Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Back Up Again. Long Drive....

     We had an interesting stay of it this time.  It was substantially wet, with an episode of three days,  nay!....allow me, four full days of drizzle, mist, light rain.  There were but a very few passes of moderately heavy rain, usually brief heavy showers without big drops, lightning, winds, or much of anything beyond the rain itself.
     Then, due to the rain, and to the passing of a couple of relatively mild fronts underneath the cloud mass, the temperature dropped down into that dull, grey even depressing cold.   We moved back and forth from 10 degrees C and then down to 7 degrees C.   That is around 41F to 50F in real temperature.
    Slowly, El Gringo Viejo came to the conclusion that it would be necessary to "light the fire".  Due to the adobe construction, the house does not really become frigid unless a really cold snap, holding temperatures in the 40s or lower, during a seven or eight day period.    While there has been worse events in older as well as modern times, they are very rare at this place adjacent to the Tropic of Cancer.
     The dogs tracked up the corridor with muddy paws, while the cats would go out, and come back fairly quickly, pretty much dripping wet.   Life for the cats and El Gringo Viejo centred around finding comfortable accommodation at or near the "fogata" (fireplace, frequently called, incorrectly a "chimenea").   Local folks rolled their eyes so many times about my observation that I no longer correct  them.  Quite possibly, I never should have corrected them, but we are of an old, noble assembly of the tutoring class.

     There were a few visitors, as well, mainly during the latter part of the stay.  There was even the development of a group of motorcyclists....approximately 13 persons....who are intending to come to the Hacienda de Santa Engracia, about one kilometre from our little place.   The Hacienda (not to be confused with our adjacent neighbours, the Hacienda de La Vega) has been a water pump essentially sucking up air for the past three years.....a veritable 98% drop in client-visits and income.
     But it is all changing at this point.  My bus count of all first-class and deluxe busses heading south was right at 100 (99), something we have never seen.   The highway  was full of heavy passenger car and SUV traffic, along with the steady rumble of hundreds of cargo trucks.   Business, Industry, and family visits at Christmas.
    Had the highways not been substantially improved and maintained during the past 10 years, usage levels such as what was seen yesterday would have been a disaster and nightmare.

     Once again, Tamaulipas as a trouble spot during the past 5 years has received  literally thousands of Army and Naval Infantry combat personnel.  There have been other thousands of the new Federal Civil Police (actually a militarised group, highly trained and apparently effective), and the deployment of a new (and possibly highly improved) State Police Patrol.   All of these elements were seen in great number during the drive, yesterday.   Thousands....well-presented, heavily armed, deferential, always willing to go into any fray involving the "organised delinquency".

     (additional comments are included in next day's posting)

    We are amazed at the "little talk" the occupant of the office of the Presidency rendered up to the grouping of soldiers a couple of days ago.   Have we really gotten to the point where a president....the commander in chief....can declare that the United States is really committed to the reduction in numbers of troops even as the world is wobbling ever-more out of control?   The reference to American military personnel as being seen as "Santa Claus in fatigues" by the locals....was received with  stone-faced silence among the troops.
     He tried to recover with a cheerleader-like Army howl- prompting, which did have some effect.....but very weak and un-sustained.
Thank each for his/her time, patience, and interest.  We shall be here for a bit, commenting, grousing, and just enjoying being a mean old curmudgeon.
El Gringo Viejo