Lazy Saturday Moment


It’s Saturday and I’m sitting in the rocker. For a moment life is peaceful. (Well until I started to write, now it seems everyone has a question. LoL)

Today began early. I woke at 3:45am. The band in the plaza was still playing loudly. It’s festival time in our town, which means 10 nights of loud bands and Mexican fireworks. (All bang, no beautiful lights) I had set my alarm for 4:10, but 3:45 was close enough. Our last outreach team for the season left this morning. Hence the getting up before the party goers left the plaza to call it a night. 
I was at the Hope House by 4:30am and the vans were packed and ready by 5:30am. I said my goodbyes and soon after Rodney & Jacques pulled out headed to the airport. 
The girls and I returned home and were back in bed by 6:00am, just in time for the noisy barrage of morning fireworks to begin. An hour later I heard the doorbell ring and knew instantly that Rodney was locked out of the house. (Again about 15 minutes before my alarm was scheduled, I was awake.) The rest of the morning speed by with Physical Therapy for Zion, a Hope House board meeting and a trip to Walmart. We made it home in time for a 2 o’clock Mexican lunch and a short siesta. The girls and I played with the Super Spirograph which Zion got for her birthday and now it is time to get ready for a friends wedding. 
And that is how my Lazy Saturday turned into a Lazy Saturday Moment. 

Mexican Street Vendors

As we pulled to a stop at the red light in Guadalajara, our American friend was shocked to see the intersection street vendors. After all, in America you never see people walking in the middle of the road between the stopped cars selling things. As our friend questioned my husband, “Who would buy something here?”, my husband just shook his head. “I don’t know”, he replied, trying not to call attention to the fact that just a few cars in front of them, I had rolled down my window and was flagging over a vendor. Slightly embarrassed, my husband just changed the subject hoping that our friend would not spot me in mid-purchase.  
This vendor had exactly what I had been looking for! At that time, in our home the power went out on a regular basis. We had burned through a steady supply of candles. As a result, I had been searching, without success, all over town for an old fashioned oil lantern. Much to my delight my search had finally come to an end. Right there in downtown Guadalajara, a local street vender was carrying an armful of fire engine red oil lanterns. I readily bought two before the light changed to green and then I pulled away. 

I love street vendors, you just never know what they are going to have. In addition to the lanterns, I have personally bought many items at these express convenient stops: a lap top TV tray, stress ball, foamy puzzle in the shape of Mexico, a cell phone card, a stuffed minion, a bottle of water, bag of tangerines, a dozen roses, a pack of gum…the list goes on. 

One of my favorite things in Mexico are these street vendors. They have so many things to buy and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your car. After living in Mexico for more than a decade, I now miss the street vendors when we are driving in the States. In the U.S., at the intersection, there is never anyone to offer me a drink, or to clean my windshield or to just “DO” something interesting to entertain me while I wait. So the next time you’re driving in Guadalajara, don’t be surprised by the mass of intersection street vendors. Oh and make sure you have a few pesos ready, they might be selling just what you have been looking for. 

Learning to Fit In

Since moving to Mexico I have become a terrible driver. Well….terrible may not be the best discription. Perhaps “terror on wheels” would be more accurate….at least,  when I employ my new found driving skills on streets in the United States. 

As I’ve said before, driving in Mexico is very different from driving in the U.S. In Mexico driving is fast paced and aggressive. If you hesitate while driving, you are likely to get hit or cause an accident. You must, look fast, think fast and act fast. Let me give you a couple of examples.
I remember one day years ago while driving in Knoxville, Tennessee. We were on Kingston Pike, a major street in that town. The traffic was thick and I needed to merge left. Instead of slowing and gently merging, I noticed a gap between some cars ahead of us. Instinctively I floored the gas coming right upon the car in front of me. I then tapped the breaks and made a sharp 90 degree turn swerving into the left lane. “Perfectly executed!” Unfortunately execution isn’t what I should have been aiming for. Upon seeing the whites of my mom’s knuckles grasping the armrest on the passenger seat beside me, I immediately realized what I had done. “Was I insain?” This type of driving, that in Guadalajara keeps me alive, in Tennessee could easily cause an accident. 
Speaking of accidents, I can’t count the times I’ve almost rear-ended someone who has stopped halfway in the median. In Guadalajara when turning left across traffic, you always stop your car completely out of traffic. You always maneuver your car completely into the median, NEVER allowing the trunk of your car to jut out into the lane of (still moving) traffic. This fact is so important that often many cars will stack up side by side in the median as to avoid getting hit!
And hitting someone is exactly what I have almost done while driving behind all those courteous drivers waiting their turn to pull left into traffic. I naively expected them to get their cars completely out of my lane. Instead of slowing, I maintained speed fully expecting them to move. “Oh my”, by the time I processed that they were……STOPPING, there was almost not enough distance for me to stop before rear-ending them. 
(It seems I’m not the only one who has struggled with this problem, my husband told me that he has also experienced this phenomenon since learning to drive in Mexico.)
When we moved to Mexico over 13 years ago, I remember making the long drive across the state of Tennessee, then Arkansas and finally Texas. The closer to the Mexican border we drove, the faster and more hectic the traffic became. At that time, it was unusual and frightening to navigate all the access roads and avoid the aggressive drivers. But today, after becoming a terrible driver, I fit right in!