15 July 2007


I have friends coming to Mexico to visit ME! I'm SO stoked, and yet SOOO busy. The house is a mess right now, I have SO many projects I need to finish (paint the pots that I turned into a table base, paint and hang my new decorative boxes, make the curtains because the fabric is just lying around, organize the closet better so that things don't fall out, put shelving under the desk, and clean clean clean clean)....and all this has to be done before TUESDAY! AGH! I'm so excited and yet so anxious and busy and restless and everything all at once!!

also, I'm planning a trip back to California on August 18th through September 2. I need to get a new tourist visa ASAP so that I can start on the road to a Work Visa (again). This is going to be a GOOD two months!!

When are you coming to visit?!

06 July 2007

At 6:30 PM

It's hailing.

03 July 2007

Good Times with Military Men and Beach Weather.

Well, I couldn't handle it in The City anymore, my Visa expired and I couldn't get a new one and I was angry, ready to tear my hair out, punch walls and rip out the electricity cables of my neighbor's house just to stop the constant music....Toño decided it was high time for a vacation. At first we planned on going to Chiapas, cross the border to Guatemala and get a new travel visa and a relaxing vacation all in one....we realized that there is nothing relaxing about a 20 hour bus ride and the dangers of navigating war-torn Guatemala so we quickly switched gears and went for a beach trip to Veracruz.

We left here at 4 in the afternoon to arrive at 10 -- six hours on a bus is MUCH more bearable than 20, let me tell you! The long-trip buses here in Mexico are in a completely different league than Greyhound and I mean Greyhound is a triple A team while the Mexican buses are on the all star major league team. The air conditioning is constant, there is a super clean bathroom (that runs out of toilet paper, sadly) and movies from take-off to arrival. When we got off the bus, my bones were chilled thanks to the air conditioning, we grabbed our packs and stepped off the bus into a solid wall of of humid heat. It was almost hard to breath at first. The women all wore short skirts, tight tanks and healed sandals while the men wore soccer shorts, no shirts and sandals. We were dressed in t-shirts and jeans with socks and tennis shoes....we did not expect this heat so late. After an hour of being promised very cheap hotel rooms with air conditioning and being taken to very expensive hotels with air conditioning, we finally ended up in a cheap, air conditioned, clean-by-Mexican-standards hotel to sleep in for the night.

The next morning we re-packed our things and headed to the center of the Port city. After another long hour or so of fruitless looking for a hotel that we stayed at once before (one without air conditioning), we ended up right on the Malecon in a good, cheap hotel with air conditioning. We cranked that sucker up, took a rest and headed out for a walk. The heat was unbearable in the mid-day and we ended up back in the refrigerator room within the hour. We continued that walk and return ritual the rest of the day until finally we were able to get a hold to Toño's uncle, the military Colonel in charge of a base in the city of Veracruz. This wonderfully lovely (reminds me SO much of my Dad) man took us out to an entirely too expensive Argentine dinner, Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket bought us a bottle of very expensive (and very delicious) red wine and half a cow (empanadas and salad for me) and offered us his chauffeur for the next day.

Come the next day, the chauffeur picked us up in the morning and took us to La Antigua, the tiny town that boasts(?) the ownership of Hernan Cortes' house, his church and the massive tree that he tied up his ships to and burned them when he first arrived. The ruins of the house are really amazing, the trees literally hold up the walls. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket and the well is still in tact. He had his house built with coral from the Golf Of Mexico which now looks much like petrified brains stuffed within brick and cement. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

La Antigua had a strong impact on me, but not because I was standing in the house of a major historical figure but because there were signs everywhere begging people not to leave bottles of water around in order to help the town diminish the spread of Dengue (yellow fever). From then on, anytime I saw stagnant water, I screamed DENGUE!! and backed away. I came home with hundreds of bites, 5 on my face alone, and completely convinced that I had Dengue.

After the Dengue scare, we headed toward San Juan de Ulua. This used to be the port of Veracruz and it's got an amazing history. It's been owned by the government and used a a jail, it's been conquered by pirates, it was once a castle and of course, there's much history surrounding Cortes founding it, it was used as a seminary (the rooms were actually constructed with perfect curvature so that they have practically perfect acoustics...during the tour they say that anyone who sings there sounds like an opera singer. This was actually the first time since we got to Veracruz that I was able to touch the water. It's been over 6 months since I've seen a beach or even a mass of water that isn't a septic river. Touching the golf water and the barnacles and watching fish swim was a real necessity.

The walls in San Juan de Ulua are also made of coral, it's surrounded by watch towers and is covered with openings for cannons or other large artillery. There is a structure below the water that's meant to tear apart the bottom of a boat if it comes to the port without permission. These days the fort is surrounded by many large, non-historical and quite ugly machines used for who-knows-what.

After a long walk around the fort, Toño's colonel uncle invited us for a drink in the center and paid for Toño to get shocked by a machine. In Mexico, it's hard to make a good living so in very touristic places, people tend to grab things that people might enjoy; food, toys, candy, cigarettes, nuts, gum, etc. Well, someone decided that drunk people might want a good shock so he walks around with a small machine that he attached metal handles to. This man charges a certain amount of money to turn on the juice and slowly increase it until you tell him to stop, then he lets you laugh and complain a bit about the feeling and offers you a chance to beat your score. Some drunken 20-somethings sitting across from us made it to 90 watts...Toño made it to 40...he wasn't drunk enough to get to such ridiculously high vibrations.

So the next day we were invited back to the military base to shoot some rounds. Toño and I were places on opposite teams (his team won). First round was 10 meters and were allowed to shoot 5 rounds, I scored 41 and Toño scored 46. The second round was at 15 meters; sadly Toño and I only scored 13 points...apparently neither of us can see long distances. My problem was that my shots weren't going where I aimed! (no, really...I aimed at the head and shot the family jewels!! But at least I know that I'm safe, either way!) Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Maybe it had something to do with me leaning back (although this picture was taken first round).

The next morning the Colonel bought us breakfast, gave us 2 big bags of coffee and then bought me a beautiful hand-painted wooden hand fan. We got on the bus for another 6 hour ride but were gravely disappointed when Mexico City welcomed us with a flood. A car was completely covered and several men were trying to push it out, a bus much like ours was also stuck....we trodded through and luckily made it, 2 hours later than scheduled, but alive.

I left all the pictures large, so to see them all, click me