Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Calmly in the Present

I do marvel at the gentle, calm, and accepting nature of our close friends in the village.  I listen to Guillermo as he describes how life was when he was a boy  -- and mind you, he is younger than I am. Think of it -- how fast and completely utterly, things have changed for him.  In snippets throughout this blog I have mentioned his stories.

He grew up, the eldest of a large family of children, just across the street (which was actually just a flowing stream back then) from where he now raises his family.... A few other farming families were spread out along that creek. Hard to imagine, now, with all the new homes built of cement, and painted in colorful ways.

But.... still, he lives close to his family. His parents live just down the street, and a number of his siblings live very nearby.  They are always visiting and sharing their daily lives, and the kids are all playmates.  Many other families have moved in, and over the years the wattle-and-daub houses are all being rebuilt with cement, modernized...  Nearly everyone has a cellphone, and TVs and ...well, more electronic gadgets than I will probably ever buy.

Just the other day,  Guillermo nonchalantly reminisced again -- describing how, when he was a boy, there were no roads to connect this little village to the outside world.  There were only footpaths through thick jungly growth.  They had to, and did, live self-sufficently with their small gardens, foraging, and the harvest from the abundant sealife.   Too, the jungly growth was filled with such a variety of wildlife... and ah! so very many colorful cacophonous birds, he tells us...

Alas that my Spanish is so basic, for he would be glad to describe more....

The wattle-and-daub homestead that he built for his new bride some 25 years back still stands, right behind him as he talks, still very much in use.  Soon it will fall down and melt away....  With our help, he has constructed a fine new cement home right beside it, complete with a porch for hammocks and a roof on top of which he CAN add a second story later...

I watch and listen quietly, and I see no anger, no sense of sorrow.   His eyes are clear, and he speaks in a gentle, matter-of-fact manner.  He lives very much in the present, accepting and doing his part to guide the changes in a good way.

For instance, these days, he is often away -- attending meetings between the government officials and the fishermen along the coast.  The issue is the very destructive impact wrought upon the coastal waters by the Japanese, who promised to mitigate and remunerate -- but are now reneging on that promise.

It is his calm sense of living fully in the present, without resentment and without lament, that so quietly impresses me...

And as a postscript, how can I not recall  that same acceptance and involvement in the present which I witnessed with my own grandfather whose life spanned 1876-1973, and also my parents whose lives spanned from 1909-1999 (mom) and 1909-2001 (dad).  Well, "hell´s bells" (as my mom would say), even I remember before ballpoint pens (yes, we had inkwells and fountain pens in gradeschool), and I remember how kids used to play together outside (but that was before TV), and I remember when highways were a mere two lanes and had curbs!

What a long, strange trip it is.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Robert, my ever creative and quirky and imginative genius of a delightful partner, was sitting next to me, our toes in the sand, as we watched the sun set over the ocean.  We do this most every night... and every night is a masterpiece.

This night, we were watching a big and  perfectly round circle of orange set like a jewel among colorful wispy clouds as it sank slowly into the sea.

Near the horizon, that edge of the vast sea,  the low cloudbank partially obscured the sun, creating the illusion of a perfectly round bite out of the sun along its north side.

Robert, ever the dreamer, the imaginer of the unlikely, said, "Hey!  There's an eclipse of the sun!"

I was lazily disputing this leap of imagination, pointing out the obvious to him, namely that cloudbank, while agreeing that what he imagined was a neat idea -- when our newly arrived good-buddy walked over to join us, after a great evening sesh in the waves.  He had JUST flown in from the States in the afternoon.

"Hey!   You CAN see the eclipse from here!  That's cool.  So I'm not missing it after all!  They say that in Albuquerque you can see the full eclipse -- but this is good!   This is good...."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

THREE-RING CIRCUS -- in the nude

THREE-RING CIRCUS -- in the nude

Well, that would be me.

 I haven't heard ANY whispers at all about it, and it all happened during the afternoon siesta time when everyone is pretty much asleep in a hammock, so maybe I got through it without stirring up the gossip mill.

I had just come back from the beach after a wild sesh on my boogie-board (those were some wild, strong-current waves -- rollercoaster rides).   I headed out to our new fancy shower.  It is truly a classy, clover-leaf shaped masterpiece, painted with smooth non-slip blue swimming pool paint -- designed and constructed by Robert.  It also has a "rain"-style showerhead which Robert also made from scratch.. NOTE:  Inside, it is like a 3-leaf clover/each side is bowed out;  you can see one such  side in  this photo.  It is so elegant.

I closed the cloth curtain, hung up my sarong, and turned the little thingie that opens up the flow of water.  I was just luxuriating in the gentle, wide flow of water as it fell from directly overhead, when...   just moments later...   the whole damned pvc pipe blew off and clattered to the floor.

Now -- all that water was gushing, uncontrolled, straight out horizontally -- like a firehose -- and ricocheting wildly off the opposite curved wall.  Quickly it flooded the shower stall floor.  Its very force pulled down the shower curtain, and my towel,  and my sarong, setting them all adrift in a moving lake of water... which was now flowing out of the shower stall, across the ramada floor and cascading down into the yard.

Overhead, is a humongous water tank -- it holds 660 gallons!  It was now empyting out -- and I was alone.  Robert was off in some dry jungly area cutting more wood for his furniture projects and not due to return any time soon  -- certainly not soon enough to help, that's for sure.

¿What to do?

Three-ring circus time.

First; standing directly below the torrent overhead, I tried reinserting the pvc pipe, but the resultant splaying diffusion of such forceful water made me feel like I was drowning....

Next, I grabbed a limp, wadded up, soaking wet sarong and tried to cover some part of me (HA!  YOU try it and you'll know how successful I was), and ran outside, hoping to find a stop-cock around the back of the shower...  ...crazy gringa, running around naked like a chicken with her head cut off.

No stop-cock (and I am ignoring any bad puns/double entendres here.)

This is where I was running around naked--Robert is now inspecting the connections afterwards -- (and by the way, this ramada is still under construction:  retainer walls will be cemented smooth; poles will be finished/painted, arches put in place, simple kitchen/sink/fridge added, hammocks hung...)

Well, thought I,  (while grabbing at the sopping towel to try, yet again unsuccessfully,  to cover my nakedness -- and you had to be there to see the silliness of these dancing attempts at modesty with dripping wet cloth that clung to itself better than to me)... maybe there's another solution.

Yes! thought I,  maybe there is a stop-cock on the water tank itself -- up there on the roof -- better go look.  So, off I went, out from under the roof and  into the open yard so that I could look up there.  Fortunately for me, if you think about it, I couldn't see one.  How did I think I was going to get UP on the roof?

Throughout, I was still struggling to cover even some part of me (what is the most modest part? what matters to the folks of this village?), and failing hilariously.   At the same time, I was wading through a torrent of water issuing out of the shower stall.

Okay, then... moving on.  My goal now, was to get back inside that hurricane... to try once again to cut it off at its source.

This time, I was approaching the overhead, horizontal torrent of water, from a different angle, where there was less splashback blinding me.  This time, I was successful.  This time, I was able to force the smaller pipe back into the larger pipe.  The torrent stopped.

Not even a drip from the showerhead, which was in shut-off mode and now back in place.

When Robert returned, I was reclining in a hammock, utterly relaxed.  I told him of my circus antics, and  he was NOT surprised.  He told me that in fact,  he was waiting for the tank to be emptied so he could properly seal the pvc pipe in place.  Work in progress.  No harm done.
(You can see here what blew off--from the red turn-handle forward --the entire showerhead--and the water was gushing forcefully out...)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


(Surf has been quite good, btw, but I digress...)

Boppin´ through the coco grove after a playful swirl on wild boogie waves, and dismounting  to wade the low-flow river (bike under one arm sorta), I wondered at the small talkative gathering, just across the river.  Ohhhh.....  I could understand the conversation....  So, Nacho´s horse is dead.....  I looked around, and yup, there was Nacho a short distance away, standing beside a swollen horse with legs sticking straight out sideways.  In a little while, he just shrugged and went home.  He wasn´t going to do anything about it.

My personal thoughts ran more along the lines of -- are they all gonna just LEAVE it there, and let it rot?  Oh, lordylordy.  That´s gonna be some foul stench for the rest of our visit -- right there at one of the most beautiful places of respite.  I love to come to the river and watch the graceful waterbirds, to listen to their various calls, and to amuse myself with the loud chorus of frogs, and gawk at their size...I love the multiple shades of green, the white feather'flashes from startled birds with resultant splashes all along the rivercourse...and the tranquil sunset colors as I make my way to the sea for sunset...  Damn.

Silly me. 

The next day, here is what I saw:  a large gathering of somber funeral guests, all in black, pressed together in silence,  huddled in the stones along the bank of the shallow river.  They stood a respectful distance from the bloating corpse. Vultures, of course. They were all facing towards where lay the corpse, up on the bank and hidden from my eyes by trees. They did not approach the corpse.  The most they did was flutter straight up in the air a moment and instantly resettle upon a fierce command.

And who commanded them? The dogs, of course!  Such ferocious growls, quite menacing.  I moved to where I could see better.  I saw just their backs, all  hunched over every part of that horse.

The next day, the dogs were gone and the somber funeral guests had moved in.  Now, all I could see was THEIR backs, with an occasional vulture hopping straight up in the air and landing again.

There was no stench.  The dogs had eaten the innards and muscle, and now the buzzards were removing any remaining particles.  No doubt the insects were right in there among them and it would be they who finish the feast.

The third day -- just bones, scattered widely.  I need not have worried.  I know that Nacho didn´t.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


"Yeee-HA!"  "HO-ly CATfish!"  "Yeowza!"  "Yike-o!"  "Hijole!"  "Ai-yi-yi-yi-YI!!!"  "DUCK!!!"

Yeah, there´s been quite the swell this past week, and the above quotes refer to just this boogie-boarder's waves. Evidently it's been the same out at the break, judging from the big grins and swaggers of the surfers as they walk down the beach...  And then we top it all off  by returning to the beach at dusk for the sunset, each one a masterpiece.  Of course, I am also hoping one day to see the Green Flash....