Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Wished That The Local Vultures Were As Charming As The Nearby Pelicans.

"Want a breakfast margarita?" Clif teased.

"No, but I do want to find the farmacia," I replied

Warm sun blessed, we reintroduced our bodies to summer clothes and sandals, and then wandered the San Jose Del Cabo streets. We found the Mega Store which included a full pharmacy. Twenty steps inside we heard "May I help you find something?" in rehearsed broken-English.


"Si, follow me," answered the Mega Store employee.

We chatted in Spanglish—where are you from? You have a childrens?—blah, blah, blah. Approaching the pharmacy, he asked, "Well, amigos, how would you like 100 American dollars—free? I can also get you a free dinner, cruise…"

"Gracias, senor," I interrupted. "I just want my prescription.

"Then I get you 150 American dollars…"

"No, gracias, senor…"

"But you get free money, and a dinner cruise worth another 200 American dollars, and…"

"No! Gracias, senor. We are tired and want nothing but the view from our hotel and…"

"You don't want free money?" he insisted.

"There's no such thing as free money."

"But senorita," he continued his bottomless pitch.

"No! We are not interested."

He continued and then God intervened with a radio call. "Excuso. I'll meet you when you are finish," he noted as he headed to a cashier in need.

And I'll lose 20-pounds tomorrow at the all you can eat buffet at our all inclusive hotel, I self muttered.

It was Valentine's Day and we spent what was left as long-time lovers should: bask in the sun, walk the beach, watch the people, have wine with lunch, and spend the evening watching a cabaret of dancers as dinner was served. "Would you like more red wine?" asked our waiter as the dancers changed costumes. Of course. And where's the chocolate?

We slept like babies unaware that a vultures' roost, so removed from their natural state of retreat, that they were ready to pick still living flesh from us.

Royal Solaris Hotel--AKA Vulture Headquarters

At exactly 8 a.m., our telephone rang. "Buenas dias, Senora Coimbra. I call to remind you of our 9 a.m. appointment today. Please meet us in the lobby."

Clif grumbled. "Think freebies," I recollected for him.

A Spanish princess greeted our lobby arrival. "Buena dias, senor y senorita.
Follow me, please.

When I saw one meeting room crowded with folks like us a bad feeling crept through my bones. Uniformed men stood in front of our only way out.

Have you ever watched a vintage black and white film: Hypnotic jungle drums rumble in the distance; an unsuspecting—yet intrigued—American wanders dangerously close. Hungry eyes hidden inside dark and dense foliage, lustfully watch. Suddenly, the blonde American in her white safari pants and shirt is trapped, and then yanked into a nest of starving cannibals while vultures soar overhead and the drums maniacally beat.

Enter handsome young Aldo with his 20 very personal questions. How much do you make? How many children? What are their names? Do you travel often?

Not fond of such questions, I made up answers: Millions of dollars, twelve children, Matthew, Luke, John, etc. This is our first trip away from the multitudes.

What really gave us the willies was the placement of us pigeons to Aldo, who directly faced an aging brood of vultures perched along a wall. Really—it was that obvious.

"Aldo, let's cut to the chase," I interrupted his prodding, "How much for the
time share?"

"Oh, no, no senora, this is not a time share? It is a partial full ownership…."

"Aldo, I'd say that a 'partial full ownership' is an oxymoron if ever there was an oxymoron."

His face contorted. I think what he heard was "you are a moron." Then from rear perch, one of the senior vultures sniffed for dead meat and soared to our table. "Aldo, take them to breakfast," he hissed. Now it was my turn to ask Aldo 20 personal questions. He got the picture and suggested, "Just go back and act like you are listening. You're done in 30 minutes, and then enjoy your gifts."

Back to the dumping ground, Aldo went through the numbers. Within 10 minutes another vulture left his perch hungry for fresh carrion. He reviewed Aldo's paperwork and grunted out an even better number to become a partial full owner of nothing. "Sorry, we are not interested," Clif insisted. Not good enough. A more aggressive vulture rocketed off his perch to swoop in and kill the meat himself. That was #6 vulture, named Ignacio.

The veins in Clif's neck showed his quickening pulse and his blue eyes searched for soft flesh to pierce. A wise vulture would leave. Ignacio was not wise. After some hostile exchanges, the Coimbras were escorted from the poisoned nest, handed our freebies, and then escorted to the elevator. Ignacio went in for easier kill

We tangoed the night away on our Cabo sunset dinner cruise, watched whales swim by and marveled at the geological beauty of San Andreas faulting that separates the Pacific Ocean from the Sea of Cortez.


This is the second installment of our Baja adventures. Inside a Mexican single engine Cessna, we began our trek toward reuniting with Alemany 66ers and a glorious encounter with grey whales.



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