Monday, July 27, 2015
shipshape in manzanillo
Do you recall the scene in Lawrence of Arabia where Lawrence makes his way back to Cairo across the Sinai and encounters the Suez Canal? We cannot see the canal -- only a ship sailing past as if plowing through the sand.
That is how I felt yesterday. I drove down to Manzanillo for a new experience. Manzanillo is primarily known as Mexico's busiest port. That fact is hard to ignore while driving through town. Its facilities have recently been upgraded and expanded.
But I never go to Manzanillo for its port experience. Even though I did drive to the port area for five years in a row to renew my visa at the immigration office. The permanent resident card in my wallet makes that a thing of the past. That is, until the law changes again.
Most of my trips are for shopping -- and that leaves me in the suburbs. The big box stores are in an area called Salahua or Salagua ("salt water"). I usually hit the big three when I am in town -- Comercial Mexicana, Walmart, and Soriana.
But not yesterday. Manzanillo has long been known as a tourist destination. For northerners, thoughts of Bo Derek running along the beach are forever linked with the place. I was there to enjoy the beach scene.
And there are plenty of beaches to visit. The six-week school summer vacation is in full swing, and families are there on vacation -- especially on weekends. If there is sand, you will find a crowd of tourists at tables under umbrellas enjoying the heat and humidity of a beach visit.
I headed toward a pocket beach in the Las Brisas neighborhood -- a peninsula between the port and one of Manzanillo's stunning bays. Not surprisingly, when I arrived, I was not alone.
That ship doing its Peter O'Toole impression is not something I would see in Melaque. And, apparently, it was a new sight for a lot of my fellow beach broilers. A majority of us started snapping away at the optical illusion.
Our weather here can be quite erratic. Especially in the summer. Yesterday was no exception.
Walking back to the car, I could see storm clouds moving in from the north. And not mere rain clouds. The front was accompanied by the mobile artillery of lightning and thunder.
Half way back to Barra de Navidad, I encountered one of those storms that seem to occur only in the tropics. At least, regularly in the tropics.
The rain started with a few drops. Then with more intensity. Within a mile, I nearly pulled to the side of the road -- as wiser drivers had done. Instead, I followed a van with its flashers aflash. Of course, for all I could tell, he was driving me off into the ocean.
And, just as all tropical storms, in a matter of minutes, it was over. The highway was filled with water, but visibility was restored.
When I returned home, my neighbors told me we had had very little rain in Barra de Navidad. That was evident from the streets. But we had apparently been visited by winds.
When I opened the garage door, it looked as if all the leaves and flowers I had been picking up for the past ten months had been unceremoniously dumped in the pool and scattered through the courtyard. For some reason, I thought of the ant and the grasshopper. Maybe the moral to that tale should be: "Planning gets you nowhere."
And now, after a great dinner of curried kumquat cabbage stir fry over Jasmine rice, I am ready for bed. The nice thing about these intense rain storms is that we get at least one night of incredibly good sleep.
I am going to take advantage of it.