Welcome to Musing. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me. If you want to, take a moment and click the subscription button on the side-bar to the right.
Today there was news of violence in Mexico. It made me sad because I have always had fondness for the country.
When I was ten or eleven my father took me, my step-mother and my step-sister down to Guaymas, Mexico on the Sea of Cortes across from Baja California. This was in the mid 50’s. It was a wonderful experience.
Now this was long ago. We drove from Casa Grande, Arizona south through Nogales and Hermosillo and on to Guaymas. This was before cars were commonly air-conditioned and we were travelling in the middle of the summer with temperatures reaching 110°f or more. To avoid the worst of the heat we started our trip at 3:30AM.
By morning we had passed through Nogales and were heading south. I remember the northern Mexican desert as being even more arid and parched then that around Casa Grande, which says a lot. There were very few cars on the road and the road was narrow, winding and in bad repair. I’ve since driven through Mexico as an adult and found it difficult on occasion. The experience makes me appreciate my father’s navigation skills. As a child, I was completely oblivious — just enjoying the ride.
By noontime we were in Hermosillo, which even at that time was a large city. We stopped for lunch in a plaza. The restaurant tables were out-of-doors in a park like setting. There were mariachis! It was magical. I had never experienced something like this before.
What we ate is lost from my memory. I only recall being pleased. (I have never had issues with food). When the meal was finished my father asked for the bill,” La quenta”.
The waiter acknowledged, “Si, Señor” and hurried off. About twenty minutes passed and my father asked again, “La quenta, por favor”. The waiter said, “Si, Señor” and hurried off again. This performance was repeated for an hour. Finally, my father said, “Let’s go” and herded the family out to the car and away, without paying. My step-sister and I were stunned.
By late afternoon we had reached Guaymas, or more correctly, the hotel: Playa De Cortes. It was set close to the water and built hacienda style, with arches and dark wooden doors. Most of the activity took place around the large swimming pool. But the dining room was magnificent, with many tables, vistas and waiters with gloves. For a boy of my age it was a wonder!
The town of Guaymas was three or four miles from the hotel and was only one or two streets wide. We drove to town one afternoon. I remember it as dusty with no trees. And hot! The most interesting building was a block long cantina with a magnificent bar that ran the length of the building. Other than the bar keeper and a waiter I think we were the only people there.
I saw a chess set in a tourist store and I had to have it. I badgered my father to buy it for me. He thought it was too expensive. I seem to remember it was $8.00, but in the mid 50’s that was a lot to pay for a game. At any rate, he did buy it for me.
At the hotel there was another boy about my age. We played chess for hours every day for the week we were there. Later, I studied chess and became a better than average player. I used the set through high school and college. I have it still today. It reminds me of Mexico and my father.
When our holiday was at an end we reversed our journey. At noon time we were in Nogales, on the Mexican side of the border. In that time there was a wonderous restaurant called The Caverns. It was built into the side of a cliff and was old world in charm. The waiters dressed in black with ties and sported white aprons. The restaurant was a labyrinth of rooms carved out of the side of a cliff. It was elegant! Especially for the west! I still remember it fondly. Later as an adult I took friends there for lunch. Unfortunately, it burnt in the 80’s and was lost to us.
More to come