Christopher Strong Bicycle Gourmet — Born at the Right Time — Part Two
The first sound I heard on Bus no. 2 was a familiar voice. A singing one. The lyrics were “OO Who Who I feel my temperature risin’.” Yes, dear reader, it was Elvis. Tearing into the chorus of “Burnin’ Love.” The original version. Not the “Live in Vegas” one. Although I was to hear that, plus the Astrodome version, plus “Elvis’s greatest Hits — Vol 1 +2”.
Because in Mexico, your Bus driver is not just your chauffeur, He is also your Disc Jockey! And my DJ — Ramon — in his “The King Lives” tee-shirt was clearly not into country and western. Yes, dear reader — that’s what could have been worse.
As the “mile 95” marker appeared, the King was feebly warbling “regrets….I’ve a few..” (from the Las Vegas-I-wear-diapers-to-bed-years) Wishing Ramon a safe return to Graceland (He’d been 3 times) I descended onto the dry Mexican tundra.Behind me, desert and mountains. In front, desert and sea. No gps needed here.
Paul’s house was the first. Happily submerged in the Roy Rogers landscape.(Think catcti, cow skulls and tumbleweed) Beyond, and closer to the Ocean, a not-rag-tag-but-not-fancy collection of abodes. Of varying styles and materials. Their owners mainly Canadians, who fled their “home and native land” at the first breath of winter. (And who would not?)
Although I’d been to Hawaii, my senses weren’t prepared for the overwhelming perfume of the flora and fauna that graced Paul’s front entrance. Butterflies with Miro-esque colors cavorted happily among the cacti. Two huge palms shaded the driftwood pathway.
Several short steps after entering, I was in the circular courtyard. Under the Azur blue sky. Ringed by the rooms. A strange but welcome sensation. However, not a Paul in sight. What else for a gringo whippersnapper to do but yell : “Paul?…Paul?……which, I, in fact, did. No response. For about 10 seconds. And then: “Howdy!……”
Heard him. But couldn’t see him. “Paul” I repeated “Where are you?” “Up here!” Looking up I discovered Paul was not fibbing. He was up there. An 83 year old dynamo tinkering with his roof under 83°(+) heat. “Make yourself at home….I’ll be with you in a bit.”
Always one to follow the wishes of my host, I quickly found the kitchen,put my wine in the fridge, and made a very welcome avocado and tomato sandwich.
Suprised to find TWO fridges, a not too shabby sound system and several other electrically powered goodies,obviously I was thinking — glad I don’t have his electric bill! I was soon to learn this bill was virtually zero. Due to the solar panels ON THE ROOF. Yes, dear reader, DA BG did (finally) connect the dots. That’s what Paul was tinkering with when I arrived!
“A bit” — as in “I’ll be down in a bit” elasped into a hour before Paul finally joined me. When I asked him what he’d like for lunch, the reply was: “Oh, I’ll just have a piece of toast.” A piece of toast? After working (at least ) two hours on the roof, under the sun he only wants toast? What’s this guy made of? Some very unique stuff, as I was to discover.
Part Three — Next Time