Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Danger—Enter At Your Own Risk

Danger—Enter At Your Own Risk
            Today Kathy and her sister Crin fly into Guadalajara from Victoria, BC. I’ve known Kathy for, I don’t know, maybe fifteen years. When two friends recognize they are kindred spirits, who counts years?

            This is embarrassing, but I can’t remember Crin’s given name. I met Crin a couple years ago in Mazatlan. 

Crin’s unusual nickname comes from her penchant for crinoline underskirts when she was a little girl, back in the day when we all wore the starched scratchy things beneath an outer skirt, when we swished the layers around pencil-thin legs, thinking we were stylish and beautiful. No tomboy, Crinny. Her tree-climbing sisters tagged her with the nickname and it stuck.

I’ll be waiting at the airport to meet and greet. Kathy hadn’t intended being in Etzatlan again until November. Blame Nancie. Nancie made the trip a few weeks ago and thoroughly cleaned and painted her Mexican home. All I can say is that paint must be inspirational. Kathy searched out airfare, found reasonable flights, and booked a quick two-week stay, paint brushes packed in her suitcase. She talked her sister Crin into making the trip.

Crin doesn’t know she will be walking on dangerous ground, possibly into a well-laid trap. I ain’t telling.

My guilt complex won’t let me squeal. I’m part of the trap. It’s sort of like quicksand. Once you fall in, you become part of the mix.

I fell in last spring. Oh, I was aware of the snares set on the edge of shimmering sands. Oh, yes, I thought I was strong enough to pull out.

Back three years ago my cousin Nancie introduced me to her friend Lani while they were on holiday in Mazatlan. Lani invited me to visit Etzatlan.

Etzatlan is not a resort community. There is no expat population. Etzatlan is a farming village, strong on cane and corn and chili peppers, weak on tourist attractions. It is not a destination sort of place.
The history is that an American man who loved Mexico, fell in love with a Mexican girl, bought a rancho in Etzatlan, and set aside acreage for like-minded folks to build small Mexican style casas. Approximately fifteen couples took him up on the offer over the years. Some came for vacations, some for winters, some few lived here year-round. Time passes. Old age, health problems and death have taken away all the old-timers.

So each time I visited Lani, who has lived her eight years, I also toured several empty casitas. That Lani is a sly one.

Last spring, knowing Nancie and Pat were going to purchase one of the empty homes, knowing full well the danger, I boarded the bus for a two-week visit. The second week I fell into the trap and purchased a small casa.

That same week, Kathy and Richard, vacationing in Mazatlan, in all innocence boarded the bus to Etzatlan for a week to see what attraction had snared me. A good time was had by all.

We three took the bus back to Mazatlan and made plans to meet for breakfast the following morning. I got a message. Breakfast was cancelled.

My friends had climbed back on the bus and in a couple days bought their own house. I tell you, there is a danger here. Maybe it is something in the water.

Poor Crinny. We who know have made plans for dinners out in our favorite restaurants, a trip to the pyramids, shopping the tianguis, the open-air street market. Of course, we’ll have churros in the plaza Friday night. Perhaps a jaunt to San Marcos to watch Don Ramon make pottery cookware. Naturally, Crin will “get” to see all the empty homes for sale.

This is Crin’s first trip. She might not get sucked into the quicksand right away, but we will steer her awfully close to the dangerous edge.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

September 1, 2016


  1. Sondra - I've been trying to get in touch - off and on - for years. Even the Havre paper doesn't (apparently have your correct email. Would love to hear from you. Lynne Larson

    1. Lynn, I'm so happy to hear from you. Please write me at my email address. I would love to hear more and catch up on old and new times. I think the reason you didn't reach me, is there is a dot after sondrajean.

  2. Lynne, Yahoo seems to not like me today, so you can also write to me at