Saturday evening I was sitting on the balcony, leafing through The Economist, thinking about today's post.
I knew the topic (Factor # 11 -- living outside of a car). A very important factor for me in choosing where to retire.
I looked up, and a sail boat was coming directly at me from the horizon. It then tacked right in front of the house. What could be a better symbol of escaping the confines of a car than a sail boat?
Well, feet for one (or two, I guess). And that is what I had in mind when I put "get out of the car" on my list.
According to The Economist, the average American spends 45 hours a month in a car. That number seems extremely low to me.
But it is not just the time lost or the lost exercise opportunity that bothers me the most. It is the sense of isolation.
On one of my trips to the dealer in Salem to have the truck serviced, I decided to walk to work rather than avail myself of the courtesy van. I was amazed at the life that was missing as I sped by in my truck.
I made two decisions that day: 1) I would get out of my truck as much as possible while I lived in Salem, and 2) when I retired, I would live somewhere I could park the truck and walk.
Melaque fits the bill perfectly. I can walk to almost everything I need for daily living. Grocery stores. Fruit and vegetable shops. Butchers. Barbers. Restaurants.
And these walks give me an opportunity to practice my Spanish on unsuspecting people I meet on my way to and from the main part of town. It is just over a mile into the shopping area. Just right for early morning and evening jaunts. Fortunately, almost everything is closed during the heat of the day.
Saturday evening was a perfect example. I needed some lunch meat. So, off I went into town. Along the way I greeted several people, had a longer conversation with three people, stopped in the jardin to watch a political party set up a stage for a political rally, chatted briefly with a restaurant manager, bought my lunch meat (all in Spanish, thank you vey much), and walked back to the house. I was going to stop at the restaurant where I take my Spanish lessons to listen to a country-western band, but I needed to get my meat in the refrigerator.
I know there are many areas in Mexico where this type of interchange is possible. Some may even be superior. But I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to experience this part of Mexico on a human level -- outside of a car.
Of course, I would not turn down a day or two on that sail boat, either.