by Eva EstesMy Neighbors!
I live in the pueblo of Akumal, which is in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. I have been given so many luxuries in my life, yet now I live in a small room, in a casita on top of a roof that overlooks the jungle and the little town. If I look to the east I can almost see the beautiful turquoise blue of Akumal Bay.
I am a middle-aged woman who grew up in Ohio, moved to Texas, and then here. I have two beautiful grown girls and a former husband, who is now one of my best friends. He was the one who introduced me to this beautiful paradise. For 25 years, I have returned again and again, never wanting to visit any other place in the world. Here, I am home.
Below me are roosters, hens, chicks and turkeys. The roosters have no concept of time and crow to each other at all times of the day and night. For some reason, I do not mind.
I have a window that faces east. If the roosters do not wake me, the Mexican sun does, along with the ocean breeze billowing my curtain, gently coaxing me to wake up. The clouds are large, shaped like Disney characters, in lavenders and pinks, with the orange sun coming through. I can also hear parrots and other tropical birds singing out, embracing another beautiful day in Paradise.
I start hearing the awakening of the Pueblo, the music, the children getting ready for school. I climb down my ladder for my morning walk, to go to the frutería to buy fresh fruit and eggs. Everyone greets me by saying "Buenos Dias." There were times in my life when I did not even know my neighbors. I am known and embraced here. I see little children with their families walking to school, with hair nicely combed or braided, little backpacks, perfectly clean little uniforms, happy.
The breakfast vendors are out in the street making eggs, tortas and tacos for the ones leaving for their work day. The pueblo dogs are ever present. In spite of their free spirits, for some reason I feel a responsibility towards them. Maybe anyone who reads this story can help.
As the day goes by, I hear the vendors in their trucks, driving slowly up and down each street, calling for water, for gas, for tortillas, for fruit. In the evening, the vendors set up their tents to sell housewares, shoes, clothing and trinkets. Another set of traveling vendors comes through selling blankets, pillows, furniture. Who needs a car or a Wal-Mart when you live in the Pueblo?
Then in the evening come the late night vendors, selling elote (grilled corn with mayonnaise, cheese and chili), hamburgers, hotdogs, and yet more tacos, all with the authenticity of Pueblo life.
There is a public court where the children play soccer and basketball, their voices ringing with joy in the night air. Two streets over, the dads are playing softball in the jungle field.
I am so blessed to be a part of all this and so appreciate these people and their concept of life. I am their student.