Tuesday, October 06, 2009

joking with heaven

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

The sentence is not mine. But the sentiment is.

Monday was the day I was going to explore Manzanillo and La Manzanilla -- two places I have visited often. Instead, I fell into the comfort of inertia.

I drove into Manzanillo with every intention of ferreting out some new sights. But the pull of habit was too strong. I ended up visiting my two shopping haunts: Comercial Mexicana and Walmart.

And this is how adventurous I was. In addition to my groceries, I bought a metal colander to soak rice.

Yes. I know. I know. Buying a metal colander on the Mexican coast is like buying tissue paper to stop Exocet missiles. By the time I get ready to move to the highlands, the colander will undoubtedly look like an artifact from an Indiana Jones movie.

On the way home, I decided to drive through some of the condominium complexes to see if I could spot a se renta sign. I like Manzanillo's infrastructure. If I had seen any sign of availability, I would have taken a look for a place to spend my winter. But I saw nothing.

By the time I got home and took care of some travel plans for two weeks in November, it was time to head off to La Manzanilla for dinner.

A group from Melaque reserved a table at one of my favorite restaurants: Cafe de Flores for 4 PM. I mention the time only because it illustrates how I have not yet acclimated to Mexican culture. I cut off a telephone call to ensure I would be in La Manzanilla on time. And I made it -- despite being slowed down by a drunk who was literally baffled by curves in the road.

And, you have guessed the rest of the story. Most people did not show up until 5 or so.

But it was a great evening. I have commented before that I miss my friends. But I am beginning to mind the gap.

I spent most of the evening talking with four people who have become close acquaintances. They have helped me navigate several social reefs.

One big topic was how important it is to have family, friends, and acquaintances wherever we are. For we expatriates, that means a reliable internet connection.

Without it, we can quickly become isolated. As isolated as a member of the Borg cut off from the collective.

Bad Star Trek analogies must be a basic ingredient in Mexican curses. The words were barely out of our mouths when the telephone and internet system collapsed.

Maybe Carlos Slim was sending someone a message of his power -- a Putinesque note to the not-so-well-connected. Who knows?

What I do know is that I felt very odd not having an electronic communication method with the local area -- let alone to the rest of the world.

Of course, I was ready to draft up today's blog. Instead, I pulled out the same items an Egyptian scribe would have used in the 12th Dynasty: pen and paper.

The systems are now restored. But it is a sobering thought (not that I have had any inebriating ones) that we can be catapulted into the 19th Century with a simple electronic failure. And you classic scholars know that the 19th Century was not very kind to Mexico.

Today, I may return to La Manzanilla to see if I can find a small place where I can invest my winter.

That chuckling you hear is heaven-sent.


Theresa in Mèrida said...

Have you concidered checking out Akumal? Jonna has a condo for rent there? It is gorgeous!

Steve Cotton said...

Theresa -- Interesting idea. But I want to remain closer to the western coast for driving purposes. But it is tempting.

1st Mate said...

Actually reduced to writing your blog by hand?! Next you'll be looking at horses!

La Manzanilla might be a pleasant place to spend the winter. Small town atmosphere, you already know people there. Just watch out for los cocodrilos!

Only a few weeks ago I experienced life with no electricity, no Internet, no tapwater, no phone. It was interesting, sobering. Made me think about designing systems to cope. But then everything came back on again and I promptly forgot about it. When will we ever learn?

Constantino said...

We must appreciate conveniences that we have grow accustom to. As 1stMate mentioned, back to basics sans water, power and heat (or cool) can be eyeopening. Kind of makes you appreciate the hassles people 100 years ago had to put up with. Carrying water inside was one....

Steve Cotton said...

1st Mate and Constantino -- We often forget that there are people throughout the world who live daily with what we think of as disaster. Or what I call "camping" conditions. We are a resilient species. But some of us, such as yours truly, are simply spoiled.

Joe S. said...

Steve, great to have you back at the blog. Now I'm waiting for you find or discover that lost germanic or other fine technologically influenced city/state in Mexico that a spoiled individual such as myself could exist in for a few months at a time

Babs said...

Check out Barre de Potosi south of Zihuat or Rincon de Guayabitos Los de Marcos in that same area....or perhaps Yelapa. Branch out man....don't stay within 20 miles!Great music scene and restaurants in Zihuat.....
If you don't want to drive to explore, get on a bus. Bus travel in Mexico is great........

Babs said...

Steve - Pardon me for using your comment page to reach Life Style Refugee. I have tried numerous times to figure out how to leave a comment. Can't. In addition her sidebar bleeds over into her text along with her calendar and you can't hardly read it. Her writing is hilarious and delightful. I just wanted to tell her those things and hopefully she will read it here - on your blog and contact meat www.babsofsanmiguel.blogspot.com

Christine said...

I found Zihuat confusing. But then I would find a great restaurant or beach and I said... ah.

Steve Cotton said...

Joe -- If I find it, I will let you know.

Babs -- Good suggestions. And no need to apologize about highjacking my blog. I had the same problem trying to leave a comment. Maybe she will contact both of us.

Steve Cotton said...

Christine -- Maybe that was my problem, too. The town has grown up around the bay in a very odd fashion. But look at Melaque. Siamese triplets.

Mic said...

Good to see you are back from your sojourn....and how was your trip?.....and Mom?.....and Bro?.... did you get a new camera?

Steve Cotton said...

Mic -- The trip was great. I saw my mother briefly, but missed my brother due to snow in the mountains.

Felipe said...

Steve, I am rice people. I come from rice country. The South, New Orleans, etc. What on earth does one do with a colander and rice?

In any event, hold onto it because that is how you drain your pasta.

el jubilado said...

The process of 'rusting' has actually reversed here in the highlands. I think it's altitude related. Gonna have to Google that

Islagringo said...

Glad to have you back. You do surprise me though in your timidity and lack of gumption to explore living someplace else for awhile. And what's with the cryptic plans for November??

Steve Cotton said...

Felipe -- For a lot of dishes (especially those that call for frying the rice as the first step), the rice needs to be soaked and drained. The collanders in this house are great for pasta, but they let rice grains pass right through. Not with my fine-mesh metal collander.

El Jubilado -- Another reason to pull up stakes.

Islandgringo. I will do a post on my November plans. As for gumption, I think I am in a bit of a weather funk. The hills are looking a lot better.