Sunday, June 21, 2009

new acquaintances; some with a love of food

I love socializing.

No. It's more than that.

I love performing. And to perform, I require an audience.

Almost everything I have done for the past thirty years has revolved around that simple axiom. Attorney. Trainer. Sunday school teacher. Small group leader. Politician.

And each job came with a built-in audience.

No more.

One of my retirement miscalculations was that I did not consider what would happen when I no longer had an entertainment venue.

I guess that is not exactly true. I, at least, knew that wherever I was going to live in Mexico, I would need to make new acquaintances.

On the plus side (and a big plus it is), I had forgotten about technology. This blog, email, and MagicJack have kept me in contact with relatives and friends -- some friends who date back to grade school. In one sense, it is almost as if I had not moved from Salem -- or, more accurately, I could live anywhere in the world and maintain those contacts.

But I long for new relationships. So, I wanted to find someplace where I could make new acquaintances.

Melaque is not the best place to do that. It is a small beach village where most of the people are just in for the weekend.

But I have already started making new acquaintances. The first group was to be expected. There are very few English-speakers in town, but I am meeting the few who are here. Fellow bloggers. Church congregants. Local business owners.

As an example, Friday night I had dinner with Tim and Becky, a younger couple from Eugene. They have lived in town for almost two years. We had dinner at a restaurant well-known for its sunset views. And like most view restaurants, the food was indifferent. Fortunately, the conversation was fascinating.

And that brings me to the second half of this factor: food.

I love to eat. That is how I managed to pack on 30 pounds at the end of last year.

I had looked forward to the cuisine when I decided to retire in Mexico. And I have had some adequate meals in La Manzanilla. But the best I can say of Melaque and Barra de Navidad, so far, is the food is filling.

But no one needs restaurants to share good food with acquaintances. I am a good cook. And I like sharing my creations.

In the mid-1980s, like every pretentious yuppie, I was a member of a gourmet group. The members would rotate the dining venue between our respective homes and prepare a meal based on a set theme. That group gave me some of my best memories from that decade.

I do not want to reproduce those moments, but I would like to find that same spirit. Perhaps, setting up a regularly-scheduled pot luck.

And I think it will work. After our dinner, Tim contacted me to borrow some of the magazines I have just finished reading.

What a great opportunity to share a common reading source and then discuss it over good food while watching one of our tropical sunsets.

That sounds like a pretty good performance to me.


Anonymous said...

We like to have you over for dinner!
Take care.
min from Va

Anonymous said...

ahhhh, my love of food caused me to wake up with a tummy ache. at 1:10 a.m. while still waiting for the flan to cool, i ate a piece of pan con lechon (roast pork sandwich) i guess the cold pork didn't agree with me right before bed but i'm already feeling better.

i'm so glad to hear that you're making new friends. the potluck idea is a great one. now, just get working on that spanish and you'll be able to make friends with some of the locals as well. i bet they'd enjoy being part of your potlucks.

still having a great time. sat through a 45 minute thunderstorm and torrential downpour last night after going swimming at the hilton. beautiful to watch but we were hungry and eager to get going. it rained for a whole hour.

i love the vegetation and wildlife down here. i've seen some huge iguanas and lots of seabirds. i think i already told you about the manatee and barracuda. last night there were some huge tarpons swimming right off the dock at the restaurant where we had dinner-pretty cool.

have a great day amigo, or i should say, que tengas un buen dia.


Christine said...

Well, now your cooking! Christine
P.S. Don't judge Melaque by the summer season. When the weather gets better I think you will find that the number of English speakers expands amazingly. I have been in Melaque a few times (in February) and the town was chock full of Canadians and Americans gathering in the beach palapa bars and having very animated discussions.

Constantino said...

Sounds like 20°55′0″N 100°44′45″W is calling you.....

You could always learn how to blow ignited gasoline at a stoplight for an audience, but timing is very important doing that.....

Steve Cotton said...

Min -- Let's do it. When?

Teresa -- The Keys are a great place to visit.

Christine -- I suspect this factor will work out well no matter where I live. I just need to find the key.

Constantino -- I have learned several unique social skills that I will need to share when we finally meet.

Babs said...

Constantino's comment made me laugh out loud!
Have you eaten at Maya Restaurante yet? It is superb. The owner was a chef in California. Exquisite.
I'll get out my list of the "hidden gems" of Melaque (there are a few) and send it to you.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- I ate at Maya four or five times during my visit in July last year. It was OK. But they are closed through the full summer. And will not open again until October or so. I would love to see your list of Melaque "hidden gems." I am not complaining about the place. After all, no one comes to the beach for haute cuisine. Filling the stomach is what most people want on vacation. And that they can find.

glorv1 said...

Well Steve, sounds like it was a great evening and great that you are getting out and about. If I lived there, I definitely would have you and Jiggs over for dinner. I'd prepare a special plate for Mr. Jiggs. Continue on with your adventures. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I should said,I would love to...
since,I live in VA....May be someday soon....keep on writing and let us know how you are,where you will be..we will keep our dinner date!!!
min from va

Anonymous said...

Lord Bothell, creation or fact,
the essence of which is his act?
The Lord hath no cause,
but resplendent applause,
from those whom the good Lord has yakked.

With sincere apologies to John Ciardi and Isaac Asimov, both of whom had great respect for, and skill in, the limerick.


Anonymous said...

What a breathtaking sunset.

I am glad you are meeting so many new friends or acquaintances.


Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- And a fine meal and conversation it would certainly be. Thanks.

Min -- One day.

John -- Electronic limericks. What a brave new world in which we live.

Mom -- It is actually a photograph of clouds in the east during a sunset. But I guess that is a sunset, as well.

maria luz said...

Four words.

San Miguel de Allende

On all counts, so far. I think I even read somewhere that there is community theater in SMA? Or is that Chapala? Babs, help me here!

And, it is close to Queretaro which is an intelligent, lovely, easy to drive in, well run city with all of the cultural, university, and shopping amenities you could possibly need. Very good restaurants and a U. S. consulate, as well.

Plus, if you move to San Miguel you can keeps tabs on Babs. And we all know that could be a lot of fun. Also, you will be a scant hour down the road from us, on the other side of Queretaro.

It is only about 6 hours to Zihuatenejo. Same for Tequis where we will live. This is very important to us since we love the beach and need regular fixes.

You will have an active community of English speaking friends at your fingertips, and a town that is not so hilly that Jiggs would be left at home all of the time. In your dotage you may not want to deal with the extreme hilliness of Guanajuato. Just some slightly above average hilliness like in SMA.

Also, no volcano or earthquakes like in Colima.

And, taa dah! It is only 8 hours to Laredo or McAllen for those Gringo fixes we all need. On a great highway. as well. As good as our U.S. interstates. Don't forget, only about 3 hours to D.F. and all it has to offer.


I am 1000% with Felipe on this one!
Get thee to San Miguel.


Babs said...

Well there are playreader groups here among a zillion other things. The two guys who left here are very involved in the little theater in Chapala, which I find too old for me.And we have a U.S> Consulate office in San Miguel as well.
Keeping tabs on me-worse then pulling up dead fish...and harder, much, much harder.

Steve Cotton said...

Maria Luz -- I see you have taken on the role of sales manager. Felipe presents the offer, and you come in for the kill.

Babs -- And are you are the color woman for this Three Horsemen of the Allendelypse?

Anonymous said...

San Miguel is a beautiful town with rather uninspiring surroundings and beaucoup expats which lends itself well to the unadventurous seeker of great cultural offerings where one must work to remember it is really in Mexico.

Steve Cotton said...

Anonymous -- And that is why I need to take a look for myself. I struck SMA from my list early in the process for the resaons you list. I just need to see for myself.

Paul said...

Steve, your developed list of things you wanted seems very reasoned and appropriate to you. I struggle with how you ever fit Melaque into that analysis. Felipe and others are right. SMdA screams for you. If you won't allow yourself to be part of the hoi polloi, then Jalapa might be a good choice. Excellent university and orchestra, superb archaeology museum and Oregon like weather reasonably close to the coast. Just because you've got a lease until Dec. doesn't mean you can't take an exploratory trip or two.

maria luz said...


I have latent cheerleader tendencies.

We considered Jalapa, but the Gulf coast is not that pretty with its muddy sand and at present, the highways to the border are not as easy to traverse as good old highway 57. We also do not like the ongoing "chimi chimi", "chi chi" or whatever sprinkles it tends to get. Gimme sun and drier air. I, as ladies say, perspire in a blizzard.

We do, however, intend to go visit and I am also familiar with the city of Veracruz. I love that it is one heck of a dancing town. I have three left feet, but it is so fun to watch.

Babs could even show you the ropes.


Anonymous said...

I say you ditch Melaque and move up the coast to Puerta Vallarta. There'd be a ton more to do, but you'd still have the beach. Plenty of expats, but also Mexicans.


Kim G
Boston, MA

Steve Cotton said...

Paul -- I will do some exploring. Jiggs, of course, restricts where I can stay. But we will work out something.

ML -- There are a lot of choices I can add on my list. And places I can stay for short periods. I am not looking for a place to settle down -- yet. There is time for that in the grave.

Kim -- Puerto Vallarta is like dessert to me. A little bit goes a long way. It is also beyond my current budget. But a short stop might be appropriate. Maybe the winter months coming up. And the cultural offerings are -- slim. As for the beach, nothing in Puerto Vallarta compares to the offerings on this bay or in La Manzanilla.