They warned me about the turista, the cartels, the scorpions (none sighted), but no one told me about the wacky guy behind us who plays unrelenting OPERA for hours at a time, turned up to 11. Now we’re talkin’ scary! And the media does not cover this hazard. All my years in Sayulita did not prepare me. There, it was a cacophony of nonstop roosters, crying babies and barking dogs which increased each year (Mexico = earplugs). But this (mostly baritone) aural abuse is cunning, baffling and powerful; it gets in my head in a spooky way so that, all day long (even after he’s stopped), I imagine I’m hearing some Italian aria. How can music be abusive? Well, word on the street is that this guy is a dog-poisoner, so you can feel the energy polluting each ancient composition. (There are more rumors than chickens in this tiny pueblo of 600.) Don’t worry, I’ve already learned the Spanish words for “Might it, prettyplease, good sir, be possible for you to turn it down just a smidge?” in case I ever get the opportunity to make my plea. I’ve been advised, however, not to tell him where I live (like everyone doesn’t already know the gringa with the white hair already).
Thankfully, though, it’s not every day; today was Nat King Cole and Johnny Rivers (yes, he’s Mexican).
Then there are also these tiny mosquitos who haven’t gotten tired of me yet (morning or evening only, though). And a tiny bee that I stepped on last night on my porch — he didn’t go down without a fight, poor little guy.
As there are no banks or ATMs here, I brought buckets of pesos, enough to last the two months. I leave my door unlocked, just like at home, and feel perfectly safe. Some people feel safe in the anonymity of a big city; me, I feel safest when everybody knows everybody else (or at least someone who does).
Case in point. When G and I first got here, we decided to rent a car for a bit (big splurge). In showing him around one of the five streets in town, a big black truck backed right the hell into me coming out of his driveway as I’m innocently driving down the street. Well, first of all, what’s a car doing driving down the street? It’s almost always just people on foot here; the burros were escorted out of town a few years ago. Big guy gets out, speaks no English and seemed to be assuring me it was no big deal, as insurance would pay for the body damage. My Spanish is not nearly proficient enough to explain that this was the only time in Mexico I’ve declined rental-car collision insurance, as my MasterCard purports to cover it. Not even close. So I ask his lady friend to come meet me here tomorrow at 9 am so Estela could translate for us. She doesn’t show.
I asked Estela’s grown son (raised in Chicago) if he could translate for us and, of course, he knows the guy – it’s his wife’s brother-in-law, a prominent man in town, who is totally honorable (love me a small town). The code in Mexico is you hit, you pay. No problemo. And it’s only a slight wrinkle that, once I got (and paid) the written estimate from Dollar Rent-a-Car last week, it was pointed out to me that the invoice was jimmied to put an extra three hundred pesos in the pocket of the office manager. Piece of cake. Chico, the guy who hit me, knows a guy at Dollar in Zihuatenjo and can get it straightened out. I am not making this up. I am totally unattached, fortunately.
Sunburn, pesticides, Opera. These are the dangers of Mexico, I tell you.