Jorge, our taxi-driver into the city centre of Huatulco from Villas FaSol, does not speak English.
We do not speak Spanish.
Siri comes to the rescue, or at least a Spanish speaking, language translating version of Siri that is.
Jorge holds up his phone and waves it at the both of us in the back seat as he drives one handed. He flings a string of Spanish sentences into the phone and holds it up again, motioning for C.C. to take the phone.
Magic! His Spanish becomes English. “What are your plans for downtown Huatulco? You plan on going shopping?”
He motions us to speak into the phone.
“Yes. We want to walk around town. Visit shops. Have lunch.”
Jorge smiles. Nods his head. Reaches back for the phone. Again he fires his rattatatat of Spanish at the phone.
“You want I take you to my friend who owns a shop. Lots of lovely things. I tell her you’re my friends. She give you good deal. Not like others. She will treat you well.”
C.C. takes the phone. “Of course!’ he speaks into it.
I wonder if the Spanish speaking Siri will translate our laughter into anything other than what it is. Joyful gratitude for Jorge’s enthusiastic driving and clever translation skills.
Downtown, Jorge double parks on the narrow one-way street in front of a store, jumps out of his cab and says via his phone, “Come. I take you in and introduce you.”
We follow him into the shop where without aid of Spanish speaking Siri he greets a lovely dark-haired woman in a volley of Spanish. She smiles. Thanks him and turns to us. “Jorge says you his good friends. I am to treat you well.”
We smile. Thank Jorge, pay him for the ride and he leaves us with many Gracias!
The first question, Ines, the proprietress of Las Maracas, asks us is, “Are you American?”
“No,” we quickly reply. “Canadian.”
She smiles big. “Oh good. Then I tell you right now. The prices you see are all Trump dollars. For you, they are much less.”
We laugh but she is serious. “No. I no like him. I make him pay here, at my store. I like Canada. My daughter. She met a man from Calgary. She get married and move there. I love Canadians!”
We laugh again and tell her we are from Calgary. She has never been but has a trip planned for next August. “I not go in winter,” she says, faking a shiver and rubbing her bare arms. “My daughter. She likes the cold. Not me.”
Ines is true to her words. We spend a half hour in her shop. Chatting and eyeing her wares. Her husband is the silversmith and jewelry maker. His work is beautiful.
C.C. tells her he is buying me a birthday gift. “It is your birthday?” she asks.
“Yesterday,” I reply.
“Then I make you a gift,” she says. “You pick anything you want, I give it to you at cost. Our gift to you.”
In the end, we bought two bracelets, a necklace and she gifted me a pair of earrings to match my bracelet.
“But that is not cost,” I say.
“It is a gift,” she replies firmly.
The heart of Mexico is in its people.
From Jorge to Ines, to the man who lead us down street after street to visit ‘his shops’ (the Mescal store where free samples were doled out liberally. We had to buy the Passion Fruit Mescal after tasting the concoction the salesman created), to the waiters on the beach at Santa Cruz where we visited for lunch, warm greetings, smiles and laughter, a willingness to engage and talk is at the heart of what makes this country so beautiful.
We spent a delightful day exploring and eating. And after a late lunch under a palapa on the beach at Santa Cruz, we returned to Villas FaSol for a swim and a well-earned siesta before heading out to a delight dinner under the stars at Mision FaSol.
The day is done. The sun has set. our hearts are full after another beautiful day in paradise.