I have to say that while we were in Mexico we had the most charming array of taxi drivers and I never once had the feeling that we were being “played.” Perhaps we were just fortunate but being an intuitive sort I really believe that sometimes the most obvious explanation – that these were actually kind, uncomplicated people – is the truth. One driver in particular, an older, stocky man clearly happy to have yet another opportunity to test-drive his English was especially sweet and after an initially awkward beginning ( kind of like the feeling you had as a teenager when Someone’s Else’s Dad was driving you home and they run out of steam after “Sooo, how’s school going?”) we had a really spirited, excellent rapport which culminated in him handing over his cellphone and insisting that I scroll through his photos of local construction sites, places he had been with family etc.
So a genuine sharing, not a lead-in to “I-can-take-you-there-later-for-special-price.”
When we got out at the airport, I complimented him on his driving as well as his English and he bowed deeply, squeezed my hand and said “God Bless You.” I felt irrationally moved and sad since we were leaving that morning. I also felt extremely angry and defensive recalling all the people at home who had grimaced knowingly and made disparaging, warning comments about going to Mexico. As they say in the north of England: “Best to take people as you find them.”
On a more base level, we also had some take-your-breath-away handsome taxi drivers. This is a look I myself have always appreciated (dark and swarthy not taxi-drivers, per se) and can probably be easily traced back to watching re-runs of I Love Lucy and experiencing first twinges of lust for the then-stunning Desi Arnaz …
But back to our gripping tale. Continue reading
10. All those towels rolled as tightly as the folds in our brains may look pristine on the shelf but as a colleague of mine once lamented, how can I get the stripes to line up? (I hope she is now seeking help from someone other than Ralph Lauren.)
9. I worry about our collective obsession with clear plastic containers and bulk-buying. Is there an apocalyptic-style concern about suddenly not being able to access Q-tips?
8. Contradictory messages abound. Flip through any glossy paged cookbook and you will find well-dressed people idly admiring produce at an outside market as a wizened (but also well-dressed) vendor shares a joke. Not many of us can shop like this daily. I myself try to fake it by doing a market run as often as my job allows. The resulting sparkle however is hollow and short-lived; I never carry my baguette in a wicker basket either.
7. My eldest brother who is an Organizer Formidable has an entire drawer in his kitchen calligraphically labelled “Egg” and there resides a snug family of whisks, beaters, timers and coddlers. Although I tease him, I secretly think this is brilliant although I know I am not compulsive enough to have one myself. Continue reading
I haven’t blogged for a bit because The General and I were enjoying a few days away in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This is not a hugely original vacation I realize but we’ve been once before and really enjoyed the fact that you can opt for a sleepy, somewhat predictable winter getaway or, you can easily choose to peel back the tourist-driven veneer that first presents itself. We are very fortunate since The General’s hermosa hermana [sister] now lives in Mexico for a goodly chunk of the year so she can be relied upon for insider tips, off-the-beaten track suggestions and where best to catch a ride on the quirky, yet extremely stimulating public transit system which on any single trip may include a throbbing, tribal drummer, ardent guitarist, (not known to one another) a pizza purveyor and, finally, a smallish dapper man (think: Mexican Poirot) who got on the bus, addressed us all passionately in Spanish for at least ten minutes and then handed out Chicklets.
Afterwards, there was a friendly yet solemn collection, easily circumvented with a return of the Chicklets and a “no gracias.”
I did have the very real sense that we had been in attendance at a strange yet exotic party before we had even reached our destination.
(A few times I emitted an involuntary girlish yip as I bounced up to meet the ceiling and The General suggested that our bus had been kitted out with four square wheels.) Continue reading