Thursday, August 11, 2016

odds and ends -- tourists, meteors, and air conditioning

The high tide of tourism is about to recede from our villages by the sea.

I have been told this is the last week of school vacations. The children will soon be headed back to their regimen of textbooks and marching.

For the past several weeks, our villages have been filled with SUVs,vans, and tour buses. Most of our visitors come from the surrounding mountains to spend a week, two weeks, or a few days sunburning themselves with pleasure amongst the waves.

Traditionally, Melaque and Barra were destinations for working class families, who would arrive in convoys of buses. They still come.

But a couple of years ago, the mix changed. Large numbers of SUVs started showing up in the first wave -- filled with the statistical average of two parents and two children. All of them turned out in the latest designer label casual wear. They were perfect representatives of a Mexican economy that was expanding. For some. And a reminder that Mexico ha the 15th largest economy in the world.

My impression this summer has been that the number of visitors was quite high. Around here, we tend to use Christmas and semana santa (Easter week) as the top benchmark for tourists. For the full school summer vacation, it appeared we were celebrating an extended semana santa. The business people I have talked with say it was a good season.

But it is now almost over. Before everyone leaves, though, there is an event we can all enjoy tomorrow night -- free.

Tomorrow will be one of the best meteorite showers of the year -- the Perseid meteors. Earth is passing through the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet. Tomorrow it will be encountering one of the thickset parts in years. The patient will be able to see up to 200 meteorites an hour.

In our area, the moon will set around 1:45 AM. That will be the optimum time to see the most "falling stars." If you stand looking true north, the best view will be slightly to your right.

Happy watching.

1:45 AM is a good time for me. We are not only in peak tourist season, we are in peak summer heat season -- or, at least, the start of it. September should be hotter yet.

Barco is struggling with the heat. For his sake, I have decided to have air conditioning installed in my bedroom.

The contractor, who built this house as her dream home, had the foresight to plumb the walls for air conditioning. Had she not done that, the installer would have been forced to drill from the roof of the pavilion upstairs, through two stories of concrete, to install the regulator in my bedroom and the compressor on the roof.

With this information, I can now hire an installer to give me an estimate. I would be less than honest if I told you I was not looking forward to reducing the humidity in my bedroom.

But, tomorrow night, I will have a good reason to be up late (along with a large group of Mexican tourists) watching one of nature's truly spectacular shows. I can watch from the swimming pool.

Barco will be asleep.

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