Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Political Yin / Political Yang

---but first--let me just mention how delightful it is to walk behind our house into the jungly growth and be greeted by curtains of large colorful butterflies hovering directly before me -- a morning treat.

---and let me also delight in the memory of Halloween when all the little kids in the village plus a few guiding adults came to our porch in delightful varieties of costumes. The laughter, the colorful costumes, the playfulness. And we had plenty of goodies for all, three times over.

So... the Political Yin was sharing the tension of pre-election with our village friends. They ARE paying attention thanks to television... Fun discussions in broken language conversations. And then last night, Robert and I HAD planned to cross the river and go to the beach internet to learn, in English, what was going on but decided not to --see Political Yang below.

We went to bed instead. But our friends --the Mayor and his wife -- did not. They were the ones glued to the TV at a neighbor´s house for the 10 o´clock noticias. Then, to their credit, and our delight, they walked down the winding dirt road to our place at the end of the village -- their footsteps crunching on the gravel awoke us... and we emerged from our mosquito net bedroom. They said nothing til we were all at the table. They were smiling.

What amazed me, as Guillermo was telling us the election results, was that he was talking electoral votes and knew the numbers in his head --can many Americans be bothered?-- and then he clinched our joy by saying that McCain had already called Obama to concede the election and congratulate the new president. A few words later, both he and his wife commented -- watching our faces-- that this was the first black man to be elected president, si? And he talked about how the Dems won the Senate and.... he was really stoked himself. This is a poor landless fisherman on an ocean which has been fished out. He struggles doing day labor and we hire him a lot. He´s bright, agile, lively and handsome and, yeah, a powerful worker. His entire family is very dear to us.

So there we sat last night, smiles all around -- a delightful sharing of intimate friendship. Then they crunched down the gravel driveway and we crawled back into our mosquito net bedroom.

As for the Political Yang. I just feel like grousing a bit. There are two locals on the beach who have taken a really strong attitude against us. Looks of true hate. Since everyone goes by nicknames, I´ll just give these two nicknames usually reserved for us norte'americanos. I´ll call them Gringo and Guero --which means whitey. Gringo owns a rental and adamantly dislikes it when we visit friends who rent his property. Just seeing us sitting on the porch which he built, in a chair which he bought infuriates him and he makes that clear. We are not PAYING for that privilege, he explains to our friends when they object to his attitude.

And Guero recently stopped me from stepping up to the porch of Lourdes´restaurant one morning demanding, in his furious Spanish, that I order something then and there, or ... and he sneered... do you think you can have all this for free, and he gestured at the porch with its chairs and tables and exquisite view of the pointbreak. I smiled and said that right now I wasn´t hungry and was going to drop off my stuff and take a swim.

To myself I thought --Well, mister a-hole, we eat or drink something there every single day and use the crappy internet-typewrite-keyboard-whatever it is called for the exhorbitant fee they charge, and we rent surfboards as well. We do our part for sure. We also bring gifts and help out in our village in ways he is totally unaware of, including running an informal daycare center on our porch every day when we are home. But he has already made up his mind. Lourdes ignored all this and greeted me with a smile, and invited me in...

Then Guero accosted Robert for leaving his surfboard leaning against a rental next door where a bunch of fellow Coloradans are renting...friends of ours, actually! Guero said they were NOT our friends, they were HIS friends, and there´s a big problem here. Same glare of hate.

Our solution is simply to continue being quiet and gracious, eating and drinking at the restaurant, visiting friends and not escalating any of this with angry retorts... We do know a few influential locals who might step in if things escalate in any way... Sure is ugly though...

Robert´s suspicion as to what is instigating all this is that these new-found entrepreneurs have the vision of creating a kind of a Club Med out of the beach -- so that you have to actually be renting one of their places in order to have the privilege of being there and using any of the facilities... They are all quite new to how much money is out there in the surf business and they want to grab all they can get. They view us as non-contributing sponges, evidently.

Anyway, yin-yang, good with bad, dark with light. And Robert has just signalled me that he´d like for us to move on with our day in town and get back to.....that very beach! There´s supposed to be a swell coming later on. Porque no! Vamanos!

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