Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Workforce

Man using a ladder like pogo sticks
I really truly enjoy watching the work-force in different countries. Mexico is exceptionally interesting because they work under any conditions except 100 degrees at noon, then they wait.

You don’t have an orange cone to warn people about the gaping man-hole cover over the sewer water? No problem… just break off a huge mango tree branch and set it next to the hazardous opening. All the cars go around the branch. When they finished working they just threw the branch in the nearby field.

The last hotel we stayed at, La Barca, was under construction during our stay. These guys worked from dawn to dusk 7 days/week. There scaffolding was made of random boards and they frequently just leaned out the fourth floor opening and painted or welded while gripping an interior bar with the other hand. This guy was smart enough to own a construction harness, but didn’t seem to quite have the concept of hooking it up to the structure!

The first signs of a new construction project here is a pile of rocks on the sidewalk in front of the intended project. What a mess.

The taxi business here is amazing. At first I shunned the idea of taking an expensive taxi to a beach fifteen minutes walking distance away. At the same time I noticed the taxis were super busy… all the time. We never had a taxi driver ask us if we wanted a ride. They aren’t desperate. Okay, so what gives? The fact is that the taxis here are so cheap, it’s crazy not to take one. We took a taxi from La Punta (the other end of town) at night. The driver kept picking passengers up and dropping them off. We had six passengers at one point! Everybody just accepts it as normal especially at night. They consider it a favor that the driver is willing to pick them up, like a co-op taxi.
Let’s go to the beach now. That’s where you really see the hustle.

At other beaches the hustle has been the obnoxious kind. Not so here, they take no for an answer with no attitude. Everyone works here, from child to ancient. Every single day on Playa Manzanillo I see this old man slowly cruise by with his wheelbarrow with a big tub of coconut ice cream and cones. Another very old and tiny lady comes by with wooden beer mugs and spoons.

Over on Playa Carrizalillo they have the surf instructors with white sunscreen pasted on their faces like some sort of ancient war-paint. These guys love to surf, but they also love to get high. I have been sitting 3 feet away from them as they smoked pot and I can barely smell it because of the updraft of wind on the beach. It doesn’t seem to keep them from teaching people to surf, though they do get a little crazy when bored. The other day they entertained themselves by running towards the ocean and trying to do a complete no-hands forward flip on the sand. This went on for a good 30 minutes. I thought for sure one of them would break his neck.

They have the boys between 5 and 10 years old standing on rocks in the surf fishing. They use a hand-size square board with fishing line wound around it. Some of the older kids and teens swim out to the bay with fish spears.

The boating business is huge on Playa Mazanillo… little boats. I haven’t seen one single boat bigger than 25-30 feet long. The boat has one outboard motor. There are three main functions; fishing, sightseeing, and dragging an enormous banana shaped floatie with 10 people on it. As the business slows down towards the end of the day is when it really gets entertaining! You see, there are no docks here, so they must get the boats as far up on the sand as is possible. Here’s the scenario… the boat comes in for a warning to the five-hundred people playing in the water. 
Being Mexicans and with considerably higher self preservation skills than your average American, they part the water. The land crew lays water weenies on the sand to guide the boat in and warn the pedestrians. The boat goes back out into the bay a good distance to get a running start. Everyone keeps playing but stays out of the way as the boat comes flying across the water, as fast as possible, and lifts its motor at the last second. 
It goes about 40 feet up the beach and the people in the water go back to where they were. This happens for hours every single day! For the video check out my Instagram under H. Schussman.

They have one henna tattoo artist. He’s absolutely everywhere. His name is Franko and he’s from Honduras. If you get the chance, I recommend getting a tattoo from him, just to hear his life-story. He also does an outstanding job. I got this tattoo of a turtle because I thought it was pretty… good enough reason for me. It initiated multiple discussions everywhere I went. It turns out that the turtle, with the hibiscus flower drawn onto its shell, is the surfer symbol. The legend goes that when a Hawaiian surfer dies surfing, he/she is re-incarnated into a turtle with the Hawaiian hibiscus flower on its shell. So if you ever see a turtle with this flower pattern say Aloha!

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