• Viva Mexico

Viva Mexico

January 30
A note to let you know how things have progressed since I left Cambodia. I landed safe and sound at San Francisco airport at 10 AM on Christmas day. I was met by old friends Gina and Michael who treated me like the prodigal son returning. Warm visits to family and other friends ensued. I had planned to stay in northern California till the end of January, but Winter’s weather was draining my spirits and the California cost of living was draining my pockets. So like the migratory bird I flew south on Sunday the 20th. I arrived in La Paz, Mexico precisely at the cocktail hour. I don’t remember the rest of the evening.

In contrast to Cambodia, thus far I can say this: the streets are not choked with traffic. The sidewalks are for walking only. No one, as yet, has attempted vehicular manslaughter upon me. As I walk on the walkable walkways pedestrians greet me, simply as a matter of courtesy. The men are dignified, the women charming, and the lilting tones of the Spanish language are beguiling.

Yet already I miss the food in Battambang. Here in La Paz portions are huge, service is friendly (and quicker than Cambodia) and prices are not high. The beer is glacially cold. It actually stings the mouth. Yay! But something is missing. Is it fish sauce? Local chilies? The dust of the Cambodian flood plain? Was I in Asia too long for recovery? Time will tell.

The cantinas are excellent places of refreshment. The aforesaid cold beer is reliably cold. But nine out of ten blast me with loud music, and always music not of my choosing nor of my liking. It’s never as loud as a Khmer wedding or funeral, but that’s not the point. The point is, it’s too loud! And not of my choosing. And while the auditory assault of the Cambodian wedding/funeral typically lasts three days, it is limited to one space and time. Here it is all the time almost everywhere. I have only found two places so far where I can have a quiet drink, and perhaps a chat with a bartender or patron willing to tolerate my hesitant Spanish. BTW, no one here seems to be in a hurry to learn or speak English. I don’t know whether to berate or praise them.

February 8
I left La Paz over a week ago to visit friends in Todos Santos for two days. I don't think I'm going back to La Paz.

March 8
My two day visit with Lynn Cummings and her new husband, Steel (yeah that's his real name) turned into nearly a month. I'm now in Mulege, my old Baja stomping grounds. A couple of days ago I was at the market looking for garlic when, after 15 years of not seeing her, I bumped into Carla King! More on that later.