Welcome to Literary R&R's stop on Mark Saunders' Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak virtual book blog tour. Below you will find book info, author bio and a guest post provided by Mr. Saunders. I hope you enjoy!
Book Info/Buy Links:
ISBN #: 978-0984141289
Page Count: 298
Copyright: November 2011
Publisher: Fuze Publishing, LLC
Price: $14.95 (Paperback); $9.95 (eBook)
Ay, chihuahua! Ay, caramba! Oy vey!
In early December 2005, Mark Saunders and his wife, along with their dog and cat, packed up their 21st century jalopy, a black Audi Quattro with a luggage carrier on top, and left Portland, Oregon, for San Miguel de Allende, three thousand miles away in the middle of Mexico, where they knew no one and could barely speak the language.
Things fell apart almost from the beginning. The house they rented was as cold as a restaurant's freezer. Their furniture took longer than expected to arrive. They couldn't even get copies of their house keys made. They unintentionally filled their house with smoke and just as unintentionally knocked out the power to their entire neighborhood. In other words, they were clueless. This is their story.
An award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and cartoonist, Mark Saunders tried standup comedy to get over shyness and failed spectacularly at it - the standup part, not the shyness. He once owned a Yugo and still can't remember why. Nearly 30 of his plays have been staged, from California to New York - with several stops in-between - and two plays have been published.
With three scripts optioned, his screenplays, all comedies, have attracted awards but seem to be allergic to money. Back in his drawing days, more than 500 of his cartoons appeared nationally in publications as diverse as Writer's Digest, The Twilight Zone Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post.
As a freelancer, he also wrote gags for the popular comic strip "Frank and Ernest," as well as jokes for professional comedians, including Jay Leno. Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak is his first book.
My wife, Arlene, and I were the last people we ever expected to drop out, sell their belongings, and move to the middle of Mexico, especially since we didn't know anyone south of the border, couldn't speak Spanish, and were, by that time, in our late 50s, an age when most people are more prudent in their decision-making.
Previously, adventure, if not danger, in our lives was limited to riding the city bus after dark or ordering the chef's surprise at a new, untested restaurant.
But move we did.
Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak is a humorous memoir about our first two years in Mexico. In my fish out of water story, we didn't get car-jacked, kidnapped, mistakenly shot at, or ripped off by a shady contractor hoping to live in Panama on our life savings. But we did have plenty of mishaps, made some embarrassing mistakes, got in and out of trouble, and learned a thing or two about life, Mexico, and each other.
So, what was it like?
We discovered we were living in a cash-based society where nobody ever had change. In a culture where manana did not always mean tomorrow but could mean anything from later to not now to fat chance you'll ever see me again. In a country where the most common unit of measurement was not the kilo or the kilometer, as guidebooks would have you believe, but something known as mas o menos, simply translated as "more or less." And in a city where you can't swing an artist without hitting a writer, and if the writer ducks, you're bound to hit a jazz musician.
In short, we loved it.
The people were kinder. The pace was gentler. We felt like images on a postcard of San Miguel, surrounded daily as we were by streets made of cobblestones, brightly-colored houses, colonial-era churches, open-air street markets, and stoic burros laden with firewood. Enthusiastic street bands marched through town blissfully out of tune. Doctors made house calls; pharmacies delivered to our door. And the sun appeared in all its glory, rarely blemished by clouds.
After living among them for two years, Mexico's true strength, I believe, is its people, especially the close-knit families who, when it comes to promoting family values, actually do walk the talk. If the average Mexican family had as much money as it has heart, such families would be among the richest on Earth.
We dropped out of our fast-paced, high-tech, worker-bee, big-store, big-city lives and moved to a small, dusty city in the central highlands of Mexico. We took the advice of Henry James and lived "the life we had always imagined." More precisely, we lived the life we had never imagined.