Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sitting up on the third floor terrace of this house on 5 de febrero (cuba), drinking a thimble of tequila at 10:45 in the morning, I´m watching the rain pour down over the village. The pearl surface of the lake stretches calm across to San Pedro, the volcano of Colima beyond, puffing up smoke as it regularly does each morning. To the north, the hills flank the village and all the other villages on this side of the lake. Chapala, the commercial centre. Mezcalá, where two seafood restaurants keep roving gangs of mariachis in pay and the boats head out to Alacrán island. Beyond Mezcalá to another San Pedro, where I´ve gone to swim twice now, despite the warnings from the foreigners that the lake is polluted. And east, where Jocotapéc straddles the west edge of the lake. Where the buses burned this spring thanks to the cartels. It´s not pouring enough that the cobblestones turn to river. It´s about 24 degrees. I can hear the two Marlenes whooping at their guest, David. I can hear the carpenters sanding, Magda shrieking playfully at her daughter. Her daughter at her wits end with a teething son, Gordito (everyone has forgotten his real name). The dozens of orioles. The occasional parrot. Dogs. Swallows. Drains clattering.

With four days left here now, I´m down to tricking my brain. You have a whole long weekend, I say. You have almost a week. Think of how many vacations you've taken that were only four days that seemed to last forever. For now I am truly, for this last week, on vacation. Today, a primo's birthday party. Tomorrow, a giant carne asada with the main family from this street, including the tias locas, at least four brothers, their wives and their childrens' new baby. Monday, a smaller affair down at the water´s edge, under the tree el Dictador calls his segunda arbol. He´s going to set up a hammock and some coals. All my favourite people will be there.

Sometimes a life changes, takes a 180 turn. This is the longest continuous period of time I've spent in this country since I was 20. My only thought now is that this is a drop in the bucket, compared to the time I want to (and will) spend here in the future.