The character and characters of San Felipe

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A couple weeks into this new chapter in the adventure we call life, we have explored some of the character of our new home here in San Felipe and met a few characters along the way.

All I can say is this ain’t Cabo.

We made lifelong friends in San Jose del Cabo, people who are warm, real, genuine.

We also met quite a few folks who were 50 percent tense and 50 percent pretense.

One woman wanted the pool cleared so she could swim her laps alone. The president of the home owner’s association there ran his group like a Third World dictator. Then there were the others who, in no uncertain terms, liked to remind you of just how fat their wallets. These were usually the miserly types who wouldn’t share their beer at the pool or attend the get-togethers or birthday celebrations down by the pol because they might have to bring some food or a gift. You know the type.

And, of course, you could always spot the folks with more money than manners along the marina in Cabo San Lucas or in the restaurants along the coast. They were, without exception, the loudest, rudest, most obnoxious of the bunch, which is why we were happy to hang with our close cadre of friends and the locals who had befriended us.

Things are a lot different in San Felipe.

First of all, there are no world-class resorts to lure the rich and obnoxious.

You won’t run into any of the Kardashians here, won’t hear that Ryan Seacrest is in town scouting properties, or that some above-the-credits film guy has flown his favorite rock band to town to play at his private birthday party.

There was a lot of visible wealth in Los Cabos, as the turistas from the U.S. threw dollar bills at the locals in a contemptuous, condescending manner. It was embarrassing to hear some roaring drunk stagger down the marina, plod through the plaza, or cause some poor waiter grief, then see him heavily tipping the locals who he had just insulted.

We haven’t seen anything even remotely close to that here.

Instead, we’ve found a group of folks who are, well…folks.

There’s a nice pool setup at our current complex. One pool is a standard 25-meter length for those who like to swim laps Next to it is a smaller, recreational pool where they hold the daily pool volleyball game. There is also a fairly healthy hot tub nearby.

It’s where people who live in this complex, called El Dorado Ranch, gather.

There’s Dave, a tall, burly guy with a sailing ship tattooed across his ample chest. He was a merchant marine for 38 years. He has a big, bushy beard, shaved head, and sunglasses that seem permanently attached to his face. He and his wife, Nicole, who sold advertising for a Los Angeles metro newspaper, are poolside regulars.

Dave has a growly, gruff voice but honestly? He seems to be nothing more than a big old teddy bear. Nicole, with her sales background, has a lot in common with Cara.

Larry is a retired electrician who spent many years in and around Washington, D.C. He has a long, gray ponytail, plus the requisite cap and sunglasses, and is just as much at home participating in the volleyball game as he is reading “Pearls, Arms and Hashish,” written by Frenchman Henry De Monfried. It’s a book about being a pirate off the Somali coast in the 1920s and ‘30s. Larry has been in San Felipe for some time now. “The day after they elected George W. Bush I told everybody, ‘I’m done…out of here…see you later.’”

He does not look forward to his infrequent trips back across the border.

Ted and his wife, Barbara, just arrived fulltime from Denver. He recently retired after a lengthy career in education, first as a teacher, then as a counselor.

There is also an international impact.

Robert comes from the Champagne area of France. After living and working in the United States, he packed it in and headed south of the border.

Vee was born in England – her thick English accent remains – although she eventually moved to San Francisco where she lived before arriving in San Felipe.

I don’t know enough about them all to tell yet which ones are running from their past, which are running to their future and which are simply running, but they are an intellectually stimulating bunch.

The talk ranges from music to books to politics with a healthy mix of background and life experiences to pepper the conversation.

This is a well-read, liberal crowd…a very liberal crowd. In fact, I think I know now where all the hippies from my generation have gone to escape the anger and incivility of a nation that seems on the verge of being more divided than it was during the Civil War. They are here. In fact, the other day the pool area held the distinct pungent aroma of Colorado.

We wonder what happened to the changes we thought we saw coming during the ‘60s, the social reforms we tried to instigate, the promise we held dear, if only through our fleeting youth, that we could, indeed, make a difference and change the course of a nation that was dangerously teetering off track.

Change has come, alright, but not for the better, I fear as I look at the country I was born and raised in and see humanity and compassion flushed, only to be replaced by greed.

I have never felt more of an outsider in my homeland than I have the last dozen years or so and I come from a time when people like me were chased, maced, and beaten by cops who had a particular dislike for long hair, The Rolling Stones, and anybody who challenged their little one-dimensional brains.

I mean, the Bush-Cheney years were so Nixonian, followed by a genuine anger after we elected, then re-elected, our first black president.

I thought we were through with all of that, I thought we had found a growing degree of equality, but come to find that we have taken mega-steps backward in how we, as a nation, have come to treat people of color and those member of the LGBT community,

Yeah…I know why the group of ex-patriates we have run into so far are here.

I can’t say that I blame them.

Not one little bit.

I just hope this wind stops soon and the temps go back up so we can spend even more time by the pool.

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