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A Wasted Day Is Not A Day Wasted – Mexico pt II

January 17, 2012

Thursday 12 January – The House


Track: NY3, Robert Fripp


It is a building site.

My father is building from scratch on a plot of land he has bought.

It is not finished.

Not even close.

The house is a horse shoe shape. The third side is still a building site which means that there is only one finished bedroom at the moment. My brother, five year old Derek, is in with his parents and I am in a bed at the far end which is also a part time playroom and office. None of this is a problem. What is proving frustrating is that this “bedroom” is at the closest point to all the building work that is being done. There are a group of five or six builders (it is really hard to count – I haven’t seen them all in the same place so I am not really sure) who start work, I discover his morning, at around 8am. I don’t think I am going to be getting many lie ins.

The house in its current form consists of quite a large kitchen/ dining room with a sitting room area at the end. This is one side of the horse shoe.

The central bit is the current master bedroom with a bathroom in a section in the middle before the second bedroom where I am.

When it is completed the other side of the horse shoe will become the master bedroom and Derek’s room with an en suite and… wait for it…. A sauna. I shit you not. My father must be one of the only people in the world to decide that constructing a sauna in the middle of a desert is a worthwhile activity.

The area that the horse shoe surrounds is now grassed over. I imagine in future it might become a swimming pool.

In fashion that remains true to my father, the finished bits are only kind of finished. There are still empty light sockets hanging from walls and the shower in the bathroom is a handheld device which when used results in flooding.

We wander into Hermosillo, the nearest city and I think capital of the region, this afternoon which is 10mins drive to load up with food. The general price of most of things is considerably cheaper but the only real marker I have is wine. Many of the bottles on display we have in the UK so it is easy to compare prices (pretty much the same prices as the UK, this disappoints me), most everything else is slightly different to what we would be able to get. They have different cuts of meat for example which makes comparisons quite difficult. But even so, the price of food is significantly cheaper than the UK.

This evening I cook steak and chips with a fairly decent bottle of Rioja

The steak is fantastic and cooked to perfection. I rock.


Friday 13 January – Slumber and Red Pepper Puree


Picture: a hundred large birds circling overhead in a series of concentric circles.


Pretty lazy day.

Not much happening apart of the large flock of birds.

Me: Wow! Look at those.

Father: Yeah, we get that sometimes – vultures.

Me: Ok, then.

Watching the coverage of the US primaries. It is back to back on all the news channels. To be fair to them the coverage remains pretty fresh, they don’t repeat much or replay the same film very often.

I decide that given that as I have a huge amount of time to really do nothing in, I will give some thought to tonight’s menu. Pan fried scallops with a roasted red pepper puree and grilled king prawns. Maybe with some asparagus.

I discover that we have a griddle in the pantry.

The puree is not something I have done before.

The griddle seemed like a good idea at the time. I end up smoking the kitchen out and you can longer see the sitting room as clouds of smoke have filled the entire space. There is no extractor fitted. It is in the plan for next week.

After several minutes waiting for the smoke to clear we sit down to eat – well, we end up standing around the central island in the kitchen. The heat has dried out all the chairs and made them extremely brittle so it’s not a good idea to use (m)any of them. It all tastes ok, but I think I did the asparagus for too long, some of the prawns have a bit of a soapy taste to them.

The scallops and the red pepper puree are a triumph.


Saturday 14 January – Meet the Parents


I could kill the builders.

We are waiting for the carpenter who has promised to turn up today. He has made such promises before and not turned up. The general mood is not hopeful.

Today I meet Miros’ family. Miros has been with my father now for I reckon 13 years. She is Mexican and this the first time I have met any of her family. I have fortunately woken up just in time. I was reading in bed and fell into a doze.

Miros has quite a large family. Both her parents have come over together with one sister and one brother. I think there is at least one more sister and I think another brother, although there could be more. I lose track.

I have quite a long chat with her brother who speaks very good English. He has also worked in politics and we chat about the differences between the UK and Mexico. He (and his brother) helped to get a governor elected in this region a couple of years ago, which was a bit of a coup. They were both promised jobs on the back of the result but nothing ever materialised for either of them. Elections are rolling round again and they are being courted to help with the new campaign. Jobs are being promised again but I don’t really know how they can take this seriously after their experience last time round.

It was good to meet them all. They all seem very nice. Family is very important in Mexico and Miros speaks to them all at least once a day (my father complains that this is more like nine or ten times a day and what could you possibly have to discuss that warrants so much time on the phone?). But Derek gets to spend time with them and it means that he can go off every now and then and give Miros and my father a break.

I cook some chicken and rice this evening. I was going to use the griddle again but after the other night I don’t have the guts.

Pan fried chicken which is seasoned with cayenne and then finished in the oven and some lightly spiced rice.

We desperately need some decent white wine.

The carpenter doesn’t turn up.


Sunday 15 January – Book


I am reading the new Umberto Eco. I don’t know if I am enjoying it or not. I don’t think I am.

My father keeps asking me if I am all right. I am, apparently being very quiet. Given that my father is pretty deaf and the background building noise I would have to be making quite a racket to make any impression on the noise front I feel.

I am fine. I am enjoying doing absolutely bugger all for a few days. This I could get used to. I am probably not making the most of being in Mexico but right now doing nothing is working for me.

Nothing happens in Mexico on a Sunday so another day just pottering about. This suits me fine and as there are no builders I can sleep in.

Some serious reading to be done. I have also discovered that I can access my Spotify account in Mexico.

Derek has gone to the cinema with his grandparents, uncle and Miros. More quiet.

My father is deconstructing a shed in the garden. He is 67 and is out in the heat with a hammer knocking holes in things. I honestly don’t think he would be happier doing anything else.


Monday 16 January – Bullies


Track: Hurt, Johnny Cash


I am not enjoying the book but am too far through now to stop. I just want it finished so I can get on with the rest of my life. Note to Eco – Name of the Rose was fantastic. Foucault’s Pendulum was incomprehensible. The Prague Cemetery is exactly in the midpoint between these two.  Sort it out.

Carpenter has said he will come to the house at 3pm. I hope he does as we have put off a trip to the coast to see a nearby town.

We go out to look at some tiles for the new bathroom. I discover that there is a threshold for the number of tiles that you can look at in a day. I have passed this threshold but apparently there are more we can look at.

Pick Derek up from school at 1.15pm. Yesterday on the way back from the cinema, when they passed the school Derek ducked down and hid behind the seat and this morning was the first time ever he didn’t want to go in. My father thinks he might be being picked on by some of the other kids.

Me: Just wait till they see the size of his big brother.


We have a quick lunch at a local restaurant/ bar. I have always had a suspicion that most Mexican food is essentially the same, it’s just wrapped differently. Our orders do nothing to dispel this belief.

It is pretty good though and the Mexican beer is fantastic.

We get back home for 2.30pm.

3pm no carpenter.

4pm no carpenter.

5.30pm carpenter arrives. Better late than never I suppose.





From → On Holiday

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