Sunday, March 04, 2018

moving to mexico -- why did you move to barra de navidad?

Barra de Navidad is a homey place.

My more cynical English friends might substitute the word "ropy." And they would be partly correct.

Barra does not reflexively pop to mind when tourists describe pool-side drinks served by attractive wait staff. Not that we do not have some of that here. After all, the town lives on tourist dollars. And there were plenty of Mexican tourists in town this weekend -- rehearsing for the semana santa onslaught in four weeks.

But Barra is also a place where people live their daily lives. And in that is its charm.

Most of the people I know say they moved permanently to this area because they liked the weather. Or the food. Or the beach. Or the low cost of living. I am not one of them.

I decided to live here because I like the ambiance. The feel of the place. The manner life is lived out by rather ordinary people in a rather ordinary way.

My portion of Mexico reminds me of the little logging community where I grew up in southern Oregon. Admittedly, Barra is much larger and there is a beach. But the feel of the two places cannot be mistaken. They are as much alike as New York and Paris. But in a much nicer way.

They are small towns. Filled with small town people living out small town lives with small town values.

I know that sounds as if I am rooting for the Bernie Sanders - Rick Santorum Nostalgia Team who imagine an America of the 1950s that probably never existed.

The real version rolls along daily here. On my walk this afternoon, I encountered a boy, perhaps ten, barefoot, fishing pole over his shoulder, dog at his heel.

It was one of those Norman Rockwell moments that translates well across borders. If I had been thinking, I would have snapped it for you. But why? I already told you about it.

When I walked past my neighbor's house, their twelve-year old grandson was standing in the courtyard holding his fighting cock. Even that translated well to my youth.

I had a bantam hen named Susan as a pet. She was buried alive by our Chihuahua, Buttons. It is just as well. I doubt she could have gone many rounds with a fighting cock. 

Sometimes, small town values can be a little gritty. Or, as a Mexican friend of mine put it: "Small town heaven; small town hell." With the intimacy of knowing almost everyone comes the diminution of privacy and isolation prized by urbanites.

For me, it is a fair trade. There is something very moral centering about everyone knowing your business.

A lot of my questions in Mexico are met with the same response: "It is none of your business." In Spanish, of course.

But no one really takes it seriously. As in most small towns, everything is everyone's business. And you can find out almost anything you want to know if you know the right person.

So, there it is. Why I chose to live here in Barra de Navidad. Chickens and fishing poles.

Sometimes, life's answers are simple.

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