I’ve often had friends from Up-North ask about my days here in small town Mexico. In retirement, the old line Up-North of “you don’t do the post office and bank on the same day” can be turned into “I woke this morning with nothing to do, and went to bed only half done.” Actually, that is sort of cruel and a bit inaccurate. Maybe I can shed some more light on an average day here.

A few years ago, we were staying in a local trailer park in La Peñita that featured “Burger Night” on Sundays. We volunteered to cook burgers one Sunday night, so I also offered to pressure wash the deck and grill the next morning. Sounds simple. Maybe a 10-15 minute job, right? I started with a reliable pressure washer, so eliminated that chance for Murphy’s Law to sneak up on me. Everything is all set up; though I see the connector on the end of the hose is crushed. I quickly get my own hose and solve this minor problem. I plug the pump into the closest socket. Sorry, that one doesn’t work. I find an extension cord. Sorry, this is a three prong plug that won’t accept the plug. I find another cord. Everything is good to go, though why am I short of water? After asking the maintenance crew, I find the bleach bottle, on a rope, at the top of a pole, on top of the cistern, is actually there for a reason. When the bleach bottle is close to the deck, the cistern is full. When the bottle is close to the top of the pole, the cistern is almost empty, and gravity / head of water isn’t adequate to supply the pressure washer. A few hours later, the cistern is full, and I can complete my 10 minute chore of cleaning the deck.

Another exercise in patience comes with understanding “Siesta.” So you think you can assume a business will shut down for an hour, or maybe two, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, and if you show up outside those hours, you should be able to get your chores done. Wrong. Some businesses don’t shut down for Siesta. Let’s use some examples: the accountant’s office might close for lunch 12:00 to 1:00 pm, the optometrist or dentist might close 2:00 to 4:00 pm, the butcher might close until 5:00 pm, and the hardware store might close 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Try juggling these schedules while you have a crew on hand that takes Siesta 1:00 to 2:00 pm, and you can see how frustrating this might become. I asked my crew if they would rather work through Siesta plus a few extra minutes each day, to allow for a full day off on Saturday. Not a chance. By now, you might get the hint that doing business in the afternoon is literally hit-and-miss. Probably. I just try to get all my chores done in the morning so I can do some hammock-time in the afternoon. I think it is safe to say Siesta might change, good or bad, as more chain stores arrive in Jaltemba Bay.

About the Author: Rob Erickson, his wife Heather and their rescue cat Mayo, spend half the year living on Vancouver Island, BC. and the other half in the Jaltemba Bay area of Mexico, where they enjoy the warm weather and slower pace of life. Now that Rob has finished building their new house in La Peñita, he can be found mountain biking around the area, volunteering at the JBAR spay and neuter clinics and relaxing in his Mexican-style hammock.

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