Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Coffee Shop, Part 1

We were sitting around the coffee shop one day taking another morning to solve the world's problems all over again. (This actually was my coffee shop that my now ex-wife and I opened in 1997. I'll tell you about it someday. Great place).

We had been reminiscing about the good old days of Baja before the land was worth anything and the developers came. The good old days were when the phones worked poorly when they worked, the grocery stores had about 5 products and every time a storm blew through, you were stranded with no gas, no water, no lights, nada for days or even weeks. (There was always beer and birria (goat meat) though). If you actually had some gas, you had to drive through flooded arroyos to get anywhere because the few bridges that existed were washed out.

Those were the good old days. Go figure.

We drifted in and out of subjects mainly abusing our friends who hadn’t made it to coffee that morning. Finally someone's indignation flared up over the abundance of poor drivers, another daily subject that we endlessly flog. Someone else complained that nobody ever gets stopped for speeding and how dangerous it was to drive the highway to Cabo from San Jose. When the weekend came, it got worse because not only do you have speeders in the left lane you have drunks in the right lane weaving slowly towards home.

After we had voiced every possible opinion and a couple more, a local Mexican friend had finally heard enough, "I'll tell you what the problem is. You Americans don't know how to drive drunk." (Now there's a sobering thought) "In the U.S. you're scared to get stopped by the police so you act sober and drive 60 mph when actually, you're HAMMERED. Here, before there were drunk tourists on the road, we drove with our flashers on and crept along the shoulder (where a shoulder actually existed) at about 20mph. Everyone knew you were drunk and avoided you. It was a good system"
While I was trying to wrap my brain around that concept, Señor Oso weighed in with his latest issue: "What's the deal with space?" Space? I wondered how we made the quantum leap from drunk driving to space.

"You know, you're driving along with some space in front of you and out of nowhere, somebody jams their car in YOUR space that you’re trying to maintain for your own peace of mind and it turns out he's only going another block and has to jam himself back into the space he came from. Or how about parking space? Nobody builds parking space here for their business. Ya gotta park on one side of town to get groceries on the other side." Ahh, that space. I've wondered that myself actually. Maybe space really is the final frontier.

If you come down, DRIVE CAREFULLY. The fine folks here in Baja Sur have developed their own driving culture that is sometimes completely at odds with the way we Americans as a whole, learned how to drive. Pay attention, don't get in a hurry and you'll be fine. I have plenty more to tell you about driving. Wait 'til you hear what the left blinker means.

To be continued...........

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