Sunday, November 18, 2007
Paradise on the Pacific
Maruata, Michoacan 25 Febrero 2006
“Hace mucho frio,” the lady in the little food tienda said to us. “It’s cold!” Yeah, we thought, it must have gotten down to 65 last night. We were glad to have a blanket on the bed, and when we got up at about an hour before sunup to go look for sea turtles on the beach, we wore sweatshirts—at least until the sun came up. Of course by 2 p.m. it was 90 again. Nothing to do but read, take a siesta, then go for a swim in the ocean to take up the time until 4 or so, when it begins to feel like spring time again.
Maruata hasn’t changed since we were here last year, when we decided it was as close to paradise as we were ever likely to see. We are afraid that some day the developers will get to it, but Warren and Sherry, who spend five months here every year living out of their stubby old blue school bus, think it won’t, since the village is communally owned by the tribe of Nahuatl Indians who live here. They originally lived where Mexico City is today, but were driven off their lands by the descendants of the Spaniards and had to make a new life for themselves by the sea. Poor things! Now they live by fishing, and, since the highway came by here about 20 years ago, by catering to tourists. You have to be a special kind of tourist to come here, though. There are few gringos. Most are Mexicans, or alternative types from all over the world, Greece, Russia, France, Canada, Czechoslovakia. You either throw up your tent under a palm thatched ramada, or park your van or camper on the beach. Or you do as we do and pay Elodio and Martina a few bucks to park inside their wooden fenced compound where you have the luxury of shady palm trees, a place to hang your hammock, restrooms with flush toilets and (cold) showers, and best of all, the pila, or cement reservoir, where you can wash up or do your laundry. Since the lavanderia in Puerto Angel was out of water the day we laid over there to have ours done, we spent two days at the pila catching up.
Elodio is 87 years old. Nearly every day he saddles up his horse, attaches his lariat and machete to the saddle, mounts and goes off to work on his property. His only concession to his age is that he mounts the horse from a stump. Elodio gets a kick out of Jim playing the guitar, and keeps telling him to sing. It’s best that Jim just play the guitar! Warren and Sherry are semi-permanent residents. Warren spent many years on the fishing boats out of New Bedford. Now, at 60, he goes swimming everyday with wetsuit, weights, and spear gun, and he always comes home with fish. He gives many of them to the villagers, who all love him, and to other campers if he likes them. Our first day here we invited them for dinner and Angie made pasta with the shrimp we had bought in a little port on the way here. In return, we got fish for dinner the next night, and we have more in our cooler for tonight. Sherry sometimes teaches belly dancing, in Colorado, where they live the rest of the year, and here to anyone who is interested. Angie spent an hour with her yesterday, and was exhausted afterward! She didn’t know that so many parts of her body could move independently.
The locals here are mostly very friendly towards us. Sherry told us about Anselma, who makes clothes from manta, which is like unbleached muslin, so we visited her, and Jim bought a pair of long pantaloons, and she altered a skirt for Angie and made her a pair of pantalons to measure. She put ties around the bottoms of the legs to help us keep the mosquitoes and sand fleas out. Lupita bakes almost every day, loaves of bread with cheese in the middle, empanadas, and on special occasions pizza.
Angie is sitting under a palapa writng, There’s a great breeze and she is listening to the waves crashing on shore on one of the three beaches here, the one with all of the rocks, and the holes where the water comes crashing through. Jim is out swimming off the quiet beach. Warren just came back from diving with several large fish hanging from his speargun. We’ll have fresh fish for dinner tonight, under stars so bright they almost hurt. What more could anyone ask for!
It’s very hard to leave here, and we keep putting of our departure date, but by the time you get this, we’ll have left and be sadly making our way back toward the states.
Look forward to seeing you all soon!
Besos y abrazos from