Tuesday, November 22, 2005

my own personal 911

Our uneventful day was capped by an interesting evening. We'd settled in for the night when we heard a vehicle racing the dirt streets around our house. There are only two houses on our street, the rest of the area to the beach is remote. There are many streets, all curbed and side-walked and dotted with elegant street lights, but there are few structures. The houses, the development, planned by the Mexican arm of tourism, (Fonatur) never materialized. The area has weathered and decayed.

The racing and skidding continued on for several minutes and a couple of times the car, a van, stopped in front of our house. This alarmed Robert who told me to call the police. He was worried we were about to get robbed. I was at a loss for a number to call. I picked up the phone book which serves the whole peninsula. There is no 911. Finally, I phoned Walter, the Loreto Bay client service rep who then phoned Santos, the Loreto Bay head of security. By then Robert was ordering us to clear out. We would take our car to the hotel where he felt safe.

We pulled into the hotel and right out again thinking we'd find the police and talk to them. We found them in their late model white Ford truck near our house. They told us in Spanish, me trying hard to decipher, that the motorists were drunk on Tequila and they would be taken care of, nothing to worry. I asked to speak to Santos thinking he would know English. They pointed to a man on horseback surrounded by five dogs. "Santos," I cried. But he could not understand me for his name was Victor. They were pointing to Santos' office behind the cowboy. In the middle of all this I was thinking how odd the mix of the modern and the old in Mexico. No 911, but officers with cell phones and new vehicles; a crusty old watchman, a vacquero, on horseback illuminated from behind by French-influenced streetlamps on a boulevard build by a Mexican government for a development boom that never boomed. Benito, the officer in charge smiled brightly and reassured us that the area is safe and they would take good care of us. He held up three fingers and counted off the names of the officers looking over us: Benito, Pancho, Francesco. He wrote his mobile phone number down on a torn piece of paper and handed it to me. I now hold the key to quick access for help. We went home feeling a little ridiculous, but still jumpy.

In the middle of the night I heard a loud thump that startled me out of bed. I shook Robert. I tiptoed toward the kitchen. Nothing. I decided it must have been the washing machine finishing its cycle. I turned to go back to bed where Robert was sound asleep. Tonight we are going to Ed and Darlene's house to take home one or two of their seventeen dogs. I figure I might need the back-up.

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