Lazy days

In the last few days, we have been polishing our Spanish and finding better ways of saying things. We often use “quiero” (I want) but we’ve learned this could come across as a bit blunt so we are finding friendlier ways of saying things “Puedo tener” (can I have.) I find it annoying as I only just learnt the old way.

Tired of overtaxing my tiny mind trying to learn more Spanish, I retired to the hamaca for a rest. Rosalie did her usual job of feeding me grapes. Well, that was my dream until I realized she was throwing them at me to wake me up, for dinner.

I’ve only fallen out of the thing twice. Both times I was trying to get in and not out. Fortunately, I didn’t cause myself too much damage. The danger is when Rosalie gets in with me, for a little woman she sure bounces a lot. Twice I almost spilled my wine.

We just get settled in when this happens:

The guy in the red VW sells ice cream,  even a tequila flavoured one. He’s been doing this for twenty years and we have no idea why he hasn’t gone crazy listening to the same recording over and over. The little girl is locked out and yelling to get in; her brother is even louder. We have no idea what the guy on the bike is advertising. The gas truck. Someone selling fruit and veggies out of the back of the pickup truck. And of course that F…ing rooster.

We finally settle down to read our books and before long Rosalie starts to take a nap. This is a tough time for me. When she sleeps on the couch I can at least tiptoe around very quietly and do a few things. In the hamaca I’m frozen. One badly planned move and I would wake her up. Worse yet we could both fall out onto the tile below. It’s only a few inches but it’s a very hard ceramic tile. I can only hope it’s a short nap before my muscles start to cramp up from inaction. The worse part is, that even if I’m brave enough to reach for my wine glass I may have to wait a while to refill it.

To keep my mind occupied I go into a zen state and count the dead bougainvillea blossoms blowing on to the patio. I swear every bush drops their blossoms and no matter where they are on the street, they end up on our patio. Perhaps we should leave them there, it may make our landing a little softer if we do fall out.

 

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The bad, the good and the best

We went out to Laguna Del Tule for a meal and to watch the band the other night. The band was good and so was the food when we eventually got it. We waited an hour and a half to eat after we had ordered. I think they want to get people to drink more while they are waiting. I was not impressed. If we go back it will be after we have eaten. Ron was even attacked by a killer gecko.

gecko

The following day we went out for lunch while Rubi was cleaning the place. There is a corner restaurant we pass a lot but have never been in so we opted for that. They didn’t have a menu but offered us Pollo Americano or Steak Americano. After my past experiences with steak here we chose the pollo. The only problem was, that we didn’t really know what we had ordered.

When the food came it was delicious. It was simply a chicken leg with rice and potatoes and a thin tomato sauce. And, as always it was very inexpensive.

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Returning from lunch we came across this lovely little scene.

When we got back to the duplex Rubi was finishing up. It was her birthday so we wished her “Feliz Cumpleanos.” Before she left she asked if she could have the tip money we had been saving up for her; probably for her birthday. As she was leaving she invited us across the road to her casa that evening for some pizza. We knew that none of her family spoke English so I was a bit apprehensive as to how we would communicate. Even so, we were very honoured.

We arrived at eight thirty with some cerveza and a bottle of cafe tequila liquor as a gift. There were a couple of chairs spare so we sidled up and sat down. Introductions were made and so far all was going well.

During the introductions, we met Rubi’s parents and a brand new baby. It was Rubi’s nephew and he sure was cute. Within ten minutes Rosalie had that baby and was cooing to it like its own Mum. As she came back to the table with the baby I got a laugh as I pointed at Rosalie and the baby and said “No para ti” (not for you.)

rosalie and ruby
Rubi, Rosalie and nino

I needn’t have been worried about the language barrier as within a few minutes Rosalie was deep in conversation with Rubi and her husband Joshua. (Pronounce the J as an H and make the H silent. Sounds something like hose-way.) Having been down here many times, my Spanish is better than I thought. I managed to get in on some parts of the conversation and even contributed a little.

They told us that sometime down the road they want their kids to learn English. I said “This is Mexico you should speak Spanish” but they said it was also necessary to speak English and looking back I think they are right.

 

We had a beer, ate our pizza and after a while went home. It was a great night. We were accepted by the family as new friends and the experience of communicating with them in their own language was awesome.

Local Taquerias

Now that we have rediscovered the local little restaurants, we went out for dinner last night.

We found a nice little corner place “ Rosita’s Loncheria” with tables on the sidewalk.

The owner and waiter was Rosita of course. She took our order and from then on we were then entertained by a young man whom we think was her son.

The first thing he had to do was run off down the street and disappear somewhere to get me my cerveza. He came back with the wrong one so had to retrace his steps and get me the right one. Not that I really cared about the brand.

By entertaining I mean he did all the rest of the serving. He was about 10 years old. We always speak Spanish as much as we can and usually get through a meal without having to speak English. He was well schooled in what to say to us in English, and when.

He had several standard phrases like “How-is-your-meal” “ Is-everything-okay” etc. He was a lovely young man so at the end of the meal we gave him an extra tip just for himself.

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While we sat there Mexican life went on around us. Except for one Canadian lady who was obviously a friend of Rosita’s we were the only other Canadians in sight. It was a typical street scene, kids playing in the road, moms and dads standing talking. There was a severely handicapped man, maybe about thirty years old who was having a hard time walking upright. Nobody took any special notice of him, he was accepted as just one of the crowd. And of course, there is always a bougainvillea bush close by for some colour.

Mexicans are so easy to get along with. Sometimes you find one that may be a bit standoffish but once they get to know you they are the friendliest people around. I think we have an advantage as are seen around a lot and not considered short term tourists. Rosalie usually asks their name and remembers to use it next time we see them. It helps a lot. And of course, they appreciate us trying to speak their language.

When we first came here I wasn’t a fan of the local food. Lately though, after discovering some of the smaller restaurants where the locals eat I only want to eat there. We went out to renew our phone plan and Rosalie dragged me into a roadside taqueria. We each had a mushroom omelet and a coffee, it was the best, and of course, only cost $140 pesos ($9.70) for both of us.

Being here is good for us both. We are living simply but richly. Soaking up the culture, learning the language and above all having a good time. I hope we can carry that attitude back with us in April.

 

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.

 

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.