Friday, January 11, 2008

Home

Oh, there is so much to tell you about this part of "home." The people, the scenery, the food... the problem is that it's all too familiar, now. Just as one stops noticing the furniture and appliances around the house when they've been there for a while, as the novelty wears off, you forget what impressed you so much about it in the first place.

As I started to tell you in my previous post, we stumbled into this town in the fall of 2004. We'd been driving down Mex 200, with no real destination, and had stopped at a mysterious turtle sanctuary (mysterious because we never found anything that looked like a turtle sanctuary, though we drove miles and miles of dirt road and came to a pretty -- and pretty deserted -- estuary) and a couple of beach towns (also rather deserted.)

"What made us turn into this town?" Big Dog wondered the other day, as we walked around town.
"I don't know. Something pulled us in."

We drove into this village, but instead of actually driving into the central part, we kept following the road to the northeast end and then turned to the coast. There were a few thatch-roofed beach restaurants -- all seemingly abandoned -- and a big bay empty except for some pelicans. It was hot and dusty and I was thirsty, so we walked into a restaurant that actually had a living human being in it and had a beer.

"Even after that beer, we could have just kept going," I said. "Maybe it was Nasty's bungalow sign."

It was a rusted truck bed cover, leaning against a tree, advertising rooms with cocinas and agua caliente and low prices. October was still not high season and Nasty's (her real name is Nastia) was pretty cheap.

"I wonder where we might have wound up if we hadn't spent the night here..." Big Dog mused.

When we came back the following January after spending a month in Tokyo and a few weeks in the US, there was a different vibe in town. It was The Season of the Northerners. Back in October we only saw empty hotels, bungalows and apartments for rent. In January, the town was crawling with people from El Norte. 99% Caucasian. Maybe 80% Canadian (50% Anglophone versus 30% Francophone), versus 20% American. Each year, more and more appear, but I don't think the ratios are changing much. The Canadians keep to themselves as do the Americans.

It's actually quite comical. Here you are, both guests in a foreign country and yet you have this...clannishness? The Canadians don't like the Americans and the Americans don't like the Canadians. Except when there are French Canadians around. Then the English speakers will hang together in solidarity against the French speakers. All of the non-Mexicans here want to believe THEY are more Mexican, or more in tune with Mexico than other non-Mexicans. But most of them are just here for the weather and make little effort to be a part of Mexico.

"They don't even speak English!"
"They refused to speak English to me. Pissed me off!"
Big Dog and I overhear statements like that all too often. I am secretly horrified, but Big Dog will blurt out, "It IS Mexico."

Because we live in relative isolation most of the time, Big Dog does enjoy having other English speakers to socialize with, but we are here because we love the country and its people. I just wish I were more disciplined about studying Spanish.

"I wish she'd just speak English! I don't know what she's trying to say in that horrible butchered Spanish of hers!"
"Was that Spanish? I thought it was Japanese!"
Oh, I just hope the locals aren't saying things like that about me!

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