The day started a little earlier than usual with the 5 am fireworks and all. The resulting explosions were surround sound with all three Iglesias’s (churches) participating. There was an explosion every 15 seconds for 2 straight hours. The sun comes up at 7:15 so this is going on for 2 straight hours before daylight. It turns out that today is Mary’s name day (as in the Mother Mary).  Everyone has a name day; it’s like a birthday. Then there are the saints days.  And there are the trades days; carpenters, etc. And there are tons of other reasons to pretty much have a year around party.  So Mexico can be a noisy place but still if I were a nine to fiver and had a long commute to look forward to I’d be seriously pissed when my alarm clock got pre-empted by mortar fire.

But I really don’t mind anymore. And I am a morning person after all so getting up a little earlier than usual doesn’t bother me. And I had lots to do. It was a run day. I had sandals to ship. I’m working on a new bag. I am also working with a new huarachero to adapt one of his classic sandal designs onto my sole (recycled airplane tire) with a better grade of leather for the upper – and with a couple of other very small modifications… and I am heavily engrossed in writing my maybe never to be published, next novel.

I drank coffee and worked on the party chapter for novel numero dos waiting for Gaby’s to open up at 8. I walked down for a very tasty breakfast of eggs, beans, homemade salsa and fresh tortillas. I wished she served coffee but she like so many others here in Latin America have somehow gotten Nescafe confused with real coffee; art imitating life and all that I guess. Anyway, damn those wily Swiss!

I wrote for an hour after breakfast before suiting up for my run. That’s running shorts, sandals, and a bandana around my head to keep the sweat out of my eyes.

Midway into my run I saw a rancher with two dogs. I only overheard part of the conversation but it started with the big dog saying, ‘I am going to go eat that guy’. The smaller dog wagged his tail in anticipation. The rancher said, ‘No you’re not’. The big dog got up anyway, followed by the smaller dog, and started to cross the short distance of freshly mowed field that separated us. The rancher yelled ‘Venga aca pendajos’(get your asses back here)!. The dogs quit running but didn’t exactly stop either. The rancher said, ‘If you eat that guy I am going to beat you everyday and not feed you for a week’. The dogs reluctantly returned.

Running in the valley I am constantly mindful of three things: First – dogs. Second – not stopping to pee where I have to stand too close to a mound of fire ants. And three – when hunting season starts up in December I need to start early and end early and avoid the weekends when there are sometimes multiple pickup trucks cruising around the canal roads loaded with kids in the back all sporting small caliber firearms. All I can hope is if I do manage to catch a stray or for that matter intentional bullet that it doesn’t hit a vital organ like my liver.

The army with logic and reasons known only unto itself had two trucks patrolling nose to asshole (to borrow from the ranching vernacular), on the valley roads this morning. Manned and mounted big M-60s with lots of other guys sporting M16s dressed all alike in body armor and sporting scary face-masks. I put up my hands and made a feigning motion as they passed like ‘Don’t shoot’ all the meanwhile reciting The Lord’s Prayer. A couple men laughed at the half naked old gringo running with the water bottle while a few soldiers scowled. I had that déjà vu feeling that there was possibly more than one ‘rancher to big dog’ kind of conversation happening as they continued to slowly traverse in the opposite direction.