The Men of Melaque


Who are the elusive men of Mexico? To us Gringos who flock south for the winter, if we pay attention, we might just catch a glimpse of the homosapien species. Our first exposure was at the Puerto Vallarta airport, where throngs of eager males threw themselves at arriving snowbirds in the hopes of snagging fares for the taxis and shuttles that were stacked up out front.

Cathryn ducked behind me, while I blew threw the mob like a rushing linebacker. Our goal was to reach the front gate without being tackled, and to find an hombre named Edwardo. And just as we had planned, our driver was one of the last men standing – just before the exit doors. He proudly displayed his hand-written sign that read, “Cathy & Ed.”img_4406

Ridiculous airfares elsewhere had us fly direct from Detroit to Puerto Vallarta. We had hired Edwardo in advance, to drive us four hours south to Melaque. It was there we planned to spend the months of January and February, sweating instead of shoveling. It was on our first whole day, while exploring a town we hadn’t seen in three years, that we saw more Mexican men. Our walkabout caught two of the creatures – one two-legged and one four, relaxing in the shade.

We slowed our pace to dodge the heat and spotted two more macho men working img_4333with a tractor that had been borrowed from a museum and put to task. As the day went on, we saw them everywhere – we just had to look. We couldn’t locate Cathryn’s butcher buddy, Salvadore, but spoke to a younger, more handsome matador at the grocery store, who spoke better English that I do.

Back at our apartment, having a bit of lunch, I carefully positioned myself on what we’ve come to call our breezy balcony. With a cold beer and lettuce tuna wrap in hand, I watched in amazement – a brick layer toiling away in the thirty degree Celsius heat. I think he actually broke a sweat, I swear I saw him swipe his long sleeve across his brow. Searches me, how they work with long pants and shirts and don’t perspire. I break a sweat just lifting a beer to my lips.

While I was catching up on some writing on the shady patio, near our pool, I heard a commotion across the street. To my surprise, David, the landlord’s boyfriend, appeared with two giant iguana’s in hand. He complained he was working on his car when the two reptiles fell from the tree above. They had been fighting and one was still latched on to the other. Being a seasoned Mexican rancher, David tore the two dinosaurs apart with his bare hands, then returned to his vehicle repairs.

img_4337And then there’s the cowboys, yep, we’re in small town Mexico. The traffic out front of our place consisted of cows grazing in the neighbors weeds, alongside the wild turkeys he’s raising. Our landlord says there’s slightly less of them since Christmas. Just when it looked like the cows were about to move toward main street, two dudes on horseback trotted down our lane-way to round them up.

Oh yeah, how could I forget the Bird Man. He’s the guy who patrols the bay on a stand up paddle board. From what we could gather, his job is to paddle around a floating platform to scare off the birds who like to sit and shit there.

The last Mexican man we saw that day can’t really call himself one yet. Brian, our waiter at the Bistro downstairs, is a heart-breaker waiting to happen. This polite and handsome young man will be beating off the senoritas with a wet burrito. And I thought I was the only man around here.


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