Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Feet Mosquitoes

I sit for hours on the couch with my laptop. I used to try to keep my feet up to prevent swelling, but I found that position put too much strain on my lower back. So now I sit upright with a pillow supporting my back, and my feet flat on the floor.

In front of me is the coffee table - a catch-all for coffee mugs, water glasses, paper and pens, books, remote controls, and a few other odds and ends that we feel we need at arm's length. On the floor beside a leg of the coffee table sits a can of Baygon. Insect spray.

Because apparently my feet smell...like limburger cheese. I am not aware of a smell, in fact I think Miguel's feet smell more than mine (but not of cheese, just of feet). And I KNOW Loco's feet smell - doggy feet. But of all of us sitting on or near the couch, the pesky mosquitoes pick my feet, and according to experts on the internet, it's because they are attracted to feet that smell 'cheesy'.

Pungent, is how wikipedia describes the smell of limburger cheese. But which came first? The cheese that smells like rotting feet or the feet that smell like shockingly odorous cheese?

Come on, really? My feet are CLEAN!! But...

The mosquitoes flutter around my feet and ankles, biting until they are so full they can barely fly. Their bites make my feet very itchy, and so a bottle of Solarcaine is also sitting on the coffee table, to help soothe the itch.

When I become aware of a mosquito zooming around, I grab the can of spray and wait in ambush. As soon as Loco sees me reach for the can he is up and gone - he hates the spray. Miguel isn't too thrilled with it either, except when it's him applying the spray - then it's ok. I understand how they feel, but not only are the bites annoyingly itchy, I could catch Dengue Fever.

The mosquitoes are smart, they hide under the couch until I grow tired of waiting for them and go back to my work. And then they strike. Again I grab the can and stare at where a mosquito just was, and sometimes I get lucky and I get to zap the darn bug. Sometimes I just point and shoot at where I think the insect might be - sort of like a random shooting - if I didn't get the one that bit me, maybe I got one that was just waiting its chance. In time, little mosquito bodies litter the floor around me and I can sit in peace for a while.

Sometimes I spot a mosquito fluttering around Loco as he lays on the floor at my feet. I don't want to spray Loco, so I try to swat it, or step on it. Loco doesn't appreciate me swatting him, he gives me a dirty look as if to say "what the heck did I do to deserve that?!", and moves to another part of the house.

Even though we really don't have a mosquito problem, I get bitten at least several times a day. Mostly around my feet - usually when I'm out hanging the laundry, lying in the hammock, or sitting on the couch. And I can't believe it's the cheesy smell attracting the mosquitoes - I hardly even like cheese, and the cheese I do like, and eat here in Mexico (Manchego), is so mild.

I will have to ask Miguel to check my feet to see if they smell like limburger. Does anyone know how to say "Limburger cheese" in Spanish? Otherwise I will just get a blank look or a nod of agreement (Mexicans love to tell you what they think you want to hear). I can see it now - his grinning face telling me that yes, my feet DO smell like "Spanish word for Limburger" cheese. So proud, thinking he said the right thing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

This is not the story of the shoes

It's not the story because I don't know the story.

The picture shows a pair of shoes that were sitting in front of the entrance to a piece of land beside the gas station on the west side. I first noticed the shoes in April, and I wondered how long they would stay there before someone took them.

We passed the shoes almost every day, and they just sat there. Who just stepped out of their shoes and parked them there at the entrance? Did they forget the shoes? Did they have another pair and just discarded the shoes? Didn't anyone else need the shoes? Looking at the shoes became a part of our drive-by routine as we cruised down the west side. Seeing the shoes sitting there made us chuckle, and we kept saying that we needed to remember the camera so we could take a picture.

One day last week we remembered the camera. The shoes were tipped over, and so we stopped and Miguel put the shoes right. I took the picture just before he 'fixed' the shoes and intended to take the 'after' shot. But as it turned out, we stopped traffic in both directions by pulling over to the side of the road to take pictures of the shoes, so we had to pull out in a hurry and I didn't get the shot.

And now, after at least two months, the shoes have disappeared. Just like that, they're gone. And I wonder what happened to them. After all this time, we sort of got used to looking for the shoes.

And now I'm thinking...it doesn't say much for our life that a pair of shoes should amuse us. We probably need to get out more, and I don't mean for a drive around the island!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

So what to do during a tropical depression?

We knew there was a depression heading our way, and early yesterday morning we had a heavy rain. But then the rain stopped, and we were left with overcast skies and a nice cool breeze. Not bad, really.

By midday I was thinking we had escaped the tropical depression. I took a nap, and when Miguel came home, he took one too. Around 5 pm it poured again, and I got up to watch the rain.

The animals have a way of being where we are. Loco was under the bed and he stayed there in the bedroom with Miguel.

Luna was outside somewhere, she seems to have a secret shelter somewhere. The other three cats were wandering around but as soon as I sat on the couch to use the laptop, they decided they wanted to be on the couch too.

Maya made herself comfortable in Miguel's usual spot, and Smokey joined her. Minina snuggled in beside me.

It didn't take long for Smokey to start poking at Maya, and then the two of them hit and bit and wrestled on the couch.

As Minina and I watched the two cats go at it, I thought of my brother and sister. As kids, they were always annoying each other, and on car trips I had to sit in the middle to stop them from fighting.

I wondered how long they would keep it up.

I guess the answer was...until Maya gave in and Smokey got the space all to herself.

Minina grew bored watching her 'sisters' annoy each other, and spotted a baby gecko on the ceiling. She amused herself with staring at the gecko, willing it to come lower so she could catch it.

Around 7 pm there was a break in the rain and I managed to get Loco out for his potty break. This morning however, there is no break in the rain and Loco was forced to go out in the downpour. It didn't go over so well...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

I love Michael Jackson's music, especially the music from the 80's. So much so that in 1984 I convinced my aunt to go to Montreal with me to see Michael in concert. The Victory Tour, in the height of the Thriller success, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.

Jen was born in 1981 so grew up in the era of Michael Jackson's best music. Jen has danced many of Michael's best pieces during the annual show put on by her dance studio. Her cousin Blair, a year older, used to break dance to 'Billie Jean' - socks hanging half off his feet as he spun and grooved on the kitchen floor.

I think my favorite Michael Jackson choreography is Thriller. One year the dance studio performed that number, and it was outstanding. I'm a bench mom, really wishing that was me up on the stage doing those moves. Who can keep their feet still when Michael's best songs are playing?

I know there is a lot of bad press about Michael's private life, but I'm not interested in that...I will remember Michael Jackson for his music and his amazing dance moves. He was one of my favorites, and I am sad for the fans who will not get to see him in concert. I'm sure it would have been a wonderful show.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

They keep us hopping

I can't remember ever having the number of issues with animal health in Canada that we have here. Last year it was the death of Jimmy (our Lab) and Chaquiste (Minina's twin brother). Then the arrival of Maya, a 3-week old kitten found tucked into the grass behind the garbage can across the street.

Maya was a challenge - constant diarrhea for 4 months as her immature digestive system learned how to handle normal cat food. I boiled chicken and rice for her, and to this day (she's now 10 months old) she thinks the beep of the microwave signals a reheating of her special concoction. Maya is now a little pork, no problems digesting her food or the food of the other cats either.

Last fall Negra was diagnosed with heart worm and tick-born disease. An injection for the tick-born disease resulted in a neck abscess, which persisted and ended up in visits to the vet in Cancun, where she managed to escape custody and explore downtown. Seemingly lost for good, her semi-owners went over on the ferry to search for her, and I have no idea how, but they found her! Hundreds of dollars later, Negra is now a picture of good health and good food (maybe a little too much good food).

Luna proceeded to tear out her fur along one side. Tufts of yellow fur floated across the living room floor. I waited it out, and it's now growing back - sort of like that fur just bothered her and she needed it gone.

Just as we seemed settled, along came Smokey, and with Smokey came Patitas. And where Smokey is everything a kitten should be, Patitas failed to thrive and succumbed to something that the vet and I do not agree on. Doesn't matter, I guess - the poor baby didn't survive. Three animal deaths in just over a year - each one making a scar on our hearts.

The Miguel found Libertad - a young dove lying in the road - broken and unable to stand or fly. He took the bird to his house and put it in a box, where it laid for a week. And then it stood, and then walked, and then tried to fly. And then it did fly, and last week (after about 6 weeks) it flew up into the trees and never came back. Libertad is finally free to do whatever doves do.

Near the end of Libertad's time in the box, Miguel found a baby pigeon strolling down our side passage. The passage where Luna, Cheech, and Chong sit in ambush of lizards and birds. He took the pigeon to his house and placed it in the box with the dove. The two birds sat and stared at each other for a couple of days, and then seemed to be friends, but ended up not liking each other and having 'conflicts' (according to Miguel). The baby pigeon did not know how to fly, but after Libertad's release it must have been practicing, because yesterday they let the bird out on the terrace to practice, and it flew up into the trees and found its freedom as well.

But now Minina is needing attention. For the last several days she has been vomiting, just liquid - and other than that has seemed normal (running and eating and looking fine), so I put it down to a hairball. Last night I noticed the hair under her chin looked a little funny, and when I took a close look, I found a mass of sores and inflammation - looked like an abscess either taking hold or in the process of draining.

I admit I panicked a little as it was 7 pm and I knew Delfino would be closing up shop shortly, if not already closed. I called him on his usual number and that was unanswered, just went to voice mail. So I called his 24 hr emergency number and told him that I needed him to come and see Minina. And so, just before 9 pm last night, Delfino came by.

It appears that Minina is allergic to something - an insect bite, or the new canned food she's been tasting (bought for Smokey but all the cats are begging for it) - and she has scratched up a mess around her neck and got it infected. That would explain why I found her and Maya lying behind the plant pots yesterday afternoon and Maya licking Minina's head area - Maya was cleaning up the infection for her.

I had put Minina in the downstairs bedroom to prevent her from disappearing when Delfino showed up - she hates him as he is always poking her with something (thermometers, needles), and the last time he gave her the yearly shot (just last month), she actually bit him. Sweet little Minina has an aggressive side when it comes to being poked.

But last night Minina seemed to know she needed a doctor. She was on top of the armoire and she allowed Delfino to reach up and take her down. We placed her on the bed and she just sat there and let Delfino examine her. And then he did the poking she hates - he gave her a shot of Cortisone - and she did not move. Today the sores look dry, and I will clean her neck a little later and call Delfino with the report and then we'll take it from there. I will stop the canned cat food for her and try to get her to eat my homemade chicken and rice. Which will get Maya's attention and once again the microwave beep will be the clue that food is on its way.

While here Delfino visited with Smokey, and reminded me that she needs to be spayed. Yes, I know - I've been waiting for her to hit 4 months old, and I think she's about there now. But let me get through Minina first, and then maybe we'll get Smokey spayed next week. One animal issue at a time, if possible.

I told Delfino that I don't know how we will afford the care of these animals once I'm not working. He commented that he has 6 cats, and other than their yearly shots, they never have any health problems. Yeah, well - that was pretty much my experience with Canadian cats too (until they reached senior-citizen status), but these Mexican cats are a bit of a challenge. Maybe being separated from their mothers at too young an age makes them more prone to health issues? Don't know, but I am waiting for everyone to be healthy and stay that way for at least a couple of months.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Loving the Pool

Summer is here, no doubt about that. And for us that means time in the pool. Day or night, there is never a bad time to jump in and cool off.

On weekends I am in and out a few times during breaks in housework - just a dip to break the sweat and then I'm refreshed to keep on working. It doesn't matter that I drip water as I trek through the house - washing the floors is the last thing I do before I call it 'done'. So much more comfortable cleaning the house all wet from a refreshing dip.

Some evenings we head up with our coffee and enjoy drinking it while sitting in the pool. Most evenings we take a dip before getting into bed - so much easier to sleep with the body cooled off. We do not sleep with the a/c, just the ceiling fan and the open window/door which sends a wonderful breeze through the room.

Our third floor has an even better breeze, and one day I might put a bed up there under the stars, covered with netting to keep out the mosquitoes that are not up there right now but will surely track me down (I'm a mosquito magnet). We don't use our third floor nearly enough, but last night we took our coffee up there and just sat and enjoyed the breeze and the view of the bay overlooking Cancun.

The days are so hot, but it's worth it just to feel summer again. Summer - my favorite time of the year.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lunch at the Beach and 'Cheesecake'

We normally eat our main meal around 3 or 4 pm. In order to give Miguel a break from chicken, we go out to eat - maybe twice a week.

We have our favorite here in the colonia - La Bruja, but although the food is delicious, sometimes I want a 'room with a view'.

So yesterday we went to Casa Tik n Xix (formerly Playa Lancheros). The last few times we've been there it's been on a Sunday and the place was packed. Yesterday there were just a couple of other tables with customers, which meant we had our choice of a table right in the sand.

We plopped down under a palm tree. I immediately kicked off my flip-flops and ran my feet through the cool sand. There was a wonderful breeze, a great view, and no reason to hurry. I was struck by how lucky we are, living 5 minutes away from such a wonderful location, and vowed to take the time to enjoy it more often.

Miguel ordered a mixed cocktail. I ordered sopa juliana - tomato-based broth with chicken, peppers, onions, and crispy tortilla strips. We shared an order of guacamole. Everything was delicious, and I was surprised at how tasty the soup was - I will definitely order that again.

There is a guy who walks around the island selling cheesecake and cornbread. As we sat waiting for our meal, Miguel pointed in the distance and said "here comes 'Cheesecake'" (his nickname for the guy). We expected the guy to stop to sell us some cheesecake, but he actually walked right past us, talking to himself and looking into the distance behind us. Either he has bad eyesight or he didn't recognize us without the golf cart. We just shrugged - we've been buying too much of his cheesecake lately anyway.

The relaxed meal made us both drowsy, and any ambition we had to go back home and work evaporated. On the drive back home we were passed by a motorcycle spewing smoke, so much that it choked us. Miguel turned off the main road and headed through the small streets of Colonia Canotal. Who did we encounter right at the corner of the mercado? 'Cheesecake'!

He recognized us right away and stopped to sell us a couple of pieces of his baked goods. Miguel told him he had walked right past us at Lancheros - he told him he was talking to himself, and asked if he had seen us. Nope, he hadn't.

We continued home and then decided to go right back out to buy our lottery tickets so we could then just spend the rest of the evening relaxed at home. We picked up Loco and headed back out - we were home maybe 5 minutes.

First we had to go to the bank, and as we got to the airport strip, there was 'Cheesecake', walking towards town. I have no idea how he got so far in such a short time - I don't think he could have walked it. I did my transaction at the bank and as we headed back out of town, we encountered 'Cheesecake' for a fourth time - now close to the ferry. He is a speedy little guy!

'Cheesecake' doesn't believe in wasting time. If he spots the golf cart parked outside our house, he bellows through the gate "Pan! Pan!!". He gives us 5 seconds to respond, and if there is no answer, he's gone. He has missed more than one sale by moving on before I've had a chance to put down the computer and get to the door.

If you see 'Cheesecake' wandering around, you should give his baked goods a try - they are fresh and delicious. And once 'Cheesecake' knows where you live, he will stop by every time he is out, yelling at your door "Pan!". But don't waste time hollering back, or he'll be gone. And you won't have your cheesecake.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Species Confusion

I think our kittens are getting confused with Loco around - they aren't sure if they are cats or dogs. First it was Maya - she bonded with Loco from the age of 3 weeks old, and she now mimics a few of his behaviors.

Maya prefers to sleep on the floor at our feet, or in front of the door. Her favorite place to be is on the floor near Loco, and she will even sleep under the bed like he does. She often sleeps on her back, and she just rolls around in order to see what is going on.

Maya actually likes water. She will sleep in the sinks even if they are wet, and she lies on the terrace tiles as they are being washed down. Now, Loco doesn't happen to like getting wet, but I've had other dogs that enjoyed playing in the water and Maya seems to have the same trait.

Maya is clumsy for a cat - she cannot walk along the edge of the tub without slipping; often all or part of her lands in the water. When she runs, she often slides on the floors and crashes into chairs. Part of it is that she's fat, the other is that she just doesn't have the agility of Minina.

Loco the dog likes to eat the dry cat food. He won't touch his own similar dry dog food without canned food being mixed in with it, but put down a fresh bowl of dried cat food and Loco is there chowing down. The cats do not appreciate his saliva on their food, and will do their best not to eat after Loco has been in their dish.

Smokey, at almost 4 months, is quite independent. Often I have no idea where she is, she's gone off somewhere on her own to sleep. But she too likes to sleep on the floor near Loco, sometimes on her back and in a similar position as Loco. She also likes to clean his feet (yuck!).

We have some small furry mice for the cats, and they are Smokey's favorite toys. She flings them around and chases them and has a great time. Lately she has been playing fetch - she brings me her mouse and I throw it and she retrieves it. I have never had a cat play like this before. Smokey brings her mouse wherever I am - including into the bed. She leaves it there with me, like a gift.

I'm wondering if this playing fetch is a good idea with a cat. With the recent rains we've had, there have been several large palmetto bugs (read - "BIG cockroaches") found lying on their backs on the ground floor. The insects came in from the rain only to be pounced on by the cats. It may only be a matter of time before Smokey gifts me with one of her bugs. THAT would freak me right out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Did I detect some tremors?

I can't remember exactly when, but recently I was still in bed enjoying the last few moments of sleep when I felt the ground shaking. I was enough asleep that I didn't pay attention to it (or thought it was part of a dream), and I didn't remember it when I woke up.

A week ago I noticed a new crack in the terrace ceiling, and when I pointed it out to Miguel, he mentioned that the earthquake that had recently hit south of us (maybe Honduras or Belize? - can't remember), had also sent tremors up our way. Ah - suddenly I remembered the shaking during my sleep, and realized it had not been a dream. Funny how memory can be recalled like that - something seemingly forgotten pops back into memory triggered by something else.

I have felt earthquakes before, usually in the pre-dawn mornings while still in bed. The strongest one was when I was living in St Catharines, and it rattled the condo and made the pictures swing. It's a freaky surprise, and one I never react to because I am not tuned into reacting to earthquakes. By the time I'm awake, it's usually over and I wonder if it was my imagination.

My house is built on rock, so I can only imagine the power of an earthquake so far away that could result in individual homes shaking enough to be noticed here on Isla. I hope I never get to feel the real deal here; the noisy, shaky ground we felt during Hurricane Wilma was close enough. And if I never experience another hurricane here, that will be just fine too!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Defeated by the Heat

I really don't like air conditioning. I like to sit in my 'office' (aka living room couch), working with the front door open. There I enjoy the view of the front garden.

The last few days have been very humid and hot and sticky. The laptop generates its own source of heat, and I cannot bear to have it on my lap even though I have a chill pad underneath it. Working in such hot conditions is distracting and uncomfortable, so I gave in and shut up the house and turned on the a/c.

Yesterday I worked in comfort all day. The animals all enjoyed the cooler air too - they were full of new-found energy and chased each other around for a while before finding a suitable sleeping spot, where they pretty much dozed the day away.

The heat and humidity spawns the odd afternoon and evening thunderstorm. Loco is terrified of the boom of the thunder, it makes him shake all over. He won't go outside for his food or toilet, and if he can, he'll hide under a bed.

Often a wicked wind will kick up and that is a warning that a summer rain is about to pour down on us. Out of nowhere it howls and blows, and then we get a drenching rain for a few seconds or minutes. Just enough time to ruin the almost dry clothes on the line and get the windows closed. Sometimes we are still in the process of closing up and the rain has already stopped and the sun is back out. The terraces are littered with flowers and leaves that were torn from the plants, and the little towels we use to wipe off our feet are dripping wet. After coming in from outside our wet shoes leave imprints and debris on the floor. If Loco has been outside he makes a nice pattern on the floors with his paws. Time to get out the mop to wipe up. The place is a mess after such a rain, but without carpets, it's easy to clean.

We get a pretty amazing display of lightening from our upper terraces, but since we are so close to a nearby cell phone tower, we don't dare stand out there if the storm is nearby. I have been inside the house when lightening hit the tower (or sounded like it did), and the crash almost made me want to hide under the bed. I'd have to fight Loco for the space though, as he will always get there first. Hard to remember that this is the dog we expect to protect us from all danger. Loco might prove himself under normal conditions - just not during thunder or fireworks or around back-firing cars or popping balloons.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Adults aren't supposed to fall out of bed

It started on Friday - leg muscles a little shaky, feeling tired and weak. Could have been caused by the long time sitting on the airplane over the course of Tuesday/Wednesday (flight problems, or should I say - non-flight problems since we never did get up in the air on the second leg of the trip, after sitting on the plane for 6 hours (I finally got to Isla the next day)).

Or maybe it was the heat and humidity causing my leg muscles to cramp; loss of sweat and valuable electrolytes. I drank lots of water but I've found that isn't enough when one sweats through several changes of clothes; time for the gatorade to restore the electrolyte balance.

On Sunday morning we worked to get the house ready for family, and then we went to one of our regular places for breakfast. Eggs, rice, beans, tortillas, orange juice. Nothing seemed 'off', but by mid-afternoon both of us were clearly 'off'. Miguel started with symptoms of stomach upset about an hour before me, but I soon caught up and then passed him. I threw up violently three times, once each hour until there was nothing left.

So yesterday, although on the road to recovery from the bad something-or-other, my rib cage hurt from using muscles that normally never get used. Feeling weak, I spent most of the day in bed, and although Miguel was tentatively out and about, by 6 pm we were both in need of a siesta. It was about 10:30 pm when I was woken up by Smokey, who knocked something off the night-stand.

I couldn't quite see what it was in the dark, so switched on the bedside lamp and leaned over the side. Still nothing - must be under the bed. So I leaned over farther and saw it - the cordless phone.

I reached down to grab the phone and all of a sudden I was falling - slamming my shoulder into the night-stand on the way down, and rattling the house as I landed hard on the floor. Startled Miguel out of a deep sleep.

Falling out of bed uses muscles I don't normally use, apparently. Although my knees took the weight of the fall, I am sore in places that didn't make contact as I fell. At least nothing is broken. As my grandmother would say, in order to apply humor to a situation - 'good thing you didn't break the floor'. We never got much sympathy from Grandma, she figured we usually deserved what we got.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Talk about stubborn!

I went back to Canada last week and was only gone 6 days. Long enough, apparently, for the animals to miss me. REALLY miss me.

While I was gone, Miguel reported that Luna was hardly home; she just ducked in to eat and then wanted out again. Luna has access to most of the property because she knows how to navigate through a small opening in the wall and get to the second-level terrace. We will let Luna out downstairs only to go upstairs and find her there waiting for us. I guess it's her little game.

My first night home we went to bed around 10 pm. Luna was outside, nowhere to be found. Around midnight, we woke up to use the bathroom and consequently had a short conversation - something like "leave the light on, I need to go too".

Luna must have been hanging around somewhere and heard our voices because in a minute she was at the screen door wanting in. We weren't about to let her in because Smokey was sleeping inside and Luna doesn't like her, and she is just plain grouchy with all the other pets and she has been spending most nights outside quite happily. So Luna took matters into her own paws and pulled the screen open and waltzed in. She made her way to my side of the bed and I made the mistake of talking to her and petting her.

There is something wrong with two of our spayed females (Luna and Minina) - they act like they are not really 'fixed' at certain times of the year. And apparently right now is one of those times, because the little scratch on the head that I gave Luna started up a deep-throated vocal demonstration that I recognized as a cat calling for a mate. I quickly stopped the petting and put her back outside.

Luna sat outside the door calling, and somewhere we heard another cat call back in response. Not sure if it was Minina downstairs, or one of the stray males that hangs around our house. Miguel got a container of water and tried to chase discourage Luna from staying up on the terrace. She seemed to leave, but no sooner was Miguel settled back in bed and she was at the door again, trying to get back in and meowing up a storm, with the other cat somewhere calling back to her.

Next came the hose treatment - sprayed at the floor, not the cat, and she jumped through the little window in the wall and was gone. Next the hose got pointed down at the passageway between the houses, where Miguel figured the other cat was sitting.

Settled back into bed again, but within 5 minutes Luna was back and picking at the screen door. So we closed the glass doors. She sat outside the doors and cried, and when she heard us talking, she made her way to the side window and sat there and cried.

I got another container of water and was not so kind as Miguel - I threw it directly at Luna. She moved away and I shut the glass window. You would think the cat would have given up and just settled on the nice padded chair that was right outside our bedroom out there on the patio.

No, Luna was determined she was going to come in and visit, or drive us nuts instead. We were equally determined that Luna was not going to develop the habit of disturbing sleep at any hour of the night just because she wanted some company. And so we hardened our hearts and agreed to ride it out.

Oh my gosh! Who could have imagined that Luna would cry like a human baby, at the top of her lungs, for hours on end?! She sat outside our door ALL NIGHT LONG and made a fuss. We endured 6 hours. SIX HOURS. At one point we were tempted to go downstairs to sleep but didn't want Luna thinking she'd won. It was only because I knew she was absolutely fine that I didn't relent.

Luna used the same wiles several years ago when she was a stray prowling the high walls around the property. She started making her presence known by crying when she was around, and when that didn't work, she used the night-time tactics - on the top of the wall right outside our bedroom window - she knew we were there because she could hear our voices. She cried and made noise all night long and so finally, we gave in and let Luna join our household. She must have remembered that the strategy worked then, and she was going to put it into practice again.

Finally, at 5:30 am, I thought we'd all had enough. But I didn't want Luna to think that her behavior was what finally got her into the bedroom, so I went out on the patio, sat in the chair (that she could have slept in very comfortably), and picked her up. She laid in my lap and purred and finally stopped crying. I gave her a couple of minutes and then carried her into the house and down the stairs (still trying to outsmart the thinking of the cat that there might be any relationship between her making a fuss and being allowed to come in). I wanted Luna to know that I was bringing her in, she was not being let in. Yes, there IS a difference, even if it's lost on the cat, I get it!

Downstairs Luna ate some food, drank some water, and then jumped up on the animal couch and zonked out. She slept most the day away, exhausted from her performance of the night. She HAD food and she HAD water outside, so it was not hunger or thirst that made her behave the way she did. She wanted to be with me, and if I'd known that just two minutes of cuddling would have done the trick, I'd have done it at midnight and saved us all some aggravation. I had greeted her when I first got home, but clearly it wasn't enough and Luna was going to get her way.

And so what happened last night? Luna showed up again when we went up to bed. She quickly popped open the door and came in, and so I picked her up and carried her downstairs and tossed her into the kitchen. There was a little face peeking at us from around the corner, and as Luna hit the floor she gave a growl and the face retreated. I closed the accordion doors and left them all to work it out. And we never heard a sound all night long.

Miguel got up early and went downstairs to finish sleeping (he doesn't like the fan, I like the fan, so I get my way and he leaves). He let Luna out, and so she showed up at my door at 4 am and tried to open it. Somehow I had it closed and she couldn't quite get it open, and I just told her "No", and turned away from her. She gave up and laid in the chair beside the door. But she tried the door again, every half hour, and I told her "No", every half hour. Each time she went back to the chair and quietly laid there while I went back to sleep. In the morning I let her in, and we both made our way downstairs and started our day.

So...who won? I've got too much history with cats to think that we did. I'm not even sure it's actually over yet. I wonder what Luna's take on it is?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miguel the Brave

I was almost done with a blog or two about my lengthy trip back from Canada, but never got a chance to finish and post it before we went out for our evening run to the lottery booth.

On our way back from buying the lottery tickets, we had to stop by Ronco's to pick up some canned cat food (for some reason few stores, including the one near us, are stocking it right now). We had Loco with us, as usual - perched with his front feet on the top of the hood of the cart, with his back feet planted on the floor. My right leg gets propped up against the side post to prevent Loco from tumbling out as Miguel turns the corners. Sometimes I shove Loco down to the floor - if I see a dog that I think will go after us or will trigger Loco, who has an aggressive streak with certain dogs that has no logic attached (at least, no logic that I can figure out). His aggression is a lot of noise and nothing more, but I hate him carrying on and making a scene, so I try to stop it before it gets started by shoving him to the floor. Out of sight, out of mind, is how I approach it.

As we pulled away from Ronco's, I heard some dogs barking and fussing, and then I spotted one running at full speed across the road into the lot on the other side. I prepped Loco to duck as I wasn't sure how many dogs might be involved, but it sounded ominous. It was, but as it turned out, the battle was on the other side of the street, just ahead, and that dog I'd seen running across the road was running for its life.

There was a white-ish male dog about the size of a bulldog and it was biting a large black female. The male was trying to tear the dog apart at the hind end, then under the stomach, then the neck area. Someone was trying to pull the dog free, but the male had a grip and was not letting go. Someone else got a stick and was trying to hit the dog to make him let go. Nothing was working, every time the male let go he just went right back at the female from another angle. The female was screaming and the male just kept attacking.

Miguel pulled over to the side of the road. I did the only thing I knew how to do - I screamed. Miguel went over and tried to hit the dog with a rock. Nothing anyone did was having any effect, it was a horrible scene.

Then Miguel grabbed the male dog by one hind leg, and he just held on and pulled and twisted and the female dog's owner came with a long stick and poked at the dogs, and someone else tried to put a piece of wood in the dog's mouth, and somehow, they got the male off the female dog.

Miguel kept his hold of the dog's back leg and because the dog was still focused on the female, it didn't think to turn on Miguel. Miguel had to tell the woman several times to go away with her dog - she didn't seem to realize that by staying around examining her dog she was risking the male getting away and attacking again. Finally Miguel got through to her and she left with her dog, which I think might have some wounds but seemed like it would be ok in the end. I hope so.

With the female dog gone, there was just Miguel and the male, and he still had hold of the dog by its leg. The dog was trying to get itself sorted out but Miguel kept it off-balance. Then he told me to leave - wanting to get Loco away from the scene in case he lost control of the dog and it came after us.

And so I left, with the last image in my mind of the dog sitting on its haunches and Miguel controlling it by holding it on both sides. I noticed a gaping wound at the dog's neck, like someone had tried to slit its throat.

I got home and dumped Loco inside, taking off his collar and returning on the golf cart to pick up Miguel and/or offer him the collar and leash to control the dog. As I pulled up to the corner, there was no sign of anything, but I did see a guy that I thought had been present during the fight, and so I stopped and asked him what had happened.

Somehow someone found the owner of the dog on the street behind, it had gotten off its rope, and went after the female dog. I mentioned the cut on the dog's throat and the guy said it had been caused by the dog's rope. Might that explain the dog's aggression? It had to be in a ton of pain from that rope cut.

The guy said that the male dog was returned to its owner and Miguel headed home on foot. Of course I missed him because he walked along the lagoon and I was driving on the road.

After talking to the guy I figured I'd just head home and keep an eye out for Miguel, but the golf cart was dead, dead, dead. Sigh. And so I grabbed the bag of cat food and headed home on foot too...following the same route as Miguel - along the lagoon.

Miguel was already home, his clothes splashed with blood, but thankfully none of it was his. I really do not know how he did what he did. I told him he was the bravest person I know, and he commented that he was either brave or crazy, he wasn't sure which. All he knew was that nobody was really doing enough to intervene and that if he didn't do something, the female was likely to be killed in the attack.

Although Miguel more or less shrugged it off, I can tell that he is shaken up. I suspect this was not the first time he has done something like this, but I don't know for sure and it probably has been a long time. I think it is just sinking in what a risk he took - if that dog had turned on him that way nobody would have been able to do anything to help him. I never realized how hard it could be to get a dog to stop attacking - now I know.

The attack was a horrible thing to watch, and the dog being attacked was terrified and in pain. It made me think about organized dog-fights, and I wonder what kind of person can ever possibly think that dog fighting is a fun sport? It's a horrible, cruel event, with animals suffering and sick humans enjoying it. I don't get it. The human race is truly pathetic for many of the stupid things we do on this earth, and the destruction and the suffering we cause.

But there is also the good side of humanity, and tonight I saw several people put themselves at risk in order to save a dog. They are all heros, but tonight Miguel is my #1.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Different Lifetime #1

In the Olden Days I used to be a stage mom. My daughter, now 28 years old, started dancing at the age of 2. For a few years she took piano and tennis lessons too, until dancing became her clear passion.

I realized the piano lessons had to go as she was following in my footsteps - going from lesson to lesson, week to week, without touching the keyboard in between. I used to lie when my teacher asked me how much I'd practiced, but I'm sure she wasn't fooled one bit. I'm not sure how Jen's teacher handled it, it was a group lesson of 3 (the other two were really cute boys), and I don't think the boys worked any harder at learning to play than Jen.

She worked harder at tennis, simply because you have to practice with the teacher. And she became a good little tennis player, beating boys on a regular basis with her lobs and shots that took the pace off, and her patience. Most other players just wanted to win the point as quickly as possible, and so she forced them to make errors, and came out on top more often than not.

As she reached pre-teen, dancing consumed more and more of her after-school time. She was at the studio almost every day, learning jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, musical comedy, drama, lyrical. Jen was also a teacher of the younger dancers.

The studio began offering classes to adults, and so I started dancing as well. Good exercise and good fun. Until we learned we would have to do a number in Showcase, the yearly performance where parents got to see the results of the year's dance classes. I had never performed before, and it was scary to think about being up on stage in front of hundreds of people. But I did it, and had a lot of fun until work travel interfered with my ability to attend weekly classes. I still dream about finding a studio where I live so I can dance again.

Dress rehearsal day was a long one - morning to night as each number got at least two chances to run through - once individually to learn positioning and entrance onto the stage and to get a feel for the stage (some classes needed more than one run-through to get it right), and once at the end of the night as they did a full run-through of the show to fine-tune timing between numbers and costume changes. A group of us moms sat in the theater watching the studio Director leading her dancers through what would become a professional-quality performance. Not just a recital, but an entertaining show.

During dress rehearsal we fixed costumes, we folded programmes, and were just generally available to help in any manner. It was a day filled with tension as well as fun, and I looked forward to that day every year.

Of course, children grow up and so the day came that I no longer went to dress rehearsal. Jen's dad still goes, because he does the music. Incredibly, Jen has continued dancing with the same studio even though she moved to Toronto for a few years. Jen loved dancing, and especially dancing at that studio, enough to commute back and forth every week.

Last night was Showcase 2009. The studio is celebrating 29 years of teaching countless children the joy of dancing. Some, like me, began dancing as an adult - knowing we could never be as good as the 'kids', but still enjoying the process of learning to dance. And then some, like Jen, have dancing in their hearts and souls; it's a passion, and they have never stopped dancing.

I think we all could do with more dancing in our lives, so put on your dancing shoes and let's do the Hand Jive!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I'm still waiting for the story

In April, Miguel made an emergency trip to his homeland in Oaxaca; a tiny village in the mountains near the ruins of Monte Alban.

There are no landline phones there, and in order to call me on a cell phone Miguel had to walk about 2 km to a higher spot on the mountain in order to get a signal.

So, I did not hear from Miguel every day to know how things were going or what he was up to. He did take some pictures, and I did hear some stories when he got back.

But I want to know more about this:

I'm not sure I want to know more about THIS:

Miguel is a great story-teller - very animated with great facial expressions. When I listen to his stories I am in awe - he has lived an amazing life and I keep encouraging him to write about his life. He tells me he will, one day...when he's not busy.

We clearly have different ideas of the meaning of 'busy', because, to Miguel, drinking with his buddies qualifies as time well-spent. He calls it 'conducting business'. To me it's a waste of time and he could be writing his stories.

If I ever coral the man long enough to write about his life in Oaxaca, I promise to share. I guarantee the wait will be worth it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I wish I had a video camera

K from Michigan commented that she would like to see some video of our animals. Well, so would I. Every day in our house one of the animals does something that makes us laugh, and many of those moments would make great video. Like Maya and Smokey playing. Maya is still a kitten herself, although she looks like a cat because she is full-grown and big, and just a little tubby.

Maya runs like a little pony - her feet thump on the tile floor and her back even has a sway in the middle like she's been hauling a heavy load over hill and dale. I think it's the weight of her stomach pulling it down.

Smokey, at just 3 months old, is full of kitten energy, and she has decided that Maya is a lot of fun. And so the two of them play and chase each other and fight and bite and scratch and generally have a great time.

One of the most comical things the cats do is leap straight up in the air like they've been shot out of the floor. It's not just when they are startled (oh - it's so much fun to wait for a cat to walk by and then quickly move a foot and make them jump) - but it is the same type of jump. Maya will do that little jump and then run off with Smokey in pursuit, or Smokey will make that jump and then land on Maya to rumble and tumble. That is something I would love to get on video, because as cats get older they don't seem to play the same way.

Maya thinks I'm her mother; I guess because neither of the other cats in the house (Luna and Minina) gave her the love she needed when she was tiny. Maya still comes to me every morning and evening for a cuddle, and a nuzzle against my bare skin around the inner elbow area, on the right arm (the left arm doesn't smell the same to her). As she buries her head into the crook of my arm, she kneads the pillow behind me (it's one of those soft artic fleece ones, must feel like a mother's body to Maya).

Smokey thinks Maya is her mother; she greets her every morning with a rub under the belly and then she grabs at her and tries to get a reaction. Maya often reaches a paw out in what looks like an embrace of her child, and then she proceeds to ignore Smokey unless Smokey starts chewing on Maya's legs or tail.

The two cats play rough. Maya learned how to play from Loco, the dog, and so she plays like a dog would play, and it's too much for Smokey. Maya bites too hard, and flattens Smokey and then sits on top of her, and Maya is heavy and that crushes poor Smokey, who is lying underneath yelling and wiggling to get away (which she always does). Sometimes Smokey gets away and just as she tries to jump up on the couch, Maya reaches out a paw and knocks her down. They roll around on the floor, and then chase each other around, until one is too tired to continue (usually Maya, as her stoutness causes her to be out of breath first).

The other morning I found them like this, after a good session of rough play...

They had been sleeping snuggled up together, but it's hard to sneak up on a cat to take a picture, and so they both spotted me and I did not get the picture I really wanted. Hopefully there will be a 'next time'.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sign of the Times

The other day I wrote that although the lack of tourists must be impacting the daily lives of the locals, I hadn't really seen much indication of times being tough.

Within the last few days I've noticed some changes, it might be getting tough...

The local bus, often running empty or with just a couple of people onboard, was packed with people the other day - standing room only.

Some tiendas here in the colonia have empty spaces on their shelves - reduced inventory.

There are very few people in the streets in Centro, and on the beaches, whenever we drive by.

A local I know is waiting for business to pick up before she goes back to work; she has been off work since the first weeks of April when the store she worked at closed down. A job is waiting for her, but not until the tourists return.

Building supplies are discounted, and laborers are working for lower wages.

We went to Cancun late Saturday afternoon. I have never seen so many stray dogs over there. Was it because it was Saturday evening and people knew the dog-catcher wouldn't be around and it was safe to let them out? Was it because it was cooler at that time of day and the dogs that would normally be dozing were up and about? Is it because people don't have money to buy food for their dogs so they let them loose to find their own source of nourishment? I don't know, but it was a surprise to see so many dogs wandering around.

Our taxi driver in Cancun (Luis) reports that there is simply no business - he is lucky to bring in 150 pesos per day (less than $15) and that is working a double shift.

Luis lives in a local area of Cancun, and told us that someone had tried to break into his house the night before. They entered through a window but his two dogs chased them off. What would he have had inside worth stealing? Nothing, according to him. What is sad is that people who are not normally thieves are resorting to stealing in order to eat and feed their families.

A by-product of the poor economy is healthcare. A Mexican friend's daughter, at the age of 23, is suffering from hemolytic anemia. After four years of messing around with her locally, she is now in Puebla, where she is under the care of an internist. The girl requires blood tests, blood transfusions, and possibly surgery. The family has no money to pay, and no way to earn the money because there is no work.

And so, the father of this fine family swallowed his pride and asked us if we could help and loan him some money (he needs 5000 pesos (about $500 US) right now) so his daughter could get the tests she needs. Knowing the man, it must have been very hard for him to ask. And yet, what else could he do? He is working hard just to feed the family and cannot work any harder. Fortunately I am still working and could help him, but this may just be the beginning for him. It's so sad.

On a little lighter note...

There is a local family here - a single mom with three great boys. They rent their small home, and run a hotdog/hamburger stand in the colonias. Their neighbor's dog was picked up by the dogcatcher last week. Even though it wasn't their dog, the oldest boy (15), walked to Mundaca Park to bail out the dog. He paid 150 pesos (about $15 US) to spring the dog free, with a warning that this was the second time and if there was a third time, the dog would be taken to Cancun to be put up for adoption. Now, that is a joke, because as I've mentioned, Cancun has no shortage of unwanted dogs. I have to give credit to the people manning the dog pound, because they obviously did not want to upset the child and tell him the truth about what would happen to the dog if he gets caught running loose again. And so they made up the adoption story.

I know the family could not really afford the 150 pesos to pay for the freedom of a dog that didn't even belong to them, but they scraped it up from somewhere. Miguel came across the boy walking home from Mundaca - a long, hot walk and they still had a long way to go. So Miguel put them on the golf cart and drove them home. The dog had a fit, he's never been on a golf cart before. He's probably never been tied up before either, but when we went by later that evening the family told us that the dog was tied up. I hope for everyone's sake that they don't let the dog loose again. And since the boy's birthday is this month, we'll be a little more generous with the cash gift - he deserves it.

Who else deserves a few pesos in his hat? The guy singing on the Ultramar the other night. Especially if you're a tourist and you and your wife and 4 kids are just starting your vacation on Isla Mujeres and you're staying in a nice private house and you have a Blackberry attached to your body and will manage your own suitcases rather than tip someone to help you, thank you very much. Would it have killed you to reach into your pocket or wallet for a dollar or a few pesos? As the singer passed the hat, you declined, and your wife and kids all saw your lack of generosity and watched everyone else throw in a few coins. Nice example. Maybe times aren't tough for you, but you must know that things are not that great in many places in the world, including Mexico. I hope you are more generous with tips as you weave your family around the island. Enjoy your vacation!


As a non-drinker, I don't have an appreciation of why people enjoy getting drunk. I also don't have a lot of experience with drunks, but I am getting some exposure while living here. I've seen:

A drunk man tottering on the edge of a curb, on his toes. Swaying forward and then backward and then losing his balance and taking that large drunken step into the street.

A drunk staggering along the sidewalk, bottle in hand, making his way home (I presume).

Drunken workers with blood-shot eyes and a rough look the morning after.

A drunk on a bicycle, weaving across the road.

A group of drinkers gathered on a street, shooting the breeze with each other.

Two men sitting on a curb drinking and chatting. When they finished their bottle of beer, one headed to the store across the street and came back with 4 more bottles. They had an empty pop can on the ground between them to pry off the caps.

A golf cart loaded with tourists coming towards us, the female driver crossing the center line over to our side of the road, hand outstretched holding onto her glass of beer, which she raised in our honor as she yanked the steering wheel to get back to her side of the road and avoid a collision. Have another, chica.

A drunk passed out on the side of the road, body outstretched, looking like he'd been struck by a car but actually, he was just sleeping it off where he fell.

A drunk passed out on the sidewalk outside a local restaurant. It was Sunday, families were gathered around, nobody paid any attention to the drunk. People passing by stepped around him, or over him. Those stepping over him let out a shriek, so either he grabbed their ankles as they passed by or they were just freaked out about finding him there on the sidewalk. Somehow I don't think they were freaked out, nobody was the least concerned with the drunk. The local police cruised by, not noticing the body on the sidewalk as he was strategically placed behind his parked moped. And so he slept.

And we ate our lunch. And ignored the drunk too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Poll: How do you open a door?


a) I push against the cross slats
b) I pick at the bottom of the corner
c) I hook a claw into the screen and pull sideways
d) I jump on the top screen and let my weight swing it open
e) I let the humans do it


Loco - A
Minina - B
Luna - C
Maya - D
Smokey - E

Yes folks, each animal other than the baby Smokey has learned a technique to open the front, the back, and the upstairs patio doors.

Loco is actually useful, he helps Miguel when his hands are full. Loco waits until breakfast is finished and watches the activities at the counter, knowing Miguel will come out with one or two plates loaded with scraps. That is his cue to run to the living room and on Miguel's command "Loco, open the door", he pushes his foot on a cross slat on the front screen door, and pops it open for Miguel.

Of course, Loco opens the door at other times too, sometimes to help out Minina who is waiting right there for the door to open so she can slip into the front garden. But Minina has her own technique should Loco not be available - she picks at the corner of the door and if it's at all loose, she manages to work it free so she can push it open and get outside. Thus the latch on both sides of the front screen door.

Luna's particular method of opening the patio screen doors was first discovered when Charlotte and Jim were staying with us and they woke up one morning to find Luna sleeping in the chair in their room. Luna stays outside some nights, but should she decide she wants to come in afterall, she knows how to do it long after everyone has gone to bed. Luna climbs to the roof of the house next door, jumps through a small opening in the wall to the second terrace, and with one swift movement, the screen door flies open and Luna waltzes in and makes herself comfortable. With mosquito season about to start, I need to find latches for these doors.

As a baby Maya was allergic to canned cat food, however, she adores it. Smokey, being a kitten, needed canned food, and so, to keep Maya from getting into Smokey's food, I put Maya in the kitchen while I fed Smokey on the back terrace. Maya is only 8 months old but she has grown into a big, heavy cat, and she has learned that she can jump onto the top screen of the back screen door and her weight will swing the door open. She rides the door and then jumps down into the back terrace and cries for canned food. I started giving her just a little taste, and since she seemed to handle it, she is now getting fed canned food twice a day, just like Smokey.

When none of the techniques A-D work, then all the animals resort to option E - let the humans do it. There are various ways of drawing attention to the need to open the door for someone to go out or come in, and they are all annoying enough that we comply to keep the peace. I think getting up and down to open the door is the most exercise I get in a day.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A relaxed Sunday

We try to make a point of not working on Sunday - needing one day a week where we just relax and enjoy our home, our pets, the island, and spending time together. But that doesn't mean no chores, it just means no handy-man or heavy-duty work. Chores are a fact of life, each and every day.

Yesterday morning, like every morning, we each had our own mental list of chores. Miguel's list consisted of trimming the plants, cleaning and refilling the pool, and watering the plants on all levels. My plans were to brush off the furniture, sweep the floors, wipe down the cushions and mop the floors.

Somewhere after sweeping the floors I felt too tired to continue my day, so while Miguel was upstairs continuing with his list, I took a short nap on the couch. It was still only 8 am, but I have been feeling very tired lately so indulged the need to rest for a bit.

After my rest I finished the brushing and sweeping - it was now 9:30. I decided to leave the rest of my list until after breakfast. Since Miguel was still busy upstairs I went to the market on my own, and loaded up on fruit and vegetables. They were out of orange juice and the line-up for hot tortillas was too long, so I left the market and headed to a local tienda, where I was able to buy juice. Heading over to the tortilla factory on the other side of the lagoon I realized I had forgotten Miguel's newspaper, but luckily there is a store on that side that sells the one he likes to read, so I got the tortillas and the paper and headed home.

Miguel was chopping veggies for our Mexican-style eggs. I did the fruit and we had a delicious breakfast. We put the dishes in to soak and headed out to the hammock, where we can both lay head to toe. I got the end that offers the view of the garden, and it is so relaxing to just lay there and listen to the sounds of nature (birds chirping and singing), and watch the lizards and birds hop around the garden, eluding the outdoor cats (Luna, Cheech, and Chong).

Miguel had his paper and I had a book, but it wasn't long before the effort of reading was too much and I gave in to sleepiness once again. I was in the middle of a nice siesta when Alfredo pulled up on his moped, honking to announce his arrival to cut Loco's furry coat.

We rearranged the front terrace to make way for the cutting table, and left Alfredo and Loco out there to get down to business. Miguel made his escape, claiming he needed to go get a tool over at his house. I washed the dishes and messed around until Alfredo was done with Loco, but I never did mop the floor or wipe down the cushions.

Now the front terrace needed a good washing down, and the screens needed brushing to get rid of the fur that had been blown into the screens. That chore completed it was time for a bath - it was now 1 pm and our day was slipping away.

Miguel arrived back home just as I was completing my bath, so we got our things together for sitting on the beach and headed out with Loco. We stopped at the store to pick up refreshments and chips, in case hunger overcame us out there in the wilderness, and headed to the small beaches at the end of Sac Bajo.

Knowing we were going to Sac Bajo I had taken a large green garbage bag, because there is lots of trash there and whenever we've gone it has been unplanned and I have not been able to pick any of it up because I've not had anywhere to put it. This time I went prepared, and thought I would do a little cleaning when we got there, but I was dismayed at what we found.

There was trash everywhere - plastic bottles, discarded clothing and shoes, styrofoam plates, and glass beer bottles. Some nice person had broken a few bottles right at the shore, making it impossible to walk in that section of the beach. The water was dirty too, with discarded beer botttles. Everywhere I walked, the trash was overwhelming - it was far too much for my one bag, and frankly, I was so disgusted at this violation of the environment that I just wanted to leave.

I suggested that Miguel might talk to someone in power and have them check out the area and see what has happened and put a plan in place to get it cleaned up. I don't know how he is going to handle it, but I think he will do something - he was disgusted too.

And so we left, with our beach things still in the bag, and the snacks untouched. We drove around the island, past Garrafon, and then down the east side, past the newly plowed invasion site. The site looks like a hurricane zone, tons of trash and broken pieces of metal and plastic - what a mess. I was discouraged to see the island looking so messy, and hope someone cleans it up soon as it really takes away from the beauty of that side of the island.

We ended up stopping at La Bruja for a meal, and then headed home - our plans completely changed and the sky looking like a storm was on its way. Back home Miguel collapsed in the hammock up by the pool, while I took a dip and then laid on the bed and fell asleep. We both slept a couple of hours and the storm never did materialize despite lightening and thunder off in the distance. When Miguel came in from his siesta I was in a deep sleep, and the sound of the door opening woke me up. I was completely disorientated as to day/time - I thought it was morning. I guess this heat is taking its toll on me?

The rest of our evening was spent going to buy lottery tickets, filling up the gas tank, and drinking our coffee in front of the tv. Miguel read the manual for the a/c unit we'd bought for the apartment, and I completed an assignment for my online course. The cats chased each other around the house, enjoying the cooler evening air. By 10 we were all ready for bed. Miguel took a dip in the pool but I went right off to sleep. We both slept all night.

And I wish today was Sunday so we could do it all over again!