Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

MALO DAY EN THE HUERTA (BAD DAY IN THE HUERTA)

Sorry for the marathon posts, but the internet is spotty at best here, so I post it when i can get it.

MALO DAY EN THE HUERTA (BAD DAY IN THE HUERTA)

I think I’ve just had my first official bad day in the huerta. I’ve been banished to the small palapa at the back of the pool to smoke, and Becky’s threatening to start calling me “Tabba Loco.” I knew what loco meant before I got here, and I don’t want to be Tabba Loco!

It was all innocent enough, and involved what I considered to be great adventures. Becky however, had a little different point of view. It started this morning when I bravely battled the inch long cockroach in the kitchen. After the scorpion, the cockroach seemed pretty tame. I’ve been feeling a little bad about killing the scorpion, especially after everyone here confirmed that the big ones aren’t very poinsonous anyway. So I caught the cockroach under a dishtowel and calmly walked outside and deposited it in some bushes far away from the house. When Becky returned I informed her that I had saved the kitchen from the giant cockroach.
“Oh good!” she was sufficiently happy. “Did you kill it?” She was obviously feeling bad about killing the scorpion as well.
“No. I caught it in a dishtowel and threw it outside,” I proudly informed her.
“No! It’ll just come back. Cockroaches always come back, you have to kill them!” she exclaimed.
Strike one for the day.

A little later she ran down the street to do an errand, and I stayed behind to get ready for our lunch date with one of her friends at noon. I heard someone hollering out at the front gate, so I stuck my head out the front door to see who it was. A man I made the acquaintance of yesterday was at the gate. He’s an American, and when he greeted Becky yesterday he did so with a big hug, so I knew he was probably sniffing around looking for fresh meat, aka me, but I also knew he wasn’t dangerous.
“Becky’s not here,” I hollered as he came in the gate.
“I’m headed to the dump, do you have any garbage?” he asked. Do I have any garbage? My mind didn’t even really know how to respond to that.
“What?” I asked. Now that I thought about it, I hadn’t seen any kind of a garbage service, and our two trash cans were full. Where did they take the garbage and how did they get it there? Do they have to pay for it? Could I save Beck a few bucks?
“The dump. I’m taking a load to the dump, where are your garbage cans?”
Unsure of what to do, I asked for more information.
“Is it common for people to come around and take your garbage here?” I asked.
“No. No it’s not. But I’m headed to the dump and thought I’d help you out.” he said.
“Okay then, sure you can take my garbage,” I said as I lead him bad to the two black plastic cans. I started to take the lids off and take the bags out, but he just picked up one entire can.
“I’ll just take them and bring them back,” he said. I got suspicious. Were there people here who would steal your trash cans? Was there a market for selling them? Maybe I shouldn’t let the cans go.
“Am I supposed to pay you for this?” I asked.
“Nope. Just a beer.” he replied.
“Perfect. Mexican beer doesn’t agree with me so I happen to have one in the fridge.” I ran and got him one, and grabbed my iPod to listen to while I rode the bike up to the tienda for a much needed cigarette. Yesterday’s attempt at quitting smoking has obviously failed. I gave him the beer and when he asked about the headphone I told him I was going for a bike ride up to the tienda for cigarettes.
“You don’t have any cigarettes?” he asked.
“No. But I desperately want one,” I replied.
“Hop in,” he motioned to his truck. “the dump’s just right there, I’ll drive you to the tienda.”
“No, that’s all right,” I said. “It’s my exercise for the day. And I have a lunch date at noon.”
“Really, it’s just right there. We could be there and back in the time it takes you to ride there.” I was getting the “loser” vibe from him, but not the scary vibe, and I started wondering more about the dump. It would be awesome to see, mainly I wondered if there were mountains of toilet paper from the trash cans. Curiosity got the best of me and I said okay, and we hopped in the truck.

We ran into Becky at the end of the street and when she saw me in the truck I grinned at her and announced I was going to check out the dump. She put her stern face on and announced she would be going to the dump with us. She climbed in and sat stoicly beside me, until the fellow got out to unload the truck.
“You are in so much trouble,” she said sternly, trying not to laugh.
“I’m sorry. He was going to take the garbage, and I didn’t know if I should let him take the garbage. And then he was going to take the cans, and I thought ‘what if he steals the cans.” And I thought the dump would be really cool…And…he was taking me to get cigarettes. He said the dump was right next to the tienda.”
“Mmhmmm…We’ll talk about this later.” Becky said.

And the dump really was pretty cool. They have a successful can recycling section. You pull up on the road in front of the dump man’s shack, and unload your cans onto the road. As cars pull in and out of the dump they smash the cans. So the road into the dump is paved in patches with smashed aluminum cans. The rest of it was just barren desert land with dead bushes and trash. There were mountains of trash piles half burned, with people wandering amongst them. The burn piles looked like the paper in them, I’m assuming probably toilet paper, burned quickly and the rest of the pile just smoldered until the flame went out. There was a little girl standing on top of a burn pile, about 6 or 7, with her bright pink doll stroller next to her. The contrast of her orange shirt and pink stroller on top of a burn pile made me wish I had a camera, or a photographer, with me. Other than the people strolling amongst the trash, it was like any other dump. Lots of flies and stinky.

We made it home with ten minutes to change, go get the van and return to the restaurant to meet Becky’s friend, back in town where we had just come from. We were late, of course, but the drive back gave Becky time to scold me. We went to Carlito’s Taco stand for lunch, and it was quite delicious. I was pretty happy to see that he served a teriyaki chicken and rice dish so I ordered it. As we the proprietor’s two puppies wandered about our feet, begging diners to rub their bellies and maybe throw them some scraps. He has an outdoor kitchen, as do many of the taco stands here, and a nice, shady patio surrounded by flowers an grass. I realized it was the first time I’d seen grass since I’ve been here. It was much longer than grass at home, but it still made me feel a little bit like home.

My “dump faux paus” was the topic of discussion at lunch with Becky and her friend Kelly, who is yet another delightful lady who is easy to be around.. Becky was over being upset and was mostly reluctantly amused as she told the story to Kelly. When she finished, Kelly confirmed that she knew the fellow in question, and with a smiled looked at me and said, “oh, it was a date then?” Becky laughed and I bristled to defend myself.
“No. He was just taking my garbage. I didn’t know if I should let him take the garbage…”
“He bought one beer at the oxxo for them to share,” Becky was egging her on.
“Oh, you shared a beer? And he took you to the dump; to see the sights of P Town? Yup, that’s a date,” they were both laughing harder.

I knew full well they were both right, and that I ultimately sold out for a pack of cigarettes. So I laughed with them and enjoyed my teriyaki chicken. We paid la cuente and were still laughing as we headed to the Mecci van. I promised Becky to behave and she promised to forgive me today’s events.
“You behave, I mean it. Or we’re going to start calling you Tabba Loco!” Becky threatened.
“But I don’t wanna be Tabba Loco,” it came out in the sound of a desperate, yet adorable, whine. She looked at me and we laughed.
“Get in the van.” She said.
I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen the last of the Tabba Loco.

We got home and I sat on the patio, trying to stay out of trouble and a little disturbed by the dump. I guess maybe a little amazed that the desert hasn’t caught fire, along with the thought that all of those mountains were once toilet paper. That’s a lot of toiler paper. Anyway, I was marveling at the design of the roofs here. They use dead palm fronds, which they only cut on the new moon. The fronds, the leaves of the palm trees, are like huge fans, some of them five feet wide. On the tree, when it rains, or when I water them in the yard, the water hits the fronds and funnels down through the folds in each leaf, the “fan folds,” directing all the water to the base of the tree. They’re strong and apparently pretty durable.
As the tree grows upward, the fronds on the bottom die. They thatch them together tightly to make a roof for just about anything. They’re amazingly effective at providing shade.

I met a gringo on the road, another friend of Becky’s, who is an editor in the film industry. He was pleasant and we chatted for a few minutes, and of course I mentioned my scorpion concerns, thinking the more reassurance I get the better. He did indeed reassure me that being bitten wasn’t that serious, but then he informed me that the scorpions LOVE to hang out in the palapa roofs. And, he said, they’ll drop down from above. I knew it. I knew there was some way scorpions could attack from the air. Fall on my head they could! Good thing I have the big hat, but this new knowledge poses the possibility that a scorpion could fall into the top of my boots and get in the bottom where they’d be stuck with my feet.

That was my bad day in the huerta.

GIRL PARTY
I’m sitting in Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the peninsula, or “Land’s End,” on the top patio of a condo, surrounded by seven ladies of diversity. They are the ladies of the huerta. One of the ladies is returning from the states, so we’ve all gathered to welcome her home with a surprise party. It seemed the perfect occasion to wear my party dress. I bought it for five or ten dollars at Ross Dress for Less in Salt Lake on impulse on my way out of the states. It’s a white crinkly linen type material, with edging along the edges and the hem that were crocheted with a fine stitch. It’s light and fits comfortably.

By the way—Submarino’s are the Mexica equivalent of a twinkie. They’re not as sweet and delicious, but they’re pretty darn good.

So we’re sitting on the third level of the cement and tile patio, with a view that overlooks “Lover’s Beach.” It’s a beach that washes up against several mountain pillars, pillars that used to be part of the mountain but through years of time had been beaten and separated from the tip by the vicious pounding of the ocean waves. El Arco, a natural arch, adorns the pillars along the beach. Apparently the other side of the pillars and that beach, is a beach called “Divorce Beach.” Unlike the serene lovers side, the other side is rocky and suffers constant pounding from the sea. There’s a haze over the ocean and sailboats dot the water. A nice breeze keeps the temperature down, at least in the shade.

The back of the condo community, specifically my bedroom, backs up against the desert mountain. Standing on my balcony is the closest I’ve ever been to the gnarly, dirty, stickery mountains, and they are as bland up close as they are from afar. I’m sure there are at least 10,000 scorpions out there. We chatted and ate the night away, the ladies come from all over the world, and the stories they tell are intriguing. We watched the moon rise over the ocean, where it hung bright orange, peeking through the haze of fog that lay across the water.

The next morning we decided to go to breakfast, so I was pretty happy that I’d brought along my second best outfit, a light cotton skirt that had patches of gold and brown, overlaid with flowers, and a black tank top. And off we went to have breakfast at the RV park. It was actually a very nice, clean restaurant, and the waiter spoke English and Spanish. There was the usual mild chaos as we all ordered, but I did a fine job of ordering a ham and cheese omelette. Quite pleased with myself, I handed the waiter my menu and said with a big smile, “Hola.” He smiled and nodded back as he turned away. About that time I realized that “hola” was hello, and I’d meant to say “gracias,” thank you. I guess the silver lining is that I can subconsciously spit out spanish words. Unfortunately they’re not always the right ones.

After breakfast we did our usual shopping rounds, hitting Walmart and then Costco. The Mexican soccer team was playing, and the stores were packed with people standing around in the electronics departments watching the game on big screen t.v.’s. The entire store erupted into cheers when the Mexican team made a good play. The checker started cheering and pumping her arms in the air, while a bag boy starting doing a jig at the end of the checkout.

I engaged the help of Tonya to negotiate my trip to the pharmacy in Costco. It turns out the meter I brought with me that I bought at Walmart, thinking I could get strips for it at Walmart in mexico, isn’t available here. Costco had a table set up with meters, test strips, and as we found out, a diabetic specialist to set the meter and explain everything to me. The bad news is that I had to pay 60 dollars for a new meter, but the good news is that their test strips are half as much. The insulin is half as much, so I bought two vials. I’ll be making a trip to Costco on my way out of the states, and stuffing as many diabetic supplies as I can in my suitcase. I’m told that as long as I have a prescription for what I take, I’ll make it through customs.

PASSING JUDGMENT

As the weather warms up and I continue to be inspired, I find myself not being hungry, and having to force myself to stick to a schedule of eating. Since I’ve been here I’ve looked for and asked around to see if I could find any Slim Fast, or some type of meal replacement drink. Walmart didn’t have it, they only had ensure, which was outrageously expensive. If my translation was correct, it was about 15 dollars for a six pack. Costco had a 2 gallon jug of the powder for 25 dollars, but I know that it wouldn’t be a good thing for any one person to drink that much Slim Fast. So I’ve passed on all of them.

During our last trip to Walmart, I wandered the aisles looking for a cheap snorkeling set, and checked once again for the slim fast and ensure, just to see if anything had changed in three weeks. Still no Slim Fast and still expensive ensure, but I found the diabetic section and there was what obviously appeared to be a meal replacement powder. It was called Chocosweet and it was in a plain white cardboard tube, like oatmeal comes in, with a cheesy looking picture of a glass of frothy chocolate milk. The label said “sin azucar” without sugar; and I made the words 2 (dos) and leche (milk) out in the modo de Preparacion; (preparation) and figured it must be just like slim Fast.
I debated with myself over spending the 980 pesos (9.80 dollars), judging by its packaging there was a very good chance that it would be horrible to the point of intolerable, and my ten dollars would be wasted. I decided that I was more excited to find a snorkel set than to take the time to shop for foods I might like, so I grabbed the Chocosweet and figured even if it was horrible, it was a good way to get vitamins and nutrients, I’d just chug it.

Upon returning home I promptly took my new snorkel and goggles to the pool to begin training for snorkeling on the beach with Janet. It took me several tries and near drownings before I was able to float along the top of the pool breathing through a snorkel for several minutes. Funny how you don’t really think about breathing, either through your nose or your mouth, until you’re underwater breathing through your nose when the air was attached to the mouth. It takes some retraining to focus on only breathing through your mouth. But I persevered, and will be beach ready soon.

We sat down for our afternoon movie, and after cranking out some good copy and feeling great about my creativity and productivity, I wasn’t in the mood to scrounge up something for lunch/dinner. So I broke open the Chocosweet. It was pretty much what I expected to see; the fine powder that looks like cocoa but I know will not taste as good as the cocoa. I gazed into the open can disdainfully, making it clear to the contents that I would not enjoy drinking it. I mixed it up in a cup of milk, stirring continually, hoping that would break down the gritty bits of powder that are always part of drinking a powdered shake. I sat down to watch a weird but thought provoking movie called Katherine, and braced myself for the Chocosweet. I prepared myself to be bombarded with the taste of fake chocolate and vitamins, and took a sip of the Chocosweet.

Crap! I felt the mental slap that comes with realizing a character faus paux in myself. The Chocosweet was delicioso! Mucho delicioso! It was as tasty as eating a chocolate Frosty at Wendys. And it was nice and smooth, not gritty at all.
“well?” asked Becky, watching my face. I took another drink, this time a mouthful, and it was better than the last sip I took.
“It’s delicious. It’s one of the best chocolate drinks I’ve ever had,” I replied.
“Really? That good huh?” she said. The more I drank the Chocosweet the better it tasted, and we discussed its infinite possibilities. Low calorie and low sugar, it will be perfect frozen like ice cream, blended with fruit, or frozen and fruit put on top of it. The Chocosweet rocks!

Why did I judge the Chocosweet? I’m the first person to promote and remind others not to judge a book by its cover. “Accept people for who they are, they’re different but that doesn’t make them bad…” blah blah blah. If I really believed that why would I be so quick to judge a product that I’ve never tried just because of the bad labeling? I automatically assumed that prettier is better, a direct result of my years of assault by the media. I was really not happy with myself for being judgmental. I don’t know that American products are the best products. Expecting the Chocosweet to live up to my expectations of slim Fast is presumptuous.

If I could judge Chocosweet to wrongly, it makes me wonder how many people I’ve misdjudged throughout my life.

Advertisements

July 1, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: