Where The Geckos Laugh
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A broke sailor owes a Mexican official money. Before sun rise he tries to escape by sailing through the shallow reef that might tear his ship to pieces.
A Canadian girl, on family vacation in Yucatan, is forever changed when she looks through a window and sees her mother kissing another woman.
Stories taken from a village near Cancun, where real Mexico begins. More
Where the Geckos Laugh is a collection of stories, with photos, from two years spent in a Mayan village on the Caribbean.
I found an abandoned house 100' from the Caribbean, gathered driftwood to fashion a writing table, and on a manual typewriter, with a kerosine lantern humming into the hot night, I sat and clacked out the first drafts of Falling Up. I carried water in a 20 liter jug, and set it in the sun for my showers. A hammock strung beneath a mosquito net was my bed. Geckos laughed like an old witch at night. A feral cat would sneak in during the day as I sat typing, and suddenly leap up the wall and snatch a lizard in her mouth, or rip apart
Soon I was visited by a pot smoking neighbor who said he was watching the house for the owner and I should pay him $40 a month for 'rent.' Not long after that, the self-appointed mailman, a bent-over little Mayan grandfather walked right into my house with a letter in his hand, hissed out my family name, and handed me the correspondence. "Tip," he said.
As my imagination toiled with my story set in Germany, an entire new book unfolded around me. I noticed how the power lines would cackle and throw bright arcs of electricity during a rain. That made me uncomfortable during my walks.
In the center of town stood a tin roof market where children would buy sodas and have them poured into plastic bags to avoid the bottle deposit. A straw placed in the bag...and the kid would run out with sandals flopping, beach sand on their feet, and to them it seemed that drink would never end. In the evening families strolled around the little square and let toddlers run free. The one radio station could be heard coming from Mayan palapas and modern homes alike as I walked into town. Often I would stop the Clap-clap Man, who filled a metal pan on his three wheel cycle and pedaled through the town, stopping at houses along the way. By clapping he let his clients know fresh pastries had arrived.
It was, after all, the perfect town for a writer. There I was able to unplug from city stress, wander sandy streets in shorts and tank top, and let my imagination build an action novel. I so needed to sublimate things I had experienced and witnessed in Africa, and that was what I did with Falling Up.
While I was shoveling from my house the sand of hurricanes past, I found something that changed my life: the remains of a spear gun. By carefully taking it apart and cleaning the mechanism and coating it with olive oil, I pieced it together.
Within a few days I was swimming to the Palancar reef, shooting lobster and grouper--
free. Floating 200 yards from shore, I confronted sharks, green Moray eels, poisonous rock fish and fire coral. I was more alive than any time in my life.
I hope that with these stories in Where the Geckos Laugh, I have captured some of the wonder and joy that was my village. Kevin R. Hill.