It’s always mañana. One thing this adventure is teaching us is the virtue of patience and it’s one thing that neither of us excels at, until maybe now. This is good for us and a sharp diversion from our very “I need to know, have and do everything now” lives in Bend. Yeah, we are pretty laid back in Oregon, but it’s still easy to get wrapped up in the busyness. At home, we found ourselves repeating the patience mantra every day as we squirreled away every dollar so we could be here.
Listen up, Grasshopper. Here, moving fast is not an option.
Exhibit A: Mexico
Mexicans use the term “mañana” often. Literally, it means “tomorrow” or “morning”, but it is actually used in a very loose form, meaning “Someday soon, when I get around to it. Or maybe not.” This is used all the time, and if you are not used to it, you become severely misled that something will actually happen tomorrow. Last week, Ilseo (he is one of the brothers that owns the land that we are camping on here at The Wall) stopped by to chat with us and see if we wanted any firewood or lobsters. Sure, we say, we’ll take anything he brings. “Mañana”, he says. About five days later he brings us some firewood.
Getting things done in civilization also takes a fair amount of patience. We stop by the lavanderia to drop off our laundry. It’s 10:30am and no one is there yet, even though the little hand painted sign says “Abierto (open) 9:00am”. Every Mexican town of any size has a propane filling station, as most people cook with propane and they bring the tanks to be refilled at the station when needed. We stopped to refill our little tank, and lo and behold, we apparently don’t have the right kind of valve and they turn us away. But after talking with the guys working there and standing around looking at them like we are helpless, they eventually take the tank, do something magical to this wrong valve, and bring it back filled. With a little patience, the impossible becomes possible and what is typically a 10-minute job takes about 45 minutes. And so it goes.
Exhibit B: Surfing
As any surfer knows, waiting for waves can be excruciatingly painful. With mountain biking, you can hop on your bike every morning and expect to pedal for a while. The trails don’t move. They don’t go the other direction suddenly one day. They don’t disappear. You don’t see them diminish in size one day and jack up into unrideable mountains the next day. But the waves are different every day and, while it seems impossible, the largest body of water on the planet, the entire Pacific Ocean, can go completely flat in a matter of a day or two. Any new surfers that show up at camp are subjected to a flurry of questions about the swell forecast. You see, they are presumed to be the last people to have been near a computer or phone and likely checked the swell before they left their last post in civilization.
Surfing here is also a bit of a game revolving around the wind and the tide and most afternoons are too windy to surf. So, while we are on a “surf trip”, we find a lot of other things to do besides surfing when there is no swell in the water or too much wind. We build stuff, move rocks, fix things, read, write, work on our Spanish, visit with other people, walk in the desert, reorganize the camper, try to catch fish, work on crossword puzzles, draw, play with the dog, stare off into the ocean, do yoga, and take naps.
That said, for surfing, the wait is always worth it.
Exhibit C: Fishing
Every fresh fish we, actually just Chris, catches is so good and delicious. So, kind of like surfing, you begin to continually seek more of it. But some days, there are no fish to be had, even though we know that here at mid to low tide, the flat sandy bottom in places is paved with Halibut. Chris’ last fish, several days ago, was a 29” White Seabass, treasured amongst fishermen. Chris, being the less seasoned fisherman of the bunch, walked around asking everyone “What the hell is this giant thing?” while veteran fishermen gawked and rolled their eyes in jest at the novice with the prized big fish. It was big and beautiful and we had two days of ceviche and another dinner’s worth of fish. And as I sit and write, Chris is on the shore trying to catch tonight’s dinner. Mañana, mañana.
Exhibit D: Dozer
Even the dog is learning about patience, if that’s even possible. Every single evening, like clockwork, a lone coyote cruises through the desert, across the dirt track, right past our camp and on to the beach. And every night, Dozer posts up in his favorite spot to greet his new buddy. Last night, as we were eating dinner at dusk, Dozer took off like a bolt and we jumped up from our chairs to see the silhouette of our eleven-year-old black lab mix chasing the coyote over the crest to the beach. I don’t think he knows that he’ll never make friends that way.
It’s all about patience. Mañana, mañana. ¿Quien sabes? Posiblemente mañana.