Wednesday, May 06, 2009

the road twice taken

A long time ago, in a life far, far away, I had a friend who worked in a photo-finishing shop.

It sounds somewhat quaint to recall that everyday folk would take rolls of films, documenting their lives, to complete strangers for developing and printing. That was the world in the 80s.

He once told me that the job was one of the most boring he had ever had. When he looked at other people's photographs, he realized just how trivial and meaningless life was. I should point out he had a degree in philosophy. Need I add that he styled himself a student of Sartre?

I thought of Jerry today as Darrel and I walked along the Melaque beach. We have both been losing weight on this trip. So, we decided to kick up the process by taking a constitutional.

Several other bloggers have used the conceit of taking a walk to showcase snapshots of their neighborhoods. I am going to join the band wagon.

For those of you who are accustomed to the quality photographs on the sites Bille Mercer, John Woods, and Gary Deness offer, I suggest lowering your expectations to the level of my friend Jerry.

Darrel and I had a choice. We could walk through the back yard to the beach or head out the front gate. We opted to take the street exit because we thought we could fool Jiggs into thinking we were not leaving him behind.

We turned west on the street in front of the house: Calle Zafiro. The colorful wall is the front of the house.

Just beyond the two vehicles on the street is a beach access road. Like too much of Mexico, access to public beaches has been cut off by houses and hotels. Melaque, fortunately, has retained some access -- an access that we exercised.

We then turned west again to walk up the beach. If you feel a bit disoriented by the reference to walking west on the beach, the beach of Navidad Bay runs on an east-west, rather than a north-south, axis. Our sunsets, thus, most often set over land, rather than into the sea.

The beach around the bay is horse-shoe shaped. Starting at Barra de Navidad, it passes through the three villages that make up this area: Villa Obregon, San Particio, and Melaque.

The Pacific Ocean along this stretch of Mexico is not the Caribbean. No white sand, calm water seas here. The ocean is as untamed as Elzabeth Taylor. I will write more on that later -- about the ocean, that is -- not Elizabeth Taylor. But water that creates sand erosion like this is not a wader's paradise.

I should also point out that our beach is not a stroller's sand beach. The grains are coarse enough that terms such as "slogging" come to mind when walking along the beach -- dry or wet sand.

About half-way down the beach, we decided to return to the house on an inland route. So, we turned north onto the main street I featured yesterday.

We turned east at the first right and took the main beach road back to Villa Obregon.

On the way, we passed the home of a proud PAN supporter:

And then on to the main beach road in my village of Villa Obregon.

And a monument to the hubris of development. This great hole was the start of a condominium project in Villa Obregon. There are reasons why condos are rare in the area. The Hole reminds us of those reasons. But, there is no doubt that the lot has a lovely view.

And we are nearly home. My brother, feeling the need to be home before I could get to the gate, turns south on the beach access road where we began.

We are now back on the street where I live. No trouble picking out the house with the attractive, new paint job.

Maybe Jerry was correct. Snapshots do reflect the mundane. But the mundane is simply the ordinary way we lead our lives.

And part of that routine is that I could share it with you. We should do it again. Soon.


Anonymous said...

This story arc, from the 80's photo lab to Walking Back to the House, is one of your best.
Enjoyed the walk.
Reminded me of a DJ who would sign off each night with..."And if you're listening to me in your car, Thanks for the Ride."

What do you mean you're not renting? House Trading?
Houston TEXAS

Felipe Zapata said...

Gads, next you´ll be running closeups of individual flower blooms.

The good news here is that you´re trimming down. Health is positive.

Anonymous said...

yes, do it again soon. it looks like a very nice neighborhood. wish i could come for a visit but it may be a while before we make it back down.

has it been 2 weeks since you got there? i lose track of time as it seems to be flying by.

have a great day, amigo.


Bob Mrotek said...

You made me smile, Steve. In Mexico the people hardly ever (almost never) refer to the points of the compass. If you ask the average person which way is southeast or which is the north side of the street they won't have the faintest idea. Compasses are like wrist watches here, not much good for anything except for show :)

Islagringo said...

Nice tour. So you are actually in Villa Obregon, not Melaque?

Larry in Mazatlan said...

I believe that the beach, up to 10 meters above the high water mark, is Federal land and can't be totally blocked off. Around here the new hotels have to provide access from the street to whomever wishes to pass through.


Holly C. said...

Thanks for the photos! I was able to follow your directions and get an idea of your neighborhood! However, some more photos of the mundane (where you like to eat, get groceries, where you do your blog, etc) would be great.

Nancy said...

I like the photos and seeing your town, thanks. An observation...only two of your photos had a person in them...where is everybody?

1st Mate said...

Doesn't look mundane to me. Thanks for the tour.

Brenda Maas said...

Thanks for the tour.

Jonna said...

Nice to see Melaque again. I always enjoyed being there.

The mundane is the new hip and the new art. Check out Facebook and Twitter for proof. I enjoy walking through the mundane parts of life in someone else's shoes.

Chrissy y Keith said...

Thanks for the tour Steve, it was nice to walk down memory lane for the day.

Babs said...

Well, now I know exactly where you live. I rented a house in Villa Obregon two years ago........on the beach. Beautiful views, but NOT great walking......


Steve Cotton said...

Charley -- I am house sitting on this leg of my stay. Thanks for the compliment. Finding the arc is often the most difficult part of these narratives.

Felipe -- Oh, well. There goes tomorrow's post. I should point out that you were the inspiration for the Let's Take a Walk form. But it would be churlish to point out that I have learned at the knee of the master.

Teresa -- I have lost track of how long we have been at the house. I guess it has now been two weeks. I need to get my FM3 registered -- soon.

Bob -- Mexicans are not alone. Few Americans could point out the west during a sun set. It is just my agrarian roots showing through the urban dye job. (The day I can put together a sentence like that in Spanish will be the day I know I am really ready to communicate.)

Islagringo -- You are correct. I live in Villa Obgregon. So much for my anonymous cover.

Larry -- Of course, there is the law, and then there is the enforcement. Almost all of the hotels here have locked-in gated areas on the side of the hotel facing the beach. Andee used to make the same complaint of the new construction in Chacala.

Holly -- Darrel and I will take another walk around. As for where we eat, photographs of the kitchen will have to do. Almost all the restaurants are closed for the season.

Nancy -- Now that the tourist season is over, the streets and beaches are rather denuded of people. What you see is a usual scene. We do not have the hustle and bustle of Mazatlan.

1st Mate -- Most of it should look rather familiar to you.

Brenda -- You are most welcome.

Jonna -- If it is mundane you want, I have a warehouse of life to share. Thanks.

Chrissy -- Yeah, but nostalgia just isn't what it used to be.

Babs -- Where was the house you rented? It is a cool little village.

Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

Is it HOT yet? How are you and Prof. Jiggs dealing with the heat? It's a wonderful 56F in Salem right now, with a bit of rain - perfect!

sparks_mex said...

Hey that's my street and my beach, and, and .... and Steve is here now ... and we may soon have mundane fotos of the trip to Manzanillo for FM3 and shopping


Alan said...

Steve, thanks for the tour. I now know that you are truly beginning to enjoy the freedom of seeing life through the eyes of reality and not the distorted view of a 10 minute walk on a break, to breathe the non-AC air of an office. And no people on the beach, what a treat. Reminds me of Bandon rather than Seaside!

Felipe Zapata said...

My dear sir, I hold you to a very high standard due to your past performance and rare talent. You must not falter! Not now when Mexico surrounds you.

Steve Cotton said...

I am tempted to respond with a line I stole from someone: "Ah, sir, the ranks of people who have been disappointed in me, starting with parents and school teachers, stretch so far back across the plain that I am afraid you will be inconspicuous in the host." However, I will avoid the attempt at glib humor and simply say: Thank You.

As you have pointed out, to appreciate what surrounds me, I need to learn the lingo. Thus, I begin my search for material.