Sunday, December 30, 2012

the end of the beginning

2012 is over.  Or almost.

And it managed to end, not with the fears of New Age hysterics, but with the flip of a movie prop calendar page.

Mexpatriate has a year-end tradition of looking back at the "best" posts of the year.  The criteria for "best" vary each year.

This year, the choices were easy.  The blog host tracks the ten posts with the most hits since 2007.  Five of them -- unusually -- were from 2012.  And those five are rather good representatives of my life in 2012.

With one exception.  Even though I spent more time away from Melaque than in Melaque (writing from The States, China, at sea, Europe, the Middle East, Copper Canyon, and the Mexican highlands), I wrote the top five posts on my patio in Villa Obregon.

And that is appropriate.  After all, this blog is not only about my life, it is about my experiences in Mexico -- the place I live.  For now.

The post with the most hits this year was death in the family on 4 January.  A Canadian tourist was killed in what appears to have been a home robbery gone bad.  The type of death that can, unfortunately, happen in almost any community in the world.

And everybody knows why the post was so popular.  It dealt with the issue that concerns a lot of people about Mexico -- violence.  What was anomalous about this outburst of violence was the fact that it involved a tourist. 

But it was not anomalous.  In November a Canadian citizen who lived full time in Barra de Navidad was murdered.  I did not write about that death because I was in Oregon and could not filter the swirl of rumors that surrounded the crime.

Friends have asked me if the two deaths have changed my view about the danger of living in Melaque.  It hasn't.  On the first week I was back in Salem, there were three murders in town.  I feel no more in danger in Melaque than I do in Salem.

The post with the second most hits was smoke gets in my eyes on 11 December.  Another tale about death in Mexico.  This time about a dog.  And how Mexicans tend to treat death far differently than their neighbors north of the Rio Bravo.

In king of the road (on 13 October), I revealed a secret guilty pleasure.  I am an RV guy at heart.

Two years before I retired, I considered buying (and living in) a small RV.  My plan was to eventually retire and head off on a long road trip through The States.

That did not happen.  And it is probably just as well that I decided not to live in Mexico year round in the equivalent of a slow cooker.

Instead, I have kept the gypsy spirit alive -- without the home on wheels.  My Escape  (twined with some rather classy short-term rentals) has filled my travel needs.  The Escape that I keep thinking is going to die any day.

Hit number four was feliz navidad on 23 December.  The tourist and expatriate community in Melaque banded together to make Christmas a joyful time for the migrant families who live at our local Indian school.  Proving that there is a true spirit of Christmas.

And then there was to hive and hive not on 17 December.  It was probably the most problematic post I have written.  Because it was about my health.

Like many people who live on the beach, I was the recipient of some unrequested attention from parasites.  Worms, in this instance.

And why the high number of hits?  Probably because parasites are a fact of life in our area of the world, and people were interested in getting whatever information they could.

Of course, I could offer no solutions.  I am not a doctor -- I merely played one in court.

I suppose if I had written about Maya calendar disasters or the Newtown killings or some other disaster, there may have been other posts on this list.

But the five sum up my Mexican life quite well. 

I live in a community that experiences an occasional and sad acts of violence -- just like every community.  That death is as much a part of our lives as is joy.  That I will continue to travel with the soul of a gypsy -- and the eye of a writing tourist.  That the needs of others should come before my own.  And that every Eden has its serpents.

Thank you for sharing the ride this year. 

I can only wish that 2013 will provide as many adventures.


Marc Olson said...

I look forward to hearing your further adventures. Happy New Year, Steve.

Steve Cotton said...


Joanna said...

You do such a stellar job of taking us all along on your ride. Steve, I love your blog. The little gypsy that lives inside me is in sync with yours and I hope your travels will bring you to Yucatan in 2013. Marc has already commented on this post, and I'm sure that he, Debi, Jonna, Theresa, Rainie and all the other bloggers from our part of the glorious Republica would be thrilled to see you... we could even build a Bloggers' Meet around your visit... what d' ya' say?

Shannon Casey said...

Another year of gypsy galavanting is on the horizon. Have a very Happy New Year, Steve,

Steve Cotton said...

Happy new year to you -- and Todd. I am looking forward to another meal in San Miguel this summer with the two of you.

Steve Cotton said...

That sounds like a real possibility. We need to keep some life in that idea.

Don Blodgett said...

hi steve. my name is donald. i may become a new neighbor of yours pretty soon. what i always feared has come to pass (almost), which is that if i stayed in one place too long, the sneaky mexicans would be able to pin me down!

my blog is at

i will read more of your entries later so as to better be able to insinuate myself into the community