things are brushed and swept-up a bit more, and certain improvements have been noticeable.   The children are civilized and trying to adapt to school uniforms and a discipline in class they have never seen or experienced....while trying to learn what is essentially, to them, a foreign language.   The boy seemed happy to find a neighbour who speaks English, but I have decided to remain in Spanish mode, at least for a majority of the time, so that he does not use me as his cultural safe-base.   As the days go by, the Old Gringo will try to learn more about these folks and try to assist in their establishment of a new life.   These are strange times.

     We have received a few inquiries about butterflies and birds.   So that I can be perfectly truthful, we have had quite a few of the Monarchs, but nothing like the "sun-blocking clouds" that are frequently referred to by people who are concerned about such things.  While it really never arrives as such a level, it is true that, at times, it can seem impossible that the air could hold so many flapping beasts at one time and in one place.  So far, this "going down south" season....not so much.  Perhaps there has just been too much rain and the butterflies are just taking their time.  
     As far as birds are concerned there have been a lot of warblers arriving quite suddenly.   Hummingbirds are the main attraction at this time however.    There  has been some disappointment with my Persian Maine Coon female cat because she has reverted to the idea that hummingbirds are some kind of "flying mice", so I have had to maintain my rolled up newspaper "tube" in order to beat the slop out of her as she tries to play "Swat the Flying Mouse".   I left instructions with Alvaro to keep the newspaper handy, as well.
     Finally, my water heater began giving some trouble....the pilot light....and every effort to resurrect the old pilot failed.    So, I went to the Estacion Santa Engracia, located a little hardware store that had a new one available, and went back home.    It was installed....and of course did not work.   I sent for the plumber who had done good work for me on our water pump.   Late in the afternoon, he came, and cleaned all the lines, did this, did that, and still it did not work.  (The gas line did need cleaning out)   Finally he disassembled the new pilot light and we immediately noted that it was outfitted for a natural gas feed....not propane/butane/lpg type gas.
      I assumed, of course, that all was lost and was busy brushing up on various forms of profanity when I noticed that my plumber, Jaime, had gone about disassembling the original old, old, old pilot light and the most recently deceased pilot light, and then the brand new pilot light.   He carefully selected the usable parts from each and assembled Dr. Frankenstein's New and Improved Pilot Light.   After a couple of tries it fired off and everything is pretty much back to normal.   Charge - 100 pesos (about 7.50 in dollars).
There is a lot more later, but as usual....
Thanks for your time and attention to this point...more this afternoon and/or tomorrow.
The Old Gringo
And then, once here, I had forgotten that during the first day of my last return, everything done, everything unloaded, the Old Gringo was watching a news program in order to stay abreast of the "interesting" developments that swirl around us, when there arose quite a clamour.   A particular child (now a teenager) for whom I have no particular liking began shouting for me to come out and quickly.  He was calling for me from the other side of the front gate (as required by custom)...."Hurry, don David! Hurry." 
     "What the devil is going on, son?" I ask.
     "There is a cow in the  river and some becerros (calves)." he responds, with urgency.
      I notice there are other men running down towards the river, with ropes (metates or riatas).  The Rio Corona is at a very high level at these moments with a very fast current.   Apparently a cow from the other side, a cow who has caused problems in the past with reference to her juxtaposition with the river, had fallen in and several calves had followed their mother/aunt into the drink.  As I arrived...after putting on tennis shoes and grabbing my own was quickly noticed that the bovines were not floating down the river or drowning.   They were simply standing in a shallow area on the other side of the Rio Corona, but 10 feet below from whence they had fallen and completely surrounded by 8 - 12 foot deep swirling water running at about 20 miles per hour.   They had no way out, and once they became impatient and ventured in any direction, they would quickly be swept away.     Men on the other side had already lassoed the cow and her younger charges, but there was no way to haul them up the steep embankment.   This meant they were stabilized but not retrievable.   Three men from our side were rowing in a very little john-boat, first along the backwash on our side going upstream, and then around in a wide arc in order to make it to the calm pool on the other side, about 150 feet away.
      Several ropes had been tied together to make two different and very, very long lengths.   Each  had one end had been tied to a very large cypress tree on our side.   Then as the men arrived on the other side  they began tieing the calves under the chest, each calf with two ropes.   Once they were certain that the beasts were secure they gave us the "all clear"  to begin hoisting the animals over to our side of the Rio Corona.   All of the men, kibbutzing, "Make sure you know they are going to weigh 10X more!"   "Pull on cadence.  Pull on cadence".    Almost all the men were telling almost all the men what to do.....but strangely it seemed to work.    And, although there were 12 or 14 of us, it was amazing how much a 150 pound calf could weigh when being pulled by such a river current.
      It took us about 3 minutes to bring the first one over, and then immediately turn to the second one.....which took about the same length of time.    Meanwhile, more men were arriving on the other side and our men were taking lariats and tieing the cow under the belly and under the chest with what seemed like 30 different ropes.   (This was done to avoid organ and skin damage from being hoisted with too few ropes taking the weight pressure, and distributing that weight over more contact area).    As "our guys" would loop around each rope, they would throw the end back up to "their guys".    Once done, the calves remaining were secured by the "other guys", while "our guys" repeated their crossing, but in reverse.   They then took our ropes back again to the remaining calves, secured them, and we repeated the hauling process, winding up with four bewildered calves tethered together and immediately driven up to my place to be held for the farmer who would be driving his pick-up around to pick them up.    They seemed to appreciate the change of scenery and the Johnson's grass that we have in abundance right now due to the rains. 
      The cow was hoisted with the thirty ropes, pulled by a score of men and a medium-sized tractor which had been brought into service for the cause.    It went, very anti-climacticly, very uneventfully.   There was the advantage of being able to pull the cow up the same slick slough down which she had slid.
      And then it was over.   The man with the pick-up appeared about 15 minutes later in front of the Quinta, he had two boxes of Corona Beer...(48 bottles)...everyone celebrated breifly....and then everyone went home, men, calves, 48 empty Corona bottles and all.

    A family friend from not so long ago asked me for a recipe for the very young cactus leaf sprouts that are a popular delicacy, especially in dryland areas of Northern Mexico.   I prepare them at times when they are available for wild harvest and when I am not feeling too lazy.   Here are some approaches that I use der must be aware that Moses did not bring down any certain instructions from Yahweh concerning the preparation of this mystical, tasty gift from heaven. Please read and, as anything on this blog, feel free to copy, cut, paste, etc.
 Please Note!    We are talking about "choyas"....the earliest sprouting of a new cactus leaf.   We ARE NOT talking about "tunas", what we Gringos call "prickly pear" that is also a delicacy in its own right.

CHOYAS, aka "pitayas"
   This is a Choya, known by many names throughout Mexico
and Central America

     Some folks prefer one type of Nopal cactus over another, although the reality is that any decent nopal will do. Some people prefer the rougher, ugly nopal that blooms so beautifully after a rain...others prefer the more elegant and almost spineless (no thorns, almost) type...I have used both. Just so long as they are the pad, nopal-type cactus, the choyas will be good. They can be twisted off fairly easily, although old-timers seem to want to use an easy to handle, sharp knife. This is due to the fact that some of the elderly "choyas" may have already started to develop a bit of thorn (spine, or in Spanish, "espinas").

This note: If the thorn development is not advanced very far, the preserving solution that follows in this often will soften any stiffness or "pique'" that the spine might have had.     Still, I try to select just the ones that are obviously not at that stage yet.

     Once I have a desired number.....and a quart of them can be quite a morning's work.....they go into a cold water bath....I even put a bit of ice....and even use Brita or distilled water. Just my quirk. After three or four vigourous rinsings, they need to be dried and kept in chill....not the vegetable crisper in any good refrigerator will do.
      My approach is the one that does and does not include a quick grilling. If you choose to do a quick grilling, use a good cooking-grade olive oil at medium high heat....and, before the oil begins to smoke....throw enough "choyas'' to cover the bottom of the skillet. You can add some finely diced shallot and a small amount (one tooth) of finely diced garlic....not much is necessary. Freshly ground salt and pepper right at the finish your taste. Not much salt and pepper is needed because the "choyas" are going to be heading for a trip to the spa anyway.

       You should turn the skillet off just at the point of the olive oil beginning to think about smoking. This will not take long because you really should not "pool" any oil....just put enough to make the pan shiny, and then another drop or two...

And then-
Old Dave's "smokeless" system:
      You harvest, clean, and chill your "choyas" as described above. It seems best to let them rest for a day in the crisper in any case.....and have your jar(s) ready. The ones I like to use are the ones that the spaghetti sauces come in....they seal nicely and tightly. You really do not need any FDA approved container, but make sure they are absolutely clean before filling.
      After I have my "choyas" rinsed a final time, I put one / half teaspoon of ground salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper....not too much. IF YOU WANT "CHOYA PICANTE", YOU CAN ONLY PUT CHILE PIQUIN....THE LITTLE TINY ONES....AND ONLY TEN FOR A PINT-SIZED JAR....NO MORE. If you put these little chiles in, you should "squash" them with a spoon, seeds and all, and throw them in with the other above ingredients. I like the "choyas" all ways, grilled with/without chile, or only "envinegrado" the way we are talking about right now.
     Once you have done these easy steps, you can put in no more than two tablespoons of lime juice (I prefer the Persian limes - the larger football-shaped, green ones). Then you can fill your jar with "choyas" about 85% full. Then, fill your jar with a decent white (crystal clear) vinegar...I prefer Heinz or the Mexican Herdez, but any vinegar you are comfortable with will do. Fill it up so that all your "choyas'' are covered...and then to almost full....and then screw the cap on.

IN BOTH CASES....GRILLED AND UN-GRILLED: It is probably best that you let the "choyas" rest for an absolute minimum of 3 days......quite frankly three months is better. You should keep them in the refrigerator and turn them upside down for a day and then back right-side-up for a day, for as frequently as you think about it or that you can put up with the annoyance.

      This is a base-approach. With your intelligence and willingness to innovate, you can modify this good, basic approach to your liking. After a hundred years or so of fiddling however, this is the way I do it now, and to seemingly good effect. Good in salads, mixed with mushrooms, great as "martini olives", and a thousand other applications. The reader must be aware that Moses did not bring down any certain instructions from Yahweh concerning the preparation of this mystical, tasty gift from heaven.