Posts Tagged ‘woman alone in Mexico’

Glad tidings of great joy

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

(Don’t get too excited about the flamboyant title. It’s sarcasm.)

So as I sit here at my concrete breakfast table (working on some All-Bran con Pasas, a little something you gringos may better know as Raisin Bran. It’s the little differences…) in my concrete house after a relatively restful night on my concrete bed, it occurs to me that this house can never burn down. Or have its furniture rearranged.

Woman at laptop

Here's another example of self-timer and me looking a bit haggard! Wow. Technology is amazing.

Seriously, as much as I appreciate the fire resistance factor – particularly since witnessing a real blazer not too far in the distance. It lit up the horizon around it pinkish orange, turned the rest of the sky black, and brought in no less than a dozen fire trucks up from Cabo. – the bed is located precisely where a shaft of morning light gets you square in the eye at 7am every day, and if that isn’t reason to move a bed, I don’t know what is.

So anyway, back to the subject line, in recent comments there has been some bafflement as to ‘how are they so many pictures of me if I’m alone?’ and a cheeky solution or two has been offered up as well.

At first I thought, ‘Hey! My commenters are being punk asses!’ but then I realized that it was just the unintended consequences of bliss. Ignorance, of course being bliss, you couldn’t help yourselves.

That stated, please make sure you are seated when you read this next line, because I’m pretty sure – especially those of you that are super technical and run websites about Google Wave or work as Network Administrators and/or all three – your mind is about to be blown: The camera companies have taken it upon themselves to create a feature called SELF-TIMER and (get this) it allows you to place said camera on the corner of a planter or trash can or window sill or counter top and (brace yourself) run into the frame (I know!!!), and Voila! A beautiful Mexican self-portrait. Or whatever.  Fill in the blank with respect to your own location and looks.

Concrete Mexican house interior

Concrete table, concrete floor, concrete couches. Even the thing the non-working TV is on is concrete.

Moreover, I’m 99% certain this feature has existed since before I was born, as I have a distinct memory of group self-photos in my earliest childhood.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so good at it?

I’m an early adopter.

Living life on the bleeding edge.

In other news, there isn’t much other news.

Weather remains perfect.

Said fire in town.

After several weeks of curiosity and creative imaginings, I learned that the item sold for $18 pesos (about $1.50 US) as El Vampiro at one of the downtown taco shacks is not – as I envisioned – a bloody, bat meat creation, but rather a beef tostada. Ummm… What?

That sucks.

That’s totally boring.

What else?

Woman with yellow laptop

Me. Again. Similar but Different. Seriously, I would feel like an egomaniac asking friends to take all these pictures of me. And I prefer to isolate my egomania to the blog. It's less cringeworthy and perhaps more effective that way.

I only have a week left, which is kind of freaking me out.

I guess you could say I’ve gotten attached to the beach across the street and the sunny 80 degree days and productive work schedule and, yes, even the solitude.

And I want to see at least a few things (La Paz + their beaches, El Arco and the related Playa del Amor – which you have to take a kayak or glass bottom boat or some other mode of transport to) before I’m out of here. What does that mean?

Well, first that I need to rent an overpriced car, and second get a hotel room for a night or two, and third that the furious pace needs to slow down. And mostly that unless some elves come and write the book for me while I’m alseep (and listen up, elves! You’d better do a good job this time. No derivative plots about taking down the Keebler guys from the inside. The whole bit about sabotaging several batches of E.L. Fudge cookies and seizing the Hollow Tree was, well, dumb. Especially in a sci fi book about the future of food and humanity.), I’ll still have a couple weeks’ worth left once I’m back in Washington.

El Arco Cabo San Lucas

I didn't take this picture, but I wish I had. And maybe I still will. There's another a week left yet!!!

That stated, somebody crank the thermostat in the sky up over there, okay?
I’ve become accustomed to sunny, 80-degree weather, and I’m not going to reacclimatize easily or without some serious bitching. Let that serve as a warning to those of you who read this regularly, as well…

p.s.

I went and opened the back door of this place just now, and a bunch of ash and burned up palm fronds blew in.

That was a serious fire last night!!!

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Never say never

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Three months ago, if you’d have asked me if I’d have been content to drive around in a stuffy, weird-smelling pickup truck listening to nothing but Mexican oompa music on a spotty radio station, I would have said hell no.

Green ocean wave

I love the amazing jade green color when the sunlight hits the waves just so.

But due to the circumstances that are my life (and certainly my choosing, at least in concept. See: Life is like a box of chocolates for the potential depth of that statement), there’s only one station that comes in – AM or FM – on the truck radio, and that’s all it plays – jangly, lively Mexican music that is almost exclusively about amor or  ’don’t forget me’ or ‘kiss me’ or ‘remember me.’ This, in turn, is dotted with the very occasional WTF offering like George Michael’s “Father Figure” or The Backstreet Boy’s “I Want It That Way”.

Those are the moments that I find particularly thrilling, in that memory lane/clash of cultures kind of way. Yay English! And – seeing as I went through a George Michael phase in Middle School (who didn’t???) – yay Father Figure, a song to which I actually know the words. Truthfully, to my shock, I know a surprising amount of Backstreet Boys lyrics. That I can’t explain so well. Collective unconscious?

Anyway, mostly it’s just me and the truck and the dust and the loud noise of the not-so-awesome power steering and the cranked up strains of Mexican music.

And so it is.

Me before my hamstring-destroying deep sand run yesterday.

Well, except at 6pm when they do the news. In Spanish. And I catch every tenth word. Which is roughly the same as understanding absolutely nothing.

So in contrast – and although I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoy said Mexi tunes –  on a sunny day when it’s warm out and the light hits the ocean just right and you feel kind of free and independent and generally good about life – there is a certain infectious, exuberant ebullience to the liberal (if not excessive) use of brass instruments and accordions and words about love and loss.

And it’s kind of growing on me.

Or maybe that’s just the tequila talking?

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If this is true, then I’m golden

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone

- Blaise Pascal

Audrey Hepburn lookalike

Channeling my inner Holly Golightly.

In the last week and two days I have proven – in spades and in excess – that I am capable of sitting quietly in a room alone.

Hell, I thrive quietly in a room alone.

I’m like a low-maintenance houseplant.

Or a cat with access to a dripping faucet and an open feedbag.

Go about your business and don’t worry about little old me. Just leave a light on and let a neighbor know I exist, okay?

All the same, I’m kind of appalled at my own absence.

Five days?
How did five days get by me?

Well, for starters, I’m sitting quietly – minus the ticky tacky tapping of Macbook keys – in a room alone all the livelong day (and night).

I could be on Mars for all I (or you) know.

Secondarily, I’m writing a chapter a day.

I should be proud of this, but the thing of it is, my (overly, I now realize) aggressive schedule had me writing two a day.

Two!?!?

Who do I think I am?

Joyce Carol Oates?

(I once read that on a real roll she writes 40 pages a day, so she is my Parthenon of big-time page quota writing)

Mexican laundry on the line

Doing my laundry old school. Feeling very salt of the earth and wondering to myself, "Do I own any clothes that aren't gray?"

Anywho, I’ve been writing a chapter a day, which honestly isn’t easy, and due to my own strange (inspired?) idea to have the first ten chapters be parallel and modern-day retellings of the life of Christ ages 30 to 32, they’re tedious as well. In addition to the time spent doing said writing, I spend about two hours a day reading Biblical interpretations.

Which I kind of hate.

Okay, I hate it a lot.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate Jesus…but when you’re dreaming about the man in a scholarly kind of way, you’ve possibly/probably/definitely gone too far.

Anyway, I’m working like a dog and making daily progress. Despite this, I’ve been growing increasingly despairing.

“Why?” you ask.

Well, if you’d been paying attention, you’d know I’m growing increasingly despairing because I thought I could write two chapters a day, and it just ain’t happening.

So self-admonition and “mañana, mañana” kick in until today, when the landlord sneeringly asks me, “So are you getting any writing done? Or do you have writers’ block?”

“No,” I told him, “I’ve written nine chapters.”

The sheer look of shock was enough to make me realize that although I may not be JCO (see above for secret decoder ring), but I am doing pretty darn good.

And then he stammered, “Wow. You’re a disciplined writer.”

Giant box of Special K

I only buy cereal that's at least four times the size of my head. And yes, the house really is as round and pink and freakishly fluorescent light lit as it seems here. I've grown accustomed...

And THEN he went and made my day (sort of) by adding that he’s happy if he writes a chapter a month.

I don’t have any clue what it is that he’s writing, but whatever.

Doing some quick math, I calculated that on his ‘aggressive’ plan, it would take me three years to write this book. So two or three months instead of one ain’t too shabby.

And it certainly isn’t three years.

So yay me.

In other news:

  • The first day I got a funky tan from my ever-present necklaces, but I have hence removed now-not-so-much-ever-present necklaces and evened that mess out.
  • Last night, in a fit of “I’m sick of corn tortillas and beans” I made cabbage rolls (any of you with any kind of Eastern European or Russian heritage know what I”m talking about), and they were wonderful. And I ate more for breakfast. And more again tonight for dinner. And there are still five left. Happiness…
  • I was trying to trim an errant hair with oversized scissors and cut a chunk out of my eyebrow. Oh well. It’s hair. It’ll grow back.
  • I have a girl crush on Ellie, the fast-talking Mexican maid. Not my maid, mind you. I do my own laundry and dishes and sweeping and cleaning. Not that I mind. It’s kind of a simplified, hand-hewn Little House on the Prairie-type existence. Anyway, back to Ellie, she’s so sweet and doesn’t seem to care a lick that I only understand about 30% of what she says. And she’s willing to try all kinds of words until she stumbles into some vocabulary I recognize. The same cannot be said for everyone…  Enough said.
  • I miss TV. A lot.
  • I am really damn tired (it’s a little after midnight here) due in large part to the aggressive ray of sun that shines directly on my face every morning at 7:00am and my persistent very late night bedtimes. In other words, I couldn’t let another day go by without posting something, but in just a few more words that’s all there is to say. Be good. More soon.

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What’s Been Going On

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Not to be confused with the Marvin Gaye song of a similar but slightly different title, I am obsessed with the Amos Lee tune (particularly the live version) “What’s Been Going On.” I can do a decent job with the guitar, but I can’t sing that low to save my soul. Which is fine in general, seeing as I’m a woman, but a bummer in that I really love the hell out of that tune. Oh well. Download’s Amos’ version. It’s worth the $.99.

Writing a novel in one month.

Writing. What else would I be doing?

Anyway, I’m just sitting here watching Old School and drinking some horribly sweet, overly dyed apple soda (Just a small bottle. I couldn’t help myself. I had to know…) and thinking about anarchy.

Not really.

I just threw that last part in to see if you were paying attention.

So anyway, as is often the case with me when I get myself into remote locales with very little human contact and even less English, I have been wallowing in my own habits and taking an excessive amount of self-portraits. Luckily, my habits tend to be pretty healthy and self-driven and I’m rather photogenic, but then again maybe I’ve already been alone too long to judge?

Mexican sunset

Me in front of tonight's sunset

So here’s a random smattering of stuff in my life circa 9:48pm Mountain Time:

My back hurts

I’ve been brushing my teeth with tap water since I got here on Thursday. I suppose I just like to tempt fate. Or prove that I have a superior immune system. Or lose five pounds the painful way. Time will tell…

I’m already sick of corn tortillas.

Mexican horses

Random horses.

I was sitting out front today and four horses just came randomly sauntering by.

My only tie to the modern world is a super flakey dial up 3G connection that occasionally makes the touch pad on my MacBook freeze up and stop working and which delays incoming emails as much as two days and isn’t even powerful enough to run a YouTube clip. I am completely cut off. With 25 days to go. But I’m still sane. Mostly.

I’ve written five chapters of the new book. It’s going pretty smoothly, which either means it’s inspired gold or total drivel. Time will tell here as well…

Todos Santos sunset

Tonight's sunset all by itself.

I don’t like the American landlord and his Mexican wife is really unfriendly. I could bitch about this at length, but a) who wants to hear me bitch and b) he knows about this blog, and I hate to be a jerk. Sufficed to say, he went to Stanford 25 years ago, and works it into EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION. Whateves, dude. It’s ancient history now.

There’s a mosquito on my thigh.

I tried to take a bath last night, and got about two inches of hottish water into the giant tub before it started to come out of the spigot cold. So basically it was like splashing in a hot puddle. Not so much…

Todos Santos Las Tunas

Me in front of the only walls in this joint that aren't pink.

Special K is different down here than it is at home. It’s somehow kind of corn flakey or something. It’s not bad. Just different.

Topes are those giant, unexpected bumps in the road and totopos are what they call tortilla chips.

The ocean is literally 50 yards away (over a sand dune covered with some seriously prickly stuff), and I can hear it roaring all the time, which is super awesome.

It’s been cloudy and raining all weekend and barely 10 degrees warmer than back home…but tomorrow all that changes when the sun comes back out! (The sun had better come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’d damn well better be sun…)

I’m driving around in a 2000 Nissan Frontier with plates from South Dakota and expired tags. I’m basically begging to get pulled over. See “not so keen on the landlord” above.

Todos Santos beach

The beach here in Todos Santos by day

I am definitely in the early stages of Carpal Tunnel or some other forearm overuse problem, which totally sucks. I actually woke up in the middle of the night last night my right arm hurt so much. This happened when I was writing my graduate thesis a few years ago. And when I was finishing the first book. Basically, it’s like an overuse injury I’m still using. Ow.

I bought some bagels at the corner store and despite the fact that they were frozen, every last goddamned one of them was molding, and I just threw them away rather than drive them back and fight about it, because I don’t know enough Spanish to explain that “These bagels are molding, and I don’t want a replacement because I am now afraid of your food. Please just give me back my 550 pesos, thank you very much.”

Footprints in the sand

Getting all artsy.

Will Ferrell just said my favorite line of the movie, “I think I see Blue. He looks glorious!”

As mentioned above, there are 25 more days to my literary experiment.

And there ain’t much going on but me, my daily workouts, my writing, and trips to buy overpriced spoiled foodstuffs.

Happily, I have yet to go totally Ernest Hemingway, but I am pretty isolated, so I guess we’ll see what happens. I am half-Irish, you know.

Da da da da da da dum dum

Da da da da da da dum

Tequila!

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