By guest blogger Sandy Pool
One of the questions I am often asked, is why I live in Mexico, and what makes me stay.
The biggest reason to me is the people. Mexicans are open and friendly and sharing is done without even a thought. They have taught me to slow down, to enjoy what and who is around and to live in the moment. Walking down the street, everyone makes eye contact and greets you. I have been invited into homes and parties or to share meals by total strangers, just because I was in the vicinity. Laughter, music, food and drink have no language barriers.
Because I have crewed on boat deliveries up and down the coast, I have found myself traveling on buses alone, quite often. Almost every bus station and bus I have been on, someone has approached me just to make sure that I knew where I was going and that I was comfortable. I have been handed beer and empanadas without prompting and when I try to pay, I am just waved off with a smile.
A couple of years ago, I found myself in La Paz after another delivery. When we arrived at the port, I checked the Baja Ferry website, asked around the marina and found out that the ferry left for Mazatlan everyday at 9 am. I took the 250 peso, 45 minute taxi ride to the terminal early the next morning only to find out that indeed, it did leave everyday at 9 am……except Saturday. It happened to be Saturday. However, the ferry to Topolobampo was leaving at 5:00 p.m. so instead of going back to town and spending another night on the boat and returning the next day, I decided to take the Topolobampo ferry. It would put me on the mainland in the morning, and then only a few hour to Mazatlan. I had my iPod, camera, book and journal, so I was prepared.
Keep in mind, this is Baja desert, and nothing for miles but rocks and snakes. I found a taco wagon across the street from the ferry terminal and set up ‘office’ at a table. After a couple of hours, I ordered some lunch and a Coke. I asked for a cup of ice, but was told they had none. “No worries,” I said. The Coke was more than cold enough. I didn’t think twice about it when an older gentleman at a table next to mine got up and hobbled away on his cane. He returned about 20 minutes later, set down a cup of ice, gave me a smile and hobbled off again without a word. I have NO clue where he must have gone to retrieve that cup of ice!
It is a much shorter ferry ride to Topolobampo, but then you have to take the bus from Los Mochis to Mazatlan. I reached the bus station in Los Mochis about 10:00 a.m. the next day and booked my seat for the next bus to Mazatlan, at 4:00 p.m.. Once again, I found myself a quiet corner and plopped down. When my stomach started to rumble, I approached the girl from whom I bought my ticket, and asked her about places to eat. She told me about a couple of restaurants then stopped and asked if I could wait a half hour. No problem I told her- I just assumed she wanted to show me some places instead of trying to tell me where they were located. Thirty minutes later, she collected me from my corner. We walked a few blocks and to my surprise, we entered into her home. The family did not lose a stride when the strange gringa appeared in the doorway and not only did they share their afternoon meal, her father thought it was good manners to drink some tequila with me as well. The family poodle, Poco, even decided that my lap needed warming. Once again, not only did they refuse money from me, her mother sent me away with a bag lunch for the bus trip and made me promise that I would visit if I found myself in Los Mochis again.
Her dad slipped me a water bottle filled with more tequila.
About Sandy Pool
I am a Virginia girl with New Mexico roots. After college, I spent 15 years in Texas before landing in Mazatlan in 2006. Living and working as a single gringa in Mexico presents its problems, but I love my life here and it gets better all the time! I enjoy shrimp, icy cold micheladas and a slow Pacific sunset.