Thursday, May 29, 2008

More shark attacks -- and timing belt woes...

I feel that I´m being a bit indulgent by contining to write of these shark attacks, but they keep COMING! I feel these deaths as though I knew these people.

The very day I wrote the entry before this one, I then learned that two more had died from attacks -- this time on beaches to the northwest of us (the others were to the southeast of us, not that it matters to a shark)....

One attack was just one stinking mile from the beach where Robert, Peter and a couple of young lads from our village were surfing -- they had gotten up early to drive to a more challenging wave further northwest along the shore, and it was not their time.

On our last full day in our Little Salty Place, we drove Pete and his dad to the airport and spent the rest of the day packing up the house, and loving our friends in the village, missing them already....

...while at the very same time, and unknown to us then, at our beach, so very nearby, Lourdes was warning everyone that six (6!) sharks had been spotted in our surf -- compliments of the fishermen who are out their in their big heavy open motorboats. Two of the sharks were humongous, longer than our station wagon. We only heard about it after we were packed up and just sitting quietly on our porch in the cool of our last night. Omar. He told us. He is Hanuman.

The impact of these shark deaths will have a devastating effect on so many of our friends in our village.... and all of the coastal villages. We are stunned and sobered and awakened in a new way... the dreamworld shattered, as such worlds always are.

And now we are on the road north as planned from before any of this began.

But we are not, um, getting anywhere just now.

That funny electrical, burning smell we attributed to a passing truck was actually us. Our timing belt uttlerly shredded and the motor just stopped, and the car gently coasted to a stop by a big shade tree, next to a cool moist glen! Handy for Robert who is there right now working on the car...

We had hardly got the hood up and the problem assessed before a little red car stopped and a very kind soul offered whatever help he could give us. He took Robert to a mechanical shop for parts. Robert has his own tools and expertise, plus our car is intentionally of a style for which parts are commonly available in Mexico.

Then, he came and got me (and little Chaneke) and took me off to a very pleasant hotel with free internet. Ta'da!

I expect we will be back on the road north, through customs and in Texas by, say, early afternoon tomorrow, and heading for Durango.

Mexico, Mexico, Mexico -- a big part of our hearts, now more poignantly than ever.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shark attacks on the Mexican Riviera

We are leaving tomorrow at dawn for the long drive north... Home maybe late May 30th, inshallah.

When I have time to muse, I want to create a little essay on time'traveling right here in our Little Salty Place, and wax eloquent on the immersion into love that is a specialty of life in this village... To my experience, that is the goal of all our conversations. When we lean back in laughter, our eyes meeting in that vast space of recognition, what more is there to say?

But there is also a sobering awakening in the air. There were back to back shark attacks on nearby beaches -- that means two more since the one I reported earlier in this blog... That makes three in a short time. A young handsome local was killed just a short ways down the road (Pantla) and the very next day, a wiry ex'pat American was attacked at Playa Linda (read: Ixtapa). He managed to grab his board and beat the shark off. He was also on a beach which is a short drive to the US Naval Hospital where he could receive blood transplants... The other two young men were on more remote beaches, and bled to death. Legs and hands, legs and hands...

I´m bringing back newspapers with photos of all the victims. They deliver these newspapers to all the villages -- just drive down the long dusty bumpy roads with a loudspeaker announcing the contents of the newspaper and if you are interested, you run out to the road with your coins in your hot little hand...

So WHY all these attacks when there have never been any before? Here´s what they´re saying at Lourdes' bar on the beach... We have all seen the helicopters and planes droning overhead all along the Mexican Riviera.... Apparently these guys are checking out the situation.

The report we got back is that there is a cold current which runs along the length of the great coast of Mexico. Usually it is quite far out to sea. The fish hang out in the cold current and thus, the sharks cruise along with them, feeding at will. That cold current has moved in towards the shoreline, CLOSE to the shoreline. With it come the fish, and following them are the sharks....

What´s the difference, to a shark, between a big fish and a big human in the water?

The men report that the cold current is rife with sharks, wild with sharks, dark with sharks. Said one of the men in one of those planes, "I sure as hell wouldn´t go into that water now...." Robert quit going out in our last couple of days. We were even testy about boogie'boarding close to shore....

So our only consolation seems to be that we can hope that this cold current (which our local fisherman do not recall having ever moved so close to shore) will drift on back out to the open sea...

Robert has just appeared, done with his errands. Time to go back to the village, finish packing, and drive on back north.... with Chaneke/Senor Bigote/Bandido/cat of many nicknames.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hot Sex in the Breakers... and other musings


I guess they thought no one would notice, or maybe they didn´t notice that there were people watching, or maybe they completely forgot that there were any other people in the world. But for two days in a row, two separate couples got it ON right there in the ocean.

There were people watching of course.

I happened to be in the very same wave sets, a short distance away, both times. An occasional side'glance was irresistable. The first couple melted themselves into each other, right where the waves broke around them. She was in a tight leg'lock around his waist, her arms around his neck. As the waves enveloped and revealed them, their union was made visible to all. I got to thinking what a wonderful blending of worlds that must be, you know.... The swelling of the wave all around them lifting them together into weightlessness, and then exploding all around them, enveloping them in a force bigger than themselves, rolling and turning them, pulling them back out and exploding again, and again, and again..... Hmmm....

The next day, I just happened to out in the waves again -- like I am every day, right in front of our favorite little restaurant run by one of our village neighbors. This couple joined me and then forgot about me. Their blending was more discreet, and the waves a bit calmer. They held their ground just out from the breaking point of the waves. Thus they were simply lifted into weightlessness and gently dropped, and lifted again and gently dropped. You saw only their heads for the most part. But ah, the expressions on her face told all -- absorbed, passionate, reveling in their immersion.... If you happened to glance over their way, that is.

Like how do you top that?
Okay, I´ll behave myself.

Dear little Luis! I have always waved and sent him sweet smiles, reminding him that we are neighbors so he would be accustomed to me. The other day, we were each on our own side of the fence separating our yards. He was playing with sticks and I was slashing away at the strangling vine threatening our mango trees.

When I spoke to him, he came right over and handed me two little sticks! A great gift. I ran and got him a banana. A BANANA! He was all over it. So then, I got him his very own box of crayons and the three pieces of blank paper I have left -- red, green, and yellow construction paper. He became the embodiment of Picasso in the heart of creative passion. He quickly searched out a flat piece of stone and began transforming the green paper into solid yellow with a concentration of body and mind and soul that is the envy of all artists! His entire body was involved and there was only yellow appearing on green in his universe... Or, well, he was the universe.

.... and last night! Robert and I and friends were walking down our little road and there he was with his Great Grandfather. They were standing in the patio of others of our friends. He waved me over to him, beamingly radiant!! Oh my heart. He took my hand and stared into my eyes with such love, with such a pure and huge smile on his face.....

...back at the beach: It is full moon so the waves are outrageous and wild right up to the beach so all of us are uttlerly absorbed, and in the end we are all happily exhausted with the riding of them and the tumbling in them.

...back at the house: Peter and Robert and David (Peter´s dad) are busily helping put up more cement posts with that 90 pound home'made ladder and its one pole precariously balanced to hold it in the air. From these new poles will emerge a carport and shade for the house.

And Robert got the electricity hooked up so we just hit a switch and there is Light. Next come the fridge, the juicer, the crockpot, and so on. The villagers always assume the first thing we will purchase is a television. Ummmm, not likely.

Robert gave me three beautiful fragrant rosebushes (now planted around the house) for my birthday, and all the other flowering plants from previous birthdays are in full bloom.

And the rains are beginning. The first rain was last night, getting us all up at 3 am to help Peter and David each get their tents (with no rain fly) under porch roofs (rooves).

And all that signals the fast approaching end of this journey. I will probably have one more Mexico entry before this blogspot reverts back to musings from whereever and whatever comes to me. We have maybe 10 days left... Maybe not even that. Maybe a week.

We are so HERE, so slowed down now, so laid back. It took a long time -- we hit a lot of bumps. But the waves and flowers and villagers kept combing our energies into a peaceful flow. It is a privilege to be here in our little salty place. Love to you all, whoever is out there.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Interlude & Lights

I like to wake up just before dawn and sit quietly before a candle, with my dulcimer tuned to a simple drone.

As the dawn slowly lightens the sky and makes visible the fiery red bugambilia (Spanish for bougainevillea), I tune my voice to the lowest note I can hold, and slowly work up and down the scale, a little higher every few minutes. In the end, I have two clean octaves, and start singing those songs I have loved and carried with me since I lived in the foothills of the Himalayas more than half a lifetime ago.

The birds dance all around my voice, and an occasional cow sets a new bass note. A chorus of roosters sets a scale that travels from our far end of the village all the way to the other end, and back again. A timpany of dog barks sets in now and again. Accents of Spanish float by...

Quite often, this marvelous reverie is brought abruptly to a halt with a leap from a feisty kitten... although today, Cheneke (prounounced "cha-NAY-kay") crept up quietly onto the upturned edge of the dulcimer and settled down above my rhythmic fingers and watched, head to one side for quite some time before biting them.

The effect of that bite was much the same as my adding this byte to my prose:
Hey man! We are WIRED!
Yesterday it was beastly hot and no waves. Sun directly overhead. We were plotting an escape to a waterfall when Guillermo (the town mayor and dear dear friend) ambled by to tell us that the electricity guys were in the village. He worked it out with them to wire us up right then. Told THEM we were renting from him, because they would not have wired up foreigners just like that--more paperwork for gringos. Lucky us. Robert had already poured two tall cement posts and bought all the accoutrements and we were READY!

He was out there for hours, WITH those guys, hooking up all the boxes, and cable and whatever --with a sun directly overhead. I was in the shade, ready to hop up and get whatever he needed.

So today we´re in town getting the mundane stuff to use the electricity which IS running through our cables as I type. Tonight we will have a light bulb over our campstove, and we can even have our very own home'made carrot-beet juice! Next time down, we´ll buy a refrigerator and we can have, um, ice cream.....

BIG SWELL due in on Sunday! Grab your boards.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Life´s Greatest Koan

Mind you, the sea is as enchanting as ever -- walking through the coco trees and flowering hibiscus, and immersing yourself into the luminous crystalline silver liquid and having it play BACK with you... Yes, life is good.

But it has been challenging lately in other ways... Here are three examples which illuminate life´s greatest koan...

The day after the news hit, the swell was so spectacular that everyone was right back in the water (if indeed anyone actually did stay out after they heard). The villagers were stopping Robert and myself as we rode by on our bikes with our boards under arm -- warning us of the shark attack. Even Omar scurried to find us and warn us...

...but when we all reached the beach and saw the bay'wide towering rows of shimmering green and white right up to the boogie beach, we ALL went right on in. Omar, too.

The shark attack was not at our beach. It was at Troncones... which is a mere, sobering, three miles as the shark swims, from where we play. This is very rare news. First time in living memory (of anyone!) to hear of one so nearby. A Tiger shark, the cruising lethal kind of shark that bites to kill... Four guys were out at that bewitching sunset time when the world is purple and yellow liquid and your eyes are enchanted and your heart flowing with the waves. They were at a very very popular beach.... The shark struck fiercely, of course, and took out his thigh. Amazingly, the guy was able to stroke for shore but there was no saving him...

The local fishermen, it is said, went on a hunting spree and hauled in 15 sharks -- but if they did, and rumors do fly, still, all they caught were the Nurse Sharks, bottom feeders. No one even saw the cruising lethal Tiger. He´s still out there, and it could be a she, I suppose.

Same day of the big swell -- of course -- two young gringo girls went out to play in the surf, knowing nothing of the sea. They went in at the far end of the beach where I NEVER swim, where the waves close out hard, and where there is almost always a riptide current that will pull you out, as we say, all the way to Lazaro Cardenas.... It was our beloved Matilde who spotted them. (For those of you don´t know our cast of characters, if anyone at all even reads this, Matilde is a gringa from Texas and everyone´s dear friend. She does not go in the water these days.) She was expecting trouble and had her binoculars handy.

She called out to passing surfers along the beach -- who took off on a run with their boards, yelling to other surfers further on down, and so forth... til guys with boards right at that location heard them, and took off straight out. When they brought the girls in, they fell sobbing to the sand, hugging it, unable to thank ANYone enough for having saved their lives.

By the way, for those of you who sent me birthday greetings -- the shark attack was on my birthday, while I lay sick with a headache and quick cold. The many happy returns was the swell. I am not being sarcastic or snide. Life here is too open, too clear, for that... Gifts are in the eye of the observer. I learn from these disasters, too.

Last night Robert and I were awakened as usual, by a sobbing little two year old boy who lives right next door to us. We´ve known him since before he was born, but WHY did his mommy who had been so very loving and attentive, abandon him to his great'grandfather? His sobs are existential and earth'shaking. This child is shattered. The great´grandfather is a very likable gentle and soft´spoken man, but he is no mother. He treats this forlorn and lost child like he were, say, 15 years old. Threatens to hit the kid for crying. Orders him to stop. Walks away. Leaves the kid there, frozen in emptiness...

Omar once told us that the Mexican way is to leave people alone to live their lives the way they see fit. ... So I don´t know how to reach this child. When I see him now, that once happy outgoing little boy acts as though he has never seen me and hides both Robert and me. I call him my little friend, my neighbor, the little Heart of Gold every time we come face to face. I remind him of how he loved to play with blocks at my house next door... He peeks out at me and I give a little smile...

This is another kind of death going on here....

Which brings this entry back around to its title, Life´s Greatest Koan. It is Death. We all sit with it, in the verymidst of paradise, in the verymundaneness of life. Om....

love, Rosalia Rescate (the kids now call me by my translated passport name) y "Chango!" (a better Spanish name for Monkey, they tell me)