A month in Mexico….


I have spent just over a month back in Mezcales my tropical paradise nothwest of Puerto Vallarta and 5 minutes from Bucerias.

The stocky palms in my yard have sprouted my first coconuts and I savoured the sweetest taste of all the satisfying flavour of our first harvest. The juicy white coconut meat and the thirst quenching milk, fresh from my own trees in my own yard. Unbeatable!

On my return I note the bananas we planted last spring weighed down with enormous bundles of green fruit on the cusp of turning yellow. At New Year there is my first fat yellow banana tree ripened and succulent. “My banana” (or so I thought) had suffered an attack by the end of the day. Someone had been eating my banana! How dare they!

I consulted my security about the likely culprits. They just looked at me not giving anything away. Met my steady gaze eye to eye with complete tranquillity. You can’t always trust security here in Mexico but my team of three are truly noble, reliable and dependable and have been with me for ever. Tina is the manager and she is noble, I can trust her with my life. Then there is Boz, slower and more thoughtful but always loyal and then my youngest team member Rafacito who is a constant, moving, bundle of energy.

“Come on guys” I implore, “Give me some idea”? But I meet with a stoney silence. I decide I must look for my own clues. On closer inspection I see peck marks. Then it must a feathered visitor who has a liking for my sweet fruit.

I summon my security team and we gather at the banana tree and I confirm my suspicions with the three of them. They all wag their tails in agreement. The banana crime has been solved.

One of the great benefits of living in Mexico and especially here to the North West of Puerto Vallarta is the new local mall with cinepolis and an abundance of Movies for a fraction of the price I would pay in Calgary Canada. Here in Mexico I always have popcorn and a soda of Humberto’s preference. It is factored easily into my monthly budget.

Humberto told me 4 years ago that all the development was focussed to the West of Puerto Vallarta and he is absolutely right.

Walmart is here along with a brand new Sam’s Club, Chedraui, Merkabastos, a Nissan Garage, and Alicia’s a flashy clothes store. I hope a Costco is pencilled in somewhere in the master plan.

My friends at the Birerria however complain bitterly however that business has declined ever since the Flu scare in May of 2009. Any time we are there it seems busy and the food is delicious if you like Lamb, Goat or Beef. The family came to Mezcales in 2001 on their way to the US. They were sent back at the border and had nothing but a back pack and five young kids. They have now built a very decent business through honest hard work. A lot of Mexicans are like this and they deserve their success and I hope they enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Famar our favourite eatery in Bucerias also complains of a slump in business and have changed their rest day to Tuesday instead of Sunday to boost their business.

Today I took a spin into “A Page in the Sun” just off the beach front 3 blocks east of the river Cuale bridge. Rick Najera was reading from his new book “Almost White” which talks about his life as a Latino in Hollywood. My favourite blogger on Mexico was there too his wife Susie Albin Najera author of “The Mexico Report” and their 3 adorable kids.Rick’s brush with death has not dampened his wit or appetite for humour but his story of pneumonia, subsequent head injury and medically induced coma is a reminder to us all of how vulnerable we humans all are. As I have said before the past we know but the future is fragile. I am reminded of this with each birthday and I have just celebrated another one!

Back to the home front here in Mezcales and our three kids.Sandy as I posted on a prievious blog has returned to her father in Boca de Tomatlan. She left tearfully and I wonder why? Humberto told her she could come back any time but she is just a little 9 year old girl with no money so her options are very limited.

I was disconcerted to hear that Lucy and Memo her boyfriend had been using Sandy to do most of the work about their house and she had to do all the laundry for the 3 of them including Memo’s pants and jeans. Humberto objected quite rightly and intervened and it was soon after this that Sandy was dispatched back to Boca.Lucy and Memo said that Sandy wanted to go back because her friends were there. To us it seemed as if she was no longer serving the needs of Lucy and Memo and so was a superfluous burden . Sad how they could be so callous and exploit such a dear little girl. Every morning she was the first one up and would ask Humberto if he needed anything from the corner store. They would then have breakfast together. The day Sandy left was a very sad one for us and I hope we shall reconnect with her.

Now to Lucy and Memo. Well here is a tale! The deal we hashed out is like this. They have their own little house in the yard and live rent free and we pay the electricity and water.In exchange for this they act as caretakers and dogsitters when we are away and when we are home Lucy cleans the house twice a weeks which takes around 3 hours each time. She is paid for doing this.I did not get the feeling that Lucy was overly enthsiastic about the house work and she never showed up on time and was always ready to go home even when the housework was not finished.

On the 1st January without a word they left and moved back in with Lucy’s mother and boyfriend. We took these guys in, to give them a helping hand. Sometimes I wonder why the poor are poor. Knowing when you have an opportunity takes presence of mind and some intelligence but opportunites are not for everybody and it seems that it wasn’t what we thought for our little guys either.

We wish them well but I feel that our genuine good heartedness and foolish sincerity has been betrayed by people who were not who we thought they were.

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About Charlotte Ortega

I am a family physician and writer.I am an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group and I am coordinating this years International Writers Conference to be held in March in association with Los Mangos Library.Winters are spent in Mexico to escape the cold and the summers in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am British born but have not lived in the U.K. since 1997. My blog is intended to inform would be travellers and those who view Mexico as a preferred retirement destination on every aspect of living in Mexico, the good and the other...My husband Humberto is Mexican and is a font of knowlege on the diverse cultural and social nuances which exist in this vibrant and colourful country.
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