Bill and Roger live in a mansion overlooking Puerto Vallarta Bay. Orllyene, my wife, and I have been invited for a visit.
"We're going to spend the summer in San Miguel de Allende," Bill mentions over iced tea and sliced mangos.
I make a mental note. Bill and Roger don't go anywhere that isn't first class. Three weeks later, back in Las Vegas, I book a $600 per month casita in San Miguel for May and June. Living like a millionaire when you aren't one is an acquired talent.
"Sweetheart, I don't think you would like it down here," I wail on the telephone to Orllyene who is still in Reno. I have just driven 1,850 miles in my Jeep in just four days. I misjudge driving distances, wake up in a hotel out of The Adams Family in Torreon and then can't find the road out of town the next morning.
I finally have to flag down a beer truck to ask directions to get to the "cuota," Mexico's version of a freeway.
After driving all day, I arrive in San Miguel, which sits on the side of a hill. The streets wind like pretzels and the names change arbitrarily. Safety concerns are nil. Once, I am afraid to go any further for fear the Jeep would topple over, head first. That's when I decided to call Orllyene.
"It's alright honey. You're just tired. You have a good nights rest. I'm sure it will all look better in the morning," she croons and hangs up.
As the moon peaks over the crest of the hill, I find 31 Charro. The street is cobble-stoned, the door massive. Maline, the woman who is house sitting in the main house greets me and invites me into the entry way.
"You look terrible," are her first words. "Is all that gear yours? Why don't you just leave it here and go on up to the casita and get some sleep," she says in a voice reeking of compassion.
The next morning, I awake to a rousing ensemble of roosters. Our little bedroom is on the second floor. We are at tree top level. Suddenly, the magnitude of my appetite makes itself known. I haven't eaten in 24 hours.
Maline tells me of a hole in the wall cafe across from the post office in the Main Plaza. Scrambled eggs, ham, tortillas, salsa and coffee turn me into a new man. Two days later, I rattle over to Leon in my Jeep and meet Orllyene.
"How was your flight?" I ask. "The flight was easy and I had the most wonderful talk with a woman when I changed planes in San Francisco. She is one of the writers for Touched by an Angel," she says. (I knew Divine Intervention had a hand in this trip.)
Each morning I slip quietly out the kitchen door, coffee in hand, and clamber up the steps to the casita's roof top. I then pull a rickety chair over to the ledge and prop up my feet. Dozens of flower containers fill the roof top. An ingenious gardener has gouged out a log and spunky marigolds wink out at me.
A distant church bell offers immediate redemption. Civilization intrudes. A distant diesel truck strains to crest a hill. Only tortillas are flat in this part of Mexico.
The weeks pass and life in San Miguel is harmoniously satisfying. Roger and Bill are quite right. Living first class is good thing.
Ron Walker lives in Smith Valley. He can be reached at email@example.com.