May 14, 2009

Taking a 'vacation' from retirement

LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - The Admiral and I are taking a vacation from retirement.

I know, I know.

But if you have been following our saga this winter and spring you know that retirement has not meant golf, shuffle board and rocking chairs (hammocks maybe). Between all of the construction, then landscaping and most recently all of the 'save-the-dogs' efforts, we seem to have been running full-tilt, far busier than teaching in Sacramento.

Far busier. (OK, we have squeezed in a lot of fun, too. But still...)

For the past couple of days - and one more tomorrow - we have been doing some serious lounging (Is than an oxymoron?) at a house in La Manzanilla, without fixing anything, or chasing (and bathing) a single street pooch. (Oh crap, I hear a hound barking on the street. Somebody grab the Admiral, quick.)

Surf's up
Pre-vacation warmup in Arroyo Seco last week

The days off have been made more fun by having U.S. amigos Randy and Karin in town. They arrived a couple of days ago, getting off the plane in Manzanillo and immediately shifting from their native cold, mountain air (they live near Sanders and Pat Lamont in the California mountains) to the stifling humidity that has suddenly arrived in the last week.

That humidity was quite apparent went they stepped off the plane and made their way across the 90 degree tarmac to the terminal. Their flight was probably carrying 50 people - on a plane designed for 300.

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But Randy and Karen conquered the humidity the way we all do down here (if you live close to the beach). They grabbed their bathing suits and we all traveled to the La Manzanilla beach for swimming - and a little shade from our umbrella.

The water has warmed up remarkably in the past two weeks, bringing with it some fear that sting rays might also be wanting to enjoying the waters. And on the La Manzanilla beach, the water is usually clouded with sand when the surf comes up, making visibility a problem.

No sting rays showed up, but midway through the afternoon we rubbed our eyes as we watched an overturned sailboat drift up on shore. For a captain, this is stuff nightmares are made of.

Sailboat washes up on shore
Sailboat drifting in

It was hard to say how long the boat had been drifting, but there wasn't any green algae growth on the underwater parts so I would guess that the boat was in the water for less than a week, maybe even just a few days.

Randy and checked out the boat pretty thoroughly - no name, hailing port or rigging at all. It did have plenty of bottom paint which was sloughing off quickly onto any of the young Mexican children who climbed on the boat to get a peek in through one of the major holes in the hull.

Because I have gotten quite sick from getting that paint on me in years past, I convinced most of the kids that the blue paint was peligroso (dangerous) and malo (bad).

Most of the children washed the paint off right away in the saltwater, probably enough prevention.

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An added La Manzanilla treat was getting to attend a very small family birthday party for our God-daughter Devani two days ago. Her mother and grandmother and grandfather have moved to a much smaller house as the economic downtown - and H1N1, the malady formerly known as swine flu - battered the economy of this village so much that they lost their jobs.

No tourists, no money, no jobs for the family. They hope their two-table restaurant will keep them afloat for awhile. But we're not sure. No tourists probably means no customers. Except for us, perhaps.

The Mexicans we talk with are completely baffled by the fear many Americans seem to have of Mexico. Like folks in the U.S., they understand there are parts of their country to be more careful in. In Mexico, that's border towns and the big cities. In the U.S., it's border towns and the big cities.

Hmm...

Devani with shaker toy
Devani sits on her birthday present

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