La Bufadora

On the rocky coastline near Ensenada, BC, is a curious natural phenomenon known as, “La Bufadora,” the Blowhole. La Bufadora is a marine geyser. The spout of sea water is the result of air that is trapped in a sea cave. The air is forced into the cave by wave action. It blows up out of the hole with a spray of water when the waves pull back.

Not far from La Bufadora — which draws a number of tourists, even in winter — is a small market and beyond that is the requisite beach bar. On a chilly March night, Señor Marquez, a grape farmer and vintner, and his farm hand, Jose, were lifting cervezas after a long day clearing winter’s debris from the vines. Jose was Señor Marquez former brother-in-law and oldest friend. They’d grown up together, and when the shame of divorce invaded the Marquez home because Jose’s sister was and remained an incorrigible slut Jose appeared at his friend’s front door, shame-faced, hat in hand, “I’m sorry for my sister.”

“You have no reason to apologize to me. We have always known about Erlinda. Do you want a job? You can move in.”

So Erlinda had moved out, Jose moved in, and life continued smoothly from then on and no one ever guessed the secret of the two men.

The party lights around the bar flickered and moved in the wind. “Los turistas estan commenzando venir.” Jose gestured with his head to the door of the bar where a woman in her forties came in with a dark haired, dark haired boy in his late teens or early twenties.


“Not sure. La mujer? Si, but el joven, no se.”

There were only two empty seats in the bar, both at their table. After looking around, the enigmatic couple approached. Señor Marquez and Jose stood.

“¿Con permisso?” asked the woman.

“Sure,” said Jose in English. They all sat down. “You speak Spanish?”

The woman nodded and smiled. “Un poco.”

“You study in school?”


“And you, you speak Spanish?” Jose asked the dark haired, dark eyed boy.

“No. I’m Italian.”

“Close though, ¿no?”

Señor Marquez, having caught the eye of the waiter, raised four fingers in the air and gestured to include the whole table.

The woman shrugged. They had a long drive back to San Diego and she was driving but, one beer?

“You know how? Like this.” Jose took the slice of lime from the plate, sucked on it, took some salt and took a swig from his beer. The waiter had brought glasses, but why?

The woman slowly nursed her one beer and waited to see how things would go.

Before long the table was covered with Tecate bottles, salt shaker, small lime slices, empty glasses. In a cacophony of Spanish, English and Italian stories that no one would ever tell rolled across the table’s wooden surface.

“Love is love, right?” said Jose, shrugging. “So now, I am un campesino, trabajo con las uvas de Andres. ¿Y Andres, here? ¡que desastre! Married to my whore of a sister.

No mas,” said Señor Marquez with great passion. “Tengo mi libertad.”

¿Y usted? ¿cuál es su historia?” Jose looked at the woman.

The woman stared into the warm beer in her glass as if looking for an answer that would reveal nothing (the waiter had carefully poured it. A lady should not drink from a bottle).

The young man answered for her. “Too much to tell.”

Debemos irnos. San Diego esta lejos,” the woman said, standing. If the bar had been lit by more than a string of party lights, the two men would have seen her blush.

They shook hands all around, thanking each other for the beer and conversation. When the door closed behind the inscrutable couple, Jose turned to Señor Marquez, “¿Amantes?

Si.” Under the table he reached for Jose’s hand.

Los turistas estan commenzando venir = the tourists are starting to arrive
amantes = lovers
libertad = freedom
debemos irnos = we have to go
largo viaje = long drive
cual es su historia = what’s your story
trabajo con las uvas = I work with the grapes

Anything else, just ask… 🙂

Mi Familia Mexicana, un Sueño

“I should’ve found a nice Mexican guy, married him, had lots of kids, been part of a huge extended family, had great barbecues in the backyard with tequila and carne asada, and done the Mexican two-step under colored lights on the concrete patio. That’s what I should’ve done with my life.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It would have simplified things like getting my roof fixed. Chayo’s cousin would’ve been a roofer.”

“OK, seems a little nuts to me. You wouldn’t have been able to do the things you’ve done if you’d taken that road.”

“Yeah, but, here I am at the end of the day and all I’m worried about is a broken garage door and a hole in my garage roof. That has, by the way, been the story of my life.”

“What if Chayo’s brother wasn’t a roofer? What if he was, I dunno, a biochemist?”

“That’d be OK. Because Lupe’s cousin Tomás would’ve been a roofer.”

“Who’s Lupe?”

“You know Lupe. She’s my sister-in-law’s half sister?”

“Good god.”

“I love those families. Some of the best times of my middle years were at those parties, sitting around laughing at everything at nothing.”

“You understood them?”

“Hablo Español, dork. No muy bien, pues suficiente.”

“I forgot. I would’ve been out of the loop.”

“That’s your fault. Anyone can learn another language. I always thought it was funny when I sat between a grandma and her grandkid and translated.”

“I guess it must have been funny.”

“I loved it. Going to baby showers, drinking tequila, laughing. Lots, and lots of laughing.”

“From what you’ve told me, some of those parties got pretty violent.”

“The teenagers, but not when the whole family was there and a little kid was trying to bash a piñata. You don’t know. It’s an experience you never had. But I had it and I’m grateful for it. Amo la cultura Mexicana con todo mi corazon. And, I wish I’d married Chayo and SOMEONE in the family could fix my damned garage.”


P.S. Small political statement. I believe that our society is enriched by immigrants. My life would have been — and would be — much less if I had not had the chance to know people from many different cultures and nations. I believe that foreign languages should be taught in our schools starting in kindergarten and not as a “subject” but as a real language. I believe that isolating the US is one of the biggest mistakes of the current administration.