Thursday, February 11, 2010

love on the rooftop

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.

I hope.


Nancy said...

It just looks like an average Mexican neighborhood to me - I think the residents would take offense to the idea that their homes look like they are in a Peace Corp film!

Leslie Limon said...

My kiddies were worried that Santa wouldn't leave them any toys because our house doesn't have a chimney. I told them it's much easier for Santa in Mexico because of the flat roofs and easier access to the homes.

And I'm looking forward to reading all about your adventures, here and in the States. :)

Joe S. said...

1. Jan Michael Vincent
2. Mick Jagger
3. Elderly man who points and laughs, Aqualung

Alan said...

The picture from yesterdays blog was absolutely the most vibrant and clear pic I have seen on the internet. When I clicked on the enlarge, I thought I had a brief picture of paradise. Sorry to hear you have to spend some time in LA, but then being with friends will make the time fly!

Laurie said...

Don't worry about an old man who points and laughs. My Spanish is and may always be atrocious. AND.I.DO.NOT.CARE anymore.

Anonymous said...

Your blog brings back painful memories of a week long ago in Mexico with NO sleep because of crowing roosters, barking dogs and LOUD TECHO music blasting so no one in the entire town could sleep until about 4:00 in the morning. It was painful beyond imagination. We continued to go back for years however, and enjoyed our time there very much. However, we are amazed at how the Mexicans enjoy their music LOUD especially early in the morning. After many, many trips to Mexico we quit! The music, barking dogs and crowing roosters, garbage and dirty water finally got to us. We always felt safe and never had a bad experience as far as our safety was concerned but we had enough. We just spent a month on Maui and loved it. The temperatures are absolutely ideal and there is so much to see and do. We rented an apartment below a home. It was a wonderful experience. Clean ocean, no garbage and so many friendly people. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed it because we have always been "Mexico travelers". I guess change and new perspectives are good. Next year we will spend 2 or maybe 3 months there. Enjoy your time back in the states.

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- Unfortunately, most of my neighbors live with limited running water and most often dump their sewage in the laguna. It is a very poor area with high unemployment and underemployment. The economy has not been kind to this beach community, and even more unkind to my immediate neighbors. I was attempting to be polite with the Peace Corps comment. A Mexican friend in town calls it a slum. But it does not bother me.

Leslie -- Thanks. As you can see, I have tried to keep the stories coming.

Joe -- You get an A on the cultural trivia contest.

Alan -- Thanks. That camera has proved to be a blessing.

Laurie -- I don't care about being laughed at. I am just sorry I will not have time to repair whatever rift I created.

Anonymous -- I do not mind the noise. I am a rather noisy person myself. It just takes some time getting used to it.