4.Trips to Town

Chapters: Meeting DamianaGoing Fishing … or Not | Exploring | Camp Life | Trips to Town | Looking Back


On Monday we were invited to accompany Damiana and Alejandro on their town trip. Everyone rose earlier than usual. We caught the 7:20 bus to Guaymas and then changed buses for one that went to Calle 10 where the extended family lived. Each daughter had her own house and we spent most of our time at Gloria’s house, the eldest daughter. The activity was centered in her kitchen, where she cooked all day.

We arrived about 9 and everyone had another breakfast. While we ate, Gloria bought fish and fresh oysters from a street peddler for later. Then Damiana and I and the youngest daughter took a pesa-bus downtown so the daughter could see her doctor. The office was crowded but Damiana explained that he was her daughter’s patron. I’m not certain what else that means but we just walked through the waiting room and she saw him right away.

We returned to find the remains of fish, meat, oranges and dried shrimp on the table where Robert and Alejandro had been snacking after visiting the mechanic.

Supper began about 2 pm: the raw oysters with lemon juice, slices of cucumber with salt followed by carne asada, tomato, lettuce, and pop and stacks of corn tortillas warm from the little factory down the street. I had no room for the soup. Alas.

We finished supper at 3:30, after Robert worked himself to a frenzy worried that we would miss the three o’clock bus, which, needless to say, we did. Damiana arranged with a neighbor for a ride later so we had time for more errands. Again we missed the ride to San Carlos, but we were the only ones who worried because we finally all squished into a cab for the trip out.

One morning Damiana and Alex Sr. came to me very agitated and said that her heart was again doing strange things-fast beats then very slow. Would I flag a tourist and get them a ride to town?  I did. This left 5 kids, Philipe, the men and us until later, when Alex Sr. returned in a taxi and picked up the kids to take them back to Guaymas leaving just us and the crewmen.

Jorge didn’t waste much time in finding the dried shrimp and popping a handful into his mouth. I thought I should cook something since I was the only woman but I didn’t know how to make tortillas, or much else that we had been eating. I shouldn’t have worried. Lingo whipped up a batter of flour, salt and sugar and fried it like a pancake but with more fat. All the time, he and Jorge were chuckling. They liked them because they are easier to fix than tortillas. Rosalio arrived in time for dinner of the pancakes and coffee but Robert’s gut was cramping again and he didn’t eat.

Two Cooks at Work

The next morning, Lingo cooked a pot of broth, rice, potatoes and tomatoes for supper and dinner, chopping and dicing ingredients on the little table. Meanwhile, Jorge mixed up dough for flour tortillas. He kneaded the sticky dough and then wadded it up, squeezed off a ball and put it aside. He did fine making the dough balls until I came over to watch and then he couldn’t get them the right size so he made me turn away. Some older boys from down the beach stopped to watch and Jorge made them leave as well, saying he couldn’t perform in a theater.

After he made all the balls, he took one of them, poked it in the middle, and squeezed, pinched and pulled the dough until it was large enough for a tortilla, and then plopped it on the top of the hot griddle. Lingo took over from there and turned them with a spatula, time and again until they were done, then tossed them into the bucket. After an hour there were forty or fifty tortillas cooling in the bucket.

Damiana arrived back in camp midmorning and seemed her old self. She set out right away toasting buns and cooking breakfast. Unfortunately, Lingo and Rosalio had gone fishing with only tortillas on board.

The wind was fierce that day. The gusts blew plastic plates off the table, our tent filled with sand and the wind changed direction hourly, so no defense was good for very long.

Go to next chapter: Looking Back