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Posted by The Other Mike from Minnesota from 188.8.131.52 (cob-cache.r.state.mn.us) on jueves, enero 29, 2004 at 12:26:05 :
THE CASE OF THE TEQUILA THIEF
An unfortunate event happened early in our stay. I was in the liquor store adjacent to the basketball court in Zihua looking at tequila. I noticed a wiry, emaciated young man enter the store. He came near me and looked around. He looked at me and made eye contact, he didn’t appear friendly so I looked away. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him look around some more. He took a bottle of tequila and stuck it in his pants, concealing it partially with his shirt. He looked at me and I stared at him. Nonetheless, he took off, leaving the store without paying for the bottle. He glanced back at me as he left and made eye contact again. I am sure he just figured I was a fat gringo who didn’t know enough Spanish to report him, or that it would just too much bother. I saw the manager and told him what I saw and described the young man to him. The manager took off running down the street and apprehended the young man, catching him red-handed with the goods. The police took the young man away.
I fretted over the incident, wondering if I did the right thing, fearing the young man would end up getting beaten or stuck in a black hole in prison for the rest of his life. I did talk to some knowledgeable people the next day and learned that in such cases, the person goes to a six-week rehab program. They are held incommunicado, apparently, not even their families are notified. At the end of the six-week period, they are released. There are about 55 different AA groups in Zihua available to the young man. At least he will have a chance. I am saying prayers for him.
We packed our beach towels and snorkels and walked to Zihua to the pier. I bought two tickets for the water taxi to Playa Las Gatas and away we went. We walked all the way down the beach to Otilio’s to see Franco and Lalo (I think they may be brothers). We found a great spot and parked for the day. Franco and Lalo kept us in Indios, and Franco brought me some of his well-known locally rolled cigars. They are absolutely great! He gave me the first one free (just like he did last year) and then offered to sell me some more for whatever price I wanted to pay him. I found that to be an interesting approach – I paid him a good price and I suspected that other folks who like good cigars and appreciate his cigars likewise would pay him a good price. After visiting with some other very pleasant people who were next to us on the beach, Kayleen and I put on our snorkels and went snorkeling! We saw some interesting fish and swam out to the rocks by the end of the pier. The current was a bit pushy, and Kayleen and I ended up swimming back and cutting our snorkeling a bit short. We walked back to Otilio’s and ordered lunch and worked on some more Indios. Franco and Lalo kept our bucket full of ice and beer. Our neighbors were eating – they had the seafood platter. We had that last year and found it to be much more than we could eat, just the two of us. By the way, we have been known to ingest large quantities of seafood – last time we went to the Shrimp Factory in Mazatlan, we ordered a kilo of shrimp, a kilo of lobster AND the seafood appetizers – we managed to handle all of it, much to the waiter’s surprise! Our neighbors did well. I warned them about Franco’s sense of humor – he likes to tease people when they ask for the check – he will tell them they owe an outrageous sum – then he laughs and tells them the real price (which is pretty reasonable). So, Franco came out and tells our neighbor “$1,100 pesos.” We all get a good laugh, and I say “un cheste, no?” (A jest/joke, no?) We ordered mahi-mahi for Kayleen and garlic shrimp for me, with an appetizer of fish tacos. Yummy! We sat some more, took a brief siesta, and then headed back. We ride the boat back along with a mariachi band. They are talking, as best as I could understand with my limited Spanish, about some rude tourists they encountered. They didn’t do too much business that day, and some of the tourists were rude, as far as I could tell.
Commentary: Generally, the fellow travelers I encountered were polite and respectful, but nearly every day I would see some tourist hollering out things like “Hey Pancho! Bring some more beer!” Yes, I actually heard someone say that very thing. I think that the Mexican people who serve in the tourist industry deserve respect, and they certainly earn every penny they make. I admire waiters and waitresses I see in Minnesota who have to endure rude people as well. I certainly hope that Mexicans don’t judge people from the US and Canada by the behavior of a few rude folks. I’m sure they don’t. As far as language barriers, I would put forth the opinion that any English speaking North Americans traveling anywhere ought to learn at least a few rudimentary phrases, so they can at least say, “Please”, Thank you” and “Excuse me”. My wife got a tape of beginning Spanish and studied it for months. She brought it with her and practiced in our hotel room. She made a solid effort to speak Spanish, and the reaction she received from Mexicans was wonderful! They would bend over backwards to accommodate her.
TO BE CONTINUED
Still to come: the Pirates, the cocodrilo, Curly’s cooler Part II – Villa Mexicana version, and more!
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