La Hamaca

I’ve waited three months but have finally bought a hammock. Rosalie wasn’t interested because she has trouble getting in and out of them. She would end up on her hands and knees with her butt in the air looking totally undignified.

We were at the local market, one block from us when the salesman from the local hamaca company caught me in a weak moment. He offered us a double one for $550 pesos. I beat him down to $500 pesos (about $35.) He caved in and walked away with a big grin on his face.

I knew we had been had when we went back to the market later to buy rope to hang the thing. The salesman gave both Rosalie and me a big hug. I think he had just won Turista Rip-off of the Month award as well as the Salesman of the Month. He was a nice guy, I think he could be our friend. Mind you, if I see him selling hamacas on the beach I may kick sand over him.

The thing about this is that Rosalie said I could have the hamaca if she could buy yet more earrings. Outmaneuvered again! I don’t think it’s fair though that she now gets to use the hamaca but I don’t get to wear the earrings

I wanted to rush home and hang the hamaca but didn’t have any rope; back to the market. We did find some but it was inferior quality and we only insist on the best (?). besides, it would have broken if we used it,

I hopped on my trusty bike and rode to “Materiales Pollo” our local hardware store. When I first saw this place I thought they sold accessories for chickens. Having looked up the word for rope “cuerda” on google translate ahead of time, I went to the counter and inquired “?Tienes cuerda?” She had no idea what I was talking about! It turns out that the correct word for rope was “soga.”

Eventually, I bought ten metres of sturdy ‘soga’ and rode home. I also bought 2 carabiners and the whole thing cost $150 pesos (about $11.)

Having got the thing up and running, with eight meters of rope to spare, I settled back for a quiet afternoon of relaxation. Soon though, Rosalie was looking covetously at the hamaca. There was a corner that would fit her perfectly, so like the fool I was I invited her in. As you can see she took more than a corner.

hamaca

 

Within a few minutes, I had legs draped all over me. In normal circumstances this is a good thing but when I want to relax…not so much. I eventually gave in and put my book down. We started to talk. After a while, we realized that we were doing what we had done in the hot tub and around the campfire. We were solving not only the problems of the world but our own as well. This hamaca thing could be fun for us both after all.

 

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The scare

Rosalie gave us a bit of a scare when she went to the doctor for a follow-up. Dra. Rosa (Dra. because female doctors are referred to as Doctora) gave her an ultrasound, yes, right there in the office. She found an anomaly on Rosalie’s pancreas and it sent us in a bit of a tizzy. So an appointment was made to go to the hospital in Manzanillo.

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While we were waiting for the Doctora, A mobile family business arrived. They were selling baked goods. The kid on the back carried the goods while Mum drove. At least I hope that mom was driving. The little kid in front looks quite capable. Note that there is still room for two more kids.

Now, this is the interesting bit. The appointment was made on Monday for Tuesday morning. Quick Huh! Bill and Connie were good enough to drive us down so we got there at 10 am for the appointment. The place was really busy so we had to wait an hour. They like you to pay in advance and we were surprised to find that it only cost $37 Canadian.

After the procedure, we had to wait an hour for the report so we took Bill and Connie for lunch. When we got back to the hospital we picked up a package with all the relevant photos as well as an extensive written report.

When we arrived back in Melaque we went immediately to see Dra. Rosa. Down here you just drop in, no appointment necessary. She read the report and gave us the news that it wasn’t Rosalie’s pancreas but a bit of fattiness on her liver; easily curable with diet. Phew, what a relief.

Well, it is a relief until I find out that my future diet will be fruit and veggies. I’m not amused. I will go along not only in support but because I need to lose a bit of weight anyway. The one good thing is that while Rosalie can’t have any alcohol for a while, I can. So when it’s hot and we return from the grocery store all hot and sweaty, I can taunt her with a nice, ice cold cerveza.

We made it, Just.

We got through the holidays but only just.

On New Years Eve we were going to ‘Jacks’ for dinner and entertainment. We had booked a table for eight but only three made it. Although Barb and Dave did arrive later. Their flight had been delayed for twenty four hours. Our neighbours went out with family and Rosalie was down with a mild case of Dengue fever.

It was good night though. We watched the show and then went back to our place for a drink. Bill and Connie had gone elsewhere for a while and joined us later. Rosalie had bought a dozen Globos for the new year so the six of us set off for the beach. She was still too sick to come so stayed at home.

When we got to the beach Bill and I tried to get the globos to launch but I wasn’t in the mood as I was worried about my honey. We destroyed two and went back to Bill and Connie’s to see in the new year and watch the fireworks. We shouldn’t be lighting globos as they’re bad for the local marine life, so we won’t get any next year.

At midnight the fireworks were spectacular. It’s a 360 degree event as most of them are set off by individuals and they were all around us. I still had ten globos left so decided to give them to the Mexicans on the beach. Globos are thin paper bags about three feet high. They have a wax square underneath which we light and the heat fills the bag and they eventually take off. That is unless it’s me trying to light the thing.

We tried to get to the beach but Bill couldn’t get the gate unlocked. Not to be defeated, I yelled through the bars “Quieres globos” (do you want globos.) A young girl of about eight came bounding up the beach with a big grin yelling “i, si” followed hotly by her Dad. I gave them the globos and they went back to their party.

A little while later Bill managed to unlock the gate and we poured out onto the sand. We were greeted by lots of Mexicans wishing us “feliz ano” and shaking our hands. I looked for the little girl to see how they were doing with the globos and she came running up the beach and gave be a bit hug. That was the highlight of my night.

It was past 1 am by this time so Dave and Barb ordered a taxi and I walked home anticipating fun and games for next year.

 

Espanol

Now that winter is almost here, it was 21 c this morning, I need something to keep me occupied through the long dark nights. (Besides Rosalie.) So I have decided to improve on my Spanish.

Most people already speak Spanish down here funnily enough, so if I want to be understood I will have to make an effort to communicate with them. We did hear of a lady complaining that she had been coming here for ten years and they, the local population, still hadn’t learned to speak English.

Rosalie speaks Spanish well enough to get me out of most trouble. While buying our bikes I said something to the store owner and he thought I spoke Spanish.  I quickly pointed him in Rosalie’s direction and they had quite the chat. Now he waves when he sees us go by on our bikes.

Like the bike shop owner, people seem to appreciate it when you try to speak their language. We were in our local restaurant for drinks one day. This is where we exchange ideas about the language with the help of Google Translate. Rosalie ordered a Lemonada and I ordered a ‘Ron y Coca’. While waiting for it we asked the waiter to clarify something in Spanish. I also mentioned that we were trying to learn his language. His face lit up and I got the best R & C I’d had in a long time.

I try to use Spanish whenever possible. It can be a bit of a challenge if Rosalie isn’t there to help but I think I know the basics and am learning to build from there.

I use short sentences that are personal to me. As an example, when we go the market there is a guy who often asks me to buy a t-shirt (playera.) So I came up with this: “Mi esposa no dice mas playera.” (My wife says no more t-shirts.) When I first said it to him he cracked up and I get a smile every time I see him now. I’ve used it in a lot of situations and Rosalie’s starting to look like a nag.

I do know quite a bit of Spanish and use it all the time. The only problem is when Mexicans speak back I can pick out some words but can’t seem to put it all together. I do have some successes though and it gives me encouragement to try again; and again, make a fool of myself.

It’s very satisfying when you speak to someone and they know what you said and they answer and you know what they said. I usually walk away with a stupid grin on my face.

Rosalie said to add a picture so here is a photo of my Mexican Wellies.

Rosalie gets complimented on her Spanish by Mexicans quite frequently. One day our beer order hadn’t arrived as expected so we went up to the store to see what had happened. Like me, Rosalie puts together a sentence in her head before saying anything. Before I could open my mouth, she came out with a perfect Spanish explanation of why we were there. The guy got us sorted out and away we went home. She was very proud of herself. It was only when we got there that I told her that the guy speaks good English.

I know my numbers but don’t hear them well. I have to work on that. When we first came down here we were told to be careful ordering ‘dos cerveza’ as it’s easy to say ‘doce cerveza’ and you would end up with 12 beer instead of two. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that.

 

Banned!!

Rosalie and I went up town to get yet more money from the ATM. This, of course, is extremely hot work and needing to cool off, we headed for one of our favourite restaurants on the beach.

We sat at a table which was under a palapa but on the sand. After ordering a beer each we set to saving the world. Halfway through our first beer, Rosalie suggested that we go and sit at a table on the actual beach as it was closer to the waves. So that’s what we did,

We sat for about an hour and a half and drank five beers between us. The problems of the world were slowly getting sorted when we decided to leave. I asked for the bill but got quite the shock when it arrived. The five beers we had came to 180 pesos but there was an additional charge of 200 pesos. I called the waiter over and asked him to explain. He informed us that it was for use of the umbrella at our table.

Yea, right! I wasn’t about to pay that and told him to go back and adjust the bill. He said okay, but I had to pay him to pay him for the beers first, which I did, adding a tip.

As we were leaving, an old lady, whom I suspect is the owner’s Mum started yelling at me. From what I could get, she was telling us not to come back. I informed her “Yo no turista” and we went on our way. Our bill had been overcharged the last time we were in so I think they took us for tourists who didn’t know any better.

It is the custom to charge for the beach tables here but you are normally informed of the charge beforehand. The reason for the charge is that Mexican tourists bring all their own food and booze and just use the tables. When we were there the tables were empty so we weren’t stopping anyone from sitting on the beach. Also, the charge of 200 pesos was way too much. Oh well, there are lots more restaurants to get thrown out of.

This morning, Chrismas Day, we were told that the restaurant in question had a fire last night. Someone getting too silly with fireworks. And no, it wasn’t me. Karma perhaps!

Those are the notorious tables we sat at.

We visited another of our regular restaurants the other night. The entertainment is good and this is the same band that we will see New Year’s Eve.

Our next door neighbour has a couple of lovely kids so we bought a soccer ball for Ivann who is about 10 and a doll for Camila about 1 1/2. They much appreciated the gifts and their Mum made them say “Gracias”.

We must be getting acclimatized as, when we get up the temperature is about 20-21 C and we feel quite chilly. The same in the evenings. It’s going to be hard coming back to Canada in April.

It’s Christmas and we wish all our friends who read this, ‘Feliz Navidad’.

 

Ole, Ole

What a night! 

Mike and Pat sent an email on Saturday asking if we would like to help with the Christmas parade in Barra on Sunday. All we had to do was sit in the back of his tricked out VW Bug and toss candies to the kids.

It started well. We got to their place in plenty of time and had a few margaritas to get us started and keep us warm. We had picked up a few beers on the way so these went into the cooler in the back seat with me and we were all set.

Mike and Pat’s Mexican friend Cruz and his wife Candy were with us as well as Cruz’s friend Joshua.  Cruz had his dune buggy with a boom box strapped to the front and flashing lights all over. He went first as we didn’t want that blasting at us from behind. Mike’s car was decked out with lights and came next. Joshua followed with a car covered in lights. All the vehicles had advertising for Cruz’s body shop business stuck on them.

After we joined up with the rest of the vehicles driven by a lot of Canadians and the parade was on. There was a police car leading the way which, apparently, was quite rare. 

We’re a bit fuzzy as we had already had a margarita

It took us some time to wend our way downtown as they don’t stop the traffic, people just get out of the way. As the parade got closer the crowds got denser. Rosalie and I were throwing candy to the kids as we went along but Pat warned us to try to save some as we were going to go to the village of Jaluco because the kids there don’t get a lot of stuff. We were also going to do a bit of Melaque. It was tough as we wanted to give all the kids some. I’m sure they didn’t suffer though, as all the vehicles were throwing candy.

 

I’ve never seen so many kids in one place. We tried to target the little ones but often the bigger kids got in the way so as the bigger ones bent down to pick up the candy we would throw it over their heads to the little ones in the back. I would slyly give one or two to the adults as they like candy too.

The thing I liked best was just seeing everyone having so much fun. And the Mexicans really appreciate the parade. There’s nothing official about it; no permits or red tape, just a bunch of people getting together and doing something for the kids. And lots and lots of noise.

 

After finishing up in Barra we took a pit stop at Mike and Pat’s before finishing the rest of the trip. The parade through Jaluco and Melaque was small, just us three vehicles but it was still a lot of fun.

At the end of the evening, our small parade ended up at our place and invited our next door neighbours in. All the time Cruz’s boom box was blasting away. He finally shut it down and turned off the lights because they didn’t want to kill the battery.

Rosalie and I weren’t prepared very well, but next year we will be, should we be invited again. 

Paco Renteria

Someone mentioned a concert at one of our local restaurants. Well, local if you live at the far end of town. Paco Renteria was reputed to be really good so we paid the 150 peso cover charge each, and booked a table.

We asked Mike and Fay and Glenn and Cheryl to come along and they said they would love to. Glenn and Cheryl’s lodgings are close to the event so it was up to the rest of us to get to the other end of town. I always swore I would taxi it but we ended up walking anyway. We will though, take a taxi back.

It’s about a half hour walk, so by the time we got there, it was time for a beer. Yea right! We had our concert tickets but there was a lineup. Wondering what this was about, remember we had tickets, we asked the young lady who seemed to be in charge. She took our tickets and told us the line up was for more tickets to get booze.

We finally persuaded her to let some of us go to our table. The rest of us (the guys) waited patiently for our booze tickets. Somewhere in all this, the young lady told us that we only had five tickets, not six. She had obviously lost one. This being Mexico she finally said “fine” and let us order. There was a great debate as to whether it was best to get a bottle of wine for 280 pesos of individual glasses at 45 pesos.

Having finally got our tickets and hence our booze we went to our table. Shortly after, we learned that we should have gotten our ticket for dinner at the same time as our booze tickets. Back to the lineup.

 

There were a lot of people there that we knew including Mike and Pat and Barry and Anna who were at the next table. So a lot of visiting was done. This was just as well as Paco showed up an hour and a half late. Our dinner also took a long time to get there, I think Paco brought it with him. The food was really good and soon the entertainment started.

 

Paco Renteria is a passionate guitarist and also very loud. His backup band was excellent and most of us had a good time.

As the evening wound down, people started to drift toward the exit. We needed a taxi so we asked one of the young ladies about one. She told us that a bunch had been ordered and we should wait for about five minutes. Ten minutes later we started to walk. We didn’t pass a single taxi on the way back so ended up walking all the way home, again.