Friday, January 4, 2008

The Hillbilly Move

Today is the day of the big move to Stone Island; I am anxious, excited and just a little scared, not sure of what. I’ve spent the last few days gathering things that I might need, a little plastic chest of drawers, a hot plate, a small rack for my cooking things, and some cooking things, blankets and towels and such. Al helped me pack my stuff into the back of his little truck and off we went on the dreaded road to the Island that’s not an Island. The whole trip took about an hour and wasn’t as bad as we had anticipated. It was very rough and dusty but totally manageable. As we drove through coconut plantations, lush mango groves, chilli and tomato gardens and passing donkey carts laden with coconuts, Mexican cowboys on horseback (they remind me of my father) and dodging the occasional cow on the road I knew I was moving in the right direction. I felt as peace with my decision to leave my comfortable gated upscale community. After Al and I unloaded my meagre belongings I bought him lunch at the restaurant just up the street (every 4th house has a little store or a restaurant in the front) we each had a big monster sandwich with (carne asada) marinated shredded beef (Mexicans like shredding stuff....everything’s shredded), ham, cheese, lettuce, and mayo on a big grilled bun (bigger than a hamburger bun) and a pop for 36 pesos each. Al left with the intent on being back in the afternoon with some Mexican muscle and my new fridge which happens to be Barbara & AL’s old fridge that Barbara swears has shrunk and become to small for them (I hope it doesn’t shrink on me as well) I got set to work organizing and cleaning which didn’t take long as I don’t have a lot of stuff, I did say when I left home I wanted to learn how to live a simpler life and focus on quality instead of quantity. Now will be the test. My fridge did not arrive but Barbara and Al took the boat across and came to let me know they would be coming problem. I wandered over to the neighbourhood general store and bought some fruit, milk and eggs ......I finally bought eggs, I had been afraid to buy them because I knew with my clumsiness I would break them on my way home. You buy eggs by the kilo just like everything else and they don’t have cartons, they put them in a little plastic baggie. So I bought 2 eggs (I’m going to learn to live by the day, instead of hoarding for the future) as I leave the store I see a lady setting up a hotdog stand and putting the first batch of hotdogs wrapped in bacon on the grill, I make a note to come back in about an hour for supper. She’s also got a big boiling pot of Atole (not to be mistaken for my beloved Alote) Atole is the Mexican version of hot chocolate but made with boiled corn, not totally sure but I believe (and I will look into this) that the corn is boiled and then put through a blender, not sure what else is added but I can taste brown sugar and cinnamon. I head back a hour later and have 2 bacon hotdogs loaded with guacamole, red salsa, green salsa, lettuce tomato and onions and a medium size cup of hot Atole, all for 25 pesos....not a bad supper at all. I’m going to like it here; there is food on every corner. After having my supper on my patio I settled into my nice big comfortable chair that I bought at a second hand store and started knitting myself a dishcloth, I hadn’t done any knitting since I got here. Before I went to bed I made sure all window and doors were locked and I guess I’ll admit, I anchored 2 chairs against each door....I know, silly silly. After I was in bed I opened up bible (randomly) and I read chapter 4 of Philippians, verse 6-7 really spoke to me and I realized how silly I was to expect peace from 2 chairs against the door when I could just call on my saviour to protect me, so I did just that and got out of bed and put the chairs away, and slept peacefully until a rooster woke me up at 2 am....aren’t they suppose to crow in the morning? At about 5 they started crowing again, there is no sleeping in Mexico, noise is a part of the culture. There was however no traffic noise, which had kept me up at nights at Lydia’s. First thing in the morning I jumped in the shower only to find out there was no hot water, my landlady had assured me there was hot water. I toughed it out and was reminded of my 6 weeks in Africa without hot’s doable. Of course I didn’t see her all day so I couldn’t inquire about it. As I was sitting on my patio (which is also my dining room)having my breakfast of scrambled eggs, a fruit milkshake and coffee con creama (yes the general store had my creama) and listening to the birds in the massive mango tree that hangs over my patio I was feeling very content and most thankful. It was finally warmer than it had been for the last 2 weeks, I wore a sleeveless t-shirt for the first time and put sunscreen on my ears (they tend to turn red first) I finally spend some devotional and pray time, my pray was full of thanks giving and asking for guidance as to how to bring glory to God while I’m living in this beautiful place. I also spent some time going over some Spanish phrases I might need during the day, like looking for a broom. I figured I should prepare myself and look up the proper way to ask my neighbour “where can I buy a broom”, up until now I’ve just been calling it a scoobie doo, it’s really a “escoba” sounds like scoobie to me. I tried borrowing a screwdriver last night from them and it was not a successful visit. Who knows what I actually asked for? So I feel I need to redeem myself. My morning Spanish lesson was wasted when I went to the general store first thing in the morning to get some ice for my cooler (since my fridge wasn’t here yet) I notice they have brooms and mops. I thought about pretending I didn’t see them just so I could practise saying “do you know where I can buy a broom?” but I figured I would have plenty of other opportunities to come off as the dumb gringa without doing it on purpose. So now I need to find another excuse to chat with my neighbour lady. (Should I try borrowing an egg?)So I just bought a mop and broom and went on my home and realized I forgot to get ice. I headed to the beach in search of a guy named Chris whom I met about 2 weeks ago when I came out here with Barbara & Al. Chris came to Mazatlan from Toronto on vacation about 10 years ago and just forgot to go home, he works part time at one of the beach palapa restaurants as a waiter, I was hoping (because he speaks English) he could help me find someone that would sell me a plastic table and some chairs. Turns out Chris wasn’t working today and in searching further I got a little side tracked, I ran into my friend Elizabeth and we sat and chatted awhile and then I ran into Hugo (I met him here 7 years ago) and we chatted. I also had another little problem, I had a $100 peso bill that no one had change for (I’ve had it in my pocket for a few days) Hugo solved that for me, he’ll be my banker from now on now. I asked him about a plastic table but he was a little busy at the moment. Hugo’s a tour guide and he had a whole bunch of tourists with him, but he directed me to a Effrehim (whom I also met about 6-7 years ago) Effrehim also works in one of the Palapa restaurants on the beach, but by now I know I should be getting back to mi casa as my fridge should be arriving soon. On the way home I pick up a marlin sandwich, again a big big bun with smoked marlin, lettuce and tomato for 7 pesos, yes 7, which is less than .70 cents, how can this be? No wonder these people are always poor. If I didn’t enjoy cooking so much I sure wouldn’t bother because I’m thinking it’s cheaper to eat out. My fridge arrived shortly after I got home, after seeing the narrow steep stairs going up to my loft in the mango tree the Mexican guy decided that Al’s plan of sliding the fridge on a blanket up the banister was too risky. He had a better plan and between Al and I our Spanish was not good enough to argue, he would park his truck alongside the building and he would simply lift the fridge up onto his shoulders and Al and I would grab it and pull it up. While Al and I are standing on the roof, with our hands in our pockets, rolling our eyes at his plan and shaking our heads we suddenly realize he’s already got the fridge on his shoulders and we need to get pulling! Hurry Hurry! We had just barely got a good grip and were hanging on when muscle man was already on the roof helping us pull it up. The whole process took maybe 2 minutes.....this guy could have peddled this fridge over on his bike. I’m sure the phrase “where there’s a will there’s a way” was invented by a Mexican. I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in my chair on the roof reading a book; I also bought some vegetables from the vegetable truck that drives around all day honking his horn, as does the gas truck and the water truck. I had a chunk of meat in my cooler that had thawed so I decide to make stew, I bought 3 potatoes, 1 monster sized carrot, 1 small zucchini, 5 limes, 4 tomatoes and 5 small jalapeño peppers for 15 pesos.....maybe it is cheaper to cook, I don’t know, this requires further studying. The rest of the evening was fairly uneventful, put my stew in the crock pot, sweep off my roof with my new scoobie, washed my floors, boiled some drinking water, oh...and fed my chickens, Yes I have chickens, I am so excited about that...well, my neighbour has chickens but they hang out in my yard and I am feeding them. Tomorrow is Sunday so I must head into the city for church even though I would really just like to stay here, during the day I had a list of about 8 different things I wanted to get while in the city but right now I can’t think of a single thing I need. I’m also not looking forward to the cold shower in the morning; I hope I see my landlady tomorrow

No comments: