Speaking Spanish

I'm not sure that speaking Spanish is all that its cracked up to be.

A few weeks ago, Trinda and I had been visiting in Paradise Village Marina. We caught the bus back out to the highway to wait for the La Cruz bus when 8 or ten Mexicans got off with us. I struck up a conversation with an old couple. They turned out to be about our age! Oops! Well, their kids are about the same ages as ours, and they have two grandsons, 2 months and 4 months. Trinda just had to show off the dress she was just finishing crocheting for our new grand daughter. They sell fruit juices on the beach in front of Paradise Village resort.

It's usually a 20 minute wait for our bus, so we swapped stories in Spanish as much as we could, as they didn't speak any English. When the bus finally came, we sat together and visited more. Then he asked if he could charter our boat for his family for a day sail sometime soon. I am a little nervous with that sort of thing, but I think I said it would be OK for just him and his wife to come see the boat and maybe go for a short sail. He said great, and we worked out a time and day.

The big day came. We waited at Anna Bananas' Beach Bar, in front of Crews Quarters. I was sure I made sure that we were to meet at Jalisco time (CST) not Nayarit (MST) but the state line is between here and PV. I told all the folks around what was up and Barry and Anna, who run the place, were all set to help if we needed anything.

They were only a little late Nayarit time. Wife decided that she was sick, but two daughters, son-in-law and a grand son made up for her! We all made it to the boat in only two dinghy trips. After a tour of the boat, I explained to the father the workings of a marine head (toilet) and asked him to explain it to his kids. He did it a little too fast, I thought, but oh well.

We raised the anchor an off we went. We sailed out toward the middle of the bay. I had each one steer about 5 minutes apiece, then they were done. I set the autopilot and we started looking for whales. We saw several sets and were enjoying the noon sun, when we noticed that little 12-year-old Erica, the youngest daughter, was missing. I of course thought disaster, but Trinda soon found her puking all over the forward head! We finally convinced her that she'd feel much better above deck in the middle of the boat where the motion is less. We immediately tacked and began sailing back to the anchorage. But, you know how it always goes, you sail out an hour, and it takes an hour and a half to sail back.

Trinda got the head cleaned up, and then each of the others had their turn using it in the normal way. After a spell, Trinda noticed a little water below. Sure enough, one of them didn't close the flushing valve, and as the boat leans just a little while sailing, the toilet over flowed and we had a couple inches of water in the floor. More cleanup for Trinda.

We finally got back and anchored, but the anchorage was still too rolley for little Erica. We got the dinghy back in the water and got her ashore. No lunch, drinks or anything. Papa and I had been talking of fishing and had mad tentative plans to get together in the near future to get better acquainted. We all got back to the beach, visited a little more and said "until later". It was a nice day. I was really enjoying ma Spanish practice session and feeling pretty good.

A couple days later, Trinda and I were just having morning coffee and trying to wake up. Trinda was just starting to pack for her trip to Seattle. We heard someone shouting from outside. I grabbed some clothes and looked out side. Another cruiser in his dinghy was along side and said, "This little girl says she belongs to you"! Sure enough it was little Erica. I said, "I do recognize her. I guess you can unload her here." He did, then handed up to backpacks of clothes! I thought, "Oh my God, What's up with this?" Then she said what I think was "Hi, I'm here to stay a week with you." But my Spanish might have been a little off! I said, "No es posible!" and pointed to Trinda's suitcase of clothes. She then sat on the settee and started pulling jewelry out of one of her packs. Trinda asked and found out she had Mama's wedding ring, some necklaces and bracelets! I was really getting scared now! My meager Spanish completely deserted me and all I could think of was how to get her off the boat. We quickly decided to go in and have breakfast at Anna's. Barry could help us figure it out! So we loaded back into our dinghy and went back ashore.

I went up to the order window, leaned in and said, "Barry, this time I got a REAL problem"! I filled him in on what I thought had been said, and asked if Anna could talk to Erica and help sort some of this out. We all ordered breakfast and ate, then Anna came and took Erica into the kitchen. For an hour! Barry would come by and ask a question now and then and give us updates, "like mama knows she's here", "no mama doesn't know", "no, mama doesn't know about the jewelry", etc.

Finally, Barry had offered to drive her back to Bucerras, but she didn't want to go home. Then Barry's weekend helper, Lorena, stopped by and recognized Erica. It turns out she has a real reputation for running away from home. Since she was six, she has run away every now and then for two or three days at a time. She does it so often that her folks don't even look for her any more as "she always come back in a day or two"!

Soon, Erica and Lorena decided to ride the bus back to Bucerras together! Barry suggested that I not encourage the friendship with her father any more!

I never got into trouble like this before I learned Spanish!

Larry and Trinda aboard the Katie Lee Anchored in La Cruz near Puerta Vallarta - Spring 2002