Saturday, January 20, 2007

Change of climate and a change of cultures

Outdoor butcher shop
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - The Admiral and I returned home from Mexico late Friday and it wasn't until this afternoon that the reality of life back here began to sink it.

It coincided with waking up after a several marathon days in Mexico just before we left and then a looooong day of travel from Puerto Vallarta to San Francisco via Alaska Airlines and a drive home in the Prius.

Alaska Airlines reminded me that I was back in the nation of rules. First, I forgot to put up my tray table when the plane started to taxi and thought I had committed a felony given how the flight attendant barked at me. Then, during the flight, the attendants were on the loudspeaker every five minutes, reminding us that we were on an international flight and, by God, there were rules. And they repeated those rules many times in a 4-hour flight. What rules? Well, stay in your seat, don't make lines in the aisles for the two bathrooms at the rear of the plane and please, please, don't interfere with the handing out of stale pretzels.

It was pretty hard to reconcile all that with a nation that lets you drink a beer on a bus if you so desire and let's people ride around, gasp, in the backs of pickup trucks, sans seat belts.

On our sojourn from Puerto Vallarta to La Manzanilla to get another look at Admiralty Beach, we stopped in a little town for water and snacks and parked next door to the Mexican butcher shop you see in the photo above.

The butcher thought it was pretty funny that I was taking photos of his sides of beef and a few chickens hanging there. While we got our supplies, he came out several times to make some cuts from the raw meat, which he then wrapped and sold to customers.

Not exactly the Safeway meat counter, but you sure know what you're eating.

When we got to La Manzanilla, the Admiral posed outside of Santana Realty, the company we have been talking with about Admiralty Beach property with the nice folks there.

Note the bare feet. Don't see that at Coldwell-Banker offices.

Barefoot at Santana and grinning
Barefoot and grinning

The sad part of that trip, however, was when we walked the beach in front of La Manzanilla and saw that five loggerhead turtles had washed up on the beach and were in various states of decay. In several cases, sea creatures (crabs most likely) had already started to reclaim the turtles back to nature. Farther up the beach, buzzards were hard at work.

The turtle deaths appeared to be natural, perhaps a virus we supposed. The local folks were puzzled, too, and a team of naturalists in town, studying the ever-present cocodrilos, was expected to take a look to see if they could figure out what was killing these magnificent creatures.

Dead tortugas on La Manzanilla playa
Two of the five dead turtles

And although this part of the coast rarely has serious threats from hurricanes, we also took a tour of seawall being built by one gringo to protect the house he has planned for his property.

A veteran of hurricanes in Florida, he apparently lost severals home some years ago to rising waters and isn't taking any chances at his new casa.

Pretty impressive concrete and rock.

Heavy-duty seawall
Heavy-duty seawall

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