June 22, 2011 – I am sitting on our balcony at Casa Madera watching the rain drop from the sky. It is intense for our first real rain of the season. Rain. Never thought I would enjoy it as much as I do here. It probably has something to do with the fact that it is still 26 degrees and the water falling is warm not cold like it is in Canada.
When it comes like this it is nice. However yesterday we were on a hurricane watch as Hurricane Beatriz was working her way up the Mexican coast and while it would most likely not hit us directly we would probably get tropical storm winds and lots and lots of rain. Beatriz though was just like the latest Canadian political landscape, it took a straight left turn and wandered out into the ocean.
Hurricanes. Never had to worry about hurricanes in Edmonton however if you want warm weather you take the little side extras that comes with it.
Our first experience with a hurricane like event was in September 2009 and it came from the most unlikely source…..
September 2009 – We had made the deal on the house that was to become Casa Madera and were patiently waiting for it to close. There were many delays but we were told don’t worry it will close, we just don’t know when.
We had told Mary and Lore about the house purchase prior to returning to Canada for a vacation at the end of July. They were very excited for us. They were well aware of what we had in the condo and it was not going to go far in a 3000 square foot house. It was then that they suggested we should all go to Guadalajara to shop for items for the house.
This was a great idea. Heather and I always wanted to go to Guadalajara but had not been able to fit it in yet. So we agreed that when returned from Canada we would set it up for the end of September after my kids had returned home (they were coming back with us for a vacation).
We returned and the dates were set. We would leave Thursday morning on the midnight bus so we could hit the market in Tonala which runs Thursdays and Sundays. We would stay at Mary’s parents house. Ok, this will be interesting but really who better to haul you around a city of 8,000,000 people than a couple of people who lived there!
To do this though we would have to get over our fear of being on the highway at night. The one main rule we had always been told was to never, ever drive at night. The roads are narrow, twisty and there is always the possibility of running into a cow as they sometimes graze on the side of the highways. However, it made the most sense to do this so we said ok.
On the day we were to leave Mary said she would come by the condo and pick us up around 8:00 pm. From our condo we went over to her friends Carlos and Bertha’s house Bertha was determined to feed us and feed us she did. Tacos dorado (deep-fried with potatoes, yummy), beans, rice, guacamole, it was endless and very, very good.
After she filled us with food we were off to the bus depot where we purchased tickets to Guadalajara which included a snack on board. In minutes we were on the bus and on our way. A big adventure for Heather and I who really did not know what to expect. Mary and Lore were in total control.
The bus ride was non eventful. There was a movie if you wanted to watch but I was more interested in trying to sleep. Sleep, now that would have been nice. I don’t sleep well in moving vehicles, never have but I did manage to catch an hour of shut-eye on the 4 hour trip.
We rolled into Guadalajara at 4:00 am and took a cab to Mary’s parents house. It was 4:45 am and we were greeted by Mary’s mother who had the biggest grin on her face for someone who was awakened at this ungodly hour to let her daughter, her daughter’s best friend and two middle-aged deer in the headlights white people into her house. After the introductions we were shown to our bedroom and laid down to try to get a little sleep before the big shopping day.
We were up at 7:30 and went downstairs to actually say hello. Or try. We spoke very little spanish at this point and they spoke no english so we did what we could. While we were talking I noticed in the corner of the living room there was a mountain made of Papaya’s. No one offered any explanation for them being there and we did not ask as we were just trying to fit in.
At that point Mary’s mother, her sister Maggie, and Maggie’s son were up. Then two of the largest men I had ever seen walked into the living room. Mary’s brothers, Fernando and Victor. Identical twins, great. I will have enough problems getting know everybody’s name without dealing with identical twins!
Victor and Fernando started loading the papaya‘s into the back of their pick up. Once loaded they were off and as far as we could tell were selling them door to door for 10 pesos each.
Then more people came out of the back of the house. Where were they all coming from? This house is huge. It turned out that 3 families were living in the house though we found out later that one was moving out on the weekend to their own apartment.
Heather and I were suffering from severe culture shock. We were definitely fish out of water and were really never sure what was going to happen next.
Breakfast, that’s what happened next. Papaya, now there was a surprise. I was never a big fan of papaya but this was really good and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Full of papaya we picked up our stuff and headed out to catch the bus to Tonala.