Mexican hat We have safely exited the border and returned to the United States without any known symptoms of the Swine Flu. As the news kept getting more and more grim about the flu we became concerned about possible restrictions getting home. In fact, today’s local paper quotes people in Congress, including Arizona’s John McCain, suggesting we might have to close the border. Our hotel had 295 cancellations during the week we were there and the hotel where we had our meetings was only thirty percent full. One of the member’s wives flew in on Tuesday and said there were only thirty people on the airplane which is usually full. Even though Cabo is relatively untouched by reported cases there is a general reluctance about traveling to Mexico and that has the tourist industry of Cabo worried.

As we sat in the airport waiting to fly out from Cabo I was checking on people wearing masks. Less then ten percent of the travelers were wearing masks, but at least fifty percent of those flying to Mexico City were using masks. There weren’t many people at the Cabo airport and security was easy. Our plane leaving Mexico was relatively full, but the international area in Phoenix was uncrowded. Our luggage came quickly and we exited to get a ride to our home in Scottsdale without difficulty.

I enjoyed our stay in Cabo. It was a relaxing time. Doing absolutely nothing means you notice things you might not otherwise notice. I saw two whale before we left blowing a tower of steam as they moved along. There are daily flights of pelicans searching for a meal. The little sparrows are survivors. As soon as we sat at our table outside the room they appeared. Clearly they had figured out when people sat there, food was involved. Sitting outside the room looking towards the water is a passing parade of activity. A group goes by on horseback. Couples are walking the beach for exercise.  I watch a man slowly doing his Ti Chi in the sand of the beach. A flying wing with a noisy motor goes by about five hundred feet overhead. You can clearly see the passenger who waves to me as he passes over. There are schools of fish in the water in front of the hotel that come totally out of the water and splash down with a noise as loud as clapping your hands, one after another. I don’t know what kind of fish they are and the pelicans seem uninterested in them.

While in Cabo there were people selling things on the beach in front of our hotel every day, but there must be a restriction since they stay seventy five yards away from the property line. Guests walk out on the sand to see what they are selling and negotiate purchases. Some are selling plastic kites which they fly to show how wonderful they are. Others have long thin scarfs of all colors draped over their shoulders which they hold out with two hands and then switch to another color so you can see what they are offering. The jewelry sales people open their cases and hold them up, but you can’t really see what they are selling except it’s silver. One man is selling straw hats and has a huge stack of them one on top of another, which he carries.

I sit at our room outside in the morning and watch them coming from afar trudging along the long sandy beach, head down, dressed in the all white clothes they wear, moving slowly along. Most have a straw hat to protect from the sun. They have their goods draped over their shoulder, or carried in their hands and the jewelry people have the hard suit case propped on their shoulder, holding it with one hand. They come in singles and in pairs. Sometimes in a single file line and all looking like they are on the Bataan death march as they put one foot in front of the other. When they get to the area of the hotel where they can be seen they squat and open their cases or fly their kites or hold out their colorful scarfs. There is some kind of cooperation involved because Lita decided to buy some bracelets as gifts. She told me that she approached one man and told him what she was looking for. He said he didn’t have it, but would get someone who did. Sure enough, he left and brought back someone who had what she was looking for. Negotiation is part of this beach sales culture and I'm told one assumes they are asking at least twice what it is worth. I often think most of the people who buy things from these beach salesmen really don’t want what they buy, but enjoy thinking they got it for less then it was worth. Somehow I've just never adjusted to the idea of bargaining with a poor man who is trying to make a living.

I wonder where they come from. There are a string of hotels on this very long beach. They obviously stop at each one and try to entice the guests to come out to see what they have. But, these hotels are a considerable distance apart and over what seems like at least a seven mile beach, so where do they start from? I see them later in the day walking back in the same direction they came from and then, later in the day, the same ones walk back one more time to our hotel area so I assume they walk back and forth. Breakfast and lunch are good  times to display their goods because the guests are outside eating.

I like the Mexican culture which reminds me of Mediterranean countries for their politeness and civility in most places and situations. In France, when entering the small shops, it is expected that one first greets the owner before trying to conduct any business. Please, Sir, Madam and thank you are all essential parts of communication in Mexico and in most of the countries along the Mediterranean coast. It makes a huge difference when one smiles and is respectful to people in Mexico and, I suppose, around the world. But, I like the Romance languages for their almost song like sounds which fits the culture as well. I enjoy this part of the world.

We had a lovely dinner with our group the night before we left Cabo. The hotel had set up soft chairs and dinner tables in the sand on the beach in front of the hotel. There was a bar and a guitar player with waiter bringing food and drinks to everyone. A very unique setting with the waves crashing in and a lovely scene to enjoy. The waiters served us an excellent fresh fish dinner to everyone, poured wine while we ate and made it seem like we were seated in a normal dinning room. People had a good time and we left early to come back to our hotel five minutes away to get some rest before leaving the next day.

The weather in Scottsdale is absolutely wonderful. It is cool in the morning and after the sun goes down. It has been in the mid eighty degree area and pleasant. After the Seattle rain we left, it is a treat to go swimming every day. Unfortunately, we have to go home Saturday so I am making sure to do as little work as possible until then.

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