14 October 2009

A Brief Revisit to San Miguel el Viejo & Flies

It occurred to me that some of those who were interested enough to read about the whole ride described in the entry regarding 3 Senores might wonder if San Miguel el Viejo, Old San Miguel, consists today only of that amazing little church built in 1542. The answer is no. It is still a sizable village consisting of a lot of very rudimentary homes with the very poor inhabitants working out in the fields or with the livestock or at other back-breaking enterprises. We rode among 'em. The dogs barked, and the folks stared at the gringo on the horse.

I simply cannot bring myself to take photographs of people in those circumstances and their homes, particularly when they are staring back at me. I cannot quite put my finger on why I am reluctant to do that.

I did take a couple of photos of one establishment that will give you some idea of what I am talking about.

This is a hand-made brick factory on the outskirts of San Miguel el Viejo.

Here you can see the man laying out some fresh hand-made bricks in the sun to dry. There is also a brick factory out there that fires a kiln with old tires. I do not think this is it.

That is the best I can do for you on that score, that being other photos of San Miguel el Viejo.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I have mentioned this before. The flies of México have earned my reluctant admiration. Their quickness, agility, elusiveness, and endurance are unparalleled. I say “endurance” because I will track a fly until he gets exhausted from flying and has to sit his ass down for a blow. At which point, in the United State of American anyway, he was usually a goner. Let me tell you though. These flies here are in a league of their own. These flies are N.B.A. caliber flies.

Let me be clear here. I am not saying that our flies in the United States are not decent specimens. You know how sensitive I am about misinterpretation on things like that. I am not saying that flies in the United States are out of shape or overweight or anything like that. I am just saying. . . .

The reason that is on my mind is that I use my folded up, waterproof map of México as a fly swatter, a fly swatter being one of the few things I did not think of at departure. I cannot buy a fly swatter here. Mexicans do not swat flies. They would consider that another laughable norteamericano waste of energy, every erg of which is necessary for other life-sustaining endeavors. Hell, the vast majority of them do not have screens on their windows. If they have anything other than shutters, then it is bars. They do have a lot of little accoutrements for covering food consisting in most cases of pieces of cloth, sometimes quite ornate and sometimes not so.

Now I have mislaid my waterproof map of México. Up to this point I have been coexisting to some extent with these Mexican flies. I just kinda tip my hat to them, and say, “Okay. I admit it. You're good.” When in Rome. . . .

But if I must purchase another map of México and then find my old map of México, as seems to occur invariably in these circumstances, I will be upset. I will then take it out on these goddamned Mexican flies with both maps, like Samson with his jawbone of an ass among those Philistines. There will be carnage. These Mexican flies will learn the real meaning of the phrase sin tregua, literally “without truce” but meaning “relentless.”


Beej said...

get them damn dirty flies. You know how much i hate them.

Señor Steve said...

Just as I well know how much you hate flies, Beej, you well know what a more spiritual being I have become down here. For example, I have embraced some of the teachings of Albert Schweitzer, great humanitarian worker in French Equatorial Africa, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and author of Reverence for Life. He was quite an international personality when I was growing up in the fifties. You may be too young to remember.

In any event, it was famously said of Albert Schweitzer back then that we would go out of his way to avoid harming an insect. I am more in line with that approach now and am not the fly stalker that I used to be in the Unites States.

Hate can destroy you, Beej. (Hate can also make you dispense with the use of capital letters.)

Look at it this way. When was the last time you saw a picture of Gandhi or Martin Luther King or the Dalai Lama with a fly swatter in his hand?

Beej said...

Sorry about the lack of capital letters. I need to be more exact about that. Even when I hate flies.

Señor Steve said...

It was the hate, Beej. I understood that and forgave you immediately. That is how spiritual I am now. But I ask you to fight it.

Hate degrades us and causes us to regress from a state of civilization back toward barbarism. The law of the fang starts to reassert itself within us, first with regard to flies and then prettier living things, like deer and turkeys and trout and stuff, and then first thing you know. . . . Also, as we regress, we slowly lose the trappings of civilization, the use of capital letters being one of those trappings that is the first to go.

Beej said...

Ok. ok. I will not hate a fly ever again. But do not expect me to kiss one on the lips.

Bloggerboy FFM said...

I bet they sell fly paper down there. We don't have screens in Germany, so we get flies in the summer. Sometimes it gets pretty bad, so we hang up a strip of flypaper and, voila, a population way beyond decimated. (I try not to listen to their screams as they hang there dying.) I don't hate them, really. It used to get extremely bad when we kept guinea pigs, and that is when I first discovered the benefits of fly paper. I gained three pounds, too.

Bloggerboy FFM said...

PS: I did not mean to imply that German flies are in any way superior to other flies, or inferior. Each fly is wonderful in its own way.

Beej said...

Bloggerboy, I'm almost afraid to ask, but how did you gain three pounds from having a bunch of dead flies? I KNOW you aren't implying you ate them, because there is no way you can pull them off that fly paper without totslly destroying their poor little dead bodies.

I am surprised that I feel such pity for these little suffering flies now, glued and screaming in agony.
(I've never heard a fly scream, but now I sit here, at 4:40am feeling unbearable guilt over all the flies I've killed in my life, totally oblivious to their painful wailing.

Sheila said...

Steve, I remember taking a horse back ride out into the countryside somewhere just south of Chihuahua and coming across a small village in which I saw some of the poorest living conditions I've seen anywhere in the world. It surprised me as I really hadn't expected to see that level of poverty there. Very sad. I am pleased however to recall that I have no memory of flies!

Señor Steve said...

The flies are not that bad, Sheila.

Bloggerboy, when I read this comment from you, I immediately stood up and walked out to visit a couple of places that I thought might carry flypaper. What a great idea! Even with my new spiritual reverence for life.

I did literally immediately stand up, lock the door, and take off without checking the dictionary for “flypaper” in Spanish. I had the word for “fly.” Una mosca. I had the word for “paper.” El papel, which also works for “piece of paper.”

Unfortunately, the Spanish word for “flypaper,” I find, is el matamoscas, which literally is more like “fly mat.” Imagine yourself, if you can, acting out the word “flypaper.” It would be a great word for charades.

No luck yet, but I will continue the search. What would I do without you people?

Señor Steve said...

As far as the poverty out there, Sheila, you obviously know exactly what I am talking about then.

Again, there are no pictures of any of that anywhere in this blog. I cannot do it.

Perhaps some day. I would at least like to have a hand shake acquaintance with the folks though.