One of the things I like best about Living at Lake Chapala is that I never know what I’ll see next. I always have a camera in my pocket or purse, just in case I see one of the startling Mexican Moments that always make me fall in love with this country -- all over again.
Years ago I saw an old, old man talking on a cell phone while riding a burro. Then there was the guy carrying a picture of Jesus while leading a funeral procession. He was wearing a purple T-shirt that read: “Let’s Get Naked and Party.” Do you think I had a camera?
Then I spotted a man in Chapala pedaling a bicycle up the hill by the Monte Carlo Hotel. As he passed the intersection with the street that ends at the Chapel of the Virgin of Lourdes, he held his cap over his heart, and kept on pedaling up the hill with just one hand on the handlebar.
A 12-Year-Old Driver
A couple years I spotted a young man driving a car. Make that a very young man driving a car. He must have been 11 or 12; driving along Zaragosa in Ajijic – his same-age buddy riding shotgun. I didn’t get the chance to see if he was sitting on a pillow so he could see over the steering wheel.
I’ve seen grownups from major US and Canadian cities grow pale at the thought of maneuvering a vehicle along the parked cars on Ajijic’s narrow, bumpy, cobblestone streets. This kid not only seemed fearless, and looked like he was having a great time, he also was doing a good job of avoiding pedestrians and other vehicles. Still….
Walking the Tightrope
I’ve always been glad I had my camera in my purse when I saw the truck in the photo at left. I barely believed my eyes – let alone having a chance of anyone else believing me.
Let me set the scene for you. The dump truck was full of sand that the workers needed to unload onto the roof of the house across the street.
Nothing is impossible in this country. They just leaned a ladder up against the house, balanced a ladder from the edge of the truck -- across the street -- and slid it through the rungs of the upright ladder.
Then bravest of the bunch walked across the horizontal ladder Carrying two 5-gallon buckets of sand.
More amazing still is that they waved me to continue driving up the street – and I drove under that ladder!
Unusual Sights – Right at Home
I didn’t even have to leave the house to get pictures of an unusual scene today. I was sorting a couple of the storage boxes in my garage when the fire truck pulled up – right out front and the bomberos (firemen) started pulling hoses off the truck.
I’ve only known of two or three house fires in the past 19 years in homes made of brick there’s little to burn, but still, I dashed to the door to look for smoke. It wasn’t smoke or a fire. A fireman climbed up onto the roof of the cab, signaled to the guys on the ground that he was ready, and when they’d upped the water pressure, he gave one spot on the trunk of the tree a good, long, mighty blast of water.
The explanation? It looked to me as if they were after a nest or swarm of insects. Still seems strange. When I had “killer” black bees trying to start a hive in the eaves of my house 15 or so years ago, the city sent out crew to smoke them out and exterminate them – at 3 a.m. so they would be quiet and the streets empty.
Talking About Trees
Here’s another adventure – right in my own back yard. I invited this crew to cut my avocado crop last year. There weren’t substantial branches in the right places to support their ladder, so…they found another way to make it work. It takes faith in your coworkers to climb that ladder.
The process may have been a little precarious, but the men garnered dozens and dozens of large avocados. In fact, they filled the buckets they brought along, then my two laundry baskets and came back the next day for the rest. Some they took home to eat, the rest they sold at $25 pesos per kilo.
The fruit they couldn’t reach eventually fell from the upper reaches of the tree, much to the delight of the birds that visit my garden and of my dogs who also love the buttery fruit. Bet you didn’t know that many of the more expensive brands of dog food include avocados in the ingredient listing.
We all have our memories and our stories to tell – we love telling the stories at dinners and parties when as we move around the table each scene is more surprising than the one before. Still it’ll be hard to beat that guy in the funeral procession.