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La Manzanilla Memo - October 27, 2012

How I Spent the Summer

If Thomas Edison is correct about ‘genius being one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,’ I was absolutely brilliant during this column’s summer hiatus. Summer in La Manzanilla is like being locked in a sauna, while a sadistic Mother Nature pours water on the rocks nonstop. Daily heat indices, frequently hovering in the 110-degree range, made it easy to break a sweat doing nothing more strenuous than sitting in front of a fan. Forget about doing much else.

While friends and family in the United States eased into Memorial Day weekend, everyone here was battening down the hatches for the imminent arrival of category two Hurricane Bud. The plaza looked like a used-boat yard as fishermen moved their pangas to higher ground. Soldiers and Civil Protection personnel patrolled the streets, and frequent blares from our storm-alert siren heightened the frenzy. Some of us waited for the storm at Palapa Joe’s, enjoying Willy Mason’s Buddy Mary’s. A few screaming gusts of tree-bending wind and intermittent spates of pounding rain later, it was all over but waiting for CFE to get the power back on.

This rare, early hurricane kicked off a rainy season that was, in itself, anomalous. What the rain lacked in its usual frequency, it made up for in volume. Interminable stretches of hot, dusty, dry spells were occasionally interrupted by downpours – five, eight, up to almost 12 inches at a time. Rain gouged deep chasms down roads with even the slightest incline, and flat areas were flooded or mud caked. La Manzanilla in summer may be beautiful, but it isn’t always pretty.

Fortunately, “Happy Cooker”Alex Mayberry kept the Café de Flores kitchen fires burning for three evenings a week throughout the summer. With a limited menu featuring a different theme each week and an electric fan for each table, she helped keep us well fed, cool, and in touch with other summer residents whom she lured out of hibernation for her great dinners and desserts.

It was also a blessing to have Marisco’s Deli open all summer for home-cooked sandwich fixings, salads and other goodies. Otherwise I probably would have subsisted on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. Proprietors Robert Kastner and Jill Hunt have big plans for launching Marisco’s third year in La Manzanilla, including made-to-order sandwiches, coffee and breakfast munchies, and outdoor café seating.

Highway 200 between La Manzanilla and Melaque is now as smooth as a Carlos Santana guitar riff. Road crews worked through months of sweltering temperatures to grade, gravel and pave the road bed. Traffic was reduced to one lane through the various construction zones, and driving was tedious, not to mention rocky, at times. With little else to amuse us this summer, guessing where the switchovers would be on any given day gave us something to talk about besides the heat.

Manzanillo’s first Sam’s Club opened right on schedule: September 21. The new Sam’s is located on Blvd. Miguel de la Madrid, a few blocks south of and on the same side of the street as Soriana.

Those of us along the Costalegre who enjoy shopping at big-box membership stores, myself included, are very excited about having a Sam’s practically in our back yard. Previously we had to travel to either Colima or Puerto Vallarta, some hours farther away than Manzanillo. I don’t care if patronizing Sam Walton isn’t politically correct. I find it comforting to have access to all that “stuff” under one roof, some of which would be difficult, even impossible, to find anywhere else nearby. It just seems so civilized, somehow.

Construction continues on Manzanillo’s new Home Depot, slated for a mid-December opening. Can Costco be far behind?  I hope not.

10 Ways To Tell Summer is Over

The weather isn’t giving away any hints that summer is on its way out. It may be the end of October according to the calendar, but it still feels like August to me. None of us who’s been here all summer is talking about it, reluctant as we are to relinquish our past few lethargic months of tranquility. But the clues are unmistakable.

1. A few “winter people” return each week.

2. Rain damaged roads are being graded.

3. People are arguing about the best way to clean rocks off the beach.

4. June Nery put out the call to clean up the Community Garden.

5. Karen Taylor is offering her yoga and pilate workouts again.

6. The Lounge Lizards are perfecting new music sets.

7. Lora Loka is opening for the season.

8. Alex is loading the shelves at Supermercado Hawaii in Melaque with “gringo” food.

9. Rental properties are being spiffed and polished.

10. The Drum and Bugle Corps at the telesecundaria across the street is practicing its “sneakers spinning in the clothes dryer and geese running amok on acid” routine for the November 20 Revolution Day parade.

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