Sunday, January 25, 2015

i got rhythm

After a month on the road, I had mixed feelings about returning to the house with no name.

For a month, I have awakened in a new place -- almost each morning.  And, each day, I really had no idea what I would see or where we would stop next.  It was the epitome of why I moved to Mexico.  To wake up each morning and not know how I was going to get through the day.

As I have said before: it was exhilarating.  Stephen Sondheim summed up the problem of living continually on the highs of moments.

Oh, if life were made of moments
Even now and then a bad one.
But if life were only moments
Then you'd never know you had one.
Having lived in moments for the full trip, all three of us returned to Barra de Navidad exhausted.  I had hoped that Dan and Patty would stay a couple of days to recuperate -- and for me to enjoy their company.  But they needed to get on the road; they want to spend a few days in Mazatlán.

When we started the trip I thought I knew Dan quite well.  After all, we are cousins.  But sharing grandparents does not automatically mean that we would be compatible traveling partners. 

Dan is a year older than yours truly.  Whenever we visited his family, Dan was my hero.  He knew so much more about life than I did.  I even picked a favorite music style because my Mom told me it was Dan's favorite.  It turns out it wasn't.

We had great fun reminiscing about his chess genius friend; stopping by Portland coffee houses populated with beatniks emerging from their
chrysalides as hippies; joining him on his Oregonian route while his bag full of newspapers cut into my Bandon sunburn from our day at the beach the day before; his brief stay at our house while we cousins (including cousin Dennis) attended college together; and, of course, our respective girlfriends.

But a shared past does not guarantee a peaceful trip.  In this case, though, it did.  After all, Dan is still something of a hero to me.

It turned out all three of us had a thirst for new people and places, and learning as much as we could about what made Mexico tick.  We enjoyed the trip together so much that we are now talking about a trip to Colombia, Patty's original home country.

I would have liked to sleep in yesterday.  But that was not to be.  While I was away, the house generated its periodic chores for me.  Just as the house cleaner arrived, I headed off to the laundress to drop off two weeks worth of soiled clothes; to the post office to pick up my accumulated mail (thanks for the birthday card, Colette); to Rooster's to pick up breakfast to go; to the bank to replenish my depleted wallet; and to the gas station to fill up that pesky slow leak in the rear left tire (the tire I need to get to my favorite tire mechanic before the month is out).

When I returned to the house, Dan and Patty were ready to leave.  When I saw them off, I returned to what passes for a daily routine.  Read the newspapers and my magazines.  Picked up the detritus from the landscaping.

But yesterday included something new for me to do.  While I was away, the former owner (and architect-contractor) of the house with no name had started repairs on my upper terrace.  To fix the leaks that showed up during the rainy season.
One trench was already dug on one side of the terrace; two on the other side.  Over the leaky portions.  The tile was removed and the concrete dug out in an attempt to seal cracks that have allowed water to go where it should not.

The trenches were sealed with a compound, covered by an impermeable membrane, and a second layer of the compound was added.
That is where the project remains.  On Monday, after the compound cures, the worker will return to complete the project.  My entryway currently looks like a tile bazaar.  I look forward to the final product.

For two reasons.  The first is to put an end to the concrete dust that has worked its way into everything in the house.  You can get an idea of its thickness in this photograph.
The second reason is far more personal.  I have the curiosity of an 8-year old boy when it comes to these projects.  I need to know every detail.  And, just like an 8-year old boy, I tend to get in the way.

And I did.  Somehow, I forgot that the first layer of compound had not yet cured.  This is the result of my negligence -- plus a trail of white goo across the terrace tiles.
The worker ran over to help me clean the prints off of the tile.  I told him: it was my error; it is my work.  Now and then, my Puritan side slips out.  I find redemption and rehabilitation in work.

And for dinner?  Papa Gallo's featured veal on its menu last night.  And that is what I had.  Enjoying a huge plate of thick veal while listening to Spanish, French, and English mingle together with a just a whiff of tobacco smoke in the air, and a heavy dose of waves slapping the sand.
I have experienced several magnificent vistas this past month, but nothing really trumped last night's food or ambiance.

It is good to be home. 

For a bit.

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