This is the third and last part of a story by Rotarian Terry Cooper, on his experience wintering in Mexico.
Escaping Winter in Rincon de Guayabitos – Part 3
During our walks we often took along bags to pick up any pieces of small garbage (especially plastic) which was appreciated by both the locals and visitors. Many thanked us and even contributed to our collection! The beaches were cleaned regularly so we were simply picking up what the cleaners missed and the beaches were far cleaner than we have seen at other beaches we’ve visited over the years.
Staying in a fishing village one would expect that fresh fish would be available along the shore and we weren’t disappointed. Most mornings we walked along the beach to get fresh fish from our favourite fisherman Jose who always greeted us with a smile and often threw in an extra filet of another fish. We normally paid around 200 pesos (~ $14 CAN) for about a kg of fish which gave us a meal for two days. I think ate almost all of the offerings to – dorado (mahi-mahi), sole, red snapper, sea bass, marlin, tuna, shark, prawns. The nice part was that the fish were fileted so there were no bones or extra work.
We often ventured outside the tourist area to visit local communities such as a show factory and brick-making facility. Visiting the shoe factory in Compostela reminded me of the sweat shops we saw in southeast Asia. There were about 5 people, including a school aged boy, who were working the human assemble line. The young boy worked in the morning and went to school in the afternoon. The soles were made from old tires while the rest of the shoe was made from leather. At the front of the shop was the store where the shoes were sold for around 220 pesos (~$15 CAN). Belts were also sold and now I wish I had picked up one seeing the process and labour involved.
On our trip to Compostela we observed a worker making tiles and bricks using a traditional process passed down over the years using basically three components – clay, cow dung, and sawdust. After mixing the three components, the worker poured the mixture into a form, wetted the surface, removed the form and repeated the process. Later the tiles / bricks were used to create the kiln which was then fired using wood. The worker has been working here at this small operation for over 30 years at wages that would embarrass us – pennies per brick. Most buildings in Mexico are made of brick, tile and concrete because wood is very expensive and requires constant treatment to prevent damage from terminates.