Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

La Rumba

In the basement of my grandparents' home was grandpa's workshop. I don't have many clear memories of things that happened, oh, like more than ten hours ago but I can still picture grandpa's shop. It was well organized, warm and cozy for a basement space. I remember hand tools hanging on a pegboard over the workbench. I remember a big vise grip. But what I remember most was his toolbox. It was big enough for a small girl to climb into and it contained everything a handyman could want, all sizes nuts, bolts, screws. Even though I'm as handy as a toad, I love hardware stores. I know it started with grandpa's workshop.

The town smackdab between here and Hermosillo is Miguel Aleman but everyone calls it Calle Doce, 12th Street. La Rumba is Calle Doce's massive ferreteria. I wish I would've taken more time to snap photos but shopping for hardware items in a foreign country is like a double dose of foreign-ness and so it required all my concentration. To make things easier I went armed with visual aids, a shopping list in english and spanish, and a dictionary.

Here's the screen over the kitchen window a little thief slit and the propane tank valve that needs replacing.

This is only a small section of the wall behind the counter. I look at all those tools and think I WANT THEM! All of them. If I had a bunch of tools I'd have to get a toolbox like grandpa had. Of course, I have no interest in actually using the tools; I just want the tools.

All manner of things can be found at La Rumba, from hand-tooled leather seat covers to old-timey cook stoves to brooms. As huge as La Rumba is, this trip wasn't totally successful. They didn't have that rubber stuff you shove in the frame to hold the screen in place (see, a foreign language). And I think I need the whole valve enchilada and not just the knob thingy at the top. But still I was happy just being in the presence of all that stuff.

It's interesting that most of the people working at the hardware store are women. I've only ever see two men working there - the boss and Chapito. Chapito is so small and so delicate-looking that the first time I met him I thought he was a woman. The boss is always trying to fix us up, these two shorties. All I can picture is me on top of Chapito and he'd be squished, my width about twice his.

Florence has a new ceramic tile floor in her trailer (believe me, that trailer will never be moved now that she's added a few hundred pounds to its weight) and our next stop was one of the many secondhand stores; she needed to replace the pyrex dishes she keeps dropping and shattering on those ceramic tiles. She was successful - got two dishes for about 20 pesos. I bought a pair of shorts and a lime-green blouse to match my lime-green toenail polish. Across from the secondhand stores the street is lined with shoe stores, clothing stores, and beach stores catering to Hermosillans on their way to Kino.

Next we went to Santa Fe grocery store. Now one of the things about Mexican grocery stores is that they have shelves and shelves of mayonnaise. I never realized what a popular condiment mayo is. (Sadly, I'm a Miracle Whip person and could they have just one measly jar? Nope.)

We made a few other stops...Florence looking for cheap chicken for her dogs, the Norson pork store, Arturo the auto body painter guy, Pemex for gas. And, yes, it was unbearably hot and dusty and muggy and I wanted nothing more than to get back to my tiny freezer-box trailer so I passed on lunch even though we were both starving.

Back in Kino we made one last stop at Chubby Chicks (the name an old geezer gringo gave to the fruit market) because Flo said they were getting in grapes today and sure enough, crates of grapes were piled just inside the door. Local grapes. Not the usual tasteless big red grapes from Chile. These are seedless and incredibly sweet. Currently the town is brimming with them.

Last weekend at Los Nafraugos Jesus the waiter brought plates of grapes to each table. Two young couples had a bottle of chilled white wine on their table. I saw them ask Jesus to bring them a sharp knife. Oops, no corkscrew. Always diligent, always prepared (when it comes to alcohol) I retrieved a corkscrew from my van and opened the wine for them. A few minutes later a glass of wine appeared at my table along with bunches of red grapes. I settled in for more reading and people watching. It was like being in a real city.


  1. Fun post, nette. Be sure to check this out:
    Can you order stuff on line for repairs or through La Rumba? dg

  2. dg, if you think that cartoon is gonna switch me from miracle whip to best foods almost did! gremlin cum? going to hermosillo manana so will hit the fall-back plan: home depot.