Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mexico's Glorious Disorder............

This picture was taken on October 13, 2007 at the foot of the arroyo on the beach at Bucerias. That was our last big rain, and 13 cars washed down the arroyo!

For your reading pleasure, a column written by a Canadian about Mexico that really captures some of the reasons why we love it here so much:

Mexico's Glorious Disorder puts Nanny state to shame.

Having just returned from a week in Mexico, and therefore being an expert, this is what I have to report:it is just like Canada...30 years ago.
  • People smoke in restaurants.They ride in the back of pick up trucks.There do not appear to be seat-belt laws(or,frequently,seat-belts).Half the pasty white population of Canada frolick in the water with nary a lifeguard in sight.
  • A vacationing builder from the United States stood poolside and gazed dumbfounded at the construction workers clambering,untethered,high atop the concrete skeleton of the condo complex being erected next door."seventy-two feet up and not one of them is wearing a safety lanyard,"observed the American, his voice a mixture of admiration and horror.
  • It was, in short,gloriously unregulated-just like canada used to be back when kids could take peanut butter sandwiches to school and skate without helmets.
  • In Mexico,smiling street vendors served up food that had basked in the sun longer than an Albertan after a six-margarita breakfast.
  • The waterfront walkway had no railing,not even a yellow line painted along the edge to prevent inattentative strollers from tumbling,lemminglike,to the jagged rocks far below.Parasailing tourists soured high in the sky before plunging straight into beaches packed with first-time jet skiers-and not one of them had to sign a liability waiver before doing so.
  • On new years eve,the fireworks burst directly overhead and fell at the feet of delighted celebrants.The floor of the bus that carried us downtown was fissured with thousands of cracks,just one pothole away from exploding into a cloud of rust-colored dust.
  • The municipal planner appeared to have been drunk.All the properties in town had seemingly been tossed into a giant paper bag,given a good shake and dumped on the ground in a dizzyingly haphazard manner.A gated mansion sat by a Quonset hut crammed with truck tires,which was beside a franchised chicken joint,which was next to a corn field,followed by a car lot,a hospital,and a farmhouse.
To repeat: the disorder there was glorious.
  • In Canada we have allowed ourselves to be regulated,sheltered and shepherded to the point that our national costume should be the fluorescent-orange safety vest.We have banned lawn darts,mandated bicycle helmets and robbed our playgrounds of any apparatus that spins until you trap a limb/throw up/or have fun.
Few of the rules in which we wrap ourselves are objectionable when viewed in isolation(smoking in restaurants?yeuck!bleh!ptooey!) but the cumulative effect of all these directives is a nanny state that smothers us until we are incapable of moving,of making our own decisions. The result is a society with a false sense of security.It absolves us of any personal responsibility.Coffee too hot?Sue McDonald's. Slip on the sidewalk?The city should have cleared the ice. Fall off the cliff?There should have been a warning sign.

So Viva Mexico! Down with over-regulation and those who would inflict it upon us!

written in 2007 by Jack Knox, Times Columnist

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Saving a Pelican


Top picture: poor pelican trapped against the fence under the vegetation
Center: Jerry rides in the back of the truck to transport the pelican back to the beach
Bottom: The pelican is back in his element, on his way out to sea

Last Sunday was a typical lazy day - Jerry took the dogs for a walk in the late afternoon, and Blondie and Bob seemed very interested in the field down the street from our house. They spotted a stranded amigo - a poor young pelican who had apparently become trapped in the field. He must have landed there and in trying to get out, got tangled in the vines and vegetation. Poor thing. He wasn't going anywhere, and he was very weak and dehydrated.

Our neighbor Pepe helped Jerry get him out of the field - Jerry handed him over the fence to Pepe - and we prepared to drive him down to the beach. Jerry sat in the back of the truck, holding the pelican's large bill very tightly shut. Only a six-block drive.

When we released him on the beach, we attracted alot of attention and lots of offers to help from Mexican families who were enjoying their Sunday afternoon at the beach. But the young pelican did fine on his own, letting the surf carry him out to sea - and home again.