ARROYO SECO, Jalisco, Mexico - Three days away from the Pink Flamingo made it evident that the dust in the street here (ok, and on the property) is not good for my respiration. In Colima and Comala, my breathing was generally easier, even adjusted for the beer, tequila, and cheese-rich food intake.
But one of the miracles of living in a small town in Mexico occurred within 24 hours of returning.
After chatting with my neighbor Chon - whose son Dani suffers from asthma believed to be triggered by street dust - we concocted a plan to cover the street in front of our places with a heavy soil that is not prone to turning to dust. One day later, the dirt was dumped and spread. And already we can see when cars go by that the dust swirls are very small. More important, they are close to the ground and don't seem to want leap over my dust barrier.
New dirt on the road - and less dust
In the U.S., I suspect we would have had to file an environmental impact report, get a permit from at least three government agencies and have six inspectors on site when the dirt was dumped and spread. Oh, and for sure, there would have been some testing of the dirt to ensure it didn't contain any heavy metals or substances that could trigger allergies. And fees, lots of fees for all those inspectors.
Instead, Chon's brother in law found the dirt, loaded his dump truck and brought it over.
Voila, as my French amigo Julien says.
Dust storm in Texas in 1935
Since contracting pulmonia (pneumonia) more than a month ago - and continuing to hack like a heavy smoker for weeks - I read up on dust-borne diseases and related problems. In the U.S., the closest thing I found is called Valley Fever - a malady I had twice there in years past. During the years of the Dust Bowl, many people died from swirling dust after getting caught in storms like the one in the photo above.
In addition to the new dirt, the Admiral is laying plans for some additional palm trees and more cloth to shield the property from the road. And inside, we are considering putting down a large area of grass in the center - ringed by trees.
Will I need a lawnmower? Good grief, I hope not.
Palapa Joe's owner Willy strikes a classic Willy pose
We have been spending a lot of time in La Manzanilla for the past week, visiting with relatives and friends, running various errands and we almost always end up at Palapa Joe's, for lunch and a beer.
Thursday I took the photo above of Palapa Joe's owner Willy, watching the street, one of his pasttimes when not preparing industrial strength margaritas or Cuba Libres for customers.
In our bar chat Thursday, Willy and I talked about how many people begin leaving La Manzanilla in the next few weeks, trying to get out of town before Semana Santa (Easter weeek) and the huge crowds that flood the village, with many people camping on the beach for near round-the-clock parties.
I'll be interested to see if we have much of an influx of vacationers here in Arroyo Seco. At Christmas, we did have a small contingent of vacationers camping out on the beach.
For the Admiral and I, some of the best time is after Semana Santa, as the ocean water warms back up and spring hits full force.
For now, I'm just happy to be taking in deep breaths of air - sans polvo (dust).
A March sunset at Tenacatita Bay