Monday, March 12, 2007

Things I like about Loreto

After our boat ride Saturday we stopped in my new favorite restaurant, Del Borrachos. We sat at the bar and ate beef and vegetable soup, a far better lunch than the ham sandwiches we'd packed for the boat ride. This restaurant not only boasts the best American-style cooking in the Baja, it is also just plain cute. It's fashioned to look like a frontier saloon with a long wooden porch and swing doors. At the bar are three saddles mounted as bar seats. The sombreros on the wall are named after the three characters in the comedy movie, "The Three Amigos." Mike, the owner with his wife, is a former sea captain, the world's best kind of bartender if it's stories you're after. We mostly wanted to know the how and why of his little restaurant. We learned that the moose antlers over the bar were a trade from a customer: Hamburgers for life, I think. Mike told us that their burgers are the lifeline of the business. Just last month they sold 1800 of one type, the one named after the character, El Guapo. I haven't tried one yet; I'm still working my way through the soups and sandwiches.

After that pleasant outing we headed to the Inn at Loreto Bay to let Allison swim with her friends. Carole's kids were with their dad on the beach shucking clams they'd dug up. I didn't stay long enough to eat one, though I would have. I needed to stroll down the beach to say hello to a group of Mexican friends who were celebrating a child's birthday.

Allison cut her toe in the hotel pool somehow. I tried to calm her and put pressure on the wound. A waiter went for help and when I looked up there was a large man with a Bombero logo on his shirt opening his medical bag. In fact there were four men and I wondered if they just happened to be nearby or were they in-house emergency assistance? The attention they gave to Allison's small boo-boo was sweet and reassuring. I had to smile as the big man struggled with his big fingers as he tried to slip the band-aid around Allie's tiny toe while the others looked on. I thought she'd be embarrassed by all this attention but she wore such an expression of satisfaction. I could see in her mind that Mexico had redeemed itself for all the past hurts she's suffered here: the cuts and scrapes from tripping over uneven concrete sidewalks and playgrounds, or stumbling into pointy cactus, or getting the back sides of your knees scraped against the second-hand, ragged metal school desks. Finally, somebody was looking out for the little people who are always getting banged up in the ill-formed environment that is Loreto.

But then I began to see more behind her expression. Earlier in the week we had attended an outdoor event celebrating International Women's Day. Sarah's girls performed with their dance group at the town plaza beside a backdrop of displays intended to educate against domestic abuse. There were some disturbing images of battered women and children. Allison took great notice in this, especially the photo of a young girl with a slap-mark bruise across her face. She talked about it quite a lot this week. To her, the idea of someone hurting a child may have been tempered by the fact that many people were fighting to protect girls like this. I could see that Allison has been processing her new discovery of the intentional harm that exists in the world against the weak and innocent. I could see her struggling to comprehend a system of bad against good and being thankful for the defenders. The defenders bring justice and little people seem to grasp onto that ideal so naturally. If there are villains then there must be heroes. I could see her thoughts so clearly when she allowed those men to come to her aid. Though her injury was tiny and accidental, the aid was large and protective, the way help should be. Big people are supposed to protect little people. Today she was protected and that made an impact on her, I believe.

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