I Moved To Oaxaca

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Some good news: Greg went in this morning for his 9am class, only to find out that they changed the schedule so as to not have to switch teachers mid-week. So we're off until Saturday! So let me start filling you all in on the past two weeks. I didn't take my laptop with me to San Francisco, so I'm afraid it's going to come out jumbled. Just bear with me, and I promise it'll all make sense at the end.

My first meal on arriving in San Francisco: seafood udon at a Korean place on Haight Street. My last meal: sashimi on rice at the Japanese place in SFO's international terminal.

My first meal after arriving back home: tuna-fish salad on a roll, and black olives. God! I can't tell you how good that tasted. Alisha and Brian, my stepdaughter and her husband, brought us a bag of Arcata-area goodies:

Lindah's hot-n-sweet mustard, McKinleyville
Beverly B hand-caught Pacific tuna, Crescent City
Zimmerman's Humboldt Medley jam, Fortuna
Sjaak's chocolates, Eureka
Roi’s Basil Vinegrette, Eureka

It was such a treat to eat it along with the olives, sweet pickle relish and horseradish we picked up in SF. I'm finding it hard not to eat it all right away.

But the tuna-fish was not my first meal back in Mexico. That honor goes to a plate of Mexican-style spagetti (noodles, cream sauce, ham, and cheese) and a cup of rice pudding we grabbed at a gas-station restaurant on the drive back from Mexico City. You know you're in Mexico when you can take a cat into a restaurant and nobody makes a fuss. Yeah, the cat! Izzy is finally in Oaxaca. Greg and I dropped Izzy off with my mom in Mexia back in April while we did our summer travelling and got settled in Mexico. But as we didn't have a place that allowed pets when we were ready to drive down in July, she again had to stay behind. So when she saw me packing up this time, she seemed sad -- until I placed her in her carrier and into my mom's minivan for the drive to Waco. She complained a bit during the drive, but when we got to the Holiday Inn in Waco early, I let her out of her carrier while we waited for my shuttle van from Waco to DFW. She started purring. I realized then that she was happy to be going with me, even if it meant riding in the car. She was a little champ! I sat her on my lap in the shuttle van and, as the driver didn't say anything, kept her there for that two-hour drive. I had to put her back in the carrier in the airport, but she didn't complain. She got a little impatient on the plane when she saw me reading the inflight magazine, but when I put it down and took a nap, she settled down, too. And when I loaded her into Little Jumbo and Greg started us off toward Oaxaca, I again put her on my lap, where she was as happy as a clam.

Hey, travel hint: I bought a package of size 5 disposable diapers in Mexia, cut away the gathering at the leg openings, and taped two of the diapers to the bottom of her carrier. It's inevitable that the cat's going to have to pee before the end of the 15 hours (I knew to go to the bathroom before we got in the car, but I couldn't tell her that), and when she did, the diaper caught most of it, and the rest I mopped up with paper towels I'd stashed in my backpack. Toss the used one, put down a fresh one, and voila! Clean and dry carrier, cat, and human.

When we stopped at the restaurant the waiter brought Izzy a cup of water to drink while we had lunch. We were both pretty thirsty -- I didn't drink anything during the trip either as a show of solidarity. We took a half hour or so for lunch then hit the road again. By the time I cleared Customs, loaded up the car, and gotten onto the cuota south, it was 1:50p, so we knew we wouldn't get to Oaxaca before dark. Yeah, we drove at night. And you know what? It's as bad as people say. We didn't see any animals on the road, and because we were on the cuota the pavement was good, but people were still passing on hills and curves, cars were parked on the shoulder (which in Mexico is used as a spare slow lane to let others pass you), and there are no reflectors or lights. I'd rather not do it again.

It was better when we got into town and light spilling out from roadside shops helped illuminate the highway. Greg dropped us off and went to park Little Jumbo, and I took Izzy in and showed her around. I made a quick run up to Pitico for cat food and something to use as a litter pan -- an item I have not yet seen in Oaxaca. The one I brought from my mom's house made it to DFW, but not beyond -- I'll tell all the airport stories in a bit -- so I went looking for a dishpan or something that would work. I found an oval, heavy-duty foil turkey-roasting pan on clearance from the holidays, and a bag of Whiskas fish-flavored crunchies with rellenos empanados, or stuffed pillows. Kibble with soft goop inside. I did manage to bring back about ten pounds of Feline Pine cat litter, and Izzy doesn't seem to mind that she's using a roasting pan instead of a cat pan. We use a couple of refrigerator shelves as a kiddie-gate to keep her inside while the front door is open, and other than that, the only wrinkle is that she got used to getting up early while she was at my mom's house.

It's very, very good to have a cat in the house again.