Kicking it Old School in Mexico

9 Nov

While walking in Bacalar, I observed a young boy sitting in his front yard hacking at weeds with his machete. Children learn young and are comfortable using Mexico’s version of a multi-tool. I have a friend who recently hired workers to build a dock. When living on this amazing laguna, one of life’s pleasures is hanging a hammock under a palapa at the end of your own dock. Docks are constructed out of very hard Yucatan-grown wood. She asked to have the dock constructed with screws rather than the traditional nails. The men looked at her as if she had three heads. image The workers patiently explained why screws weren’t a good idea. Apparently if there’s a hurricane, which does happen every few years, it’s better to have a few boards come loose and fly around, rather than the whole dock blow away. image Not having lived in Bacalar during a hurricane, I have no firsthand experience to confirm or dispute their claim. However, I’ll put money on the fact that none of them has ever seen a muelle held together with screws. image Learning anything new takes repetition, a willingness to make mistakes, and in some circles, look foolish. In the land where no one uses power tools, the added expense of broken drill bits and costly screws must be taken into consideration. What little profit made, quickly dwindles. We live in a world apart here in the furthest reaches of southern Mexico, where machinery of all types is often expensive, of poor quality, hard to aquire, and without replacement parts. It is easy to understand why a rock to drive a nail, a pan to wash clothes and a machete for everything else is the norm in poor, rural Yucatan. Even our friends from Mexico City scratch their heads at the backward ways.

The puppies like the new dock.

The puppies like the new dock.

Awaiting roof and hammock.

Awaiting roof and hammock.

A palapa built in the ancient Mayan tradition.

A palapa built in the ancient Mayan tradition.

When we build OUR dock, Lisa will undoubtedly haul out the extension cord and electric drill that she lovingly brought with us and reinforce every board of our dock. So if you ever hear about a hurricane hitting the Carribean coast of Mexico, and see a dock flying through the air like Dorothy’s house on its way to Oz, it will probably be ours. Just wave.

View from our current dock.

View from our current dock.


11 Responses to “Kicking it Old School in Mexico”

  1. Sabia November 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Hey Tortas, put 11/25 on your calendar for a trip to Mahahual to hang out with other Tortas at YaYa Beach Club to support Carolyn Thomas on the day that Olivia visits Mahahual.




  2. emilievardaman November 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Never thought about why not to use screws. Makes perfect sense. Of course, the problem with access to tools and parts is a big issue, too.


    • afish25 November 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      We learn something new every day.


  3. LJones November 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    Hi ladies….hope to see you today or tomorrow – !


    • afish25 November 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      A chance meeting in the parque. Good to see you.


  4. Karen November 9, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    I can just see Lisa out there with that power drill, and you cheering her on. Me, I’ll just be waiting for the hammock to be hung.


    • afish25 November 10, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      I can’t wait for you to be in it Karen!


  5. nancy t. November 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

    Awesome story. Good luck to you guys. xxox ~Nanc


    • afish25 November 10, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      Thank you dear friend. We are having more fun than should be legal!


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