I returned from Mexico with salmonella poisoning. Well, there was some debate about this. The Mexican doctor pronounced salmonella, charged $50 for an antibiotic injection in the but for which she made me lie on a rickety examination table made for the local Mayan community whose average height is 4 foot 8ish (I am six feet), prescribed another drug and charged a further $100 for the privilege.
Dolores picked up the bill, as she always does except when we go to the cinema and I buy the tickets and pop corn with money she has put into my pocket, (shall we have a giant box? No, say I, thinking of the sugar and calories. “Aw, there’s nothing wrong with a little sugar” We compromise with the middle size).
When we got home Dolores pronounced the drug superseded but once the standard protection in case of an anthrax attack. This seemed to make it ok but left me worried. Then she questioned the diagnosis.
“When I had salmonella my bones didn’t ache. What does that quack know? She wasn’t much good last year, was she?” referring to the flu symptoms everyone in the resort seemed to be suffering and which the stack of pills prescribed did nothing to alleviate, not that these doubts prevent Dolores visiting the doctor on almost a daily basis.
D`s remedy for most tropical illnesses is margaritas with double doses of Don Julio, tons of fresh lemon juice and chunks of limes (Squeeze mine for me will you? I cant get lime on my skin. I`m allergic). For my present symptoms she added rice pudding fortified with all sorts of sugary liquids from squeezy bottles that seem de rigor in American kitchens. This she topped off with home made fudge, delicious chocolate fudge made from pink and white marshmallows which, apart from the calories, (Oh you and your calories), would have been a pleasure at any other time. Somehow, after a long night of violent puking during which I was sure something that shouldn’t come up was going to come up , I was more inclined to favour the doctor’s recommended diet, which included rice but without the additives. However, fearful of offending my benefactress and friend, whose personal experience of quackery on three continents must be second to none, I pecked.
Dolores, my glorious, ever generous hostess lures me away from Poland annually in January, the grimmest time of the year, with the promise of turquoise seas, cool golden sands and a benign sun. These are the bonuses, because the real attractions are her ever perceptive, witty Levantine intelligence and her refusal to conform to the ever drearier and anonymous demands of international dress codes. Though no longer young, she still has the power to turn heads. Unsurprisingly, the motivation is not always kindly.
The resort that she has chosen to make her home for three months of the year is Cancun. Once fabled for its exclusivity and huge stretches of unspoilt beaches, (long swept away by vengeful hurricanes) it has now become a sort of Hilton on sea, a victim of developer’s greed, of excess capacity, an almost exclusively American upper working class ghetto. A place that excludes imagination. A cosmopolitan bird of paradise such as Dolores seems painfully out of place. But, she is indifferent. She is perfectly able to isolated herself from her human surroundings, from their jealous, judgemental stares, and luxuriate in the pleasures nature provides, swathed in brightly coloured silks, three sets of sunglasses perched somewhere on her head, book in hand. “Feel like a margarita?”