I thought Santa Claus would hate Mexican houses. No chimneys for easy entry.
But I missed the obvious. Most Mexican homes -- at least those on the coast -- have roofs flat enough to make Air Wolf feel at ease.
Santa could set down his sleigh and offload a year's worth of gifts with no problema -- and pass it off as the work of the Three Kings.
The roofs also make great recreation areas -- especially if your idea of fun is to lie in a hammock, sun yourself, and eat grilled fish that you caught yourself that morning.
It is a nice dream -- but not mine. The roof terrace belongs to my upstairs neighbors.
The photograph at the top of this post shows what a portion of my neighborhood looks like from that terrace.
When I lived on the beach, all of my neighbors were either Canadian or American -- mostly absentee landlords for the summer.
Not so my current neighborhood. With the exception of a few houses, none are middle class. These are the houses you would see in a Peace Corps film. Poor people striving for a better life.
And it is noisy. Dogs. Roosters, Radios. All noise. All the time.
Except the radios. Despite what I hear from my Mexican friends in other parts of Mexico, my neighbors are Ben Franklin disciples -- early to bed and early to rise.
The dogs and roosters have no cycle. Other than barking and crowing all day, all night -- Mary Ann. And for no apparent reason. Other than there is territory to protect and perceived invaders are everywhere.
One of the worst aspects of my comings and goings during the past two months is I have no had an opportunity to meet my neighbors.
I know the owner of the restaurant (The Frog) around the corner from my house. But I buy his wares.
I met the woman on the corner who lectured me about parking in front of her vacant lot because it is "difficult to sweep" when I park my truck there. Sweeping trumps or strengthens relationships in our little village.
I did talk with an elderly man, who lives down the street, one of my first days at the house, and stumbled over a very simple word in Spanish. He harumphed and walked off. When he sees me now, he simply shakes his head, points at me, and laughs. I doubt I have enough time left in Mexico to repair that particular faux pas on my part.
And that sentence contains a bittersweet truth. My year in Mexico is quickly coming to a close. I have experienced a lot, but I want more adventures.
2011 will provide many more.