… is pre-planning, prioritizing or precisely scheduling seemingly anathema to the manner of conducting any manner of business.
… does the “punctuality gene” seem to be wholly missing from the vast preponderance of the populous.
… are those same folks as described above always driving at break neck speed, running stop lights and turning from the wrong lanes so they, apparently, can effectively arrive late with a flair.
… can “one hour” mean a great deal more and “two or three days” mean perhaps “sometime in a month or so”.
… could a promise of something you desire being available next week” quite possibly mean “if and when we get around to it” – if not “never”!
… might, conversely, the poorest of peons eagerly share his meager lunch with you if he perceives you have none.
… will a street fruit and vegetable vendor respond to your morning greeting in fractured Spanish, but with a big smile, by giving you extra at no charge products.
… can your doctor spend 45 minutes with you discussing your family, garden and travels before inquiring of your health.
… is there a sparkling clean, new garbage truck with virtually no muffler that emits a loud, rumbling roar which can be heard from miles away that runs its route starting at 4:30 in the morning. . . and no one do anything about it!
… or, similarly, is there a small business, located in the midst of numerous homes, with a highly sensitive burglar alarm that is set off repeatedly regardless of hour but each time for nearly ten minutes and no one seem to notice.
… will it require upwards to a dozen separate trips to the bank, showing all manner of documentation, to simply open a checking account . . . and then still have the first checks bounce because they don’t recognize the signature!
… are you almost guaranteed that an invitation to a Mexican couple for drinks and dinner at 7:00 PM will result in (A) Their arrival at 9:45 PM (B) Their showing up with four small children and their parents (C) No word heard from them and a blank look when you see them a week later and inquire about their absence.
Is it all worth it, because in spite of the sometimes frustrating cultural differences, these are some of the nicest people, allowing us to be their neighbors, in one of the best places to live, on the entire planet!
Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation – Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.