My blog took a little break from me (us) for a little over a week, and as I have to do my writing without even knowing when I will be online again, there is a fair amount of guess work involved as to when I left off last time. I have no way of looking back to be sure. At the moment this happens to be compounded by the constant struggle to get the website back up, so that I have almost no clue anymore what I've written and what I haven't. So for tonight, I'll just give a good once over of my life here in Empalme Sonora, and what's happening, with a few highlights and anecdotes. If it seems a bit choppy, that's because it is. It's a choppy life I live.
Of the two puppies that were here when I arrived I was asked to name the large brindle male, so of course I gave him an Alaskan name: Kobuk. It's an ugly village and he being an ugly ass pup, it seemed an appropriate fit to me. As for the little blonde female the color of well worn Carhartts, she was named by the family: Jessica. Yup. They named the damn dog after me. Like a reverse Indiana Jones bit. She and I have bonded in a big way. She gets what ever food I don't eat, spends the majority of every night with at least some portion or her body sprawled across my face or her neck snugged against mine, and has come to be known as my “novia”. We've been going steady for about a month now. Two days ago it was suggested that she might join me on the Road when I leave. Ramon (my host) even offered to pay for the paper work from the vet to get her through international borders. It's a hard decision to be sure. I'm not looking forward to leaving her behind in the slightest, in fact I should think it will suck quite a lot, but many of the places I'm going will be hard for me to keep myself alive, and the notion of keeping a dependent on this side of the dirt offers me no more comfort. I told him I'd have to think about it. The two pups both came down sick with some manor of parasite that seems to be fairly prevalent in Mexico and I was worried about them both for a week or so. Jessica was back to her scrappy little self in about 3 days. She really is quite fierce. I love that about her. Two nights ago, Kobuk died.
I awoke on Christmas day to the sound of Ramon opening the front gate of the restaurant, and sat up in the cot when I realized he was standing over me with another guy I'd never seen before. He was explaining excitedly in broken English, and I had a head full of sleep and nightmares, so that all I could get out of it was that he had picked up another drifter. Interesting I thought as I found a cup of cold coffee from the night before. I turned around to see what all the fuss was about, and saw a tall lanky man with a goatee and a head full of shortish curly blondish/redish hair. He decided to throw me off even further by suddenly speaking fluent English, and introducing himself as Julian. I couldn't figure out if it was the sleepiness or if his accent really was that strange. It reminded me of the guy from the movie Highlander. Just impossible to place. It turned out he was French Canadian, had just returned “home” after spending 7 or 8 years tramping in Europe, and immediately started out for South America. My kinda guy. We got drunk that night and decided to partner up on the Road. The two of us should make a good team I suspect. Very similar in our traveling styles, and different enough in our various skill sets that we both have an enormous amount we can learn from the other. We are also going in the same direction. And that always helps. I'm confident you'll be hearing more about him later.
Christmas and even more so New Years was something else all together. The beer, tequila, and rum ran like there was no next Tuesday, and every person, gringo and Mexican alike was barking at the moon drunk. On New Years it reached a fever pitch so intense that my beloved little fishing town had transformed into down town Baghdad in 2002, with a twisted landscape made up of broken streets and bombed out buildings, the AK-47's and 9 MM's blending with the mortars booming and blasting in every direction, the flares and explosions filling the sky as Mexico willfully defied the death of 2013 and welcomed the birth 2014 in a raging battle culminating at midnight in the deafening cry FIESTA!
Every day here is filled with laughing and kindness and caring and love and children. And the children are nothing short of adorable. Most range in age from 5 to 13 or so, and all make me feel like Captain James Cook when I reveal some small treasure from my backpack. I doubt if any of them were half as excited over Christmas as they were when I showed them my little flashlight. Doubly so when I showed them how to turn on the strobe. I nearly lost that flashlight...And my leatherman is no less coveted.
There's a gaggle of four delightful little girls that are a constant source of entertainment, and I'm sure this is reciprocated. Even the youngest of them, whom I terrified by chasing around drunk as hell (on Senior Bat Manuel's sixty eighth birthday) demanding a hug like a crazed hairy stinky white mad man (all in good humor), was back to her innocent giggles and flirting in a couple of days. Yesterday they found a handful of wire sculptures made to look like little scorpions, and between my new sidekick and myself we had them convinced I ate live scorpions in soup to keep myself strong. This was amplified today when I was collecting stones to build a concrete form and discovered a fairly large live scorpion in the rock pile. Of course I caught it and put it in a jar and saved it for supper (beef bone and potato soup), revealing it when one of them looked in my direction at the table I made out as though I had just dropped a few in and had only one left. Even Senior Bat Manuel got in on it exclaiming I had already eaten 5 scorpions and didn't need any more. They were fascinated and horrified. I was pleased.
The sun is setting on my time here, and my new sidekick(s) and myself will be making our way South after the weekend; bound for who knows where and who knows what. We have a few ideas of course, but South is the name of the game. I find myself wondering if I'll live long enough to make it back here one day. Or how long these kids will remember the crazy gringo from Alaska that visited them for the holidays that one year. Most of all I'm just happy. Happy to have been given the opportunity to come here, make these friends, to teach, to learn, to give what I could and take what was offered me.
My life. The world. Is beautiful.