Sunday, March 07, 2010
Capistrano must feel like this on 23 October each year.
Full one day; deserted the next.
Melaque's snow birds have started their migration north. Perhaps it is the lure of Olympic gold.
We know differently.
It is simply the rhythm of nature. They make the trek north in March as deliberately as they make the trek south in January. No monarch flits on its circuit with more regularity.
They set up house here for a few months in the tropical sun. They preen. They feed. There are even rumors that they breed. (But that is a topic better left to a less family-friendly blog -- or for the speculation of commenters.)
Every winter our church in Melaque needs to hold two Sunday services to accommodate our swollen ranks.
Not any more. At least, until next December. Enough snow birds have flown our little coop in one week that we are back to one service this week.
Most local restaurants are still open all week. But that will not last. They are almost empty.
On Friday night I went to one of my favorite shrimp restaurants: The Red Lobster. (No relation to the downscale American franchise that uses the same name.)
I usually end up waiting for a table in the winter. Not Friday. Other than a Canadian couple, who was leaving Saturday morning, I was the sole customer.
By the end of April, my favorite places will cut back to a few nights a week -- or they will simply close until the winter season starts up. Three places have already closed -- two of them with no plans to reopen, no matter the season.
Melaque's summer weather was terrible -- followed by a financially stressed winter.
The local merchants are now hoping that the two-week Easter (Semana Santa) holiday in April will bring enough peso-spending tourists from Guadalajara to help offset what the sow birds did not bring.
In late April, Melaque will settle down to its slow tropical beat. Eating out will be restricted to a few hearty spots, and there will be few competitors for tables.
But this, year, like the Capistrano swallows, I will be gone. Later than the snow birds, but just as gone.
Anne Murray's lilt will echo for us all: "Spread your tiny wings and fly away."
And like those snow birds, I will return -- come next winter.