31 January 2012 | Banderas Bay
Though we have been in Mexico for a couple of months now neither Bonnie nor I have been able to get into the Mexican Siesta. I kind of thought that Mexican siesta was a quaint custom that happened in sleepy villages of yesteryear but it is alive and well all over the country. Here the people start work in the morning and then during the hottest part of the day usually between 2:00 and 3:00 they quit work, close up shop and then come back to work around 5:00 and work until 7:00 or so before closing for the day. We keep getting reminded about this as we explore the different towns and villages along our way. In order to stock up on some fruits and veggies we took a short taxi ride into Las Varas, a small town close to Chacala where our boat was anchored. We walked through the main street checking out the different stores and then went to explore the outskirts of the town. All the towns we have been in so far all seem to have one thing in common; they all have a town square next to the church. So when we go to a new town we always look for the town square so we can sit in the shade and eat lunch or have a drink of something cool. It was getting later in the afternoon so we hunted down the town square, ate the lunch we packed and people watched for awhile. By the time we were ready to go back to the shops and buy our groceries it was after 2:00 and it seemed the whole town was shutting down. All up and down the street businesses were being shuttered up, big roll up doors were being pulled down and locked, restaurants were bringing in tables and chairs as they were preparing to close for the afternoon. We had a good laugh at ourselves as we watched the scene unfolding because we always seem to want to buy things right during the siesta. Luckily we were able to find a tienda that had the produce we wanted so we did not leave the town empty handed.
While anchored in Bahia de Jaltemba we took a long dinghy ride to the beach and went into explore the town and buy some more groceries. Again it was late in the afternoon but most businesses here were open. We walked through the town exploring the different stores and then had a coke at the town square and watched a toddler chasing after some chickens that were there. We always explore the town first before we buy anything for two reasons; one is so we know which stores have the best prices for the items we want and the other is so we are not carrying heavy bags of groceries while we explore. Heading back through the town we stopped at several stores to buy things and then headed to the carneceria (butcher shop) for meat for dinners. When we got there the roll up door to the entrance was closed part way, the back of a chair acting as it’s stop. We figured we had screwed up again because we were there during siesta time and they were temporarily closed. There was a restaurant next door that was grilling up chicken and beef for their meals. Bonnie asked the waitress if they would sell us just the meat since the carneceria was closed. The waitress looked at her watch, looked at the half closed door of the carneceria and told us that they were still open and all we needed to do was crawl under the door and someone would help us. So we did our best limbo impersonation and crawled under the door. Inside the store there was a big glass cabinet where all the meat was laid out for viewing. There was chicken, beef, pork, hamburger and a large pan of pork sausage that was shaped like a pig. Behind the cabinet pushed up against one of the walls was a large white freezer. On top of the freezer a young man of about twenty was stretched out on his back sound asleep. Bonnie and I debated back and forth about whether we should wake him or not since it was siesta time and he looked so darn peaceful there on top of that freezer. In the end we decided we had to wake him because we were too lazy to walk back across town to one of the stores that had a small selection of meat. But waking him was easier said than done. We said Hola several times first quietly and then louder and louder but it did not even faze him. Bonnie thought it would be funny to take his picture so she brought out the camera and took a couple of shots. Finally a boy that was in the back saw us standing there. He came out and nudged sleeping beauty on the fridge. He woke up saw us standing there and jumped up apologizing emphatically. We had a good laugh and showed him the picture Bonnie took of him. He was very good natured about the whole thing. He said he starts work at 6:00 am so when his boss leaves in the afternoon he takes a nap before he does all the cleanup.
Bonnie and I have been practicing the Mexican Siesta but neither one of us has had much luck with actually sleeping. I start to feel guilty about wasting the afternoon and begin to think about boat projects that need to be done which keeps me from nodding off. Bonnie being the night person that she is begins to feel energetic around siesta time so it has not worked for her either. But we are going to continue working on it and just about the time we have to head back to home and work we will probably have perfected it. I have some nice long tables back home in my classroom that I am sure I could stretch out on and take a nap once my students have left. Just hope my principal does not walk in on me!