August 25, 2012

Whatever became of Zina?

I am now entering the third month of an MS exacerbation and had been losing ground for a month or more before it bore down on me in Ohio. That's why the scarcity of blogs. And I am in an intellectual war with Google, soon to be my default browser and nearly everything else, who redesigned the blog's editor while I was in Ohio. I am having the hardest time figuring out technical issues.
So, I was treated at the Cleveland Clinic's Mellen Center, the lead agency of the US Consortium of MS Treatment and Research Centers. I'm still a hamster after all these years and subject myself to a day of testing and and MRI for a longitudinal study by the center's director and director of Clinical Research , Dr. Richard Rudick, each year. I had emailed him and anyone else I had emails for the Sunday night before my Tuesday research appointments.
I knew I needed to be treated, but treatment before the study exams would nullify results.
As it turned out, I had no idea that Rudick and his immediate staff check emails Sunday nights.
So I got a very early Monday call at my brother's to come in, do the study tasks, an get my first treatment.
Alas, they could not get a vein for the blood tests and to sink the IV.
They had heat lamps and heat pads on me to try to get the veins out of hiding. "Lady, your problem is you no longer have any brown fat."
Years ago, I had looked into brown fat, the body's temperature regulator. "You know how your Mexican neighbors put a coat on when it's 75? They have no brown fat," the nurse said. "The way you are reacting to AC, I'd say you have no brown fat anymore either."
By the time they got a vein, it was too late in the day to start treatment. Brother took me to Siam Cafe for early dinner. And back to the distant suburbs for the night. Before treatment, I had to meet with my US accountant. Then a quick strop at Trader Joe's, and a check in at the Mellon Center treatment room.
When you get treated with SoluMedrol, they give you hard candy to kill the IV's metallic taste. It wasn't going away fast enough for me, to I started to chew. Crunchy. Oh no, that's my first crown, 100 percent porcelain, in the candy. In smithereens. In my mouth!
Brother took me back two more times. We enjoyed meals made by his wife, one on the deck. But he was a little disappointed I didn't want to stay up late and watch 3D movies with their new equipment. Dinner and bed, two more times. And then to Malvern to be with my friends. And to find dental care where I was last seen as a teen. By a man who was the young whippersnapper my dentist hired to be an associate when I was still in high school.
So Dr. Gade made a provisional crown and de-burred another crown damaged in the chewing frenzy,
So here I sit, a month after my return. I have less mobility than when I sought treatment in June. And the Cleveland Clinic asks I do it again here.
I have two new crowns to replace the ones I chewed though. Done here, compliments to Dr. Gade from Dr. Canales on very fine provisional work.
Here, I will be getting the IVs at home. So much less stress! And I'll get some grape juice to sip instead of sucking, uh chewing, hard candy. Gee, let's see: meds and IV nurse will be $35 day. The fun starts Wednesday with an appointment for a physical with the neurologist-internist in Cancun. His physicals are nearly an hour long and cost $500 pesos, about $43US.
And people ask why I like the medical care here so much.

August 17, 2012


Expenditures, gastos. I am setting what feels like a record, which it is not. But coming back after a month in the US, during which I shopped for things for the apartments and for my modest wardrobe, it stings!
 I have reupholstered the golf cart, given it new brakes, fixed a hole in the guest house roof, had the water storage tanks cleaned, sent the VW in for repairs, had the normal parade of 20 dollar a day workers pass through to catch up on cleaning and gardening, fixed the screens and paid all but $50 of the bill to replace two crowns mangled in Ohio. I expect to have them put on tonight or Monday, depending on the Navy's role in the Isla Mujeres Anniversary celebration. My dentist is oral surgeon to the Navy, an officer.
 So...that written, I'm off to the ATM near City Hall and the license office for her tag. Less than $4US, thank God for small favors!

August 4, 2012

Deserved Honors

A highlight of my afternoons at American Legion Valley Post 305 in Malvern, Oh. was the celebration of Dan Bitzel's 65th year as a member. Bitzel, left, was a tail gunner on a B-plane in World War II. He is about to have a birthday, but is still  93.
 Bitzel joined the service when the Army had the Air Corps. Left when it was the Air Force. He's a humble guy: I can't tell you how many missions he flew, how many enemy planes he shot down.
 His anniversary party was a surprise after Saturday Mass. He was walking down the Legion steps with a buddy when he spotted his family along the wall and the commanders along the side. The look on his face was priceless.
 We all enjoyed a buffet that included Cass's lasagna. When we were kids, we enjoyed his pizza at the shop near the Post Office. It's nice having grown up in a small town area and to live in one now!

August 1, 2012

Rotting little kids

As long as I have started a tangent, I'll add the behavior of kids and their parents. I am in a remote outpost of the world, but I read. I would never feed a toddler candy and be cautious with older kids.
 On my way to Ohio, a woman was feeding her two toddlers Skittles and while visibly pregnant,  wolfing then down herself.
 I have house guests who call this a First World problem. It's something education seems not be be impacting in the least. Here in the Third World, sugar is subsidized and parents give it freely, too, because obesity is considered a sign of prosperity. And the road to early Type 2 diabetes.

July 31, 2012

Long in the tooth

I'm back from a month in the US and almost recovered. As a multiple sclerosis patient I try to minimize processed foods and do my own cooking.. Most of the people around me were eating processed foods. "We are in the minority," my house guest Kathryn said.
 We like to cook up dried beans or quinoa salads and don't generally use dressings out of the bottle. Why, when we have limes and great oils?
 So this is a backward way to reintroduce my self: I am a 58-year-old woman living in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, a ferry ride from Cancun. I have two rental apartments I provide some extras for so people can enjoy life in a Mexican neighborhood.
 I grow my own greens to supplement the grocery's spotty availability. I put some in the dog food I often make for my dog Punta. At 30 pesos, close to three dollars, canned Pedigree isn't a real option. She likes chicken livers, gizzards and veggies and rice. Sometimes, when the batch is fresh, I'll share a bowl with her!
 So now that I have figured on how to sign on,  going to move along.
 I have lots to write about, from the lazy life here to my 25 years living with multiple sclerosis. I have opinions about the delivery of health care, on immigration, tax codes, Stuff I never covered before. But  it's time to reveal the real me. Hasta pronto!

May 19, 2012

Best friends forever BFF

All these years, and that's a lot of then, I thought BFF mean best female friend. My BFF corrected me last week when she cane to Isla Mujeres for five days. Best friends forever, now 35 years since we were roommates  in  Columbus, Ohio, in our early 20s. We used to joke then that we were one Eastern European heritage person named Zina Pacyna, munching sauerkraut and potatoes. Deb worked as a reporter and newscaster for WTVN radio while I did the same for WCOL.
 The day I moved into her apartment in the first ring suburb of Grandview  (We were Grandview Girls before the song!) one of my cats went into her bedroom and took a dump on her pillow. Yikes! Later, one of use was boiling eggs while  talking on the phone.  The water boiled out and the eggs exploded all over the kitchen. We were leaning up pieces of them a year later from a curio shelf and behind the stove.
 I was there when she started dating her husband Tom Cooper  and when they married in Pittsburgh's North Hills. After a stint at Dayton's WOIO-TV statehouse news bureau. she moved to take a job at Channel 11 in Pittsburgh to take care of her mother who had cancer. We were costume masters during Halloween in both Columbus and Pittsburgh. My favorite was when Tom, a detective,  borrowed a street snitch's pimp suit and Deb and I went to Goodwill for skirts that were too tight, too short - perfect! and went as his girls. The look on the wine store clerk's face was priceless as we entered to buy a bottle to take to an OSU criminology professor's party. We looked good!

 I landed  at WTOV-TV (Steubenville-Wheeling), so we'd see each other in Pittsburgh on weekends or at my mom's place at Lake Mohawk in East Central Ohio.
 When I was working at Cleveland  Public Radio, she and Tom stopped for a couple nights in my Lakewood apartment, on their way to Sacramento, where Deb had taken a job as a Statehouse reporter and anchor and Tom continued to study criminology  waiting out  the residence requirement to become the oldest rookie in Sacramento's history.
 Before I started my job at The Plain Dealer, I took a cross country train trip that included visiting Deb and Tom when baby bump Kenny was about to break out. She, as big as a house, met me at the Sacramento train station. We went to shower parties and swimming, hoping Ken would be born while I was still there. The next time I went, Kenny was a toddler and Kelly was a baby bump and we went skiing at Tahoe and gambled at night.
 So that is how it began for us. Now, the best friends forever will have to wait at least another year. But time doesn't matter, Everything is like it was yesterday.  Except a little more like the Edna birthday cards we sent each other our whole lives. Soon, we'll be the old ladies on a park bench, hitting people with our purses.
 In the  meantime, we stay connected on Facebook, where Ken and Kelly are also my Facebook friends. Would that be FFF?

April 30, 2012

Migracion for that visa

There I am Friday, getting fingerprinted by Migracion in Cancun. Finally! Because I was 2 days late applying for my visa renweal, it inexplicably took 5 months to get the visa!
 Maurico Mendoza, my lawyer, is picking up today (no telling why they couldn't give it to me then and there) and I will go to his house tomorrow afternoon and pay him for his service.
 Getting this FM document took the original letter Mauricio wrote, which included an apolgy, another letter with an apology asking about the status of my renewal,  an interview  in which two Mexican nationals who've known me a long time to sign, another requested letter of apology, which Mauricio produced promptly, but that meant another trip to Cancun. So, this is about a 5 trip renewal process and I might actually be starting over at the higher level of being here.
 I logged on last night and noticed my accountant, Leidy Sosa was filing my annual tax declaration (digitally). And it's due today.
 I spoke to the Migracian agent in Spanish and answered all her questions in Spanish.Still, she wrote that I speak only English. Why I asked? She whispered as she fingerprinted: "If there is every any trouble. you don't have to say a thing until Mexico produces an English speaking official to help you."
 No hablo Espanol! Thank you.

April 23, 2012

On to something big via the dogs?

This is how Punta's spleen looked when it was removed December 23 by Dr. Pepe Vega. She had a swollen spleen and bad blood counts, that, among other things, showed a lot of dead red blood cells. She had Ehrlichiosis. Her spleen, roughly 10 times normal size,  was not clearing the dead ones and they made the blood very thick andit was therefore not oxygenated.
 Pepe has done probably another dozen spleenectomies since Punta and that first dog. He documented them, took biopsies.
 All the cases involved Ehrlichia Canis. the Ehrilichia bacteria that dogs get  from a tick bite. It only takes one: my dog seldom sees a tick and gets shots of a repellant fatal to ticks should they bite.
 Pepe returned on Friday from Monterray, where he met with the chairman of the veterinary faculty and UNAM.
 The chairman told him there might be government money to keep doing the spleenectomies on Isla Mujeres where, it appears to Pepe, and is documented well now, a number of the dogs need the surgery.
 Why would the Mexican government care about funding surgeries for dogs? Because this Erhlichia is  rapidly mutating, and has affected people in Georgia, Minnesota and Wisonsin in the US. And in Mexico.
 Pepe's theory is that it settles in the spleen in dogs and mutates until it forms an autoimmune process, where the cells of the spleen attack other cells of the spleen, much like happens in  lupus or multiple sclerosis in humans.
 This research would be important for humans, where Ehrlichia  could mutate the same way once it enters humans in larger numbers than Wikkipedia notes. The spleen is also hugely important in a variety of immune processes.
 In the meantime, Pepe is back on the island, following up his spleenectomy cases  and looking for other dogs for whom is it a matter of life and death. And praying for government funding. It is an expensive surgery: over 20 blood vessels need to be tied off before the spleen can be removed. Other organs then take over spleen functions.
 And to think, Isla dogs made the bell go off in Pepe's head! And Punta was one of them!

April 22, 2012


It's been a great few days for bugs! It started when the weather front was at a distance. Ants came out of the electric sockets, water pipe ducts, drains, from under the doors. Everywhere!
 I was going to Javier Martinez Cen's birthday party Saturday afternoon. My friend Cheryl was late getting here because she was waging war on ants that moved from one space to her bathroom. She had them cornered and couldn't stop.
 When she got here to go, I told her about the two women who rented for a week but left after a night because of the "filth" that attracted the ants. The place was clean..."They were coming out of the electric sockets," they said.
 So, we went to the party but got caught in a flooding downpour. Cheryl was a hoot: Her barricade against torrents was a six pack! We found a spot where the buildings blocked the wind and sat in the golf cart, thinking about opening the six pack! We didn't and Cheryl's blockade managed to keep Javier's present dry.
 Do, we get to the party and initially sit with a group of women. The topic: Three days of ants coming out of nowhere and going everywhere! Made me feel better about my vacant apartment!
 Yesterday, we had a play date for Punta and her best doggie friends. As we people sat inside watching more rain roll across the sea, we watched little twigs turn into dragon flies. Hundreds, perhaps thousands. It was a beautiful sight, one I have never seen before.
 So, if you have vacationed here and never seen ants come out of electric sockets and climb walls before serious rain, you have missed being in tune with island life. Sure, we don't love ants. But it beats living with toxic insecticides in the house. It is part part of tropical living.

April 18, 2012

Dance with me...

After a four month hiatus, the dance partners were reunited and it was as if he never left! Sergio has been off island for four months thinking in Cancun and working in Playa del Carmen. Now, he is back and ready to be a daddy to a boy due this summer.
And Punta, she's just glad to have him here, taking care of his lady and his dog, Maruka, who has been shuttling around three residences and grabbing the occasional golf cart ride with Punta to exchange stories.
And the plants and pool at Zina's Guest House need tending. Honestly, they've never looked worse! Welcome back!

April 4, 2012

If I'd had a daughter...

For four months, Anastasia from Vladivostok was my sidekick. She was on the island to be closer to her fiance from Atlanta. Here we are at a Fat Tuesday party and her costume was anchored by the wreath traditional to Ukraine, where girls wear them when they are ready to be brides.
Nastia, as her brothers shortened her name, is that. Ready to be a bride. Her USA fiance visa has been provisionally approved. She is back in Russia to pick up the rest. But...
While she cleared the interview with the US Embassy in Moscow, an x-ray came back with a spot on it and the US wants her to go to a chest clinic for analysis next week. She is sure it must be only a scar from a pneumonia she had last year. So, we wait.
It took a while for her to settle back in in with an internet connection at her friend's house in St. Petersburg. Now we are in daily communication again! Skype also has enabled her to stay in touch with family in Vladivostok during her time in Mexico.
What a relief! One of the joys of having her here was the language. We could go anywhere and not one other person understood what we said between each other. Just imagine that bond! Her last week here, we did encounter Russians who were staying at Avalon Resort. But still....
We went through the December holidays, a pirate party, Carnaval and so much more together. Her with her glue gun making appropriate costumes and head gear for the events. With her yearning for herring! OK, our yearning for herring. With our love of Asian food!
Vladivostok is Far East Russia. It is tomorrow there right now. It is on the border of a piece of China, where she and her family would go on weekends to shop. Japan is so close that now, in peaceful times, there are sushi restaurants in Vladivostok. So we were regulars at Sushi Island here on Isla Mujeres.
We shopped soup bones together, something her American fiance couldn't comprehend. But a good stock is essential! On her Facebook page, she recently posted a new cover photo of camomile flowers on sale in Chedraui. In a store here. Picked along paths yourself in Russia, used the same ways. Her friends in Russia were astounded.
So, that is where I disappeared to. Part of me went with my roots this winter and immersed into Russia, right here in Mexico. And now, part of me is in Russia with woman many here asked, "Your daughter?"

March 8, 2012

Shopping in Cancun

I had an appointment with my lawyer in Cancun yesterday, so it was a perfect time to spend a couple hours shopping for things we still can't get on the island despite Chedraui's attention to us.
At Walmart, I picked up frozen portabella stuffed ravioli. It's the same brand that Chedraui brings to the island, but only in a four cheeses stuffing variety. Note to self to bug them to death about this. Also, frozen bagels. Ditto to Chedraui.
Also in Walmart's freezer section, frozen soy beans, edamame, an Oriental kitchen staple. Last time, they were pre-shelled. But yesterday, with the husks on, perfect for steaming and eating out of hand.
Walmart's drug store also had a couple of meds I need that no one on the island stocks. One is Wellbutrin, an anti depressant that works on the dopamine receptors. When I take it, I walk with much more easy and grace.
Then it was on to Home Depot for big planters to replace sun rotted ones on the rooftop patio. While there, I ran into a heave duty 4" fan, perfect for the kitchen counter, sold as a desk fan, and some lettuce seeds described as French. The picture looks like Boston lettuce.
Next door is Soriana. They had Colman's mustard powder, which I immediately crossed off my Ohio shopping list, and a Mexican Black Forest-style ham 150 gram package. I opted not to get instant Irish oats, which seemed oxymoronic stupid, but nearby was a nice Pinot Noir for 100 pesos. No, Chedraui doesn't stock it!
Soriana's greens were the best I'd seen in a long while, so I picked up a head of romaine. And for the Punta dog, 5 pounds of chicken hearts, already nearly done cooking with rice and frozen vegetables. I suppose the chickens Chedraui cuts and packs don't have hearts. Only feet and some livers!
So while Isla Mujeres' grocery needs are being met much better now with Chedraui, there are lapses. Some, like chicken gizzards, can't be explained! But that's the heart of the matter.
And after spending $120US in the three stores, Carlos took me to Mauricio Mendoza, my lawyer who lives in the Home Depot and Soriana neighborhood. Migracion had requested more tax documents. Fun in paradise!

March 5, 2012

OK, so we are tired of high season

I speak for myself, but I have been talking to others as well. And let's begin by saying, we are tired of high season. Luckily, it is near the end.
As the economic crisis deepened worldwide, here on Isla Mujeres, we found ourselves with more capricious and odd tourists. No, not travelers. Those people are always a delight.
Having gone to Chedraui yesterday for the second time this year to buy Liquid Plumber after persons didn't live by island rules and flushed toilet paper irked me. Why would you come here, a tropical paradise, and not play by the rules? Our plumbing can't take it!
And along those lines, there is no reason to run AC 19 hours a day in February. Some did. At the rate of 23 cents a kilowatt hour, we have arguably the most expensive electricity in the world. Leave it on to go eat breakfast? Return to drink and play cards inside while everyone else is enjoying cool sunshine? Why come here?
And yes, it is Mexico. Labor statistics say everything is cheaper here. And we landlords are on the side of our workers and pay more than the hotels do. But tourists see the prices. They are pretty much spread through all neighborhoods equally.
So, why would you come here and not budget a tip for the maid? The person who shovels the beer and booze bottles from your apartment because you wouldn't throw them in the trash bin as you went along?
There is a hint of jealously we sense among some of the visitors to the island, that we can afford to live here and they can't. Listen up. No one is getting rich here. Most of us are just getting by.
When you call for another bottle of water on a Sunday and have an unopened one in your apartment, it is an annoyance. When the AC doesn't work in the middle of a cold front and you call for service on a Sunday, it is an annoyance. Please, don't annoy us. We can close up our places, mothball them, and not take a loss! We'll find something else less annoying to do with our time!
Just come here and play nice, OK?

February 27, 2012

Howl like the wind

The Sunday Doggie Brunch gathered at Judy's house yesterday with all dogs present. It had been a while because Ticker was undergoing heart worm treatment. So no rough housing for a couple weeks.
So, there we were, pig liver from the conchinita pibil mushed and doled out in three dog food dishes and the topping to their breakfasts.
And then Judy said she and Ticker had a surprise. "We are going to sing Home on the Range."
And with that, Judy let out a long, really long, low howl. And Ticker joined her soon.
Now, I didn't recognize it as Home on the Range. But then, I am sort of tone deaf. Ticker was no Mishka the singing and talking dog.
My mother, who had an operatic voice, trained my childhood dog Laura to sing opera while I was in college. So, why not?
There we were in the privacy of my bedroom last night when I started to howl. I tried to get Punta interested. She was. She thought I was sick and poked me with her nose.
We will try again tonight. But I think my baby dog was not blessed with musical skills!

February 23, 2012

Life is a Carnaval with friends

The sisters Judy and Kathryn from Casa Toloc were there at PEACE's Fat Tuesday Fundraiser at La Luna. So was Ariel Barandica of Seahawk Divers, whose wife, Bonnie made his costume.
I wasn't a particular person, but I loved my mask!
My friend Anastasia from Vladivostok made it and well as the traditional Ukrainian wreath she wore. It is said that women in the Ukraine are to wear these when the are ready for marriage.
I presume Mitch has received that message loud and clear! There were dozens and dozens of costumes. These are but a few!

February 21, 2012

What do I do all day?

Earlier this season, guests on their way to a scuba and snorkel date asked me, "What do you do all day?" I was speechless, at a loss for words. So, let me tell you about yesterday.
As of 3pm Sunday, the water company stopped pumping water on the street that fronts the house. This left a half-filled new swimming pool on the roof and as it turned out, an empty water storage tank (tinaco) on the rental house roof. The renters had no running cold water in the morning!
Jose, the handyman, came in the morning and checked the water meter and water was flowing freely, so he proceeded to top off the pool.
The renters let me know there was still no water and Eli, the trooper, splashed water on this face before going to Contoy Island for the day with Sheila rather than use my bathroom and shower, on a separate tinaco. Jose at this point checked the tinaco and decided the floater broke whilst the tank was empty.
I took the downstairs renters to breakfast and showed them the fruit and vegetable stand and we got some juice.
Off he went to Boxito in search of a new one. I turned the water heater off so it wouldn't burn out. Jose went his way.
Jose returned with a floater and replaced it. Then, he took money to the cable company and paid the bill, which was one day overdue. A save!
Now mind you, I didn't do any physical labor. But making sure it got done is what I did all day! In the evening, local residents and I discussed the various water system problems on Facebook and recounted the ways we dealt with the water outages. Everyone did the same types of things all day.

February 18, 2012

Off the face of the earth?

What have you been doing, my friend Johanna asked today. Let people know you're alive. A very polite way of chiding me for not blogging!
I am sitting here smiling because my costume for Carnaval is finally complete. I'll be ready to join festivities tomorrow. Right now, a float just went by the house with fake palm trees all lit up and young people dressed in vibrant Caribbean colors. So, I will be vibrant tomorrow, with the help of my friend Anastasia, who made my Valentine's Day mask for the Masquerade at La Luna.
So you won't be seeing a red mask for Carnaval. No, it's a totally different look! I am well and alive, really I am!

February 2, 2012

Plating a vehicle in Mexico

I suspect no one likes the BMV in their state. Here it is a little different and not so bad considering....
I presented myself to the Hacienda on Isla Mujeres today, Divison of Golf Carts. I gave them an expired plate and copies of my papers. But the title was misplaced by someone I trusted in my office last year. We learn.
Martin at the golf cart window was as nice as can be and studied my electronic file. He said he surely can re-plate me (this plate is for life) BUT....
Since I lost a plate, I have to report it lost to the police, after which the MP, or police prosecutor, will determine whether it was stolen by someone for use in a criminal enterprise (!!!).
When I return with all that documentation, he'll be pleased to plate me for life per the agreement with the municipality, the golf cart cartel and the taxi drivers' syndicato, or union. But I love the word syndicato is cases like these.
I'll change the title for the VW at the same time. So next week is going to be big for me and the Mexican equivalent of the BMV. I'm just glad to be in the hands of people whose eyes light up when they solve problems like mine!

January 22, 2012

Banking with Bureaucrats

I was so upset Friday that I am just now able to write about it! The bank closed my account. With a lot of ceremony.
I was called the evening before by Elvia, the desk person at Banamex, who opened the account, saying I did not have valid migratory documents.
Yes, I told her, I am in tramit. That is the Mexican way of saying your documents have been accepted for a visa renewal, but it is still in the system. It is acceptable here to be in tramit.
I have a taxpayer number and a CURP, the permanent ID like a social security number. I can buy a cell phone without being suspected of being a drug dealer.
I collect taxes for the government on my rentals and pay the government for Pete's sake! The bank account would make this much easier for the accountant.
So my lawyer emailed me the link the the history of the current renewal. I printed it all for the bank. Last year's visa was issued in March although the previous one expired in late October and a timely application was made. Same story this time. I showed them the copy of the expired visa. See?
Phone calls were made and no, no good. They took the dollars I had come with, deposited them to exchange then for pesos, and cashed me out.
The car insurance I bought is good until March 28, when the next debit payment cannot be made to the insurer, the bank.
It gives me plenty of time to shop around for insurance and another bank. But jeez, what a system! And by then, I'll have my visa and who cares.
On my way out, after "gifting." (the manager's expression every time he asked me to sign) them with my signature numerous times to close the account, the branch manager asked if he could see my passport. You didn't make a copy with my application? No. Oh, too bad. It's at my house. Bye!

January 16, 2012

Old Mexican Wives Tales

My mother had a whole set of wives tales of what would make you sick. Sitting on the lawn is something guaranteed to make you sick, was one. Here in Mexico, I have learned to listen to the old wives tales, but didn't dig deeper. It might have helped if I had.
I have a cold from being caught in the rain two consecutive days. My logical mind says that's not so. The mind of the retired doctor staying here also says that's not so.
So, as this cold was festering, I took my house guests to Chuuk Kay Restaurante for happy hour yesterday with the Band Without a Name.
Marla, the place's internet consultant and occasional vocalist, was recovering from bronchitis. And so we started, with the band and audience, recounting how you get sick according to Mexican wives. You get colds from drinking water with ice in it, offered Tosso, Javier's dad.
If you get caught in the rain, you will get sick. Unless you take a shower afterward, said Javier Martinez. Makes sense to me since tropical clouds are warm and incubators of diseases from afar. We know that from hurricanes. Or more correctly, I do.
Hot tea with lime and honey will cure a cold. And years ago, Julie Fraga told me to add crushed garlic. I must not want to get well because as of yet, I have had no tea.
Men say you must add rum or tequila to the tea. Again, I must not want to be well! And you should not get your hair cut if you have a cold. It won't lay right if you do that. So we learn from grandmothers and old wives here in Mexico.
Now, I am going to go and take this like an American man. Which means I will sit and moan that the end that is near. It's curtains for me with this cold, which I refuse to call gripa, as the Mexicans do. No, I just have a fatal cold. Jose has walked Punta. Carmen may come and fuss around me. And the rest of you can just leave me alone. I'm dying, I tell you!

January 14, 2012

An inkeeper's life

I am sitting here in wet clothes, waiting for my hot water heater to make the water hot enough to warm me up. I am a landlord and I turn my own hot water off when not using it.
Anyway, It all started in a downpour last night, when my house guest Marte and I toughed it out to go to happy hour at Villa la Bella. We had thought the weather broke, but alas, it didn't. Once there, we had hurricane-style fun, the locals amongst us telling the guests that it's like this in hurricane season.
When the weather did break, we took Anastasia home and Marte and I made a break for home. This morning looked iffy, but rather that go into town, I talked Marte into having a nice French breakfast at LoLo's, where I had coffee macaroons were reserved for later.
The breakfast was fantastic, with a natural yoghurt with fresh berries, nuts and dates, followed by an egg casserole with a French bread stick accompanied by juice and coffee to our liking.
LoLo broke a $100 bill for me so I could top off my cell phone at Chedraui, and off we went. While we were inside, the downpour began.
After much debate in which I took a break to go back inside to use the restroom, and nailed a sales associate for no answer on the issue of motorized shopping carts, I returned to find Julianne, ready to nail the same sales associate with the same question.
We lingered, debating whether to make a break or not because we were in the golf cart, not the trusty VW.
After a while, we did and it wasn't to bad until the BIG PUDDLE that literally flooded the engine. Rule of thumb is never take your foot off the ignition to matter how it sputters. That failed to work this time.
Suddenly, a group of people in ponchos appeared and pushed us into the beer drive-thru, Modelorama. They were French, so in gratitude, I started offering the macaroons. No no. But then a woman tried one and learned from me they were make by a French chef. LoLoLorena. The 10 macaroons disappeared just like that. The rain stopped and the French were off with their leader, a man from Cancun Sailing, who gave me his number for renting a pirate boat for next December. It's in my cell phone!
So, that is the life of an inn keeper. Marte bought a bottle of wine in Chedraui, my shower water is ready, and my next check in, Richard, landed 10 minutes early at 11:59. We'll be on our second glass of wine when he enters as the rain continues. That is the life of an inn keeper on Isla Mujeres. Not so bad!