Friday, September 7, 2007

Hurricane Dean, Heard But Not Really Seen

In our latest weather news, hurricane “Dean” passed by about 150 miles to the south of Playa on Tuesday August 21st leaving us with nothing more than high winds and waves and a little rain. In Playa, everything was back to normal in less than 24 hours.
Dean gave the residents and authorities in Playa a good opportunity to see what we all learned from our two female guests “Emily” and “Wilma” in 2005. In general, everything went very calmly and smoothly. Plywood sales were brisk, many businesses remained open until Monday afternoon and the streets were filled with people going about their business as usual until the early evening when a pre-announced curfew when into effect.
For our part, we purchased a Sinaloa style grilled chicken on the corner of CTM and Ave. 30 for Monday’s dinner complete with marinated onions, Mexican rice and a huge stack of fresh corn tortillas. We ate late and played Yahtzee until 10 pm when we decided it was time to turn in. Everything was still very quiet although we had some interesting thunder and lightning which we always enjoy.
Around midnight the wind picked up enough to wake me up and from 2 am to about 6 am it was howling pretty good. It was light enough to see by 6:15 or so and by 8 I was able to go outside. By 9:30 Cupcake was at a doctors appointment on Ave 15.

The waves were pretty large after the storm passed and access to the beach was restricted due to the size and the strong currents but since most businesses remained closed on Tuesday everyone headed to the beach to look at the waves and have lunch.
Our office reopened on Wednesday morning at 9 am and we had two different clients in looking for property before 10 am. “Dean” turned out just to be a break from the routine and of course we are all thankful for that.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


We have a new Sunday afternoon pastime in Playa that we use to fill in some of our spare time. It’s called Washers. From my limited background investigation, Washers, like many other of our favorite pastimes was created by accident when Jim Bob and Cooter Cratchett of Racoon Flats Tennessee were rebuilding their uncle Leroy’s truck in the front yard and accidentally dropped a few engine nuts and bolts down a rabbit hole underneath the truck. As the story goes, the truck or at least what’s left of it, is still sitting in the front yard surrounded by holes full of uncle Leroy’s truck parts and the entire Cratchett family, except of course for uncle Leroy gather every Sunday to toss in a few more truck parts.

Mrs. Princess, also known as “Cupcake” and I were introduced to the game a short time back by some really nice folks in Paamul who have made a weekly tradition of the game for awhile now. It’s an easy game for just about anyone to learn and to play. Although the game has been somewhat refined over the years it is really just a variation of the Cratchett’s front yard game and we have elevated its stature even a little more now by referring to it as a “sport” rather than a “game”. Additionally, we all like to think that there is a tremendous amount of skill and strategy involved but my personal experience has found that luck and stupidity usually carry the day. In all fairness, I must say that my good friend, Pepe “Listen To Me!!” Rahill, is probably the most skilled player amongst our group at this time. Pepe seems to be keenly aware of this as well and does a magnificent job of being his own personal promoter. With his boundless energy he does a marvelous and endless job of telling anyone within listening range of his elevated expertise and prowess at the “sport”. Pepe generally arrives a little early on game day for light snacks, sandwiches and beverages that have been prepared, packaged and hauled up to our third floor terrace in coolers by his sweet wife Marisol for his convenience. Resting comfortably in his custom folding beach chair which his dear wife Marisol has carried up for him, he prepares his game plan and strategy for the upcoming match. His pre game battle cries and colorful taunts to his opponents are legendary and serve to both intimidate and enrage his opponents and also help to keep the entertainment value at a fever pitch. Otherwise we might all be napping between games. Typical taunts are “Suit up!”, “Prepare to die!” and “I’m going to crush you like a bug!” If we are heading into a playoff round, all of these could be used at once on an opponent with a maniacal laugh thrown in at the end. Really scary stuff.

In all fairness though I must say Pepe has a softer side as well. He is not always only willing but in fact feels obligated to take on the role of trainer and coach for the seemingly less skilled players (which would be the rest of us) and seems to have an endless repertoire of advice regarding playing stance, washer trajectory and scoring tactics. We’re sure lucky to have him around to improve our game. Otherwise we might all be lousy players. His charming wife Marisol is particularly lucky to have him as a full time live in life coach. She has the patience of a saint.

I think it would be safe to say that we play Washers in the most beautiful setting that the game has ever been played in. Our big rooftop solarium overlooks Coco Beach, the Caribbean Sea and the island of Cozumel. A wooden pergola for shade and a constant sea breeze keep us comfortable on even the hottest of afternoons. Lawn chairs and coolers filled with snacks and beverages (beer) keep the contestants happy while waiting for their next match. The game involves any number of two person teams who seem to play an innumerable number of other two member teams in order to eventually arrive at what is called the “playoffs” where everybody plays some more. Keeping track of the players brackets is probably the hardest part of the entire ordeal, I mean game. Fortunately we have Pepe’s intelligent, sweet and sometimes clothespin clad wife Marisol to keep the games moving. You’ll have to come play if you want to get in on the clothespin action.

And maybe what keeps the whole thing going is, we play for money. Well, not really money, but pesos, which are sort of like money but different. They are used in Mexico to buy things but they’re not really like real money. We all use them down here and they seem to work pretty well for both gringos and locals alike. Did I mention they are not like real money though. For some reason pesos and Monopoly money remind me of the same thing. Anyway, it’s a ten peso entry fee and ten pesos a game to the losing team each time they lose. Of course the winning team picks up 10 pesos each time they win or so I’ve been told. At the end of the day and if you’re on Pepe’s team you might split forty or fifty pesos with him which would be enough to buy two beers downtown or three from the little store on the corner. Not bad for an afternoons work but hardly enough to survive on.
If you’re ever in town and want to join us on a Sunday afternoon just come on over. You’ll find us up on the roof. We start at 2 pm sharp and you have to be on time to play. It takes two people to form a team so bring a friend, some pesos and something to drink. Pepe will do all the rest for you.

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