Oh the stories! The wild successes, disasters,
frauds, surreal methods, beautiful workmanship, cheap
short-cuts, clever innovations, bone-headed mistakes.
That's the interesting thing about building a home in
the Baja. There's absolutely no common level of workmanship,
no minimum height for the highjump bar. A man who has
spent the last thirty years of his life pulling nets into
his panga will present himself as an expert framer or
a gyprock Rembrandt. Funny thing is, he might
An American friend once mentioned he would
like a thatched palapa built in his backyard. I asked
Carlos, a long-time Mexican friend, if he could do the
"Por supuesto," Carlos replied.
"Of course." He gave me a look that seemed to
question the intelligence of my inquiry.
I delivered Carlos to the American's home
and some weeks later heard the story.
The American shook his head sadly. "I
knew I was in trouble when Carlos started climbing the
ladder," he said. "Somehow he ended up standing
on his own foot." The American laughed, remembering
the scene. "There he was halfway up the ladder, yanking
away with his trapped foot when all he had to do was lift
the other one. Just between you and me, I don't think
he's ever seen a hammer before. But he's a helluva nice
guy so I let him build it anyway."
I looked at the finished product. Carlos'
thatched palapa looked like a Tennessee William's character
in a rainstorm. It was truly sick and tragic. Eventually
the American had to "put it down" and build
Blueroadrunner will carry stories from people
who've had large or small building projects in the area.
The content of these pieces in no way reflects the views
of Blueroadrunner. These stories are presented "as
is". Blueroadrunner takes no responsibility for their
veracity or accuracy.