Look, Up in the Sky! It’s Tripe Man!

air dancerThe old Chapala administration was broomed out this year, and new city officials took their positions after the Christmas holidays, which officially end somewhere around the middle of February.

As far as our local politics go, it’s business as usual, or it will be once things settle down. The outgoing administration, in an effort to grab all the money they could and make sure that the coffers were turned over absolutely empty, stopped work on all city projects.

Just as the outgoing administration ceased doing anything at all that cost money, the incoming boys will spend the first few months of their terms proving their superiority by commencing their own welter of projects, and will point with pride to the lights on the boardwalk as evidence of our tax pesos at work. One of these schemes has turned up in my village in the guise of one-way streets. I don’t live in the metropolis of Ajijic, nor the big city of Chapala. Instead, I live in the little village of San Antonio, which sleeps the day away between the two of them. If you picture a tic tac toe board from above, and put a pretty plaza in the center space, you’ve got a pretty good idea of the layout. I have never been aware of traffic congestion being much of a problem, but apparently it was.

The new traffic pattern was not, I confess, a complete surprise, as one of the projects abandoned by the old guard were two street lights, one at the top of San Jose, and a book-end at the top of Jesus Garcia. They were installed a year ago, and gave us something to talk about for a while, but only the one at San Jose got turned on before the officials realized that their terms were coming to an end, and we all got used to going over there when we needed to make a left turn to get to the Walmart. The other one, over by Panino’s, has swung blankly like one of the perpetual Christmas decorations that hang all year long, and we’ve long since forgotten it exists. Because of the new direction of the street my house is on, I have to take a different route to the office every day, and this has revealed a silver lining which I’m about to pass on to you.

menudoThe detour took me past a new birria restaurant which I might not otherwise have seen. In this case, I couldn’t miss it, because it had what is called an air dancer, one of those giant inflatable tubes with arms that businesses use to get attention, flapping away on the corner. These blow ups are hugely popular down here, and it seems that few of the local families can resist owning a Santa’s Sleigh or Frosty the Snowman if they’re given the chance. This one was straightforward, a brown cylinder with a bow tie and dumb grin painted on it. Added in white chalk on one side was “Goat of Calf Soup!!” The other announced “Menudo!!”

Thus, the corner has now become a landmark, and has started to be used while giving directions. As in, “You go to the corner with the Menudo Man, and then turn right.”

Elliott Joachim pulled the plug on life in Metro D.C. and headed South of the Border. In her blog, Lifestyle Refugee (honey, what the hell are we doing in Mexico), she regales you with how a middle range baby boomer builds a new life in Ajijic.

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