Blame it on the gypsies!
The odd rapport began while I was surf fishing. Carlos, if that was his name,
looked a little out of place standing on the shore, a 60-year-old man wearing
patent leather shoes, a long sleeve white dress shirt and neatly creased pants.
Carlos wasn’t fishing with a fishing pole, but with a fishing line wrapped
around a stick. Rather than casting, he would throw the line into the ocean.
He broke the ice by offering me some of his bait. I caught a fish immediately.
Carlos and his family were camping in the same trailer park, as we were, a
lovely full service campground right on the beach at Melaque on the southern
coast in the state of Jalisco. He had a big family, and when we met later in the
day, he introduced Adam and me to all of them. There were three older boys, and
what appeared to be a wife, an older daughter, a younger baby girl, and then
there was the mother of that baby girl?
Adam and I looked at each other as we walked away. “Did he say he had two
wives?” We must have gotten something mixed up in the translation.
Melaque When you camp on the beach
right in town, theft is always a possibility.
Later in the day as we crossed from the front gate past his two toned blue Ford
truck, tents, and stereo blasting a mixture of Latin tunes, Carlos invited me
over for a tequila drink. I would join him later, as I was feeling ill and did
not cherish the thought of downing a couple of Tequilas so early in the day.
Carlos was insistent and he had a very warm smile and laughing eyes.
I sat down with him, and one of his sons’ Ricky, Adam joined us. The women
poured us what turned out to be a fruit punch tequila based drink and then they
disappeared into the large tent. Carlos told us that he was a garlic farmer from
Guadalajara. But mostly he wanted to know about us. “Quanto es? How you say,”
and he would use his hands as if he was using my fishing rod. I wrote out the
price of the fishing rod in the sand. He then pointed to the RV and asked what
it cost. Again I wrote it out in the sand.
We sat for over an hour in the shade beneath the coconut palm trees. The tequila
and his warm friendship making me feel generous. I sent Adam over to get some
fishing lures and presented it to him. He was very grateful. We departed shaking
hands, followed by a warm Latino hug. Then went back to the trailer.
It was now five o’clock and the Internet café across the street was about to
I had promised Adam some time on the Internet and I needed to send an e-mail. We
crossed the cobblestone street to the Internet Café. I wasn’t gone longer than
ten minutes and returned to notice that Carlos and his family were packed up and
leaving. Walking over to me, Carlos greeted me with his warm smile. “Adios
amigo” he grabbed my hand and pulled me in for one of those big macho hugs. I
pointed out that there was a metal rod sticking out of the ground in front of
his car and warned him to watch out for it.
“Adios, amigo, be careful,” were Carlos’s last words as he went back to packing
Back at the RV, Dorothy and Dylan were waiting to go swimming. I entered; they
immediately walked out and shut the door.
“Bill! One of the bikes is missing,” Dorothy shouted. I thought she was joking.
“Get out here!” she was not joking.
There on the ground was the near impossible to pick lock lying there, the straps
and bungee cords hanging off the bike rack. Had I forgot to properly lock the
bike up? No I was sure I had.
I looked over to the camping spot, where Carlos and his family had been a few
moments earlier, they were gone. We were stunned. :”Who last saw the bike?”
Dorothy asked. We narrowed it down to me about one hour before.
Dorothy took off to the park office; I stood outside seething in a mixture of
anger, disgust and despair. The bike was not a “super” expensive model, but it
had been stolen right under our noses. I noticed that Dorothy was now standing
out in front of the office with a small group of people.
“Bill, they say your friends were ‘gypsies’,” Dorothy said somewhat accusatory
as if I had invited the devil himself into our lives. “And Dad, they don’t own
any garlic farm, they have no address,” Dylan piped in.
Up until that moment it had not crossed my mind that the man who I had felt such
a warm and immediate friendship towards would have ripped us off. “What do you
mean they were gypsies?” I asked.
“They were selling fortunes and palm readings in the town,” Dorothy said.
“Well just because they were fortune tellers does not mean that they stole the
bike,” I responded.
“Then why did they suddenly get up and leave in the late afternoon having
already paid for tonight’s camping?”
After 30 years of traveling in Mexico, it was the first time that anything
substantive was ever stolen from me.
My first encounter with one of those so called “banditos.”
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