1. Blog more often
Yeah, that was a Resolution last year too... did I stick to it? No, not really. Certainly not for the last two months. Sorry about that. So why the Radio Silence? Well, basically I’ve been sulking. Mexico is great, I like it here... but things have not really been going to plan. Why can’t everything always be easy?! But I am sticking it out – I am not packing my bags and saying "sod-it I’m outta here" as I would have done at any other time in the last 10 years – nope – I am settling in and making the best of it. Because I am a grown-up and that is, I believe, what grown-ups do (growns-up? groan up? hmmmm).
2. Stop sulking
Because grown-ups don’t do that, do they?
3. Speak Spanish
It’s all about Spanish. With Spanish I can get a better job. With Spanish I can meet more people. With Spanish I can join in the conversations and jollity amongst The Beautiful People at work. With Spanish I might even be able to get my Boiler fixed before the end of the year ("Which one?" you ask, with a wry smile. "Oh bugger off, it’s not funny", I reply sulkily.)
4. Stop being intimidated by The Beautiful People
I work in a posh hotel; I work next door to the Entertainment Team. It’s like working on the set of Baywatch, the Latino Version. I like to think of them as Redcoats, it makes me feel slightly less intimidated. But it doesn’t change the fact they’re all beautiful, vivacious, speak several languages and can dance, sing and flirt for Mexico. Which is good, because that’s exactly what they’re paid to do. They do kayaking and biking in the morning; water aerobics, rifle-shooting and Name That Tune at lunch time; they teach Tennis, Pottery, Pre-Hispanic history and the Merengue in the afternoon (if you’re imagining a Latino Johnny Castle – he’s here) and in the evening they put on a Cabaret. At about 11am they mooch about, complain about the tips and attempt (with increasing exasperation) to speak to me Spanish. They’re very nice, but they scare me a bit.
5. Learn to love chillies
They put chilli on pineapple! They put it on rice pudding! They put it on cucumber, melon and chocolate cake! They even put chilli in their beer! Seriously! In beer!
Ok, the pineapple thing actually works really well – but beer! I went out for Christmas Drinks with my work colleagues last week (to a local bar on the highway: a windowless shack in perpetual gloom, decorated with faded sepia photos of men with extraordinary mustaches. The house band started at 4pm and had a combined age of 130. There were two of them. The waitresses had a combined weight of about 700 lbs. There were three of them. I tangoed with our Mayan Boat Captain, to Mexican ‘Om-pah’ music, played on an electronic keyboard and full sized drum kit. The beers were cheap, the food was delicious and the service was beyond compare. Our Mayan Boat Captain also danced with each of the Waitresses in turn – it was like watching a tugboat manoeuvring an oil tanker. At the end of the evening our Mayan Boat Captain told me he was going to ‘take the stars from the sky and give each one to me’... or something along those lines. He told me in Spanish and I didn’t understand much. One of our Divemasters translated and getting quite emotional, with moistened eyes, he exclaimed,
"If only you could understand what he is saying to you! It’s so beautiful, I think I might be falling in love with him!" Suffice to say, it was an excellent night.) But there was a point to this story! Really there was! When they bought our excellent bar snacks (ceviche, grilled chicken, and some other stuff that I didn’t recognise but ate a lot of) they also bought Salsas. There was a green one. As I dipped my corn chip, more than a few pairs of expectant eyes rested on me and I guessed it was going to be hot. I tasted it. Carefully. Seventeen seconds later my head exploded. But I handled it well, necked my cold beer and lived. Whilst I coughed, spluttered and explored the inside of my mouth with my tongue, wondering why I couldn’t feel anything, I watched one of the Instructors, take a spoon, spoon a generous dollop onto his tortilla and eat the lot in one mouthful without a flicker.
6. Move house
Because sadly, I can’t afford my current place. It seems Meanwhile Time Flies has also been Credit Crunched and, alas, there just aren’t enough tourists to go around. So it’s time to tighten the old belt here in Mexico too. But if I packed my bags, where would I go? I spoke with a tourist earlier today; he was berating the Mexicans and us foreign workers for being "oblivious" to the troubles that the USA is currently undergoing. I informed him that I earnt US$100 for the last 2 weeks work and that I’m making more than many of my colleagues; I reminded him that everyone here works for commission-only, so many days it actually costs us money to come to work; I pointed out that since tourism is the only industry in this area, there are no other jobs. I assured him that nobody here is, in any way, oblivious to America & Europe’s economic woes and then I asked him how he was enjoying his holiday? Bastard didn’t even tip.
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