Friday, October 14, 2011

she cleans up right purdy

On Thursday afternoon I took a swing through Villa Obregon and San Patricio to see how the cleanup effort is going.

Quite well.

Over the years, I have noticed that my north of the border colleagues seem to have fallen into a rather neurotic state whenever nature gets a bit rough.  Maybe most Americans and Canadians are not as emotionally distraught as the people interviewed on the nightly news.

I know that is not how my Mexican neighbors react.  The areas of town that flooded were lined with household furnishings that families had brought out to discard or to dry in the sun.

No theatrics.  No drama queens.  Just people getting on with their lives.

And, no, I do not have any photographs.  They may not be showing much emotion, but I was not there to document personal losses.

What I did photograph is the street in front of the new church palapa.  You may recall it was a river just a day ago.  It is dry now.  But the force of the rain stripped the street down to the sewer and water lines.  Our palapa may be done by early November.  But it will be a bit tough getting there.

But everywhere I went, the cleanup was well under way.

Basic building supplies were delivered to this house near Ava’s to repair a damaged roof.

I stopped by Hawaii (my favorite grocery store) because I heard a lot of water had entered the premises.  It had.  Alex and his crew were mopping up mud and water.  But he had the forethought to get some of the merchandise off of the bottom shelves before it was damaged.

The Oxxo did not do that.  They taped their windows against the wind (an absolutely ineffective method to prevent breakage), but failed to move their merchandise.  A good example of how local business owners often have better street sense.

This is the mud in front of the Oxxo store.  It is everywhere.  Fortunately, the sun is out to dry the mud and turn it into new layers to be dusted out of homes.  Unfortunately, the sun is out and the humidity has returned.  At least, the storm brought two or three cool evenings to us.

Not even the Catholic church in San Patricio escaped the flooding.  The church still had a couple inches of water in it when I took this photograph.

And the sea.  The Pacific Ocean is doing its best impression of Lake Pátzcuaro.  The water is so murky it looks as if it is just one step away from being shilled by Bill Cosby.

And then there are the inadvertent moments that make me laugh loud enough that the neighbors of this sign looked over and started laughing along with me.  They knew exactly what was funny.

If you look beyond the sign, what was once the laguna at the north end of Villa Obregon is now a gully of sand, gravel, and various trash items.  Nary a crocodile to be seen.

Speaking of crocodiles, I received a couple of emails asking if I had seen my local guy (or gal).  I hadn’t.  My inlet is still dry.  But as I walked along the main channel, I spotted a crocodile.  Then two.  Three.  Four.  That is the most I have ever seen in such a small area.

But, they are out there.  Watching us.


Lludwick2568 said...

Great reporting Steve.  I especially liked the fact that pictures of the people involved in the loss of personal and real property were not photographed to show their agony as most US TV reporters are apt to do on and on.  The resilience of the locals sets a great example for a people expecting to take care of their losses without waiting for a FEMA agency to come to their rescue.  Finally, glad to hear your local house of worship apparently sailed through the storm in a style Noah would have appreciated. 

Jonna said...

Good news.  The other thing I am most impressed by after disasters is that everyone pitches in to clean up.  I will never forget the Mexican army out in the colonias with shovels helping to clear the mud from people's houses.  In the US, all you saw the Nat'l Guard do was stand around and "protect".  Here, everyone works and the work gets done.  There is a lot for other places to emulate in Mexico.  

blog said...

Choosing to live in areas where there are hurricanes and earthquakes - Puerto Escondido qualifies Xico not so much. Ultimately any plan must include the 'possibility'. We tried to be at least 50 feet above the water line - sea level in the case of Puerto - we managed 60' ;-)  But the casa we bought was built over the rubble of a previous structure that was destroyed by an earthquake - hmm.

You really did get hit - or at least your area. This does not happen often historically?  You never wrote what it was like during the actual storm landing - I guess in part because you had no power. Did you have a sense that there would be a lot of water damage when it all was said and done?

I saw a croc on the Azteca news - they were on the scene there in your territory. The gorgeous weather girl was giving the croc a bot of a pet. His eyes rolled back - as mine probably would ;-)

Felipe Zapata said...

I take umbrage at your dig regarding Lake Pátzcuaro, which is a crystal-clear mountain lake where abundant and happy fish frolic and water birds float without a care in the world. All of the area's human inhabitants drink directly from the lovely lake on a regular basis. And no harm comes.

tancho said...

It comes down to individual responsibility which most of the US has lost, except in the Midwestern states and other pockets of sanity. The notion that the govmint was going to hold your hand every step of the way is nuts, but sadly becoming the norm.
Less would be best NOB, but the whineing would bring the country to a standstill, just judging from the last few episodes.
Here, you handle it yourself, or with the help of family or neighbors, then maybe the govmint will help.
A concept departed of NOB.
Great pictures, and thanks for not wandering around looking for something spectacular to shoot.
Kind of reminds me , years ago when I was doing TV news, a late arriving crew started a small fire to capture in the background so that the reporter would have flames in his shot of an event that had run it's course.......

Steve Cotton said...

Now and then I am reminded of the fact that Mexico is very much like The States 50 years ago.  They enjoy material things, but who they are does not revolve around a ruined mattress.  I really admire how my neighbors are just getting on wit life.  Without reckoning on how this is going to affect their therapy sessions.

Steve Cotton said...

Part of that may be that the Mexicans have a very good work ethic.  If things need to get done, they get done.  Sometimes with odd results.

Steve Cotton said...

There has been an incredible amount of water damage.  The wind affected only a few trees where the rain had saturated the ground.  But the waters are now receding.  Line most of Mexico we are built against mountains on a narrow flood plain.  And it is called a flood plain for good reason.  During heavy rains, the water rushes down the mountains and then congregates on the plain.  If the hurricane had hit directly, this would not be a good place to ride it out.

Steve Cotton said...

My rose-colored glasses were in the shop being repaired.  I forgot that Pátzcuaro, just like the rest of Mexico, is a paradise where everything was created by the Disney Corporation.  But you left out the happy princesses cavorting with friendly forest animals.

Steve Cotton said...

I was talking with the owner of the local taco stand last night.  When I said was amazed at how quickly everything returned to normal, he responded: "It was always normal."  Now, there is a great philosophy.

1st Mate said...

People in the States are so unused to any kind of setback like disaster damage, it's a major life event when it happens and there's a lot of "poor me, I'm a victim." (The media just laps it up) But in Mexico they seem to have to dig out of some hurricane or other almost every year. They just take it in stride, and thank God they've survived another one.

I had to laugh about the Oxxo and Hawaii -- when you own a store yourself you care about your merchandise. The Oxxo employees probably just wanted to tape up and go home. Glad to see the crocs are still around, I wondered where they went. Not like they could be loaded in a truck and carried off to safety. 

Irene said...

Wow, no one here is judgmental, much!

I am sure the people of Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama are hanging their heads in shame at how they reacted to the total devastation of their towns by tornadoes.  You know those people NOB, all they do is complain and expect someone else to solve their problems. 

Steve Cotton said...

Pride of ownership was obvious between the two stores.  I am not one of those people who has a visceral dislike for the chain stores.  But it was obvious there was a marked difference between the two places.  To the credit of Hawaii.

Steve Cotton said...

I hope I am not being that reductionist.  There are plenty of people up north who pick up their lives and move on.  But they are not the people the press likes to interview.  There is little story in plucky optimism.

NWexican said...

What a croc!

Steve Cotton said...

Indeed, it is.

Jackie Martinez said...

Thank you Irene.  I was getting a little annoyed by the negative NOB comments.  We have had great areas of devastation this year.  Fires in Texas, flooding in Nashville, and  the terrible tornadoes in the South.  In my own area we have had several bad fires started by lightening.  But what I witnessed and participated in were neighbors helping neighbors.  Getting horses and livestock to safety.  Opening our homes to those in need.  The news media hardly reflects the spirit of the American people.
Jackie Martinez

Steve Cotton said...

It is always good to hear the positive side of the American people. It goes unreported.

André said...

Thank you Steve for your reporting.

Steve Cotton said...

You are most welcome.  And I obviously enjoy doing it.