Monday, February 27, 2017

What’s In A Name

What’s In A Name
            This morning, Ricardo, our waiter, kept track of us by name. Lu became, forevermore, “Hello, Mary Lou, Goodbye Heart”, accompanied by Ricardo not-Nelson, with Spanish accent, embedding the song in our minds for the rest of the day. Ha! Now try to get the tune out of your head!

The two couples were Jerry and “Jerry’s wife” and Jesse and “Jesse’s wife”. Lola threatened to stab Ricardo in the leg with a fork. Sharon just laughed. I began calling Jerry, “Lola’s husband, just to keep things even.

Karen, he renamed “Carmen” and she immediately became dark and sultry. When I said my name, Ricardo replied, “Oh, you same name as the owner.”

I said, “We must be cousins.” Thus I became “cousin of owner”.  

            For the hour and a half it took us to have breakfast, Ricardo had fun with our names. That personal touch means we will always remember both him and the restaurant.

            Names are important. When my friends arrived from the airport, we caused a hubbub in the lobby, hugs and talk and the usual commotion. That was no problem. But we tried to check in and encountered a “boulder in the road”.  

            When finally the desk manager, one whom I’d not yet met, got my attention, he asked for the copy of my reservation from Expedia, which thoroughly confused me. “I made my reservations in person with Amalia,” I explained. “I never used Expedia.”

            He insisted he must have a copy of the elusive reservation in order to give my friends their rooms.

            Obviously we had a communication problem. I tried using different words, sprinkling my explanation with Spanglish. Then I used the lobby phone to speak with Amalia, who said she would clear up the confusion.

            However, the strangeness didn’t go away until another woman approached the desk and introduced herself as Sondra Jean Ashton, holder of the Expedia reservation.

            This woman had my entire name. What are the chances of that? What are the chances of us converging on the same day in the same resort lobby?

With profuse apologies the desk manager straightened us out and set us up with our rooms. I never had a chance to talk with my “same-name stranger” nor did I see her again.

            If I were Billy Bob Smith, I might expect to find entire phone book sections devoted to my name. But Sondra is unusual, a British name, and Ashton isn’t overly common as a last name. I’ve only met one other, Steven Ashton, from when I lived in Poulsbo, Washington. What I remember most is that he and his wife (I want to say Arlene but I’m unsure.) were square dancers.

I regret not talking with the other Sondra. We were rushing in different directions, which is a bit sad, when you think about it.

But, my, what a time! We hit the ground running and haven’t stopped yet.

I love being “tour guide”, introducing a group of friends to “my Mazatlan”. My list of things to do, places to go, is long. Time is short. And, true to form, we don’t always end up where we aimed. That is a good thing. Like the night we landed at the Shrimp Bucket (not our original destination) for, yes, shrimp, and a jazz/rock-n-roll band, accomplished musicians, who played music we all knew and loved.

            An advantage of having lived here is that I know what is “tourist” and what is “Mexican”. My friends have gotten to see the working Mazatlan, the shrimp boats, the tuna factories, the docks,  and  along with the Mercado, the Plazuela Machado, a day of exploring the Golden Zone, tourista central. We went north to La Noria and El Quilete, south to Concordia and Copala. We’ve eaten meals on the street and in fine-dining establishments. We’ve purchased beach junk and quality art, jewelry and clothing.

            Tomorrow we begin the second half of our Class of ’63 Reunion with a bus trip to Zapopan on the edge of Guadalajara.

            There is only one problem: not enough time. There is a solution: this is my friends’ “first” trip, but not the last.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

February 23, 2017

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