San Carlos, Guaymas, Mexico. August 2008.
Leo. We met him the morning after arriving in Guaymas at 3AM and catching the first bus to San Carlos at 5AM after wandering the streets. We found a motel to check into in the dark and slept for a few hours. When we woke up, the sun was already painfully bright. All we knew was that we needed to get to the ocean. Two scraggly Asian kids wearing backpacks over our clothes and bathing suits underneath. We weren’t sure what to do, so we stood by the side of the road with our thumbs out. A red pickup was the first vehicle to stop. We gave each other a “here goes nothing” look and made our way. And there was Leo. Smiling man in a cowboy hat. On the drive to the beach, he pointed out a mountain called “Tetacawi,” or “Goat’s Tits” mountain. It sort of resembled it, I suppose.
Rafael & Celina. They were the only other people on the beach that day. There had been a hurricane not long before we arrived, so there were few tourists. We walked past them and they asked us to sit with them and enjoy some of the complimentary drinks the hotel had provided for them. Turns out Rafael used to pitch for the White Sox, was dropped when he got injured, then recovered and was picked up by a Mexican team that took very good care of him. We sat smoking cigarettes and drinking ’til sunset.
Luis. He arrived on the beach a bit after we did, and sat by himself a few yards away. Handsome fellow. Tall-ish. Fair-skinned. He was visiting from Hermosillo. A daytrip away from a demanding job. Eventually he joined our little group. When it got dark, we said that we’d have to figure out some way to get back to our motel, and he offered us a ride. I’m not sure how we ended up going, but he took us to a secluded clifftop, where we heard the roar of the ocean and saw millions and millions of stars in the sky. When we said we were hungry, he took us to a roadside taco stand. We had strawberry soda and al pastor tacos. And he insisted on treating us to the late-night snack.
Astrid. Swedish accountant turned horse-rancher. Came to work at the resort when it was a MetLife facility, fell in love with the horses, bought the ranch, and that was that. We wandered into her ranch to take a cliche-but-irresistible horseback ride through the desert. Since there had been a hurricane, white flowers bloomed everywhere. She took photos for us, as she surely did to many tourists. We asked her how much it cost to stay in the resort adjacent to her ranch and after we expressed dismay at the expense, offered to let us stay in the guestroom she reserved for friends for nearly nothing. So we did. We stayed in a room above a horse stable. There was a small bookshelf in the corner of the room and after we finished reading the books we brought with us, we left them on the shelf.
We were very lucky that summer.
word from k