Monday, October 27, 2008

Cats Grow Up

Lorenza...the little princess.

Brotherly love.

Mokito: "Just resting!"

Lorenza's Vicks VapoRub treatment.

Sak Boox the talker during recess.

.We play together too.

Irresistably cute!

Moka and Mokito.

Requests are pouring in (yeah, right) for more photos of the kitties. At four and a half months, they are not exactly kittens anymore. They eat like lions. I am going to have to set out a donation box to keep feeding them. They are turning into cats but they still play like kittens.
Buster and Busmo have a brotherhood unto themselves. Busmo is a separatist. He prefers to hang with the big boys. Oh he jumps in for a romp and makes his siblings cry, but he prefers the company of his mentor. He still has an appetite bigger than him. He has doubled the size of his stomach to be sure to never miss out on one morsel being served in the dishes.
Lorenza was inflicted with the same sinus condition that Moka suffers. We had funky weather last week that affected all of us human barometers prone to sinus problems. The vet came and took care of Lorenza, she is taking antibiotics and her daily Vicks treatments. Moka only does the Vicks treatments, as she specifically requests NO MORE antibiotics after she took in too much at the beginning of her little life. She also requests NO MORE VETS but she has a hernia after her spaying operation, and one more trip to the doc is going to be required.
Sak Boox is a talker. She will walk around the house and meow. She does not appear to be hungry. Sometimes she wants some loving. Mostly she just likes to hear herself meow. Maybe it is the echo in the rooms with the super tall ceilings.
The kitties miss Daniela and Russell. When I go upstairs to hang laundry or hang out, they all follow me like the Pied Piper. They go into the guest room and sniff around. They come out and look at me with this "Where are they? We need more hugs!" look. But then they find seashells to fling around and they move on.
Busmo in a box.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Zen Catbox and the New Canoe

It sounded like a good idea at the time, putting sand and seashells in the front patio area with the driftwood and the new canoe.....

As you know from reading this blog, I have two cats, four kittens, and the outside invaders commonly known as the commando of cats. Mom and kittens prefer to use a cat box, and so I have two...five cats eat and crap a lot! One item that is expensive here is cat litter. One day when we were heading to the beach at Celestún on the Gulf Coast we took all the empty litter containers and buckets we could find. When we got to the beach we filled them with sand. I thought I could use real sand in the cat boxes and save money. It did not work out as well as I had hoped. The fact is the cat boxes became a smellier mess than usual, attracted miniature flies and the cats started playing in their own shit boxes because sand is FUN!

The little rectangular area in my front patio was full of gravel and weeds. I had planted papaya seeds from a strawberry papaya I found in Honduras, the ti plant my neighbor gave me, the henequen plant with super sharp points, and two unhappy pineapple plants. After weeding one day I decided to make a Zen-like garden out of this space. I dragged the buckets of sand over to my creation and carefully covered the area. I brought out the driftwood, which may or may not be balsa wood, that we found on the Balsa Coast in El Salvador. It looked out of place in the house. Then it occurred to me the seashells we collect every time we visit a Gulf of México beach would look pretty cool spread around the area. And the new canoe!! Of course!!

It may not be evident when you look at this photo, but Moka is christening the new Zen garden by pissing in it....before I even finished. This should not have surprised me, however I should have had the foresight to realize this is what would happen.

Busmo poses in new canoe in Zen catbox as his sister looks on.

In the early 1990's when Jim was working on the University of Hawaii Research Vessel in Papua New Guinea, he traded a case of Budweiser for a canoe. The locals rowed out to the vessel in search of western goods, and much tongue clucking later with their eyes on that case of beer, they offered to trade Jim a live eagle. Jim tried to explain he could not take a live eagle, so they offered him the canoe they were rowing. The canoe was at least 12 feet long and made of a hard heavy wood. The guys hoisted it onto the vessel and took it to Hawaii. We used the canoe as a beverage cooler at parties for years. It always had an esteemed place in our yard.

After Jim's passing, when I had decided to move to México, I had to give up the canoe. Our friend Rusty, one of Jim's dearest friends, made arrangements to have the canoe shipped over to his island. Rusty was a boat builder and a sailor, today he is struggling with melanoma. The canoe now is an altar, so to speak, in the Quesinberry yard in Waianae, Oahu. Recently I spotted a small dugout canoe while we were on the Guatemalan Caribbean Coast and had to have it. It was my way of hanging on to the original canoe, if only in thought. After creating my Zen garden it seemed the perfect addition.

Lorenza likes it.

If you are wondering, there ARE two hubcaps in the Zen garden. It seemed like a good idea at the time. They may not be very Zen but they already lived in the patio space and in their Mexican way they look like they fit in. The photo below was taken this morning. After several rainstorms the sand is packed tight like cement. We are thinking about heading back to the beach soon to fill those same buckets with more seashells to cover the area and reduce temptation to use it as a toilet.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Miles of Piles Shuffled Again

This week I set out to go through, yet again, my miles of piles. It never ceases to amaze me how much shit I have. When I left Hawaii I got rid of tons of crap. I figured I would spend a lot of time here doing crafts, so I sent myself 300 colored pens, 10 really cool coloring books, a pile of half empty notebooks, paints, inks, brushes, more pens, drawing paper, rice paper that I have not used in fifteen years, beads, sewing stuff. These are just for crafts and represent only the things I had my hands on today. There is a lot more!

The paperwork is another story. Every printed page from the online writing classes, greeting cards I created but never sent, every credential I have ever had, including a 1986 three day pass to Disneyworld, memberships to the Musket Cove Yacht Club in Fiji and the Neiafu Club in Vava’u, Tonga, (I always believe I will revisit these places) and notes that I made into file folders for things I would DEFINITELY write about. It’s all just a big stinky pile of cat-piss scented papers now. The topics are good but the information is old. I get new ideas every day. (They come and go rapidly; some are gone before I have found the paper and pens.) I think the lesson here is: if I write in the morning on paper, I should try to find my notes the same day, put the ideas into a computer file, and make sure to throw the papers away immediately. I have been writing by hand and just filing those papers.

What was I planning to do with EVERY travel section from the Kona newspaper in 2006? Not just a page here or there, but entire sections. I get the newspaper here in Mérida and there are new, more interesting, and of course, more current issues at hand.

So far I have filled one bag of trash. I simply want my shit organized and I want less of it. And so goes the process of sorting through my present life. I overthink reasons why I cannot think straight, and today’s excuse is that my stuff is too disorganized. One article I was toting around was about an author who cleaned out her miles of piles so she could think clearly. Ah, I am on the right path after all, I thought. I read it and tossed it.

After taking a break to write this, I tackled the large pile of files. As I was going through them I found all the resentment and anger I was feeling in my falling from grace period in Hawaii after Jim’s passing. There were so many things there that pissed me off; I ended up manicly cutting articles out of the paper and filing them. What was I going to do? Lead a 1-person revolution? I wanted to, but that is not the point. Instead I chose to leave it behind and today I finally set that negative bullshit free! The trash collectors have already taken it away! Now a swipe of sage or maybe this lavender incense over here and I will be among all positive vibes. It feels much better. And I got the room quite functional. It is not feng shui but I am not Oriental.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Sex Lives of Cannibals - Memoirs

My faith in travel memoirs has been restored! After being disturbingly disappointed in EAT LOVE PRAY (see post from Sept.: I and I and I - Book Bashing) I am having fun with J. Maarten Troost's books, THE SEX LIVES OF CANNIBALS and GETTING STONED WITH SAVAGES.
'Sex Lives' is neither about sex nor about cannibals. It is a story of an American couple living in the South Pacific on the small island of Tarawa on the equator. She works and he pretends to write. Meanwhile he chronicles the daily life of the folks typical of many islands of the South Pacific.
On page one, the author describes why they chose to move to this tiny island nation for two years (other than his girlfriend was offered a job there); he states: "It is the nature of books such as these--the travel, adventure, humor, memoir kind of book--to offer some reason, some driving force, an irreproachable motivation, for undertaking the odd journey.....And typically, the writer emerges a little wiser, a little kinder, more spiritual, with a greater appreciation for the interconnectivity of all things."
About himself, he says, "Let me say at the top that I didn't have a particularly good reason for moving to Tarawa......(explanation of anxiety issues with the general course of Western society)......However, these issues seemed insufficient to justify a renunciation of continental comfort. I was simply restless, quite likely because of a dissatisfaction with the recent trajectory of my life, and if there is a better, more compelling reason for dropping everything and moving to the end of the world, I know not what it is."
I like this guy and I like his attitude. I lent the book to a friend here and she returned my autographed copy (Thanks, Cousin Amy!) with an additional copy that I can safely lend out PLUS the new book, GETTING STONED WITH SAVAGES. (Thanks, Janet!) I just started reading the second book. So far he is getting stoned on kava in Vanuatu and it is hilarious.
Maybe I relate to his books because of my own South Pacific experiences. My husband and I sailed a very bare boat from Hawaii to Samoa, Tonga and Fiji with two crazy guys. We stayed weeks at a time in remote anchorages, lagoons and harbors. We lived for seven months in Fiji working on Qamea Island, which, starting from Nadi where the international airport is located, is a three hour flight, thirty minute taxi ride, and twenty minute boat ride away. There was nothing there except an exclusive resort with 11 bures (palapas!). I had to shop for food for the guests on another island because there was not even a small store on Qamea. I can picture the scenes that J. Maarten Troost paints. Mostly, though, I think he offers the kind fodder that we terminal adventure animals need to survive.
Wanderlust. Another person addicted to adventure. His reading is quick and witty. When I finish writing "I WAS A WETBACK IN MEXICO" I hope to capture this kind of essence....a taste of the rest of the universe outside the sterile environment of the United States. Five stars.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Opera at Chichén Itzá: Plácido Domingo

Plácido Domingo arrives in the Yucatán Thursday Oct 2, 2008. To his right is the governor of the Yucatán, Yvonne Ortega.
Showtime! The biggest show going on in the Yucatán tonight is a once in a lifetime concert on the site of the ruins of Chichén Itzá. Plácido Domingo is going to realize one of his dreams. I read he visited the area fifty years ago and always wanted to come back and perform here. Tickets sold from 1500 pesos to 10,000 pesos. That would be $150 US up to $1000 US. I plan to see his performance on television for free. The powers that be have agreed to televise it on two local channels because it has been inaccessible to the local folks here since the idea of the concert was conceived. Among the 8,000 lucky attendees will be the president of México Felipe Calderon, probably all the government officials of the entire country, and Brad Pitt, who was spotted in Izamal yesterday. I was under the impression Plácido was going to perform for the surrounding Mayan villagers. Were they allowed to attend the dress rehearsal? Or did the powerful people decide they could watch it on television? I am not sure since it was to be a private free concert only for the local folks, so they are probably keeping a tight lid on that information.
Don Plácido arrived in private plane at the Kaua Airport, a small strip located near the ruins that was used once in the past until this occasion. This week it is full of private jets, 1500 of them if I read the paper right. (That is always a concern of mine.) Ten million pesos were spent on its upgrade for this specific event. A special inauguration was held. The funny thing is that after this one time usage for the concert, the Kaua Airport will again sit idle because there is not one airline interested in adding Chichén Itzá to its route. When I saw the photo in the Diario del Yucatán of Don Plácido in a heavy gray suit, I thought, "Get that man a guayabera shirt and some shorts. He is a real person, isn't he? He knows where he is, doesn't he?" But to my surprise this photo also appeared in the Diario. Yeah! He is human after all!
I wish that was a beer in his hand, but at least he is with the fashion program.

Chichén getting ready for the big event.

Plácido Domingo rehearses with local Symphony of the Yucatán and Monumental Chorus.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

La Ruta Photos

It is understandable that not all readers understood my last post, since I wrote it in Spanish. It was a tribute to Pablo for his birthday. It was not private, it was just presented in Yucatecan-thought. Besides that, it was the only way I felt I could retell the story of La Ruta Pacheco-Adams. It sounds idiotic in English, our getting stoned at 6am and giving ourselves silly names which we used all during the trip, laughing like we were in a Cheech and Chong movie. So I thought I could come back in here and put up some of the photos that show some highlights of the trip. I will likely put too many photos up here. I apologize in advance but do not plan to change my mind. We took some great photos during those three weeks. I plan to put most of the Palenque photos on my other blog, Palenque is not a LESSER known ruin, but if anyone finds that blog interesting, they might as well see all the ruins. I am trying to.

Campeche reeks of oil money, it is sterile, well guarded, colonial and modern.

Pablo takes photo of detailed church and armed guards in Campeche.

It was an old ornate cathedral with detailed tile work.

This is the photo that most reminds me of the smells of Campeche. Pablo said, "It's too bad you cannot capture odors." Campeche smelled of low tide, wet salty air, shrimp on the grill, and of course, diesel fumes from tons of fishing boats and Pemex trucks.

The serenity at the ruins of Palenque.

Agua Clara Cascades from the road. Agua Azul Cascades are not visible until you drive down the mountain...

There are over 200 cascades here. There is a stunning nature trail leading back to the majority of the waterfalls and a rocky/sandy beach. This shot is nearest the parking lot, thus the most visited area. Empanadas there were ridiculously cheap, fresh and delicious at five pesos each.

Heading south we decided to see the Pacific Ocean in Chiapas. This is the bridge to Brisas del Mar, a long, black sand beach with giant waves. There were palapas on the beach but only one group was on the beach that day. There were no services on the ocean side of the bridge. We did have beer and chips for breakfast where we parked the car though, the fishermen would be in with fresh catch after we returned from our trek to the beach.

This is the beach at Brisas del Mar, approx. 50 miles southeast of Tapachula, Chiapas, México and 20 miles west of the Guatemalan border. Take only pictures, leave only footprints. It was one of those places. I feel guilty posting these photos.

We had to go to Guatemala. Neither of us had been there. They had bizarre buses with crazy drivers. We crossed at Tecun Uman, and ended up in a truck stop called Esquintla where we discovered Pablo did not get his ID back at the border. That put the breaks on the trip. We drove to and through Antigua, which is a pretty colonial town with too many tourists, and lots of rude European ones at that, up around Lake Atitlan (below) and its surrounding live volcanoes. Guatemala has 33 live volcanoes, I learned at the Police Station in Antigua while we worked through the police report of the lost identification. Imagine a Mexican guy trying to cross the border from Guatemala to Mexico without an identification. We couldn't get past that thought so we breezed through the mountains and headed back to the same border. It took us three days.

Ok, so you can't really see the lake, but it is really striking, no? We were zooming through.

These were the biggest vegetables we had ever seen. The carrots were massive. The orange things hanging near the Quiché woman are habanero chiles. If you have not seen one, they are the size of grape in most places. These looked like giant sweet bell peppers...cuidado, they are hot!!!!

We spent New Year's Eve with a Tzeltal family. This is the mom who makes empanadas at thewaterfall and her darling little girl. How about my new tennis shoes? Very zapatista.slanifThere are more photos but this is already a long post. I have to rest, watch the semi-finals of Latin American Idol and my brain is tired. Pablo is still teaching class and it is nearly 8pm. Time to eat and get into the hammock.

La Ruta in Photos