Chílon is a chilango, a native of Mexico City. He’s been in Los Cabos now for 35 years. Back in the ’90s, he had a children’s radio show on Sundays that was wildly popular, especially with kids on the ranchos. He called himself “Paraquin” (pair-ah-keen), a parrot, and he would trill his voice. He’d say, “OK, Maria and José, you mind your parents and study hard in school and now — here’s “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones…
Everywhere we went in those days, kids stopped him on the street. People would trill at him across the street.
It’s been incredible hanging out with this guy. I’ve known him for 31 years now. We’ve gone fossil hunting, cave art exploring, camping in lush canyons, visiting old missions out in the desert, to remote ranchos, to small town fiestas. We’ve eaten (and cooked) together a hundred times. I’ve watched his boys, César and Daniel grow from little kids to grown men (lawyer and artist, respectively.) Everywhere he goes, he radiates good will. It’s like he moves along in a bubble of good cheer, and I’m tagging along for the ride.
On this trip, I watched him work his magic over and over — in almost every encounter. He’s got the gift of gab, and he jokes, smiles, laughs, says just the right thing. His words in Spanish have a rhythm, a singing quality.
We were in Cabo San Lucas, checking out the Disneyesque part of Los Cabos one night, and he asked if I was hungry, yes, so he turned down a street in the real part of town and we went into a dimly-lit taco stand. No one there. Waitress comes over and he’s got her laughing in 30 seconds. I end up getting small bowl of delicious bean soup and 2 of the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. Norteño music playing, Chílon starts singing along, with shouts of Órale, and pretty soon the women are singing along.
One of these years I’m going to do a book on my 12 years of off-and-on exploration of Baja Sur; working title: Deep in the Heart of Baja. Meanwhile, I’ll post photos from time to time. Here are some photos from last week:
That’s it on my blogging for a while. Lots of other things to catch up on…