Wednesday, November 30, 2005

*%$!?*@!! CFE!

I know, I know, I should just be happy I have power.

Anybody consistantly reading and retaining will recall my rant regarding my most recent CFE bill (it was just Monday for God's sake, are you even paying attention?!). Well I sent Martha (my landlord) an email asking her if she thought she could get an explanation even though I know I would never win any kind of dispute with the electric company. She called and couldn't get through most of today, and she thought perhaps it was because other people might be having the same issue.

She said the bill I got in September (for July/August) had a notice on it saying something about pro-rating or subsidizing or some God damn thing, basically saying that the bill was going to be sort of spread out a little bit to accommodate the insane cooling bill one normally gets in summer. So much for my bliss in having a $600 bill back in September. I probably saw the notice but it meant nothing to me (because it was in Spanish and I was happy to have such a small bill). Anyhow, she told me she would keep trying CFE, because on top of everything else, this month's bill didn't have the usual kilowatt usage information they normally have. Interesting. I'll pay it Friday if I don't hear back from her tomorrow, like I said, I wouldn't win anyway.

But that is not why I am bitter right now. I am bitter because all FREAKING day the power has been going on and off. Yesterday for a little teeny while and then this morning for like 10 minutes and then it came back on but as a brownout and that was like for a couple hours and then AGAIN off for like 15 minutes and then back to full and then YET AGAIN for like 20 minutes and if I was paranoid I would SWEAR TO GOD THAT EVERYONE AT CFE IS OUT TO GET ME.

I better quit this while I'm ahead, Lord knows the minute I'm done the pinche power will go out again... It could be worse - I could live in the United States where it took victims of Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma roughly 3 weeks AND LONGER to get their power back. And Wilma hit Cancun a hell of a lot harder than it hit Florida.

Okay, CFE. Sorry I called you a bad word.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I fell.

I was due.

I used to fall down. Alot. Mi cuñada Jill will tell you that she was around alot during my heyday of falling down. Sometimes I would trip, over nothing. Just trip. And land, like, in the middle of a busy street in Tempe, Arizona. Or fall off steps and get tangled up in my blouse and not be able to get up. Or fall up the stairs. Some of you remember the post early on here where I fell on the last step in the rain. Or there was the time I was running across Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and tripped over the curb and landed on my forehead in the bushes. Or when I walked out of the Broadway Saloon and just fell backward onto the sidewalk. Seriously, I could go on and on.

So today, I went over to the Oxxo (LOVE the Oxxo) to get some things, a big bottle of Coca Lite and some Arizona Te Verde (con miel), and when I was walking back, I cut between a car and the building next door to mine. Then, boom, tripped over the little curb there. I knew it was there, I just undershot it. Apparently I was going at a pretty good clip because I didn't even have time to try to break my fall with the other foot. Just went down, and skidded on my hands and right knee. Of course my bag of carbonated beverages went flying, and of COURSE there was a pedestrian passing by, a fairly nice looking man, who came running over to me yelling, Are you okay? in English. By this time I was up (I generally pop right up after a fall, you know, just in case the 78 people that witnessed it happen to blink at the same time), and he picked up my stuff and said things like, What a way to meet you, and You're bleeding, and Are you going to be okay? I laughed it off like all jackasses will do when they are mortally embarrassed, told him the only thing that hurt was my pride, and thanked him for his help. Shakily I walked across the lot to my apartment, climbed the stairs, fumbled with the lock and came inside.

Because I fall I had things like hydrogen peroxide and neosporin and big gauze pads and first aid tape. I cleaned up, assessed the damage (knee is really the only thing that looks bad) and opened the Coca Lite in the sink. I'm a little shaky still but I'll be fine. It's just really embarrassing.

So I thought I would tell you.

Monday, November 28, 2005

No Ha? It's not a laughing matter

My sister Shelia just informed me that Ha is no longer at Nails Express and frankly, I am bummed. There are a lot of reasons why I want to stay here, add another one to the bunch. The honey/sugar foot massage at Dharma Spa is bliss, even if you get that one girl who does a pedicure in under 30 minutes and doesn't ever look like she is actually happy to serve. Why do I never get Wendy anymore? You would think with the way I tip they would be tripping over themselves to get to me. I am just happy that Lulu is back to doing my eyebrows; Monica may own the store but Lulu is the waxing queen.

Okay enough of that. So where was I? Yeah, Joan and Roy got in and I went over on Saturday afternoon and had a couple beers with them. Didn't stay long. Saturday night Laura and I went to Corona Bar as it was their first night open since the storm. As far as actual customers, we were 2 of 4, but just in case, they had 2 DJs and the music was BLASTING. It was fine for the couple of gangsta rap songs they played (choice selections from "The Chronic" and that "California" song, is that TuPac? Can't remember, I'm 40), but the rest of it was that crap that sounds like the same thing over and over again with the electronic bull shit and nobody really "playing" an instrument. I hate that shit. By 9:30 we were outta there. Apparently 2 hotels brought some folks on over, but that was after 10 (and past my bedtime) and they apparently stayed until 6am or something. Whatever, live the party life, bra.

In keeping with my never-ending freakish fascination with Latin gangs in Southern California, I have been keeping up with this blog and one of its links. It's great fun. Not sure why that has any relevance to anything but I thought I'd share.

My brother Brad and his wife Lisette had a baby today, Mae. I learned this from my sister-in-law Jill. That's fun, huh? My mom's middle name is Mae (she never liked it). Go Irish.

Um... what else? Today I went to VCI with Laura (legally) and laid out. We had some cloud issues but I think I got some color. I better have, I want Janet to be all jealous of me when she gets back and sees how bronzed and golden I am next to her pasty-white-United-States-in-the- Winter skin. And that way too when she lays out for like one day she will be tanner than me. Great. At least I will have my one brief shining moment...

Okay, that's it, I thought I had more to contribute but I really don't. Oh yeah except that my electric bill came today, and dig this: it's from 12 Sept to 4 Nov, right? My a/c took a dump on like 30 Sept, and before that I was using it like 1-2 hours a day if even that, and then the storm came and I had NO POWER SINCE 20 OCT. So you are trying to tell me that in the 18 days that I had a/c it jacked up my electric bill to $983 PESOS?! Are you KIDDING ME?! Something is wrong, desperately wrong, but how can I fight CFE? I can't. Chump White Girl gets screwed in Mexico, Chapter 15. Such is the life.

But with Ha no longer at Nails Express, how can I ever go back?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy One Year Anniversary to Me

So yep, as of today I have been in sunny Cancun one year. Boy did it go by fast. In that year I have:

Met some really cool people that turned out to be complete wackos

Met some really wierd people that turned out to be really cool

Figured out how to function with a love/hate relationship with such utility companies as Cablemas, Aguakan, and CFE

Observed my brain go from sharp as a tack to slighty mushy

Realized that I CAN deal with some bugs, so long as I have the right tools handy

Forgotten how to drive a car

Picked up a lot more Spanish

Discovered that not using high end hair product on a daily basis will not make my hair fall out

Been gearing up to the fact that the pedicures I will again get from Ha at Nails Express will never involve the bliss that is the honey/sugar massage that I get at Dharma Spa

Drank more coffee-from-home, Cristal Negra, Sol, Cafe Ole and Cristal water than I ever will again

Eaten more tacos al pastor, beef in oyster sauce, egg rolls, sushi with cream cheese in it for no apparent reason, tamales, granola bars, tacos de cameron and Kinder Buenos than I ever will again

Exposed a lot of grey hairs (a LOT)

Taken too many "showers" by dumping buckets of water over my head

Read too many books by flashlight or candlelight

Seen too many episodes of the same season over and over of ER and The Gilmore Girls

Spent far too many afternoons napping in a hammock

Sweated enough to have lost 138 pounds and yet, haven't

Realized that if 68 degrees is cold to me now, what hope do I have for surviving winter in Portland?

There's more, it's early. It's been an interesting (and fun, no doubt) year. Maybe I'll have another.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Of jambalaya and Fruit Loops

Nothing much to report. Beautiful day today, if it didn't start out freezing. It was like 60 when I got up and so I put on sweats from head to toe. Talked to Jan Jan on the phone last night - yay! I am sure it cost a fortune because sometimes we sit on the phone and gab and the next thing you know its been like 20 minutes or something. Good times. She is on her way (or in probably now) Virginia Beach today.

I saw someone post something today on a board about these pullovers called Chammyz. I want one. Bad. I though about having Janet run over to the store in Virginia Beach to pick one up for me, since I found a store on line. They are bitchin, I so don't need one, and now all I have to do is figure out if I want the hoody or the pullover and in which color.

Oh and I saw another toucan today! Laura and I were discussing, on the landing between our apartments, our trip to Playa tomorrow afternoon to see Janie and Norb (from Pittsburgh, down on vacations), and I saw this blur of black and bright yellow fly from the park across the street to the tree outside her window. I said, "What the heck was that?" and ran into her living room and looked out the window. Sure enough, there it was, all looking like a toucan on the branch. Very cool. I had a sudden urge for cereal...

Instead I came back in and got to work on some jambalaya. I have made it a couple of times in the past. I always used a recipe but this time I just didn't. It's not that complicated, but, you know, how much rice, how much liquid, that kind of thing. It turned out good. Spicy and cozy-tasting. Gonna dig into that in a minute, once I finish this blog entry and it cools a little bit. Problem is I will have a shit load of it for a week, and by tomorrow will be sick of it. Oh well, I miss cooking. And it's cold outside. So I have fulfilled my Martha quotient for the week (month) and it filled my afternoon.

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, maybe a little bit of sun at VCI, and down to Playa.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Third Thanksgiving I have spent in Cancun and it's becoming just another Thursday for me, which is fine because I never really liked that Thanksgiving food anyway.

I hope Jodi gets lots of socks on Friday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cold snap

I got up this morning at 6am and it was 61 degrees outside. SIXTY ONE. It hasn't been that cold here in like forever. As I type this it is 75 degrees and I am wearing a sweatshirt over a tshirt and a pair of sweat pants. I am freezing.

My life continues on its boring trend. I went to VCI this morning around 11:30 and stayed until 1:30 (pre-trip I used to tan every morning at the Bally's after working out, but the beds were so old that I probably got more color sitting under the flourescent lights at work. It was cheap though, $35/mo unlimited). Two hours every couple of days has brought my tan back to life, and though I am not at my peak, when Joanie comes Friday I will be back in business. I never get this tan in Oregon. Mostly because I don't have the time and the weekend tanning binge always starts out rough, too much too soon and then by the next weekend it has all peeled off anyway. Discouraging. It will be very difficult for me to go back to pasty white knowing there is nothing I can do about it. I didn't lay out much in the summer here because it was 900 degrees out with 100% humidity and there isn't much point to laying in a pool of your own sweat. Lots of flies, not so inviting. Plus the whole summer-without-afternoon-running-water situation sort of put a damper on the idea.

So yeah, that's pretty much all I got right now. Sitting here typing in my sweats. Waiting for the hard-boiled eggs to cool off before I make a salad for dinner. Hoping I didn't give my can of black olives to Elizabeth post-Wilma. Talking about my tan. Ho-hum.

Janet, if you are reading this, don't be so selfish. Come home already.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

From the "How bored am I" files

Reading Cancun message boards is a sometimes-hobby, but they drain me right now because I frankly could give a shit less whether or not someone's all-inclusive vacation to the Golden Crown Paradise Spa was cancelled in October and they are feeling smited because they took a chance to travel during hurricane season and failed to purchase a $79 trip insurance policy. Go to Miami already, wouldya? I know it's not very Support Cancun-y, but sorry, it's how I feel right now and part of that is I don't really like people right now. It's a phase, I'll get past it, I always do. Relax.

Anyway in my boredom I revisited a website that I love - Fametracker. LOVE the writing style of these guys (or is it one person? I don't know.). They just have a lot of really funny stuff about "famous" people and all that. Making fun of celebrity. "Celebrity" as a phenomenon, not as a group of people, I didn't misspell.

Anyhooo, big trend since I have been here are those "Live Strong"-type bracelets that have metamorphised (okay that time I bet I did misspell) into many other colors and inspirations. Literally everyone you see has anywhere from 1 to 15 on their wrist (except me). This particular entry on Fametracker addresses this trend along side another irritating "celebrity"/"trend"/"it's-cool-to-think-this-guy-is-cool" gig, Elijah Wood. I have always found him to be extremely creepy. This article just hit home to me, almost as if I wrote it myself (though I could not have done it so well). So since I am so FREAKING BORED today (though I just spent about an hour and a half on the phone with Kim and am now chatting with Janet and neither of those things are ever boring), I thought I would share. Enjoy.

This whole entry is a by-product of WAY too much caffeine today. I am wrecked. And so I apologize for this tangent.

Issue-I-Won't-Have-To-Live-With-If-I-Lived-in-Oregon #67

Gecko somewhere in my bedroom chirping all night long. I like geckos, they are cute. The scurry around on the wall and eat bugs (which I shouldn't have, by the way, so if there is allegedly no food source, then wouldn't it stand to reason that the gecko would choose another place to live? Hmm. Maybe I am dealing with the first documented case of gecko anorexia. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.). You don't wake up with one in your hair, and they try to get the heck out of sight if they see that you've spotted them.

But they chirp. Sing, whatever. And this one is loud. I spotted it the other day running behind my sofa, and it was a pretty big one, as geckos go. I don't mind that it is there, but the chirping? Come on. Consequently, I slept kinda shitty and got up at 6am for a lack of anything better to do. Strong strong coffee in the pot today.

Also, can I just add before I go, GO DUCKS?! Whooped the ass of those Beavers (God I dislike them). Bowl Game, Baby!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bye, Janet

Welp, she just left. Dropped off her laundry and some other things, and left to go to Nancy's to drop off her car and go to the airport. I know it's only for a month but it's still sad.

Bye, Janet. Have fun in Boston, Virginia Beach and Atlantic City. There are lots of Starbucks there so drink a few for me.

.......>sigh<......... Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A bird pooped on my hand.

Yesterday Janet and I went to VCI around 10am. It was cloudy so we detoured down toward the Over 30 club to see if they had done anything to it (they hadn't). Then we travelled back toward VCI. Things are being worked on, less garbage, more buds on the trees. It's coming. Anyway, we got to VCI and saw Eder and chit chatted with him for a little while, then got our normal spot by the pool steps. I stayed dressed because it was totally cloudy, but after a little while it started to clear and by 11 or so we were in full sun. The pool is freezing.

We were laying on our stomachs and chit chatting and I am sure I was in the middle of a story when it happened. Just one more second of self control and that bird crap would have been in my hair. It was pretty gross, and there was a lot of it. Not sure what I did to deserve it, but sometimes I think bad thoughts and that had to be my karmic just-desserts.

We hung out and then we got some lunch and laid out a little bit more. Happy hour is now from 1 to 5pm but we had plenty to do later and didn't want to get bogged down by banana monkeys. We walked over to the other pool and saw Angel, chit chatted with him a bit. He invited me to dinner at his house next week, we'll see if that happens.

Last night we went to visit Sergio at Over 30 centro. He is a waiter there, not a manager, and he works 3 nights a week and then works with a/c units with his friend in the mornings. He is tired. We had some drinks and found out that B4 was playing, which was fun. I met some guy from Monterrey with zero English but he is tall and I had a brief moment of indiscretion that I am sure was noticed by people who know me, but who cares. It was brief.

Today we ran a TON of errands and then went with Raul to the house off Palenque to unload the rest of Janet's stuff. After that I texted Laura to see if Janet could come by and borrow a couple of dvds for her evening of sitting in a big empty apartment with nothing but a portable dvd player to keep her company. She said sure, but that we had no electricity in our block. GOOD GOD I don't think I can handle this.

We went to lunch (late lunch) at Grillo's on Bonampak with Andy and Nancy and Helen Pappas. Kimberley and her husband were going to come but she is coming down with something. Probably a good thing since lunch was ridiculously expensive. After that we ran over to Costco to get a couple of cartons of cigarettes for Janet's mom, and then over to my house. Yep, no power. The Oxxo was even out. It was only on our block, though, the lavandaria and KPrichi were all ablaze, and little lonely Los Picos and Oxxo were dark and sad. Laura let me use on of her big flourescents which was nice, and gave me some Twizzlers and Janet some movies. I listened in silence to the elote man calling out and the frost in my freezer melting.

Finally came back on about maybe 45 minutes ago. We are expecting to get some rain and wind from TS Gamma (formerly known as TD 27) this weekend, so I expect to have no power again. But then again, I should be a pro at this by now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Stuff I did and stuff I'm gonna do and stuff I might do or maybe not

Hi. I was sitting here trying to get the most out of my internet (bored with it already? Don't even say it!), when it dawned on me that I could do a blog entry without information regarding the storm. Hmm, what an idea.

So Joe left yesterday, and Janet is sitting in a nearly empty apartment with nothing much to do. So today we had pedicure/eyebrow waxing appointments at 10 over at Dharma Spa (no damage whatsoever), and then at 12n went over to VCI to continue to use the facilities. I wonder when they are finally going to bar my entry? Joan doesn't get here til November 25, and Janet leaves this Saturday. Laura works in the day. Please God do not let this burgeoning tan fade!

There were a few more people at the pool today, though my spot was available (there is the perfect spot for loungers at the pool, and whenever Rhonda and I vacation there we make sure people know it is OUR spot. We are generally pretty lucky.). We ordered some nachos from Ceiliano and I fell asleep for about 20 minutes or so, woke up drooling. Nice. At least I didn't have a sheet mark on my face (towel mark?). You know those marks you sometimes wake up with, the crease of the sheet on your cheek that doesn't go away all day? For some reason whenever I used to oversleep and was late to work (or barely, as I would spend the first 5 minutes running around in a circle yelling "Somebody help me!" and then the other 2 minutes throwing on anything to wear, putting in my contacts, putting my hair in a clip and brushing my teeth...) I would always have a sheet mark. It was like a badge or something. Everyone always knew I had overslept just by looking at me. The worst ones were the ones that went like over your whole eye, from the brow, over the lid, down the cheek to the chin. Okay enough of that.

Anyway, Jesus brought me my check and asked me when we were going out, and I scolded him due to his obvious married status. He swore he was not married, but I don't believe him. I told him that Janet and I are going to the Over 30 club tomorrow night, so if he wasn't married he should go. He seemed to be agreeable to it. That would go over like a fart in church, wouldn't it? I'm not that worried, he won't go.

** Note to anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with Mexican culture beyond Taco Bell: Jesus is a common male name, pronounced "Hey Soos". Please be aware that the Son of God did not approach me at the VCI pool and tell me he wanted me to be in his life and his soul.

So anyway, got a little sun, came home, Laura used my computer to check her email (still no internet, cable TV or land line for her, not sure what the heck is up with that) and now here I sit, wondering when I should heat up my leftover canneloni from Alfredo's last night. Or whether I should walk over to the Sushi Ken and get some yakimeshi con tampico. Because, you know, I can. I can do lots of things in Cancun. MY Cancun is pretty much back to normal these days, gracias á Dios.

Tomorrow, shopping with Janet for garbage cans for the rest of her stuff to be packed in, and another couple hours at VCI. Then Over 30 to see Sergio later tomorrow night. Friday, pack the rest of Janet's minimal items and move them over to the Palenque house, lunch with Andy, Nancy and Helen, and then... sola. It's okay, I'm strong.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More pics and blathering

Here are a few more pictures for you. I am rethinking this whole "post pictures" thing because frankly, stuff doesn't look like this anymore. The amount of repair going on in the zh is astounding. As you can see from just these pictures there is a lot of work to be done, but seriously you would be shocked to see it now. By no means is it back to normal, but it certainly doesn't look like this anymore.

The first picture is driving down Kukulkan Blvd on the Monday after the storm ended. Looking toward party central. The second is the front of the Fiesta Americana Gran Aqua. The Aqua is a new hotel, opened this summer. We were supposed to have the fashion show there and at the last minute they cancelled on us, but allowed us to move it to the Fiesta Americana Condesa. It was a glass palace. See what happens when you build with all glass in a hurricane zone?

The last picture is of Coco Bongo, Corona Bar and The City, all in party central. Corona Bar now is ready to open (it's that cage looking thing between The City and Coco Bongo). If they open up I will be there, as I know some guys that work there.

Not much going on right now (well, maybe there is a lot more than normal). Raul is still here from Mexico City, which is a good thing for us but not so much for him, as he is missing his betrothed. Today Joe leaves for NYC for a little while, so they have completely moved out of their condo (Janet leaves on Saturday so she is there til then, and the place is a shell of what it used to be). They moved pretty much everything out to the house off Palenque. Poor Janet has no English speaking TV, no computer, she barely has a clock. We'll have to find some sun time.

I spoke with Sergio yesterday, and he is working Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Over 30 centro. He is doing other things as well on the side, but times are tough. I told him that Janet and I would go in and see him on Thursday night. Rafa and Ever left for Villahermosa last Friday and it sucked pretty bad to see them go. We took them to lunch near the bus station Friday afternoon and it was just sad to say goodbye. Rafa's family is there and he has a new nephew, and then from there they may go on to see Ever's family in Veracruz. They are keeping in touch via email though. Roberto is in Mexico City with his family, and he wrote to Janet and told her he has a job and is doing okay for now, but it's too cold and he misses the sun and warmth of Cancun. Won't we all...

I am seeing more of Laura these days, which is good. She has a lot going on and is in a better place these days. We'll see how that goes. The Omni (where she sells timeshare) is closed til February 1 but for now they have her doing telemarketing. She isn't digging it but it's a job.

As for me, Joan and Roy come down on November 25 for 3 weeks. I am glad for it. I am glad to see people are coming. Screw Wilma, this is the place we love. Bob and Linda are coming as well as their friend Steve from last year, and some other regulars as well. I will be on the list to come in so I won't feel like I am sneaking around. Tomorrow I have a 10am pedicure and then we are off to VCI (Janet and I) to get some sun time in, and we'll just play it by ear until she goes Saturday. There is a tropical depression (#27) out there looming in the distance and frankly I hope it stays south, toward Central America. Hate for anything to happen to them since they just had Beta in Nicaragua, but good Lord, this town does not need anything else dumped on it.

Okay, I'm off for now. Time to shower and take a look at what I might need from the Oxxo. I went twice yesterday, once for a loaf of bread and an Arizona Te Verde (con miel) and once for a phone card. I just can't get enough of the Oxxo (LOVE the Oxxo) now that it's back. Things are continuing to look up. Vamos Cancun!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hurricane pictures

This is where I used to work. As you can see, I now have alot of free time available on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Here is the former staff of the Over 30 ZH. This was Tuesday after the storm ended. We were hoping that we could clear the place up and open at some point but the actual club owners had a different idea.
Plaza Forum, where the Hard Rock Cafe, Coco Bongo's, and Carlos and Charlie's were/will be again.
What a mess. Things are alot more cleaned up now but in most cases now you can just really see the damage. So close your eyes and picture less debris and more men in tshirts and flip flops hanging from scaffolding on all this stuff.

From Thursday November 10

It’s been eight days since I last wrote anything. Where does the time go when you have no TV or internet? I have been keeping to a pretty rough schedule, waking at 6am since the time change, having coffee at Laura’s for a couple of hours, then either hanging out with Janet or sitting around here reading, playing solitaire and watching borrowed dvds on my laptop. It is such a drag. Still no sign of Cablemas but there is some hope still, except I have a view of the pole that holds the cable and the cable is still neatly wrapped up and hanging there just like it has been since a couple of days after the storm. I want to be surprised but it’s hard to be when you can see the disconnected cable every day.

I have been spending some time at VCI. They never closed, and one morning I phoned to see if they would let me sneak in and use the pool. Luckily I got Tairo who happened to be at the front desk that day, and he told me to come on down, La Palapa restaurant was open to the public for now. There were forty guests last week, and this last Saturday 250 guests checked in – to all five resorts. I have been three times. All the boys are working but with no guests the tips are nonexistent. One day, Janet, Laura and I had lunch there and tipped well. We had three waiters. They all seem pretty happy to see me. Kimberley and I went again last Saturday, but since I didn’t want to be noticed coming in through the front door on check-in day, we came over from the beach at Playa Langosta and just stayed on the beach. We bought beers and again tipped liberally. Then Tuesday Laura and I went to the pool again, and today I will go for a few hours with Janet. It’s nice to have a place to go again to work on my tan, and it’s coming back some. I am no where near my peak but it’s coming. Joan and Roy and their gang are coming in a week from Saturday so I will have no issues then getting back into it, I will be on the list and I am looking forward to no more sneaking.

Janet has had internet since she has had power so I have blogged a little bit, some of this info might be redundant but I don’t really care. I was looking for an experience when I came here and boy have I got what I asked for. The changes around centro are absolutely amazing. There are still plenty of buildings in disrepair but you can shop at the grocery stores and with no issues there are some areas where you would never know a hurricane ever hit. The zona hotelera is another story. Lots of work still to be done. We just really need tourists, and our December 15 date is approaching quickly. It’s sort of our get-ready date, according to Presidente Fox. I think it will be done.

Janet and Joe are going back to the states for a month next week. Janet will go to Boston and Virginia Beach and Joe to New York and Atlantic City. I will be here. They’ll be back before Christmas, though, and maybe things will be better by then, and they will have a place to do their karaoke. As for me, I need to really start working on getting my job back in place in Oregon. I can’t believe I will have been here a year in only 14 days. It is amazing because sometimes I feel like I have been here for years and other times it feels like I just got here. In a better apartment I could live here forever. But again, we’ll just have to see what happens in my life.

From Wednesday November 2

It’s been a frustrating few days. Hard to nail down exactly what I have been doing, but in a nutshell, trying to get back in the swing of things. Since I got electric back, the power would go out for about 5 minutes at least once daily. We figured out it had to be that when they got ready to bring another area up, they shut everyone off and then brought them all up together. You got used to it. Saturday night Joe and Janet and I went to dinner down on Yaxchilan. We were hoping to get to watch some college football at Caliente, but though they were open, it was only until 6pm and they were not serving food or alcohol. The ban and the curfew are still in effect even today. We left there at 6 since they were closing, and drove into centro to find something to eat. The boulevard was bustling, well past dark. We were able to get a beer at a Mexican restaurant whose name I can’t remember, but next door to Cielito Lindo. I think it was probably 8pm when we left, and the traffic was insane still. Felt like 10:30.

Saturday night we turned the clocks back, which made it worse for people without power and for those of us who could get nothing on TV but a few stations totally in Spanish. The nights are interminable. Sunday Elizabeth, Laura and I thought about going to the beach, but it started to rain and I think we were starting to feel some outer bands of Hurricane Beta, which was far to the south of us. Instead we went to City Club and got memberships and a few food items. Diet A&W Root Beer, which is impossible (until now) to get here. From there Liz and I shopped a little more at Soriana, and sort of wasted the day away doing not much of anything.

Monday I went with the Ceruttis and the remaining staff of the former Over 30 Club ZH to their office/house off Palenque. It was the first time in there since the hurricane, and they had to break the door down. There was some water but none of the equipment looked affected. So I cleaned the equipment room while Ever, Rafa and Janet cleared out the front yard and Adrian cleared off the roof. Joe and Sergio went in search of a new front door but were unsuccessful. It was a good day as far as accomplishments. After I got home, Laura and I went to Soriana to find some money (no luck with ATMs) and some actual groceries. I guess I was feeling too confident about the power. I bought 2 items for the freezer (I was craving waffles earlier in the week so I indulged in a box of Eggos) and some bread and other absolutely-has-to-be-refrigerated food like cheese and yogurt. Kimberley came over in the evening to talk, which is necessary even when things are normal here, and after she left, I went in to watch “The Terminal” on my laptop. Then the rain came.

It was a pretty strong wind and rain storm, again courtesy of Beta, and it blew a transformer in front of my building. The power went out for a second, then came back on as a brownout. My whole life I didn’t know what a brownout was and this was my second one here. It would go in various stages of brown, from supporting the television to not, and the refrigerator was not liking this one bit. The motor made horrid noises as the power wavered from barely on to barely off. I think most of the night while I was sleeping it was completely off anyway. So much for buying freezer stuff.

Tuesday I was waiting for the plumber (water issues in the floor according to the brujas downstairs) and the bug man, and talked to Janet via phone. She advised me to just unplug the fridge until the power was back full. She said it would burn the motor out and then where would I be, with no fridge and a landlord with no work and no money? She came over and took my cheese and my yogurt and the freezer items to hold in her own freezer so I wouldn’t waste the money.

The plumber took most of the day and I had to pay for Laura’s share of the bug man, what with all the lights going off and on I was not taking any chances with bugs and she didn’t have any money. I could not use the toilet or the shower until Wednesday morning (he had to tear them out and then put them back together using cement and sealing and it needed to stay dry over night), and the bathroom and kitchen are both disasters. I decided not to eat or drink anything so that I wouldn’t be tempted to go against Wilmer’s advice on using the toilet, but I broke down and had some crackers with ranch dressing. I don’t like ranch on my salad, and I have an unopened bottle of bleu cheese dressing that can be hard to find, so I figure if the ranch gets wasted it’s no big deal.

I was filling my evening reading when the power went completely out. You have to understand that despite knowing that there are whole families living in shelters and people facing poverty and eviction because jobs are scarce with a ruined hotel zone, it is just draining to have no power. I had given my big religious candle to Liz and only had two small pillars that are just about down to stubs now, and one flashlight. No music, no light, no TV. Poor me, I know, but after a while it really gets to you. I lit the candles and continued reading by flashlight, completely depressed, hungry, and a little pissed off. It had been a sucky day I was feeling sorry for myself.

Luckily the outage was a pre turn-on-the-lights procedure and about 20 minutes later the power came on full force. I plugged the fridge back in and watched “The Shipping News” on the computer, read some more and went to bed at 10pm.

This morning it’s sunny and I heard the Z Gas truck’s annoying (but somehow today beautiful) song. I took a shower and used the toilet. I am drinking coffee and want a waffle but I guess that will be for tomorrow. I have no towels left and my laundry is going to cost me a fortune and probably a week’s worth of wait. I guess I will have to find money today for rent and while I am at it buy some towels. I am running out of money and may have to return to Oregon sooner, but what choices do I have? Cancun is rebuilding, and people will come, and things will be normal soon (still waiting on Cablemas and the internet), and I feel I will not take this stuff for granted in the future. But I guess we’ll see.

From October 28, 2005, Day 6 Post Wilma

Where to begin? It is the end of Day 6 – Post Wilma. I wrote in a journal some of the things we went through during the affair, actually right after the affair, and I may throw in some excerpts here and there. I have to say this: the Mexican government, with all its turmoil and issues (what government doesn’t have turmoil and issues?) rocks. It is Day 6. This time last week we were just getting the first bands of what was the biggest storm on record for this part of the country, perhaps the whole country (as I write this I have no internet connection so I cannot check the facts). We had a Category 4 hurricane (at times Category 5) hovering over us for 30 hours. The thing wouldn’t move. It battered at us relentlessly and it is a wonder more windows didn’t break. Believe me, there is broken glass all over this city and yet I am still shocked.

After a brutal Friday afternoon and night, followed by an eye that lasted about four hours or so, and then another hellacious Saturday afternoon and night, Sunday morning we poked our heads out to a windy but sunny world. It was like waking up in a war zone. The kind of destruction this thing wrought was amazing. There was a lot of flooding so our way around was hindered somewhat, but we piled into the family truckster and brought me home to see what kind of apartment I had left.

I was lucky enough to have no broken windows, just a lot of water everywhere from the refrigerator of course, and rain from under the doors. I had the help of the four tourist friends that stayed at the Cerutti’s in lieu of a shelter, and we swept out all the water with squeegees and brooms and then just let everything dry out. Obviously I had no power or water, the whole city was out. Power lines were hanging everywhere and there was debris wherever you looked. I ran into Ernesto from the lavandaria and he gave me a hug and said, “Gracias a Dios, we are alive.”

That day and the days following it were amazing to see. People appeared immediately with machetes and chainsaws and brooms and rope, pulling away the dangling tree limbs and sweeping up the debris, placing it in the medians for the army to collect. The neighbors helped one another clean their entry ways and offered assistance in patching broken windows. Nobody sat around waiting for the government to do something. This is our home, we did it ourselves.

I understand that by Monday night there were regiones with power already. Power. After one day. Freaking amazing. Trust me, this hurricane was gigantic. The fact that the regiones were getting power at such an alarming rate is a testament to the devotion this city has to its people. These guys got up with the sun, worked all day in their neighborhoods, centro, and the zona hotelera, and were able to come home at the end of it to lights and a shower.

It took a while for SM 31 to get power, and I can live with that. We got it today, Friday the 28th. We also had some water so I am able to get some things in order. Tomorrow morning I get to scrub the refrigerator and I can’t say I am excited, but it will be nice to have it clean. The Ceruttis got power today too, though they had a generator for a period of time yesterday. It’s hard without it. It seems like when the lights came on things seemed a little bit better. I am very aware that there are hundreds without homes, people in casitas with a palapa roof that blew away, and I will never complain about the lights being out for a week in SM 31, because I have a home and I am safe and well and so are all of my friends. Well, most, I haven’t heard from Eder yet and it worries me a little.
As for the zh, that is a story for another day. I have pictures, a lot of them. It is heartbreaking. To see the pictures and know the pain, it makes me want to cry. But I don’t, because Mexico is a strong and proud country, and they earn that right to be proud for every day that they spend making this tragedy go away.

Back online

Thank God! Got home last night at freaking 2:30 am (went to Playa to meet some folks) and saw ALL THE LIGHTS on my modem were steady. Such good news. It has been since October 23 that I have had no cable TV or internet and it has sucked. But yesterday in the day I took a chance and sure enough there was cable TV, and then last night, this. The next few entries are from when I had no access. So here you go.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We interrupt this silence to bring you a quick update

Yeah, hurricanes suck.

I am at Janet's house as I will not have internet through Cablemas for a while yet, maybe another 15 days or so. Which means no TV in my native language either. Don't get me wrong, I am using this opportunity to use the immersion approach to learning Spanish, but it is definitely a drag.

Power comes on, power goes out, power comes back on again. Cancun is improving.

I wrote a couple entries on my own computer at home, so when I get cable back you will see them. With pictures and everything. I apologize in advance for any happy pappy enthusiasm and philosophical bull shit you might have to wade through, but sitting in the dark in your apartment night after night will do some things to your head. So remember where I was.

Thanks to all of you who sent me personal emails (as opposed to unrelated group stuff, that is just rude) knowing that sooner or later in this day and age, and in a country that gets so much crap for being "third world", I would retrieve them. You do not know what it means to get an email from "outside" when you are isolated as we have been. It is like a lifeline, a means of escape, a bit of normalcy in a world that is so not normal. It's like a light at the end of the tunnel, even when the CFE trucks are in your neighborhood for 3 days and still the lights don't come on. Thanks because when I go home and sit in the dark in my apartment at 6pm I didn't feel so completely alone.

I will have to say kudos to the country of Mexico and its people. These people lost alot, some everything and some just a little bit, but they never lost their spirit and their devotion to their community. Rather than sit around and wait for the government to step in, these people came out of their homes and started sweeping up. I am overwhelmingly impressed each and every day.

I'll be back soon.