Monday, September 22, 2008

Buen Provecho y Banos

Armed with a couple maps that say conflicting things about the path ahead, we triumphantly buzz out of Puerto Vallarta, through the cliff-side town of Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan, past Mediterranean-inspired estates and cinderblock shacks. We stop for food at a roadside town. The way the lady never volunteers English but waits for me to use my Spanish makes me think that they don’t seem many tourists this way. The way she quickly rattles off a response makes me realize that my Spanish has been mistaken for fluency. It’s exciting to rely on the words we’ve only used mostly for fun, up until now. We sit in a small back room, off the highway. Cement walls are painted turquoise with large pinatas for decoration (A traditional horse and Shrek?) Almuerzo of delicious chicken, soft corn tortillas and rice is conducted completely in Spanish. While eating, an older Mexican cowboy walks by and wishes us buen provecho. A second follows with a dignified limp, a curious look, and a doff of a cowboy hat as he wishes us buenos dias.

Another part of the small-town experience: el bano. A promising sign points to a door, that heads outside. Walking through the door, I’m expect to see another sign that leads to another door, but instead find myself surrounded by four cement walls of the neighboring buildings, with only a thin, low-hanging, hole-ridden tarp sheltering my activities from the heavens above and world around. I look around me and feel like I’m the subject of one of those brain-teaser jokes: a girl’s in a cramped, outdoor bathroom, with only a toilet with no handle, a barrel of rainwater, and a small bucket. How does she flush the toilet?

Answer: fill the bucket with rainwater, dump the water in the toilet, and the toilet auto-magically flushes!

I felt like a winner washing my hands and encourage Nic to try out the bano.

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