By Vair Clendenning
We’ve been in Huatulco for four weeks now and I haven’t written one word, until now. I am now writing because today someone asked me what I did every day and I have to answer, I don’t know. It’s not because I’m old that I don’t know what I’m doing on a daily basis, it’s because I have never thought about what I’m doing. I get up in the morning and go to bed at night and somehow the day fills in the rest, but I have been challenged and now I have to tell everyone what a day in Huatulco is like.
I start every day, whether I’m in Huatulco or Kelowna, by getting up. I should first explain that this getting up process starts the night before when I go to bed, because you have to go to bed before you can get up. So, every morning at 5:30am Donna gets up because she goes to bed at 7:30pm. I do not get up at this ungodly hour because I do not go to bed at 7:30 pm. I go to bed at a respectable hour, somewhere between 10 and midnight, and I get up at about am, give or take an hour or two. I only point this out so you’ll understand how my day starts.
Donna gets up at 5:30am and prepares my breakfast so when I leap into action at 7ish there is a glass of water waiting for me, sometimes. Donna greets me with a cheery, if you want something to eat fix it yourself, and I do. I am perfectly capable of pouring cereal into a bowl and adding milk to it and pouring a glass of orange juice. After breakfast, I do 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups in my mind, grab my frozen water bottle and I’m out the door just in time to meet my walking buddies at 9 am. Everyone I know keeps bottles of water in the freezer so they always have cold water on hand for walks and going to the beach. In 90F or 32C it melts about as fast as you can walk.
Every morning Monday to Friday, we have weekends off, the four Okanagan Outlaws set out for their two-hour walk, rain or shine. It has never rained so we really walk in sunshine only. It would be much better if we started walking at 7am because of the heat, but it is extremely difficult to get four seniors organized that early in the morning so we now consider 9am to be an early start. It doesn’t matter where we go, be it La Crucecita, Santa Cruz or Tangolunda, because we have a favourite coffee stop on every walking route. Walking gives us exercise and the coffee stop fulfills our gambling needs when it’s time to pay. After coffee we have to walk back to where we started in Chahue and that has taken me all the way to 11am.
I should point out that none other than Donna monitors these walks. She installed an app on my phone that is a little heart that is called Health and it counts the steps I take on my morning walk. It also counts the stairs I climb and records the steps, stairs and mileage for her to inspect when I get home. About the only thing it doesn’t do is record the amount of time we stop for coffee.
Eleven AM, walking finished and time to cool off with a quick dip in the pool or just sit in the shade for ½ an hour. Cooling off is important because it also gives me time to plan my next activity, so 11 am to 12 noon is really planning time and waiting for lunch. After I get tired of waiting for lunch I go and make myself a sandwich.
There is one activity that I practice at least three time a week and it is called OGGG days. OGGG is a daily pastime in Huatulco and it stands for Old Guys Getting Groceries. Because walking in hot weather is such a good pastime, Donna wants to walk to Super Che on OGGG days so she can get her 10,000 steps in. Never mind that I walked my 10,000 steps in the morning, it’s now Donna’s turn to walk and I have to go along because I’m the OGGG. The saving grace is that Donna allows me to spend 30 pesos on a taxi ride home because there is nothing in our contract about Old Guys carrying groceries.
If it is not an OGGG day, then it must be a go to the beach day and go to the beach days start something like this. Wanna go to the beach? OK, which one. I don’t care you decide. OK, let’s go to Entrega. No, I don’t want to go there. OK, let’s go to Cacaluta. No, it’s too far to walk. How about our secret beach? We call El Tejón our secret beach so no one will know what beach we’re talking about and then they can’t go there so we have a private beach except for Cerveza Sunday. Cerveza Sunday is a whole different story. So, I suggest our secret beach and after thinking about it for a few minutes Donna comes up with another no. In no particular order I suggest Arrocito, Maguey, Chahue, and Playa Santa Cruz and Donna thinks about it and says No, let’s go to Secret Beach. Hooray a decision has been made, so I pack our chairs and umbrella, water bottles, snorkelling gear and towels into their bags and off we go for an afternoon at the beach, Donna and her pack mule, walking, because that’s the only way we can get to secret beach. I’m now closer to 20,000 steps than 10,000.
On days that are not OGGG days and are not beach days we can either explore Huatulco or sit in/by the pool. I vote for the pool, but Donna wants to explore. Tie vote so Donna wins. I don’t know why she wins, she just does.
On days that we sit by the pool, I read and Donna flits and that is the best way I can describe her pool activities. I think the other name for her actions is Social Butterfly, but I can live with, she flits. Every ½ hour or so, Donna checks up on me to see if I’m still alive so she can request that I go and get her something. A beer, water, chips, a towel, her book, and I know that one is a waste of time because you can’t read when you’re flitting. This activity keeps me awake and adds to my 10,000 steps. If I’m really lucky, Donna will go somewhere and I can then read. Where she goes, nobody knows and it’s peaceful.
Pool time is also dice time and we play a version of Farkle that is Vern’s version. According to Professor Google, Farkle is a dice game that has also been called or is similar to 1000/5000/10000, Cosmic Wimpout, Greed, Hot Dice, Squelch, Zilch, or Zonk. Its origins as a folk game are unknown and while the basic rules are well established, there is a wide range of variation in both scoring and play. We play Vern’s version and the only difference in Vern’s version and all the others is Vern keeps score and Vern wins. After a rousing afternoon of Vern’s Farkle the sun is starting to go down, it’s getting cool in the pool and it is soon to be Cerveza Sundown.
Cerveza Sundown was established to give Old Guys time to relax after a hard day of ____________________. (You can fill in the blank). Old Guys need time to reflect on our busy day and plan how to spend the evening. Evenings are usually spent with the wife and Donna loves it when I call her “The Wife”. Evenings are also the time of the day that I am subjected to stress. You may wonder what is stressful about Huatulco, but deciding what to have and where to go for supper can be extremely stressful. In the last issue of the “bite” I counted 23 eating-places in La Crucecita, 14 in Santa Cruz, 13 in Chahue and 6 in Tangolunda. That is 56 eating establishments that I have to consider every evening during Cerveza Sundown. The many eating establishment do not count the old standby eating at home. Whenever I vote for eating at home, Donna votes for eating out and it ends up in a tie vote. You know what happens in a tie vote; Donna wins.
Once Donna and I have decided where to go for supper, I have to shower and change my clothes because I have been in the water all afternoon and that necessitates a shower to wash off the water I’ve been in all afternoon. Go figure. So, after showering and a clean t-shirt, a decision made on where we’re going to eat, we have to decide on walking or a taxi. By now I’ve walked 20,000 steps and Donna has walked 2,000 so she votes to walk and I don’t even bother to vote, because she wins and we’re allowed to take a taxi home. Dinner finished, but no desert, into the taxi and we’re home by 7:30pm to watch Grace and Frankie and then it’s off to bed for Donna and my day is over. I now get to relax and plan how I will spend tomorrow.
Sometimes my day isn’t planned like last week when I had an earache. After about three days of an aching ear Donna talked me into seeing a doctor so this is where we get to be Dufas and Dorkas again. Not knowing any Spanish, or doctors or where they are, Donna said let’s go to the Cruz Roja. That’s the Red Cross in Mexico and I knew where it is so off we go. A short 30-peso taxi ride took us to the Cruz Roja and in we went to see the doctor. No one in the Cruz Roja spoke English; we spoke no Spanish so we communicated by sign language. In reality I pointed at my ear and the young Mexican nurse took me into another room to see the doctor. I pointed to my ear for the doctor and he understood immediately and said, “you’ve got a sore ear” in Spanish, I think. He got the look in your ear thing, looked in my ear and ran out of the room screaming. No, not really but he did look in my ear and ask if I wanted pills or injections and then wrote a prescription for something. Donna picked injections, so to save voting time I went along with her pick. After all how much can an injection hurt.
The little young nurse took the prescription to the pharmacy; the pharmacy is part of Cruz Roja, filled the prescription and took me into the back room. I call her the little nurse because she was no more than 3’2” with her hands up. She spoke to me in Spanish and I understood every word. Drop your pants and bend over is a universal command and I did as ordered. Then she said three magical English words and smiled as she said them. In perfect English she said “in your bum”. The words didn’t hurt but her smile made my cheeks pucker and then she plunged the needle into my right butt cheek and gave me the most painful injection I’ve ever had. By the time she emptied the needle I couldn’t move my right leg and my ass felt like I had just survived 100 lashes. That is when she smiled again and said cuatro mas and I sure as hell understood what she meant.
Day two of the injection marathon and back I go to Cruz Roja to see the tiny nurse and the big needle. She was waiting for me and had that silly little smile on her face as she escorted me to the ‘drop your pants room”. This time I elected to torture my left butt cheek and it worked. After the injection my left leg didn’t work. Two injections and my butt aches, both cheeks, I’m dragging my left leg and still favouring my right leg so I must look like Quasimodo fleeing the hospital. As I leave the tiny little nurse smiles at me and says tres mas.
Believe it or not, injections 3, 4 & 5 went without a hitch, no pain, no limping, both legs worked and I had a different nurse. Go figure. As I write this, my ass no longer aches, both my legs work and I think my earache is gone, or almost gone, I have no idea what was in those needles but Donna is happy. The little nurse was in the pharmacy and waved to me as I left so I waved back. She smiled her evil smile and said No Mas in your bum. I ran.