A Mexican Lady’s Guide to the Art of Senior Living

A Mexican Lady’s Guide to the Art of Senior Living

By Carmen Rioja


“Dust, why you chasing me

like I’m your prey?

Your strange influence does not cease”

—Pita Amor


Sometimes you may wonder where to go out from home to allow you contact with nature while not overexposing yourself. People like me run many dangers. I tend to crash, I tend to make mistakes, and I tend to forget what I have learned. In addition to the risk of contagion by the coronavirus, I am also concerned that it is the middle of the dusty season. And, as if that were not enough, a concern of fires at this time of year. My allergies to pollen, dust, heavy flavorings, grass, dairy, mosquito bites, gluten, or smoke take turns and drive me crazy. I don’t want to imagine my body’s reaction to new viruses. Many of us will be waiting for the vaccine as if waiting for Godot. And although there are still months to go before we all have access to the vaccine and achieve the famous herd immunity, we must inevitably leave home.


I make short escapades to the outside world dressed as an astronaut—the minimum necessary—to preserve my sanity. Therefore, in the following weeks, I will tell you some of the best places to visit in the countryside that are spacious and full of fresh air.


When I was a child, I was the delicate one among my cousins, the redheaded güerilla who would not seem to survive in the dust storms. I am probably a miracle of immunology like many of the inhabitants of this planet.


Immunology is the branch of biomedical science that studies the bodies defense system and its operation against external pathogens and the resulting immune response. That is, the defenses that our body has or immunity when facing certain diseases. Vaccines generate that immunity and are the result of much research throughout history. 


The first vaccines were discovered by scientists such as Edward Jenner, who in 1796 observed that he could inoculate his patients against smallpox and Louis Pasteur, who in 1885 saved for the first time the life of a child who had been bitten by a dog with rabies.


Vaccines have saved millions of lives. While we wait for the vast majority of us to have access to a coronavirus vaccine, it is imperative that we remain cautious. 


Hence, sanitary measures should gradually become part of our long-term disease prevention and control habits. Wash your hands constantly, keep a healthy physical distance of 1 to 2 meters, cover your nose and mouth with a mask before entering public places or near people at risk, ventilate closed spaces, and avoid crowds. Avoiding crowds is a practice that seems to be here to stay. Recent world trends show us that travel agencies and experts in the tourism industry are betting on rural destinations and routes in small groups of up to six people.


On the road to Los Rodríguez, a few kilometers from San Miguel de Allende, you will find the old Hacienda de Landeta. Visiting it is like taking a trip back in time where its gardens and trees constitute a true oasis. Inside the property, in one of the enclosures, is housed the famous steaks and hamburger grill, Al Rojo Vivo.


At the entrance, they will ask for your name and telephone number, in case there is a need to contact visitors. The staff are very friendly and caring. They sanitize the tables, accessories, and utensils between group. They keep areas well ventilated and a safe distance between tables. The best is the food! It doesn’t matter if you’re a meat-loving Northerner or a consummate vegan. The house salad was a huge plate of organic lettuce and cherry tomato; the Argentine-style cheese or meat empanadas are the most delicious and crunchy. We loved the cuts of meat and burgers. And without a doubt, the best thing was the affectionate attention of the waiters of the house. At the end of the meal, we had the opportunity to wander through the walkways of its gardens and the old chapel. We will certainly return to that haven of peace and gastronomy.


Carmen Rioja is a Mexican artist who specialized in art restoration and creative workshops. She likes to write stories and poems and throw them in imaginary bottles into the sea. Carmen has published the books La Muerte Niña and Rojo 43.