December 3, 2010
Feliz Ano Nueve
Well the last day of 2010 did not look like it was going to be a good one by the looks of the early morning weather. I watch the sun come up on the Sea of Cortez each morning as I am writing this drivel, hence the early morning weather reports. But I was hopeful that the weather would improve because Profesora Dolores had promised us a field trip on this day and I was giddy with anticipation.
We grabbed a quick breakfast of the usual fruit and cereal and we were off to class at the Paradiso Hotel. We had a good time in class because now we can manage enough Spanish to think we know what we are doing. Dolores threatened me with the dictionary at one point and I think she meant to hit me with it. It is a big thick book but the hard covers have long ago disappeared so I was not too concerned.
After class we piled into my car and went off to La Manga which is not very far from Hotel Paradiso in distance but it is way behind in development. Apparently at one point some fishermen set up shop there and just never went back to where they belonged. They are known as ‘The Invaders’ and were shunned by the rest of the local towns and governments until just recently. They have set up a small town of modest homes seemingly without any connection to power or water.
But what they do have is seafood and they know what to do with it. They are way more restaurants than the population of 115 could ever support. So they make their living serving very fresh seafood, delightfully prepared, at a reasonable price with a vista that is just gorgeous to anyone who will make the trip to their little part of the world. If they run short of something they go right down to the sea and get some more.
This town is a project of Dolores, who works with the people there to get a better life mostly through increasing their opportunities for an education. The local Rotary club has supposedly helped also and improvements have been made in that they now have water tanks on their homes and the road to the town is being repaired. The road is all dirt and it looks like it will remain that way. The faint of heart would not travel this road without some knowledge of what lay at the end of the road. If you have the heart of a chicken you just don’t get to have the best seafood.
Dolores was somewhat upset that Paul Allen of Microsoft fame was here recently with his mega-yacht with the intent of buying the entire town of La Manga. This would displace these people who are scrapping out a living by fishing as he would most likely convert the entire area to his own use. Sitting there in this natural beauty watching the young children play on the beach while the dogs wandered the dusty streets, one could understand that ‘progress’ is maybe not for everyone.
So we settled into La Manga Restaurant which is by far the most viable building in town. We started off with raw oysters and clams and then more raw clams and fish cerviche and shrimp cerviche. I don’t think I have ever eaten a raw clam before but it was Dolores’s favorite so we had two plates of Chocolate Clams. And while I have had cerviche before it was nothing like what we were served here. Muy delicisoso!
I even worked up the nerve to ask the young waitress what a ‘Toasted Pregnant’ was or as they call it in Spanish, ‘The Embarrassment’. While I did not understand everything she said it seems that this dish is a mound of crab and shrimp that either looks like a pregnant woman’s belly or it will make your belly look like a pregnant woman’s. I don’t need any help on the latter, so I passed on this dish.
After some three hours or so of eating lunch we returned Dolores to her car. We went on the prerequisite shopping trip and returned to the casa. We read and studied a bit and played word games in Spanish. Then Lorenzo cooked us up some steaks and Karen made a spinach salad and we had another fine meal. Since there was no Football Americano on the TV we all called it an early New Year’s Eve.