Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dirty Job

Here's one for Mike Rowe on the Discovery Channel: jellyfish processing.

At the far end of Miramar, where the pavement ends, sits the jellyfish processing plant. An Asian delicacy, it's my understanding that the plant is owned by a Chinese company. Jose the tattooist works for them down in Guaymas, mostly as translator.

I'd always been curious about what kind of jellyfish were salted and dried. I wondered if it was the run-of-the mill jellyfish we find all along the beach:

After my visit with the deportee, dropping off books by coelho and palahniuk, I stopped by the plant. A truck was unloading jellyfish...

The stench was enough to make me want to gag. The guy scooping the blue blobs from the loader didn't wear a mask. I don't know how he stood it.

Mountains of salt used in the drying process.

Newly lined and cleaned tubs.

After the jellyfish left the loader they road a conveyor belt to a table where ten or so people handled them, probably sorting, pulling out the ones that were too small. From what I could see there were about thirty people working, not including the men hired to get the factory clean and in working order.

A female pitbull followed me for quite a way, until a bunch of dogs chased her away.

The smell from the plant stayed with me a lot longer than did the dog.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Yesterday I met a young man who'd been kicked out of the U.S.

I knew immediately he had not grown up in Kino. It was the way he was dressed, the way he walked with kind of a swagger, his dark skin that was more African American dark than Mexican Indian dark. He spoke with much more assuredness than most Kino-ites. He was cheeky. And he spoke perfect English, almost no accent.

I meet a lot of people here who speak pretty good English because they lived in the U.S. for a number of years. I figured they must've been in the States illegally and gotten deported but I never pried. This guy, I asked, "did you get kicked out?" He said yeah. I asked if he could go back and he said no, not ever, because he'd been in some trouble. I stopped my interrogation there.

This is no place for a young man like him. He's a city boy. I asked if he was bored. "I'm so bored I want to kill myself," then he laughed and said not really.

The only other customer was a just-married couple who had him move a table and chairs down to the beach. They'd sent him on two runs to the store for more beer. They were shitfaced. He was getting good exercise running up and down that sandy dune to wait on them. He commented on my bike. I said someone had given it to me. "With the ET basket?" It took a second for me to make the connection. The basket did look like it could carry a small extra-terrestrial.

Of course I had a book with me. When I went to leave he asked if I had any books I could loan him. I asked what he liked to read. "Paul Coelho." I just happen to have a book by that author so I'll take it over to the restaurant in the next day or two.

After that I stopped in to see a friend. I said, "go meet this guy. I don't know if you two will hit it off but he needs some people to hang out with."

He's obviously no angel but my heart goes out to this young man separated from his family, from his friends, from his previous life so different than this. Other people in this same situation have done well here but I'm worried about him. If I wasn't such a chicken, I'd smuggle him back home.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sliced by a Ninja

Last year a couple was here for the winter - I'll call them Casey - in a 16 or 18 foot trailer called a hi-lo. Hi-lo's are first generation pop-ups. Because of all the stuff in their hi-lo, Mr. Casey called it their trash compactor. That should give you a pretty good idea of the mechanism of a hi-lo and also how much stuff they crammed into that 16 or 18-foot space. There was so much stuff that the only time Mr. Casey was allowed in the trailer was to sleep. The rest of the time he sat in a lawn chair outside, coffee and cigarette in hand until the day began to warm, then it was beer and cigarette.

That little hi-lo was some kind of magic box. Ms. Casey could produce anything at any time. You needed an exotic spice? She had it. Tarot cards, chimes, laptop, love potions, snake venom, crock pot, espresso machine, sewing machine. She had two coffee grinders. Two.

When the coffee roaster in Bisbee gave me hell for not buying beans, I said "you don't understand, I live in a tiny space. I don't have room for a coffee grinder." Ms. Casey, in seven less feet, had TWO!

I still don't have a coffee grinder but I have added a few appliances: small crock pot, one-cup coffee maker, and mini food processor. I keep them stored in the oven. But I began jonesing for a blender. That food processor was not doing a very good job with hummus. And the local store had fresh strawberries. I began craving strawberry margaritas. So I did a lot of online research and ordered a Ninja Major Prep. It had great reviews, was cheap, and looked small.

It ain't small. It's got two containers - one for drinks and one for food processing. It's got extra lids. It's got a manual and recipe book. I have to keep it out on what little counter space there is. It's always in the way. It needs to be moved to get to the coffee maker.

But I've got to say, it did an amazing job with the strawberry margarita, smashing the ice to smithereens. The Thai peanut sauce (made with fresh peanuts) was creamy. Of course one of the things that makes the Ninja so good is the blades - the really, really sharp blades. I went to wash one and sliced right through my thumb. Took forever to stanch the bleeding. Now I'm terrified of those blades. I approach them with caution, focused, zen-like.

One of the things about trailer life I like is getting down to the absolute essentials. What is it a person really needs? What is it I absolutely cannot live without? If I lived in a magic box like the Caseys' hi-lo there's no telling what treasures I'd carry. I'd have at least one coffee grinder.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Home - for now

A couple posts back, Pam asked why I stay here. Besides the obvious reasons - the beach, the Mexican people, the culture - there's also this: after six years living in a 25' trailer, I'm not ready to give up my additional space.

What a treat it's been having a nearly screened-in porch and the use of a friend's picnic table. It's great having a work area where things can be left out and not put away each night. However, as you can see, I do need organizers. My work area is a mess.

I don't look forward to the days of having to open and close my awning. There were so many times in southern Arizona when I had to get up in the middle of the night to close the awning because some unexpected windstorm had moved in. If I had a fancy rig with a push-button awning opener, well, that'd be a whole other deal but it takes work to open and close the Airstream awning, especially for one person. Especially when it's windy.

Yes, I used to have a Vespa scooter but that's another story.

Now that my trailer's Dometic refrigerator is dead, I so much appreciate having a giant fridge in my bodega. It takes getting used to having to trek outside to get cooking ingredients, making sure I gather everything I need in one trip, but it beats no fridge at all. When I leave here, getting a refrigerator is the first item on my to-buy list.

The first item on my to-fix list is the stuck black tank valve. Sitting in one spot, it's not a big deal but when it comes to moving around, you want to be able to close the black tank. You certainly can't boondock unless you have a shitter than can be closed.

This year my bougainvillea are doing great. The wind and salt water take their toll on the plants in the park but so far mine are surviving, maybe even thriving. The good news is that when/if I leave, Barbara, who will be taking over my space, is a terrific gardener and she's promised to look after them.

And then there's the financial considerations. When I do leave, it's gonna cost a pretty penny...the fridge, the trailer repairs, the tires, the gasoline. So I hang tight. Even though I'm itching to explore new places - and new saloons - now is not the time to go. Until it is time to go, this is a good place to just be. I ain't complaining (because I gave that up for Lent).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fish Tacos

For Lent I'm giving up surliness. Should be a piece o' cake 'cause there's less than two weeks left. I'm not going to rant about bigots or RV dogs. I'm going to write about why I like it here, in Mexico, in Kino.

Las Gaviotas is one of my favorite seafood places.

I love* their fish tacos.

I also love that they make their own chips and that they recently painted the walls lime green.

They're nice people too. One time I was there and the waiter kept calling me sir. Is everything okay sir? It was pretty cute but finally I corrected him.

A couple doors down is this simple little house. Tires for planters, freshly painted with that little niche in the wall next to the door.

Another place I like a lot is Nasfuargos (or something like that). It's at the far end of Miramar, past the fish processing plants. I shot this photo from the beach.
They're replacing the tarped roof with palms. Took about a year for that tarp to get shredded in the wind. Often I'll have lunch, leave the van and walk the beach from there. The guy on the roof wants to buy my van. Funny but the rustier my van gets, the more I get asked if it's for sale. It's diminishing value is obvious.

*love. i'm not being surly, really, but i must point out that it was pointed out to me last night that i use the word "love" in reference to food and sunsets and bougainvillea - stuff like that - and that "love" should be reserved for people - wives, kids. i "hate" it when people nitpick word choices. kind of interrupts conversational flow.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Going, Going, Almost Gone

By the end of April the last of the snowbirds will be gone. One rig pulled out on Sunday, three more head north this week.

My first year in this RV park only six gringos stayed through the summer. One couple, one married man (sin esposa), and three single women. This year three single men have joined the year-rounders along with two Mexican couples.

Three single women and three single men. Hm, is there the potential for love under the palms? Senior citizens indulging in sex on the beach?

Hell no!! At least not with this group.

The single women are these: one an ex-trucker whose dogs bite; one a woman who rarely leaves her rig and when she does all she talks about is her health; and me - cranky and "too opinionated," intolerant of bigots.

The men: one who's really, really old (older than old); one a man most people have never seen except for those of us who have seen him naked; and the third I can't say much about except he often has his shirt off. (It is my opinion that most men - of a certain age - should leave their clothes on. Please. I'm begging you.)

But if it's a typical summer - hot and humid - I won't be seeing much of the year-rounders. AC's run 24/7 and most people stay holed up. I don't know how the locals do it. I tell you, Mexicans are tough.

What I do look forward to is swimming in the Sea of Cortez followed by an icy cold cerveza under the palapas. Let's see how long I'll be able to stick it out this summer before crying uncle and heading north.

And if I do leave this summer, will it be for good?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

100 Degrees in Hermosillo...

...means LET'S GO TO THE BEACH!!!

Clicking on any slide will take you to the slide website where you can view larger images.

Henriette September 2007

I was getting ready to create a new slide show but I thought those of you new to Kino Bay might be interested in these photos. This is how hurricane Henriette affected Islandia.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Practicing for Lonesome

In two weeks - mas o menos - most of the snowbirds will have migrated north. What will remain are the people who live here full-time or those who try to stick it out as long as they can before heat, humidity, and power outages send them fleeing to dry-heat Arizona.

With every rig that pulls out, I breathe easier. I especially look forward to the day my neighbors leave. I couldn't have nicer or more considerate neighbors but you know you're too close when your neighbor is in her rig, she sneezes, you're outside and say "bless you" and she responds "thank you," all at normal volume. But the main reason I look forward to their departure is that I will have an ocean view. Space. I crave space.

And solitude.

And therein lies my ongoing dilemma. I am a solo being, awkward in social situations, but I miss certain people interactions. Frankly, I miss the barfly life, the one place I can choose when and where I socialize. Here, in a small trailer park in Mexico, I don't have that luxury. Snowbirds, vendors...when the trailer door is open, that's a sign you're available for company. So not true. When my trailer door's open it means my trailer door's open. Nothing more. I wake early. I work or write with the trailer door closed. I need that time alone. People think I'm in bed till 9 or 10. They can't seem to grasp the concept of aloneness.

Of course this was also true in the trailer park I lived at in southern Arizona. Snowbirds especially are great socializers. They like their happy hours, potlucks. They like visiting. I'd be outside reading or beading and, just like here, it meant Chez Airstream was open for business.

So I've been gearing up for lonesome.

I stopped going to happy hour a couple months ago and I'm much happier. I don't have to feign interest in stories I've heard over and over again. I don't have to tolerate digs at bleeding heart liberals. I don't have to hear Obama called the "n" word. I stopped going to potlucks, meals of perfectly edible dishes like grandma used to make.

All that being said, I will be sorry to see some people go. I'll miss the "frenchies." How great it's been to have their joie de vivre wafting through the park like an elixir (along with the aroma of bread baking in their outdoor oven). But they'll be back in the fall with the intention of being here full time, if they can withstand the summer. Of course, I'm not sure I'll be here but if I am, I'll be looking forward to their return.

It's obvious that living in such close proximity to people has made me less tolerant of people. Familiarity breeds contempt is certainly an idiom that holds true for me.

Lordy, I've created an anti-RVing blog. Well, shit, the blogosphere needs an antidote to all those happy RVing blogs. It's my pleasure to oblige.