Saturday, November 1, 2008

Back to 'normal', if there is such a thing

I was away 11 days. I got back Thursday afternoon, and wow - it was cold! Cloudy skies, strong winds - I was wearing long sleeves and jeans and didn't break a sweat.

I arranged private transfer from the airport, and the hefe who was holding my sign called to "Gordo" ("Fatty") to let him know he had a passenger. When I saw "Gordo", I saw why he was called that, but I thought it was cruel. However, "Gordo" didn't seem to mind, and he flashed me a grin as he loaded my bags and took me off to Puerto Juarez. But I mentioned it to Miguel - why do they call people "Flaco" (Skinny) and "Gordo"? He said it is not meant to be offensive, it's just the costumbre (custom) here. I hope he's right. I've heard a lot of waiters called "Flaco", and they were not all skinny guys. Actually, nicknames are so common here that Miguel doesn't even know the 'real' name of a lot of the guys - just their nicknames. One mechanic is called Cepillo (Brush), another is called Pinto (Paint). One Albanil who worked here was called Cilantro, for his green shirt. And so it goes.

While I was away Miguel did an amazing job painting the new staircase (two levels). He also took care of all the animals, the plants, and the golf cart. We were both ready for an evening of downtime after almost two weeks of non-stop activity. I wanted to go pick up the kitten we'd left with Delfino, but decided to wait until Friday afternoon so I would have time to get it settled in and give the other cats enough attention to offset jealousy and anxiety over a new kitten.

So last night we went to pick up the kitten. It is always hard to go to the clinic because there are so many other animals there all needing a home. This time was no different. There were two dogs in cages that just went crazy when we walked into the room - jumping and barking and desperately trying to get attention. "Take Me" they seemed to be saying. There were lines of cages of cats - mother cats, kittens, and a large cage on the floor with 8-10 small kittens the same size as the one we were taking home. Many of those kittens gazed up as us too, and called out. Heart-breaking! To finish it off, there was a cage with a rabbit, and another with a baby anteater. And then wandering free inside the clinic were other cats and kittens, and one dog that Delfino found tied to the door when he got to work one day. Just left there by the owner, and waiting for someone to take him home.

I left the clinic with the kitten, but also with a heavy heart. I guess the spay and neutering clinics are making some sort of difference, but there are still way too many baby animals being born that nobody wants. Animals are not valued here like they are in my culture - I have to accept that but of all the things that bother me about living here, this issue is right at the top.

Miguel is Mexican, and has different views than I do about having animals here at the house (he believes they belong outside), but he does value the lives of animals - all animals. When we're out driving, if there is a dead iguana or bird (or any animal, for that matter), Miguel will stop and take the animal off the road so it is not just pounded into unrecognizable mulch. Miguel was very disturbed at the sight of all those poor animals in cages and it distrupted our sleep last night.

So we brought our little kitten home, and the only reason we did that for this kitten when we've left many others behind at the clinic, was because it was just one, and somehow I felt we needed to find a place for it here. The kitten is hardly any bigger now than it was 12 days before. It sat quietly in the cage in the middle of the living room floor while Loco cried and carried on and tried to open the cage to let it out. Minina and Luna both sniffed around the cage and hissed and growled and left the room. I took the kitten out for a bit but it didn't want to settle with me and Loco wouldn't stop pushing his nose into its body, so I put it back, and it seemed to fall asleep. When I checked later I saw that it had thrown up - probably too much bouncing around on the golf cart and from Loco's inspections.

The kitten spent the night in the back shed, with food, water, litter, and a bed and we didn't hear any fussing all night long. This morning the litter had been used and the kitten was starving, so I gave it some food and a little play time on the back terrace with Papa Loco in attendance, and now it is back in the shed for naptime.

Minina and Loco are sleeping on the blue sofa, Luna is out enjoying the sunshine, and Negra is back on her Ikea pad. The two grey kittens out in the street were both inside the neighbor's garbage bin, and they took off like bullets when I peered in at them. The black cat out in the street that looks like Minina was wandering down the road this morning. Miguel has finished his coffee and internet check, and is now dozing again on the sofa (we were up at 5 am today). I hope today will stay this peaceful!


Life's a Beach! said...

Sue, so glad you're back and settled in! Missed your daily posts! I grew up in a little town where some people were called by nicknames. The bald-headed guy was Curly. The janitor with a small head was Possum. As an adult, I've often thought about how cruel that was. And the animal situation makes me very sad. I saw a poor kitty in the road yesterday in traffic that had been run over. It haunted me all day. :(

Ann said...

Glad you are back...hope the battery situation gets solved soon! I know if aI lived on the island I'd probably have a dozen cats! Our largest population of pets was 7 cats and 2 dogs, but we have 10 acres of land for the cats to roam. All were allowed inside though.

Anonymous said...

Where the heck did the anteater come from? I remember seeing an anteater at Garrafon in 1996. Are they found around the island?

Sue said...

Ann -I wish we had more room here but I think 3 'official' cats is our limit, although we will always put food out for strays when we know they're around. Right now there are probably 6 hanging around that we know of. We do have bush across the road and the strays live in there and seem to do ok, but it's sad to know that they are out there on their own, and often very hungry.

Beck - I have seen a few dead cats on the roads here, and lately a couple dead dogs. It haunts me too, I just always hope they did not suffer, that it was quick. But sad it even happens.

Jackie - I think Delfino said someone brought the anteater from Valladolid, as a pet. I'm not sure what it was doing at the clinic. Miguel said the island used to have lots of anteaters, but I don't think they are here any more. Probably a good thing, with all the traffic here now they'd be killed just like the iguanas.