Our adventures with our neighbor have been numerous over the last several months living up on the hill, so I figured it was finally time to start a series, Adventures with my Vecino Mexicano. Today's adventures were equally as fun, involving a giant shelf he constructed for a job and "one fish big" for us for breakfast.
This all really started awhile ago, when he had us help him get some wood. At the time, the truck was broken down, needing a brake job and probably a starter at the least. We had the brakes, and could push start it or park it on a hill if we need to (Acapulco is full of those, very convenient for bad starters) to get it started. We had acquired these items with our friend, finding them to be EXTREMELY cheap here. I'll write an article on that within a few days, as that whole thing was an adventure in itself.
John offered our neighbor 200 pesos to change the brakes for him, and he agreed. A day and several mishaps later, the brakes were finally installed and functional. John mentioned that he had gotten the most wood he had ever gotten from the actual lumber store with him that time.
The day I had dengue, our vecino came yelling asking for another wood run. I stayed home in bed while John went down. They reportedly went looking at three different places for a cut of wood before they found it, seemingly for this shelf.
Yesterday morning, our vecino came back once more. He said he had a shelf to move to the beach, in just one hour. It was several hours before we heard from him, when he came to ask for John's help with moving the unfinished shelf. He came back reporting that our neighbor must be crazy, he expected him to move a giant shelf with his truck to the beach. It would be interesting. He said he was supposed to do it in an hour, although he didn't quite expect it to happen that day.
And he was right, it didn't. We heard our neighbor working on it until dark, probably just finishing it as night fell. This morning, while John was chopping back the jungle, our vecino came yelling. My dogs took my dengue weakened state to their advantage and took off. Tequila was at the gate, refusing to come inside, Rebel was no where to be seen and I could hear the neighborhood dogs loosing it. I finally got Tequila in the house, although I had to chase her up the driveway.
I came back out to my neighbor pointing down the street saying "you dog". Rebel was frozen in front of the gate of a house with two puppies, as they shrieked in terror of the wolf dog staring at them. All the other dogs on the street were shrieking but keeping their distance, which I've always found interesting. These dogs will roll right up on any new dog that comes through, but they see Rebel and run. I eventually got him to come back and get inside, with my vecino laughing having witnessed the entire thing.
I told John he was here and he told me to ask him what he wanted. He said a ride in the truck, and that he'd return in 30 minutes. It was really more like an hour and a half. He decided to return right as I decided to go get a coke and some paletas (suckers) and see what was up. I returned home with the coke to let John know it was time to leave and we left, as I was trying to get a grocery trip out of the adventure.
We pulled in front of our neighbors house and they got to work loading the shelf, which was hilarious. Still feeling weak from the dengue, I sat in the truck eating my paleta and watching the madness. Even our neighbors wife got involved, as the shelf was clearly too heavy. John said it was at least 500 pounds, and I believe him. I don't see John struggle with heavy things very often, and he really struggled.
At a point the thing nearly fell over, because it was extremely top heavy. When it did, it fell against a tree in the yard that held the weight. Our vecina (neighbors wife) laughed hysterically and they thought of a new plan. They used straight round posts as rollers to help move the shelf closer to the truck.
As they discussed the best plan of action for getting it on the truck, two young neighborhood guys showed up offering help. They got it on the truck like shown in the picture and our neighbor did what he could to secure it. Our vecino asked us if we were hungry, and John said yes. He told us he would get us a "fish big especial" for us, whatever that means. He told us to relax with the shelf(referring to the driving) and we started on our way, careful to keep ample distance between any other cars.
It's a good thing we were going downhill and that we didn't approach any cops, as it's technically illegal to move things during the day without a permit here. The brakes started to smell from the stress of driving down the mountain slowly with a huge load on the back. We eventually made it to the beach, where they unloaded the shelf and set it off to the side. He told us to come sit down at the beach, if we wanted our fish, so we followed him to an table under an umbrella. We walked to the beach and put our feet in the ocean, surprised at the warm temperature of the water despite it nearly being December.
He brought us some cokes and told us to wait for the fish. He sat with us for awhile and talked, occasionally leaving to offer people the services he provides on the beach. Many Americans find it startling, but these beaches are covered in guys that are trying to sell you everything from umbrella covered table for awhile to fruit on a stick. I'm amazed at the amount of stuff Mexican men and women can carry on their heads while walking the beaches. A simple no gracias always suffices, but many American's have a problem saying no, thinking they are being rude. You aren't, they will understand if you just say no.
We people watched for awhile and noticed the beach was all of the sudden flooded with Policia and Military, of all types. They seemed to be focused on one area, nearby but not directly next to us. Looked like a bust, or attempted bust of some sort. I obviously kept my distance, so who knows.
We continued to wait and eventually we saw one of our new friends from our vecina's (neighbors wife, notice the a at the end) birthday party we posted about awhile back. She was the really large, dramatic one that was honestly quite funny, despite the fact that she groped everyone there a little. She was the only woman to smoke with me that night, and I respect her for that.
After avoiding the police himself (I think the food cart he got the food from was right where they congregated, mexican's seem to have a natural desire to avoid the police regardless of who they are), our vecino finally brought us our fish big, and big it was. It was also whole, apparently deep fried. It came with a salad with limes, rice, fries and salsas. He told us he'd be back with tortillas, but we started eating.
He never came back with tortillas. At a point, John asked for them and I'm not sure that our neighbor understood what he asked. He asked again finally when the food was almost done, at which point it didn't matter. The food was good, even without the tortillas, although I'm not a huge fan of fish cooked with the skin on. I generally just pick off the skin and leave it to the side.
We finished eating and as the police left, we determined it was time to leave and go to the store, to get some food for home. We told our neighbor and went to leave. Just as John was remarking on the fact that the spot they put the shelf in was bad, our vecino came running after us. He asked for help moving, and offered to find more people. John agreed, despite not wanting to. That shelf was heavy, big and awkward.
After a little while, he came back with people and they got started moving it. Despite the extra hands it was still a task, especially on the hot beach. They took two breaks along the way to where they were going. From my understanding, it was a mess and John apparently had a hole in the back of his shorts the entire time.
He returned sweaty and slightly annoyed, but happy that the task was done. We went to the store and after putting a tee shirt down the back of his pants to cover the hole, we did our shopping.
On the way headed back up the hill, we heard a sharp whistle and saw a young man that works the construction sight running towards us. Evidently, we have a reputation now for giving people free rides sometimes, as we've done it for kids and adults on our hill at this point. As we rounded a corner, the two flagger girls from the sight waved us down and we stopped for them too.
They giggled and laughed as we drive up the rest of the way, where they asked us to stop. They all got out together and thanked us, as we drove away laughing. The whole thing was an adventure, down to driving home. These people had watched as we drove down the mountain with that giant shelf. I figure they respect us a little more every time we do something like this, as it shows them we are more like they are then they originally thought. People are people, even if we look different. This was just one more adventure in what I am assuming will be a long line of adventures to come.