To my darling prairie dogs,
I wish you could all see me as I pack for my annual trip to Cancun, Mexico. Yes, today I have a skip in my step, a bright pink geranium in my hair, and a note on my luggage reminding me NOT to drink from the hose at the hotel again this year.
I don’t know what it is about the Third World that just puts me in a good mood. Maybe it’s the rich taste of the locally grown coffee. Or perhaps it’s the local folks waving to me with stained fingers from picking the coffee. Or it could be the cheap knock-off Pamprin with codeine. I simply adore that dust bowl of a country south of the border!
But if I’m completely honest, there is one part of Mexico that I find irresistibly wonderful – shopping on the beach! It’s heaven to be sunning yourself and nearly every minute a friendly sales person approaches you with another product line! First it’s a pair of sunglasses, then a 10-pound glass paperweight in the shape of a turtle, then a darling set of monkeys carved from coconuts, then a colorful, 100-percent leather wrestling mask. The variety is amazing! Just sit and enjoy! Your Christmas shopping will be over in about an hour!
I thought I’d purchased everything they had to offer until last November, when I was sunning myself, hoping that someone would sell me something! Just then a local senorita asked if I wanted “corn rows”. As a homegrown Midwestern gal, I always support anything related to agriculture, so I agreed.
That’s when Maria or Juanita, or something like that, was all business as she headed behind me. I was a bit concerned that I didn’t see her. However, I was soon comforted by her persistent humming an upbeat number from Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. I know a lot of folks don’t want to be interrupted when they’re cooking, so I kept still.
But after about 3 hours, I’d finished perusing my Marie Clare Magazine, almost completed the TV Guide crossword and I noticed that it was starting to get dark. That’s when I turned around to say to her, “Hey I’m starving! When are you going to be done with that corn?”
But Maria or Juanita didn’t have any pots or pans or any kitchen utensils at all. In fact she was holding nothing more than a comb and some gold beads, with a couple of ponytail scrunchies in her mouth. Then she wanted 10 bucks!
I just wanted dinner, so I gave her a few dollars and ran for my life!
I got back tot the hotel safely that night, which was a simple place with no mirror in the shared bath.
But I had no idea that she’d braided my hair until 2 days later when I saw my reflection in the bus window on the way home to Richfield! I couldn’t believe how flattering and ethnic I appeared! I would have kept the braids, but everybody kept calling me “Bo” – that’s a boy name, isn’t it?
XO and one for Jesus,