December 30, 2010
Thursday was another day with unsettled weather. Enough so that we took a pass on walking down the beach to class and I did indeed put on my big boy pants. It is not really that cold but the wind is fresh and the sun is unreliable so it does put a chill to things.
We had another great class of Spanish with Dolores. We amaze ourselves with how quickly we are learning this. Then we go out and torture the locals with our skills but they all take it very well and actually seem to approve of our attempts. Of course they are catering to the tourist trade so maybe that has something to do with it.
After class it was off to lunch at Panchitto Villa’s, a fairly new restaurant in town. It was a nice place in that it had solid walls around part of it. The food was good and reasonable in price.
Then it was back to the casa to study for a while. Our next door neighbors were having a jam session on their patio playing old songs from the sixties and seventies. While they were not that good, from a distance they sounded okay. As I left for the gym they started playing “Jamabalya”. For those of you who have traveled with me before you will know that I only know two songs: one of them in Jambalaya and the other one isn’t. It is part of my cultural exchange program and I have had it played just about everywhere I have been in the world. Even if I had to teach it to the band or, worse yet, sing it with them. And here was this band next door playing it without me having to coach them down the one true and right musical path. Nice. My work here is done.
For dinner, our Spanish teacher Delores joined us. We had a nice dinner of beer can chicken, roasted veggies, and bbq’d pineapple. We got to learn a bit about Delores’s life as an educator and environmentalist on the Sea of Cortez. She is quite a remarkable woman and has developed a method of teaching Spanish that seems to work on thick skulled gringos. She was an English language teacher during her career and I assume she used the same methods teaching Mexicans.
What was most noteworthy to me was how hard her life had been even for an educated person. She has been living and teaching in the Paradiso hotel. This use to be a Club Med resort but the hotel is now dying from lack of trade. She lives in a room in one of the wings of the hotel and has lived there for five years without hot water and without heat. If you knew how the Mexicans hate the cold you would know what a tragedy that is.
And then she lived through hurricane Jimena in September 2009 where they got three feet of water in the hotel, ruining a lot of her books. Hurricane Jimena caused a lot of mudslides from the 22 inches of rain they received. Her stories of how they had to clean up by hauling buckets of sea water up to her third story room are pretty amazing. This is one stout lady. When she is not teaching Spanish she uses the money she gets from the classes to help out people who are less fortunate then herself.
Once Delores left we cleaned up the kitchen and headed to bed after another good day.