February 27, 2009

Baby on the mend

Baby, the woman who is my friend's sister, is on the mend. She moved more stuff out of the house into the new apartment with the help of her teenage sons. She will be calling me, he says, to thank me for making her pose for the camera. "You reporter, you," he called me in our phone conference this morning. "Mom also quit crying. She was chipper when I called her in Florida last night," he said.
The half cow is in mom's freezer along with sausage her brother's made and the summer's vegetables mom grew. Baby will be fine!
And now her brother gets ready for another Friday Fish Fry and me, well, it's time to get up off the sick bed of yesterday and get moving! The Cleveland delegation arrived on Isla yesterday and I have to check the dressing on my renter's foot.
And it's such a beautiful day!

February 26, 2009

She's not crying any more

I talked to my friend back home this morning. His sister isn't crying any more.
Three days ago, he called me from Ohio and I didn't get to the call in time. But I was on it before I heard the message play out. "She says you took pictures while you were at her house," was the trigger phrase.
I'll change her name to Baby for writing this blog. Baby had bruises all over her arms. She was vague about it, but now that I think about it, very specific. "This has happened before. It went away." I thought she was getting hit by equipment at the factory where her husband also worked.
I started snapping pictures. She showed me what look to be defensive wounds. Say look to be, because I never want back and studied them. Just had them in case she needed them legally, never thinking why.
Her husband had been beating her.
My bud said no one in the family knew. But I had the pictures from July.
Then last week, her husband changed the locks on the house, leaving the kids with the clothes on their backs and Baby at mom and dad's while they are in Florida. She was washing the kids clothes nightly and driving them back to school some 40 miles away every morning.
So I got the disc onto which I burned the pics and sent a photo attachment with a letter to a mutual friend with a computer. He called my buddy over to see them and burned a disc for Baby. Her old man got served yesterday and is in jail. She is filing for divorce.
"Baby went out and bought a half beef yesterday," her brother said. She's looking for a place in the same school district and has a couple lawyers. "She's so glad you went into reporter mode and started snapping pictures," my bud said.
No, Baby's not crying any more. Her old man is in jail on spousal abuse charges and has a restraining near her. With any luck, he'll have divorce papers served before he makes bail.

February 23, 2009

If you get sick here

In my brief experience running a Guest House, I have had several guests requiring medical attention. There was the wax-cause swimmers' ear, the German who was sure she had dengue or malaria, a chest infection and Deb's back pain. I always call Dr Salas.
Last night, an elderly guest decided she could bear no longer the pain of a plantar wart, barefoot around pool decks. I called Dr Salas!
This morning, he is in Cancun in "procedures" and may not even be back for evening office hours. So he is sending an associate over with a razor, a scalpel, a cauterizing gun and lidocaine. Anything that might be necessary for whatever it is.
This is why I feel so secure here with my own medical needs. Whatever it is, it gets top notch and quick attention! Even during Carnaval. Which reminds me: Staying downtown as a tourist once during Carnaval, I had a severe chest infection that Dr Salas treated. I returned to Ohio and had a normal exam with the doctor a bit skeptical that I had had anything at all. Trust me, I was bedridden, feverish and coughing up colors! And listening to trucks with sound systems for dance troups lining up outside my window. It was no cake walk!
Well. Dr. Salas was tied up in a procedure in Cancun that threatens to take all day and sent at associate, Dr. David Garcia, who found the plantar wart to be deep and requiring two sutures after removal.
The patient is restricted to the compound for the next 24-72 hours. A nurse, who came from the Palace Resort, where Salas is the medical provider in charge, will check in 72 hours to say when she can swim again, and he will be the one to remove her sutures in a week, when as planned, the travelers move from two weeks Mexican immersion to two weeks cocoon of luxury.

February 20, 2009

Who has rights?

This is a picture of what I can see of Deisy and Raul's house. Not much.
I used to be able and glance over, see the screen door, or the hammock outside that Raul used to recline in before going to work and opening up their eatery, El Charco.
Then the landlord agreed to expand Video Club San Juan, and my view of their door was blocked. "En carcel" was how we referred to it and I couldn't see Deisy and Raul come and go. Nor watch their beautiful children.
How, the landlord is adding an apartment or two above the video store. Deisy and Raul can barely see the light of day and I have to go to the back, to a walkway between structures, to talk.
I got a different picture and a lesson yesterday in how adaptive Mexicans are when thing seemingly don't go their way.
Deisy said they have gotten used to it and see a lot of benefits to being boxed in! Their 15-year-old daughter can't see what goes on in the street with girls her age hopping on the backs of motos and going off, away from the eyes of the neighborhood. Their 3-year-old boy can still play under the coconut tree, but no longer is there the risk of him running out into traffic, possibly being struck by a cab or truck. The video store blocks the street noise, so they sleep better in the morning hours and are fresher to open their restaurant in Salina Grande at 8pm. Which is where Gail, Frank, Eva and I ate last night, with the lovely attentive service of a well rested couple with fewer concerns about their children.
And the food, the best ever. Possibly because they are better rested!

February 19, 2009

After WE GO

Lora crunched plastic bottles all day yesterday waiting for this morning's WE GO! Then, she chilled out a bit before being babied by Janice, one of the renters from Michigan.
Janice misses her Chaucer, a shnauzer, which Lora is not! But she still thinks she could be a lap dog, which she is not!
Well, she also thinks she is obedient, which she is not! That is why WE GO on the sea road this morning, where there are no cabs in the predawn hours to attract her attention. She liked it quite well. Now, we wait for Carmen and the accountant, for whom I am not ready. I think there is an obedience problem, not just with Lora. She's looking at me saying there is a problem, which she is not!

February 18, 2009

A strong resemblence....well, ears, eyes....

My friend Felipe is on the island with friends from Boston. Felipe and I became friends while working together largely because of a mutual fondness for Isla Mujeres. Felipe was the guy who did the final edit of my stories and put headlines on them.
How they would have talked at the newspaper if they knew we had taken separate vacations together to the island!
So we had plans to hook up for dinner last night but ran into each other at late breakfast! Me with an Obama t-shirt that got me to thinking there is a resemblance! Well, consider Obama's ears. Consider his nose. Consider his mouth. Then consider Felipe's. Felipe thinks I'm nuts! Well, at least he's not offended.
So then the party of eight hooked up for dinner, departing my house 15 minutes early. But they had already started setting up the room at La Bruja for us. We all had various things but the most popular item was shrimp brochetta, which I had strongly recomended. Some had appetizers, some had drinks, some overate! Faced with a 1,300 peso tab, we just decided to throw in 200 pesos each and have our lovely waitress keep the change.
OK, so even with the afternoon's suntan, I still think Felipe bears a strong resemblance!

February 16, 2009

Road trip to Tulum, Grand Cenote, Puerto Morelos and El Cejas!

I left the camera in Carlos's car most of Sunday! But here he is at Tulum, passing time with me while Gail and Skip explore the ruins. He is on the phone with his daughter in Mexico City who was watching a Christian movie with his grandchild. Each of his two children has one!
He put me on the phone so she could practice her English and she froze! Soon, I unfroze her. It was one of many hightlights.
Snorkeling in the caves of Grand Cenote had to be the best. This is a cenote that Gail discovered 10 years ago on her first trip with Michael. I have explored several cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula. This was by far the most pristine. It is also a site where divers enter to scuba an underground river. Just awesome around the edges.
Then off to explore Puerto Morelos, but the sea look a bit rough for snorkeling, but you could see the length of shallow reef the waves break against. It is a must do for me!
Then we took Carlos to one of his favorite eateries for his favorite meal: Vuelta la Vida...return to life. A seafood cocktail with cooked shrimp, raw oysters and things I ate too fast to identify! Gail had beef fajitas and Skip tried the pescado veracruzana, which he had first tried at La Bruja early in the week.
Carlos's day rate was so reasonable Gail was ready to pay him double. I think we are all glad we didn't because, would he respect us in the morning? Ha! I was in charge of tipping and gave him $23US.
He also took us to meet his parents in Puerto Juarez and his mom kissed me. Dad shook my hand and we traded some chit chat. Then on to the ferry and the golf cart in the municipal lot, which for 12 hours cost me 60 pesos.

Tomorrow, my friend and former copy editor Felipe arrives in the island to "do lunch." We'll have a great time. Now, it's time to get ready for new arrivals - check the details for check in.

Beach dog!

After a day of watching Fran and I float in the pool, Lora was ready to be a lazy beach dog. But first, digging and throwing as much sand as she could was in order!
Then, time to relax and take in the view. Nice ladies at Mar Y Sol had dog dishes, so Lora didn't have to use a human bowl to take her Monterray cocktails while taking in the sights!

Repeat, one more day, then it's mommie's time to take a road trip...

Life in the leisure lane

Opening night at the new location of Miguel's Moonlite was Saturday, Valentine's Day. Gail, Skip and I went at 7, when the doors opened, and watched the crowd turn over three times before we left. I had Maya style pork chops, Skip and pescado Veracruzana and Gail had chicken nachos. I took more pictures, but am having trouble uploading them! And wait, there's more to tell about my extended weekend. Geeze, I last posted a week ago. Really extended weekend!

February 10, 2009

The routine life

Yesterday was such a normal day that it just now struck me as such! I went to a yoga class, then to the yoga instructor's husband, an optician. I ordered two pairs of prescription reading glasses after the exam, all for $100US, then went to brunch.
There, at Alexia and Geovanny's, I met a 40 year old builder from Memphis, who was born on Isla. He is on the verge of going under there and wants to sell his inventory and buy a lot here and build a home for his family and his father. Today he was going to Cancun to see what lumber and fittings are available and how much can be saved by buying cement block by the truckload.
Augustin was suck a nice man. I wish him all the luck in the world! He'll be in a perfect position to become a great homebuilder for gringos on the island, after he gets his family settled here in the recession.
Then, I came home and fooled around with my correspondence. After a while, Kelly said she was going to La Bruja for guacamole. I asked her to get me a shrimp cocktail, which I ate and then launched into reading and a siesta. Jose was two hours late, so I said pasada manana....day after tomorrow which would now be tomorrow.
So, I am waiting for Carmen and eager to get back to the new Carl Hiassen book a blog reader left at Miguel's Moonlite. Funny note: My upstairs renters apparently stumbled across Miguel's on their own and were all ready to make mojitos yesterday. But the mint didn't smell like mint.
It was epazote, an herb used in black beans. I had picked up yerba buena with my cilantro Sunday morning, so they were set.
So, after all the excitement of seeing Kelly off, I think I'll read, maybe watch for Adrian who did stop by when I wasn't home yesterday to install a new wireless router for computers in the compound, reopen my book, maybe take a nap and go up to the roof to sun myself and treat the pool.
Welll, Carmen just arrived and we agreed my quarters need the attention today and she'd do Kelly's old room Friday for Monday's expected guests. She's launched into what Jose was to do yesterday as well.
Me, I think I'll clean up after the mushroom ravioli I had for breakfast!

February 9, 2009

Trip to Soggy Peso

Gail and I had every intention of going to Villa Vera Beach Club yesterday when I said, "Let's check out the Soggy Peso." We got there very early for the Sunday rib affair, but were so charmed first by Manuel and then by Fredy, that we stayed to eat.
The crowds started arriving a half hour after the 1pm "Dinner is served" hour. We are under the influence from our first margarita! Both Manuel and Fredy make STIFF drinks.
It is a cute palapa bar that Mel and Sally have. Lots of Parrot Head paraphernalia, nice thatched palapa and cute pool. If only it were warm enough!
The big plates were huge. Two baby back ribs, cooked Texas style, meat falling of the bone. Mel makes a great corn and bean salad and there is a corn bread on the side. I think the second side dish was beans, but don't hold me to it!
I hadn't eaten but a small salad the day before, so I was determined to clean my plate and did! Gail took most of her's home.
The crowd, and it is a crowd, was mostly pale gringos. The tables are set up with a roll of Bounty paper towels. There were some serious feed bags on!
It was a delightful way to spend a bit of Sunday afternoon at 250 pesos a person including two stiff margaritas...charged separately. So the ribs are 150 pesos. Quite the deal for hungry vacationers! Gail and I agree to aim for Villa Vera later this week.
And when I got home, there was an email from Felipe. He is coming to Isla for a night with his friends from Boston and we are "doing dinner" on the 17th. Our friendship started 15 years ago or so when he was my copy editor at the newspaper. And as co workers, we wound up on Isla at the same time with his same friends from Boston for one or two vacations!

February 6, 2009

Dog gone cold!

It was so cold yesterday that my friend Gail and I decided just to visit here at the house and eat. She bought good looking steaks at the Super, but they were tough even after marinating. Tasty though. Free range grass fed cattle! Think heart healthy.
And as an Obama volunteer who had tickets to an Inaugural ball, she picked up souvenirs for me! I read both commemorative editions of the Washington Post last night and nearly slept with my posteri zed official Inauguration t-shirt. No, it doesn't mention Twitter, but I found an image on Flickr that did!
It's another brisk one today. At 6:30am, it is 57 degrees with a high of 70 forecast for the day. So we go into Zina Beach Mode. Villa Vera to protect us from the winds!
Gail bought me TWO gift bathing suits. I like the brown one best. It's a hottie!
So we sat around and talked about the campaign and Inauguration. PH Terry emailed a huge photo of the Inaugration and Gail could pick out where she was, but HALF the people were also wearing white hats. No fair!
So what to do before it gets warm enough for Villa Vera? I think I'll throw myself on the heating pad and then have mushroom ravioli for breakfast. Or cold corn flakes. But on to the heating pad!

February 5, 2009

From my head to my toes!

Picture purely illustrative. It's really not me! But I am cold from my head to my toes. We had another frigging frente frio move in late yesterday. It was 50 degrees at 4am, when Lora ran to the ATM with me.
I had a successful day at Costco, returning with lots of salad fixings, salsas and mushroom stuffed raviolis.
Gail, the Italian goddess from Eastchester, is coming for lunch and I am ready. Carlos also took me to Europa since I forgot wine, etc. at Costco. And the purchase of a couple bottles of anything in Cancun pays for your ferry and taxi in Cancun! The renters from upstairs also went, buying fish, shrimp and steaks at Walmart. They are quite content now. And we both bought lots of gringo coffee.
Kelly arrived late, only to find wireless problems. Adrian is due here any hour now! See what happens when he doesn't get back to you the first time!
Kelly is reading, thinking what she'll write when Adrian gets here finally!
I also got a new canvass beach chair. Lora and I plan to be joining Fran at Mar y Sol in the coming days to do some serious snorkeling, sunning and biting of waves off shore. I'm not doing the biting this year! Ha!
But for now the big news is the cold front. The head of housekeeping has not shown up. Kids have skipped school. Adrian is tardy. But Luis the carpenter came by for 4,ooo pesos to buy wood for the linen closet and upper deck shade roof.
Now I need to get up there and treat the pool. But it is really cold from the frente frio!

February 3, 2009

The song: When I grow up...

I want to grow up to be an old woman...

My best friend in life, Deb, and her sister leave this morning. There is a morphine filled syringe for me to administer before Jose comes for them and a wheel chair wating at the ferry.
Deb learned the day before she came that she needs another spinal surgery. The trip irritated her spinal stenosis enough that oxycotin couldn't dampen the pain.
Dr Salas visited twice yesterday. One he gave her a shot of methylprednisilone to take down the swelling. The second time, he gave her a different cortisone to boost the solumedrol and also morphine. He left a second morphine syringe for me to give her just before she leaves for the ferry, and a note to Contintal to upgrade her if possible. She cannot stand or walk well.
When they changes planes at Houston, Kate is to give Deb a pill that is the last thing and anesthesiolgist gives before putting you under. It's like Valium squared. It slightly boosts the pain relief or pain narcotics.
If there are any problems along the way, they are to call him and he will send an ambulance for transport, Yeah, yeah, I'm getting an old refrigerator box to put her in cargo! Not!
As things got grimmer and grimmer the last two days, Kate took to singing the Kasier Permanente jingle from California: "I want to grow up to be an old woman." Don't we all! Just without the pain, please!

February 2, 2009

Vacations end; others begin

The Polish Princesses and I have almost concluded our vacation. Bwah! We spent Sunday at Zama before the SuperBowl. Great night! Folks from Alberta arrived before it was over and quickly settled in.
And then, in the middle of the night, Deb was awakened by pain. In the morning, I called Dr Salas and he said he'd be over in an hour. Deb arrived knowing she needs a second spinal surgery. It looks like she'll have to have it sooner than later.
The discs above the ones that were treated are pinching nerves now. She is a brave woman. As soon as Dr Salas left, Kate and I went into town to fill prescriptions and shop souvenirs. Deb didn't move from her spot in bed and ate the chicken cazuela we brought back from La Lomita's. Now Deb and I nap and Sissy moves to the roof for some final rays. The week was just too short!