Daily Archives: January 20, 2011

We Arrive At Home Again

When we arrived at the house Elena seemed very happy to see us, and bustled us into the kitchen to eat a good caldo de res. We really needed its good, warming, invigorating effect. We felt very cared for – a good bowl of soup can do that for you!
We went to Purisima to ask about the permit to remove the tree, and – surprise! it was ready! We went, too, to SAPAP, the water company, to arrange to get the water source for Victoria’s house moved, because it is right in the way of the new gate. We found it, and made arrangements. They told us there that the two-man crew would arrive at ten the next day.
We also went to the place wehere they asked for Chon’s ID to re-enroll to receive the government assistance, procampo , for his two fields. We even stopped by the pharmacy to ask if I can get my two prescriptions here. I will need one in a couple of weeks. In an hour or so, we accomplished all that!
In the evening we went to Jalpa to liquidate the bill at the building supply place. The manager accepts dollars there, at a favorable rate.
When we woke up the next morning, Sabino had already cut the limbs of the tree that is in the way of the new gate.  We took the large branches to the back, and passed them across the rock fence to Chon, who stacked them for Dona Elena’s use. She has a fogon in her kitchen, a hornilla, where she cooks with wood. It is something like a tiny fireplace with a grill above the coals, especially for cooking.
Chavela arrived early on Tuesday to give Elena a day off. In short order, she had cleaned both bathrooms, and started on the kitchen. There were a lot of mouse droppings there, although everyone has been saying there are no mice in the kitchen anymore.
The men arrived to change the water, right at ten o’clock, as scheduled! That might have been the very fist time a professional appointment happened as scheduled! Chon, Pepe and Gordo had to move a lot of the gravel (bigger rocks than gravel, really), so that the water guys could move the water. (I forget what that is called, if I ever knew – it’s the place the water gets to the house from the main. Here it’s called a “toma”.) The rest of the pile of gravel will be used when they make the concrete roof for the new construction. Chon said he was out of shape for shoveling gravel, but I noticed that he shoveled more than the other two during his turns.
In the evening Isabel and I made a plan to attempt to manage mornings. We decided to fix breakfast, as a trial run. We decided to get up at 7:15 and fix breakfast for ourselves, the people who live here. We decided to cook scrambled eggs, because someone gave Elena a dozen eggs from their chickens. 
Here’s what happened: we decided that the dozen eggs would be enough for the 6 of us who are here right now, and in the morning little Ana Cristina cut up (she’s only 5!) onions, tomatoes and green chiles. We cooked them a little bit, then added the eggs, and four of us ate (Chon was upstairs, practicing). Then I found out that Brisa was still here, not having gone to school because her “nose hurt a lot”. Then Chayo, the mother, showed up. Isabel and I planned to give breakfast to Chon’s mother, but Elena came back from her house and did that. Then she heated up “sopa”, what some people call “Spanish rice” for Brisa, who complained that there wasn’t any lemon. Then the kitchen felt too crowded for me, and I moved out to the portal to write this. (Chon hasn’t eaten breakfast yet, but there are probably enough eggs left). Like my Swedish Grandpa A used to say with a twinkle in his eye “Too many cooks in the kitchen!”
The result of the breakfast experiment? I’d give it about a C-. There is not much order here, and one never knows exactly how many people might be here at eating time, although today, at least, everything is sparkling clean because of Chavela’s work yesterday. We are going to keep trying. I need to go back to my self-appointed sweeping job, because Elena has been doing it, and it’s really not good for her asthma. 
Today we need to go back to San Pancho, for several reasons:
1. We are going to visit the doctor, to see what he found out about the availability of the two medicines that I need. We will also ask him his opinion about the big lump that remains on Chons’s mother’s cheek after her fall on the 31st.
2. We will check to see the availability and prices of flights to Los Mochis (to retrieve the legalized Foxy).
We did those things. The doctor sold us two remdies for the hematoma on Dona Coco’s face. Since then we have returned to the doctor/pharmacist, and so far he hasn’t been able to  locate either of the things I need. After calling four laboratories, he said, he found Synthroid in 100 mg and 125 mg. I take 112 mg.  I also take a hormone replacement, and he says that only injections are available. Soon we’ll take a trip to a Sam’s Club we saw in Leon as we approached the end of our bus trip from Nogales.
The plane tickets from Leon to Los Mochis cost about $240 apiece! We will go back on the bus!
The construction continues – the project this week is to replace the big gate in my earlier photo; the change I said was making people mad. But now that the old gate is gone, and the new, wide pasada is visible, people are starting to get it. Lots of folks don’t seem to have the imagination to picture how it will be, but now it is clear. The sister-in-law’s family is still mad, but I figure that will last a long, long time.
We received a call from Chon’s nephew in Florida, demanding that we tear down the new construction. We didn’t. 
It’s been one of those weeks when nearly everything you plan gets done – we really have been chopping wood and carrying water. That is to say we burned the dry weeds and grass in the lot next door, we removed the brush that was there, we took the PT Cruiser to nearby Jalpa to get the hood painted, and many other small, necessary things.
The breakfast plan went into its second day, and it worked a little better. We waited until everybody else (all the extra people who seem to show up) had eaten, then we made pancakes. The kids were dubious that pancakes made from a recipe would be as good as pancakes from a mix, but they quickly changed their minds. So that was satisfying.
I wanted this entry to be informative, and a good reminder for me later when I want to remember How Things Happened. It ended up being a bit gossipy. Sorry (to all of my faithful readers) (haha).

Bus Trip – From The Border To Leon


We decided to leave this place after we got our money and documents returned to us. Alfonso stopped by our home, room 107, to let us know that there shouldn’t be any problem passing Kilometro 21, as long as we had the pink slip and registration. Samuel tried to pry $300 from us, to have his cousin allow us to pass K21. But fortified with Alfonso’s information, we decided to – just cross.
So on the morning of the ninth, we got up and prepared to leave. Foxy started right up, and I let her warm up a bit before we left. This is how far we got.

There, right there in front of the hotel,Foxy died. We had some brief, intense conversations, switched gas tanks, tried and tried, and finally, about half an hour later, we got the truck started again. We have puzzled quite a bit over what happened, but we probably will never know. There are two gas tanks, and we have noticed that the truck doesn’t start as well when we use the back tank. 
Anyway, we drove to the town of Santa Ana, stopping only once , to sample the pulque at a local restaurant on the way. We arrived in Santa Ana, but had a difficult time decyphering the map Alfonso gave us. We gave up and called him, and he came to find us. He bought us breakfast in Coyota Maya (?) (Coyota Something). We found out later what coyotas are.
We got on the bus at Santa Ana at about 12:30. The tickets cost about $230 for the two of us, from Santa Ana to Leon (maybe around 1,800 miles. It seemed like an awful lot until we compared the price to the price of two tickets from Los Angeles to Chicago, for example. Still, we think a flight might have been more economical.
At Hermosillo  for about $2 Chon bought us four coyotas (a Sonoran tradition). They look like flour tortillas, and they have a filling. Chon bought the ones with piloncillo that tasted quite a bit like molasses. And they had an ever-so-slight flavor of wood smoke.

We left there, and in about ten minutes the bus driver stopped again. The bus driver announced a stop of 20 minutes to eat. It was a road-side place that served toasted buns with chopped-up meat on one half, and onions, tomatoes, and other goodies on the other half. We took them on to the bus to eat, and they were wonderful!

We tried to sleep on the bus with some success, and arrived at Mazatlan at 5 a.m. We grabbed some pre-made sandwiches from the  bus stop and hit the road again for Nayarit.
Somewhere in Nayarit the bus stopped to let a passenger off, at a junction of another road. It was still pretty early, and most of the passengers were sleeping. The young man stood by near the road, after jumping across a little ditch, pulling out his cellphone.  It made me think, as I had before, about the secret destinations of the passengers. 
Mexican roads in general are quite good, in spite of what you might read in travel books, especially the roads the buses take, the cuotas (toll roads). You pay, though, for the excellent quality. These cuotas run nearly parallel to the libres (free). The libres pass through all the towns, and the cuotas avoid them.
The bus companies have nices buses with bathrooms. The buses are fairly new, with comfortable seats, but sometimes the windows are  pretty rattly.
We made a stop in Nayarit, at a town called Jala, around breakfast time. Chon got us quesadillas with meat, made with hand-made tortillas. I added salsa from the molcajetes. I thought I should have added more salsa, but I put plenty – it was picosa! and the quesadillas were quite wonderful. There were many indiginous people there, and you could hear their language, which impressed me as sounding similar to Asian languages. One young woman with a baby slung on her back in a rebozo went to the sinks for washing hands, and washed her head, and not the long dark hair that hung down her back.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, except for the remarkable fact that we didn’t enter the bus depot in Guadalajara, but just dropped off the riders stopping there right on the street outside the station.
We arrived in Leon at 4, and right away got headed towards home, and got inexpensive tickets right to El Pedernal. When we grabbed our things and got off the bus at the top of the main street, some kids we know were there, and they helped us carry our things to the house – Chon had brought three guitars, and we had various other bags to carry.