By Tommy Clarkson from the October 2010 Edition
all in the same week might you experience . . .
. . . while waiting for your muffler to get fixed, ending up playing with your mechanic’s children and a baby Tejón.
. . . seeing a guy trimming his toenails with a foot and a half long machete.
. . . while enjoying a drink on a beach seeing a stampede of cattle race past pursued by men on horseback.
. . . dogs welcomed with their owners in most restaurants and certainly those that are on the beach.
. . . might you use the three words “burritos,” “banos” and “baracho” all in the same place – possibly in the same sentence.
. . . could three guys named Jesus cut your hair, water your plants and clean your pool.
. . . your doctor spending the first half an hour talking about your family, your tropical garden and mutually appreciated eating establishments before inquiring of your health.
. . . the realization that you should – at no time – expect any particular product to be at any specific store at any given time.
. . . a car coming toward you on a one way street racing pell mell in reverse.
. . . it not being considered abnormal conduct for someone sitting next to you in an outdoor beach palapa restaurant to pull a snake out of his knapsack and start playing with it.
. . . can you drive down the road, note a Topas Sign, carefully slow down, only to find out none exists in the area marked, hence re-accelerating to cruising speed just in time to hit one larger than a ’49 Hudson that’s not marked nor painted yellow.
. . . it not surprising to walk into your bathroom and find it already occupied by a large green iguana.
. . . total entertainment, during the red stop light, in the middle of town, by a juggler, fire eater or clown.
. . . is any prominently placed clock on the wall in a bank or hospital not necessary expected to be working.
. . . .might one set but a few feet outside of an immaculately clean, surgically sanitized, hospital operating room putting on repellent and swatting mosquitoes because a few feet away there is no roof in that part of the hospital.
. . . can you expect to find in the grocery story two distinct types of shoppers: Those who slowly stroll – and often simply stop to talk – in the middle of the aisle thwarting traffic or those who race amuck and who will run you down like a lame dog in the street.
. . . is it possible to walk into a store and buy two tampons, two diapers and two aspirins and, if you wanted, only one cigarette and a shot of home brew tequila.
. . . will a gecko fall from the ceiling onto your computer keyboard and you pause only long enough to watch him scurry off.
. . . might you engage in a delightful, fully animated, conversation with whomever happens to be in their vehicle next to you at a stop light.
. . . is it perfectly normal to grow – within a few feet of your kitchen – one’s own pineapples, coconuts, bananas, grape-fruit, papayas, mangos, limes, lemon grass and cilantro.
. . . could you shake a scorpion out of the same shoe early in the morning that you will use twenty seconds later to kill a cockroach the size of a Volkswagen in your bathroom.
. . . can every crevice of your heart warm to the wonderful smile of recognition when the short, stout, almost completely white haired, 80-something lady named Carmen who bags groceries for tips recognizes you at the market.
. . . is a half way acceptable excuse to the policeman stopping you for driving on the wrong side of the road the fact that while coming home from Puerto Vallarta you’d swerved to the left in order to avoid running over an Iguana, while – at the same time rubbing your eyes with the hand that you’d been dipping into the Habanera snack chips, hence painfully blurring your eyesight causing you to not see the pothole which caused a major crotch slosh of the beer and Clamato michelada (he didn’t need to know you’d prepared – squeezed lime and all – while driving) that you’d been holding between your legs.
“Any who wish to share their personal ‘Only in Mexico’ stories may submit them to Tommy for possible inclusion in ensuing columns on this topic by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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”.