Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

DUMP RUN NUMERO DOS
I spent a frustrating four hours on the internet this morning, only about 30 minutes of that was actually spent connected to the internet. I was trying to do some simple research and book a plane ticket, but after four hours I got only the plane ticket booked. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow, although the internet is never really fast here. I’m not a big internet user anyway, using it only to write, research or communicate, so not having access to it isn’t life threatening. But sitting in front of the screen for nearly an hour just to check my email is getting tedious.

To break up the monotony and frustration of our day, we decided it was finally time to make a trip to the dump by ourselves. Last time of course the fellow came along and took our trash to the dump for us, and I couldn’t help but wish just a little that he would magically appear to do so again, since the last time I took the lid of the black trashcans outside the contents were covered in maggots. Becky went to get the Mecci van, perfect for a trip to the dump. With the exception of it being a surfer’s home on wheels, including a bed that covers the back and everything but the kitchen sink packed into it, there was plenty of room on top of everything to put the two trash cans and three bags of trash. Yes, the trash included six weeks of bathroom trash, and although all of the trash is bagged before we take it outside, the black bins that we put them in and seal with tight tops sits outside in the heat, brewing some kind of horribly disgusting, unthinkable stinky stew.

We had to muscle the two heavy bins into the side door, resting them for a moment on the back seat before heaving them over the top of the back seat to rest on the bed behind it. Having the lid come off of them as we were hoisting and heaving the bins was my worst thought, picturing maggots and all manner of horror in the back seat. We successfully loaded the bins and threw the bags in the back, and since Becky was driving my responsibility was to sit in the back seat and hold the bins so they didn’t tip over while driving down the bumpy huerta roads. The instant I climbed in the back seat and the van doors were closed, the stench that words defy me to describe, hit me. Literally, it was like a wave of hot, stinky air that floated by and smacked me as it passed. My first thought was to breath through my mouth, but I immediately ruled that out. My second thought was to pull my tank top up over my nose, which I did, but it didn’t help a lot. My gag reflex has always been really good, or really bad, depending on how you look at it. Good being that it works well and easily. I quickly went to retching. I tried to be quiet and control it as Becky drove down the road, but you know how it goes, once the first retch is out, its uncontrollable. Which of course sent Becky into uncontrollable laughter, myself as well, and as the Mexicans watched us drive the Mecci van down the road they had to wonder, yet again, what the gringo sisters were up to.

Now I forgot to mention, that although the Mecci van doesn’t seem to squeak quite as loudly as it used to, it now has no brakes. That’s not true actually. When Becky steps on the brakes, after some grinding in the front and hopping and shimmying from the body of the van, it will eventually come to a stop. So we’re driving along, me retching, the van squeaking and Becky laughing, trying not to let the garbage tip over. We finally hit the main highway, and as we sped up the smell became a little more tolerable and my retching ceased momentarily. As we came upon the dump there was a woman, maybe in her thirties, dressed in jeans and a nice top, with silver caps on her teeth that shone when the sunlight hit them. She met us at the entrance to the dump, accompanied by a young girl who looked to be about 10 or 11. She was also wearing stylish jeans and a pink T-shirt with rhinestones shining on the front of it, and pink flip flops that looked like the style for a girl that age. Their attire seemed oddly fancy, considering they were the family who lived at the dump, and apparently spent their days handling garbage.

There was some confusion in the translation of what they wanted us to do. She was speaking Spanish, and Becky did a pretty good job of telling her that we had two trash bins in the back of the van. Last time we came to the dump with that fellow, we drove down the dirt road and deposited our trash further into the landfill. Now it appeared as if the woman and child wanted us to give them our garbage right then and there. They opened the the back door of the van, only to find me clutching the bins, eyes watering and trying hard not to continue retching. Since I was the one in the van holding the bins, it became my responsibility to muscle the trash cans out to the waiting lady. I managed to get the first one out with no retching, but as I muscled the last bin over the top of the back seat, some brown liquid dripped out of the top and onto my arm. I began retching again. I tried to be quiet about it so I didn’t offend the woman and child as they opened the bins right there and sorted the bags of trash out into big black bags. I noticed those with toilet paper went into a special pile.

Becky finished up the transaction as I continued to unsuccessfully be quiet in the van with my retching. The empty bins in the back were more stinky than the sealed bags that we had transported there, and every second I sat in the hot van the stench became worse. Becky made small talk with the woman and we were finally on the road again, and I finally stopped retching about halfway home. But Becky did admit that perhaps she had been a little hard on me regarding the first dump trip. That fellow sure would have been handy today.

THINGS GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT
We spent the evening on the patio reminiscing about our childhood and past relationships and experiences. We retired to the casa where Becky began watching Criss Angel and I settled in to work on my manuscript. After about ten minutes she was relaxing on the couch and I was semi-deep in thought, when all of a sudden the back of the house seemed to shake and we heard a loud boom, or more like a crash, that sounded like it was coming from upstairs. The upstairs of the house is only accessible by the outside stairs, and includes the master bedroom on the second floor patio.

Earlier this afternoon word spread through the huerta that the bicycle banditos who terrorized the neighborhood last year were back, and several robberies had been reported within the last couple of days, with bicycle tracks leading away from the scene. As we were watching the sun set on the beach, two young Mexican men, maybe 16-20, came strolling down the beach pushing their bicycles through the sand. It seemed odd to me that anyone would bother to take their bikes along that stretch of beach, because there were access roads all along the beach that would have been much easier to maneuver a bike through. The two young men exited the beach up the stairs near where we were sitting, and we scrutinized each other as they carried their bikes up the steps and past us onto the road. One of them was wearing a backpack that appeared to be pretty full and heavy by the way it hung low on his back. So, the Bicycle Banditos were back, we were sure of it.

When we heard the crash I knew it must be the banditos. It would only make sense, we had just seen them on the beach, etc. We both immediately jumped up, I threw on my boots and grabbed my stick and Becky grabbed the flashlight. We headed for the patio doors and Becky grabbed the cell phone.
“Who are we going to call?” I asked, suddenly realizing that there are no cops here, not even near here.
“Nobody,” said Becky as she opened the back doors. We just have to go check it out. Bad plan, I thought as I followed her out the door with my stick, my heart pounding as we began to climb the dark steps alongside the house leading to the next floor. She only had a flashlight, and I knew for certain we were going to run into the banditos on the roof and that would be very, very bad. I was fully aware of how in the movies running into the dark unarmed after intruders always ends up with the person running into the dark getting killed, maimed, or meeting some kind of horrible end. And the audience is always yelling at how stupid the person is for rushing out unarmed. Yup, that was us. Unarmed, except for my stick, which I held as if my life depended on it, because, well, it did.

We hit the second floor and everything seemed to be okay. No broken windows in the bedroom or anyone in sight. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, but then realized that Becky intended to go to the very top of the house, which, if there was someone up there hiding, there’s no place at all for us to go. She was hell bent on going however, so I followed her to the top with my stick. The top was clear as well, so we shined the light around the yard to look for anyone hiding, and never did find anything. There’s a possibility that it was a huge wave crashing to the beach, but its very loud when that happens, it doesn’t shake the house. The other possibility is that they were blasting the mountain down the road. They’re taking dirt from the mountain to build the new highway, and there have been a couple of times they’ve set off dynamite and the entire huerta shook. Either way, when we were safely back inside, I scolded Becky for not having a better plan, or even a weapon. I’m getting her a good stick before I leave. As silly as my stick may seem at times, it certainly gave me some sense of power as we charged into the night to defend our abode.

THE GECKO GETS REVENGE
I believe the gecko is thoroughly pissed at me. Ever since I took his ibuprofen away, he seems to have fallen down on the job of eating the bugs in the house. I wake daily with more bug bites, and since I hear the gecko in my room screaming at me in the dark, I can only assume he’s telling me that he’s not going to eat the bugs that keep eating me because I took away his treat. Or his fix, I’m not sure what it would be considered. Maybe he’s gotten hooked on the pain pill and needs his fix, I don’t know. All I know is that he hasn’t been eating the bugs or spiders. But last night, however, I didn’t hear his screech in the dark and I awoke this morning after a good night’s rest and without any bug bites. Hmmm. It would appear as if the gecko is maybe once again battling the intruders for me while I sleep. What could have changed?

Then I realized that I hid a box of corn Pops cereal in my room to prevent Becky from being tempted by the sweet treat. So I put the box on top of my bureau to keep it out of her sight. As I lay in bed this morning marveling about the lack of bug bites and the fact that the gecko is again on my side, I spied the box of cereal on top of my bureau. What if the gecko got in the cereal? There was certainly enough room in the top flap for him to squeeze through and enjoy the treats. Maybe he’s back on my side because he’s hopped up on sugar now. I pictured him munching the sweet treats and zipping about my room as I sleep, eating the bugs and chasing away the spiders that are too big for him to eat. Then I pictured him sitting in my box of cereal, waiting to jump out when I pick it up and pour me a bowl. Of course it took another 30 minutes of laying in bed and wondering before I got up and shook the box of cereal, giving him plenty of warning and ample opportunity to get out before I opened the box. He didn’t jump out, at least not yet, that doesn’t mean he’s not hunkered down in the bottom of the box of cereal, and will fall out into my bowl like a hidden surprise one day.

THE ROAD OF LIFE
As I take my morning jog each day, I find that I can tell a lot about the goings on here by the markings in the sand on the road. As soon as I leave the house there’s a squiggly track of a large snake that I can tell goes back and forth across the road. I don’t mind it as long as I don’t have to see it, and I like to believe that he’s sneaking over into our yard at night to eat the rats and bad things that could get us or bring us disease. Okay, mainly the rats. I don’t really like them. But each day I see the trail where the big guy has made his journey, whatever his purpose may be. I can see the dog tracks of Rio, the neighbor’s black lab, in the sand, both dry prints heading toward the beach, then wet, muddy prints with drops of water surrounding them when Rio’s returning from the ocean all wet.

At the end of the street I can tell that a skirmish of some kind happened, involving a snake and dogs. The squiggly lines of the snake start at a field crossing the road, and end about halfway through the road, where the sand has been kicked up and dog prints cover the road. The snake track doesn’t make it all the way to the other side, surely somebody’s pero, (dog) came packing home a nice surprise for their owner. But my favorite tracks in the road come from Cohen, the local toddler. He’s about two years old and often wanders the huerta with his father or sister. There’s always two sets of tracks when I run across Cohen’s path, a set of larger barefoot prints from his chaperone, then there are tiny little Cohen footprints in the sand. The tiny prints are usually going all over the place, and don’t follow the straight line of the road like most tracks. No. Cohen’s go across the road and back, then off into the field for a little bit, then back into the road.

My road watching habit came in handy the other day after we spotted the bicycle bandits. I surmised by the bicycle tracks on the road that the bandits had gone down the next road over in front of the ocean front hotels. I recognized our tracks from when Becky and I ride around the huerta, and I have noticed another set of bicycle tracks that I believe belong to another neighbor, but aside from our own tracks, they were the only other set of double tracks headed down the front road.

THE WRITER’S THIMBLE
The humidity is high today, and I was overwhelmed with frustration at trying to use the computer. The humidity makes my fingertips wet, and every time I try to navigate on the mouse pad of my computer, my fingers just stick to it, making it nearly impossible and horribly tedious to try to get any work done. I was navigating through my manuscript, and the mouse stuck and I ended up with my cursor in the wrong part of the manuscript, but didn’t notice until I’d already typed several paragraphs of the story, only to find that I was in the wrong part of the story. Very frustrating!

I considered putting baby powder or corn starch on my fingers, but was pretty sure that probably wouldn’t be very good for my keyboard, so after racking my brain for most of the morning, a brilliant idea hit me. I laid the corner of a soft tissue down on the navigation square, then put my finger over it and tried to navigate. It worked well. I had to push harder and it took a little getting used to, but it was working. No more sticking to the keyboard. Dealing with the tissue quickly became a nuisance, so I spent about half an hour creating what I believe is a revolutionary tool in the writer’s field; a writer’s thimble. I wrapped the tissue around my pointer finger, and secured it at the top of my finger with a hair tie. Much like the thimble a seamstress uses to protect her fingers, or the rubber thimbles that accountants and secretaries used to use to help them thumb through papers easily. I felt pretty proud of my creation, I thought it was ingenious and I spent the rest of the day typing away happily with no navigational errors thanks to my brilliance.

FINDING MYSELF
The cause of the boom that shook the house last night is still undetermined, an earthquake has been added to the list of possible culprits. Now that I’ve had time to reflect upon our actions of running into the night with the stick, I wonder exactly what I’m capable of doing. In the states if I thought there was an intruder I would hide in the bedroom and call the police. There was a moment of true panic when I realized that there was nobody to call here. No policia come when called, but the good thing is that only the policia here are allowed to own guns. There are very strict federal policies about being caught with a gun, and I’m pretty sure it entails being thrown in a Mexican prison and forgotten about. That thought actually makes me feel a little safer, knowing that most of the Mexican men I’ve seen around here are not that big, or if they are big it’s mainly fat. So although I was literally shaking in my boots when we ran out into the night, I actually felt a little liberated knowing that there was a good chance I could hold my own, or at least scare the intruders away with just the magic stick. I’m not sure if I’m proud of myself for the small act of bravery, or if I’m mad at myself and Becky for running out to confront an intruder.

BLISS IN THE HUERTA
I indulged in a good drunk last night, my first and probably my only one in the huerta. Of course with the beer content conversion, the four beers I drank were actually six beers because of the increased alcohol content. Becky hosted a dinner party for Mr. T and another neighbor who are both leaving this week, and its customary here to have a party whenever someone arrives or departs from P Town. Mr. T is a charming fellow, and he regaled us with stories of the huerta and life in Mexico. As I looked around our table of guests, I realized the diversity that brings joy. There were people, six including Becky and I, from all walks of life, who for whatever reason ended up in the same place at the same time.

After entertaining, music and fun, our guests left and Becky and I were outside looking at the stars and enjoying a blissful moment. A dip in the pool seemed in order, but the thought of getting into swimsuits, then getting out of and discarding our wet swimming suits seemed like a huge ordeal at the time, so we went sin (without) swimsuits. We turned off all the lights and swam by moonlight, chatting, floating and taking the occasional sip of tequila. The cool water in contrast to the warm night air was invigorating, and we floated about for about an hour before finally retiring for the evening. So I can check tequila in Mexico, (I only took a sip but that counts) and skinny dipping off my list of things to do in life.

BAJA TATTOO (OR WOUNDED KNEE)
I was still feeling a little weepy when I woke up this morning. I’m conflicted because I’m sad that my time here is nearing an end, I’m going to miss this place, Becky and the dozens of things that I didn’t get to do. But at the same time, I’m excited to see Jessica and my family and friends back in the states. I’m anxious about the next two weeks, hoping to just relax and enjoy them, but also wondering what will happen and where I will go when I leave. I’m planning some time in SLC with friends, then hitting the road with my parents in the RV to Quartzite for the winter months. I’m excited about all my future travel plans, but still fall prey to moments of doubt and question my sanity.

Today I took my mind off my worries by taking a long bike ride with Becky. We traveled across the huerta to visit a friend on the hilltop at the other side, and although we started out in the heat of the day on the bicycles, backpacks loaded with swimming suits and sandwiches, there was a slight breeze that made the ride enjoyable. We pedaled down the dirt roads at a leisurely pace, both of us speeding up as we went down the hills, then back up the other side. “Weeee,” both of us exclaimed as we got caught up in the fun of riding. I hit a flat spot in the road, and there was a hill coming up in front of me so I pumped hard, I was clipping along, the wind was blowing my hair back away from my face and I felt like I was eight years old, pedaling my little heart out without a care in the world. We passed all the usual spots I do when I run in the morning, including the many construction workers who are building houses, the tequila ranch, and all the dogs in between. As we wound back away from the ocean and up the hill near our destination, Becky was riding about ten yards ahead of me. She was looking at something over to the left when I noticed a small creature emerge from the bushes in a field and stop to look at her. Initially I thought it was a cat, which I haven’t seen many of around here, then I thought it might be a dog. The little guy was curious and actually started toward Becky, and I was a little afraid it might be a rabid cat that was going to eat my sister.

As the creature started to move, and turned sideways a little as it ran, I realized it was a small fox. And it was headed toward Becky. I was excited to see a fox in person and so close, but I yelled to Becky to look because it was headed for her. It stopped when I yelled, looked at both of us, then quickly ran just inside the bushes alongside the road. He stayed just out of sight and just a couple of yards ahead of us, watching us through the brush as we passed. He was just as curious about us as we were him.

We lunched with Becky’s amigo Kelly, a delightful woman with a voice and manner that immediately made me feel at home. We intended to swim in her pool but got to visiting so much that the afternoon was gone before we knew it. We mounted our bikes to head home. Becky was riding the cruiser, it only has one speed and is a little hard to pedal uphill. I was on the mountain bike. It has dozens of speeds which I don’t know how to use, but Chris, the neighbor who lent it to us set it on an easy setting for me. It was lighter and easier to take up hills, so I flew past Becky on the first steep hill we came to. I got to the top and realized we were near where we’d seen the fox, so I looked down the road ahead of us and saw something in the road.

I stopped my bicycle to see what it was, and realized, horrifyingly too late, that my feet were stuck in the straps that run over the top of the pedals, the straps used to keep your feet from falling off. Well, about the time I realized I was trapped in the pedals of the bike, myself and the bike started tipping over. It was a horrible, helpless feeling to feel myself falling and not be able to get my feet out to stop it. So I tipped over and took the brunt of the fall on my right knee. I lay on the dirt road, feet still entangled in the pedals, on my side because I couldn’t right myself, when Becky came over the hill. She was sufficiently concerned, and helped pick me and the bike up off the road. After checking myself out, and having Becky do so as well, the only wound that was visible was my knee, which was oozing blood from the many places the road had rubbed my skin off.

It’s been a long time since I’ve skinned my knee, and it’s been a long time since I’ve fallen off of a bicycle. So, in keeping with the old saying, I got right back on the bike and headed home. Mainly because there was no other way to get home, but why not glamorize it just a little? The mile or so ride home, with blood dripping down my leg and my knee stinging like no tomorrow, gave me time to reflect and panic. Panic set in that surely some type of infection would follow, including all manner of bugs, parasites….So I focused on the fact that falling off a bike as an adult is a very scary thing, but falling off a bike as a child is not quite so scary. I have a new respect for children, who seem to have the ability to scrape their knee, wipe it off, and get back on the playground. We got home and doctored my knee up, it wasn’t as bad once the blood and the dirt was washed away, and although it still hurt like heck, I was a little proud of my battle wound from the huerta. “You just got a Baja tattoo seester.”

ALIVE IN THE HUERTA
I awoke this morning sore, scabbed and tired, but alive. It doesn’t appear as if gangrene has set into my wounded knee, in fact it looks much better today. However my wrists, shoulders and various other parts of my body are sore, not overwhelming but enough to remind me that I’m not ten years old anymore. My brush with death, combined with a hot night, high humidity and my overactive imagination, kept me awake much of the night thinking about death. Of course I knew I wasn’t going to die (probably) from a skinned knee, but that didn’t stop visions of my demise from coming into my head. I realized it was nonsense to think those thoughts, but they mushroomed uncontrollably. Life is so fragile, and although our bodies are amazing vessels, they too are vulnerable to accidents in life.

I thought of my father, who recently had a health scare. Driven by pain, hormones and the heat, I had a feeling of dread that my father could have died. Then I realized he is going to die, just like me. Then I thought about my mother, she’s going to die too, and Jessica, my family, everyone I knew. Oh my god, we are all going to die! Someday. Not anytime soon, but the fact that everyone of us is going to die eventually freaked me out. I know death is a natural progression in life, but suddenly my life seemed very short and unfulfilled. Sure I’ve done a lot of things in my 42 years, but I still have so much more to do. I don’t have time for dying. I have a beautiful daughter, and someday will have beautiful grandchildren. I have an incredible family who I’m sure couldn’t get along without me, or any of us for that matter.

I think my weepiness and angst that is coming out now is a delayed reaction to my father’s health scare, combined with my sister’s health scare one year ago. For the last five years or so my family members have all gone their own way, creating their own lives and enjoying our own adventures. We kept in touch, but one of the reasons I fled Salt Lake was because I felt guilt about not spending more time with family, and specifically guilt about not being able to help my older sister break the prescription drug habit that nearly killed her. I watched for several years as her life spiraled out of control, and would like to say I offered support and help. In reality, I ignored the situation. I pretended there was nothing I could do, and that it wasn’t that serious. Then she ended up in the hospital with liver failure, and died for a few moments before she was resuscitated. I had been with her just two days before she went in the hospital, and she was whacked out of her mind on something. I knew it, I saw it, I ignored it. When I got the call two days later from my niece, I was paralyzed with fear and guilt. I had done nothing. I had watched her spiral out of control, and did nothing to help her. In fact I left her. I fled to V Town where I wouldn’t have to hear about her troubles and trials. I was hiding from reality. I had abandoned her. Luckily my parents didn’t abandon her, and upon her release from the hospital they loaded her into the camp trailer and took her on the road for three months while she recuperated and got the drugs out of her system. It ended well, and I thank God for my parents everyday. Not just because I have my sister back, but because their sacrifice has relieved me of the burden of guilt.

When I got the call in V Town several months ago that my father was being life flighted to a hospital in Las Vegas, I’m proud to say that I didn’t hesitate in jumping in the Chariot at 10 o’clock at night and driving straight through to Vegas to be with him. I stopped in Salt Lake and picked up Jess and Debbie, my older sister, and we drove all night, arriving at the hospital in Vegas at 9 o’clock the next morning. The drive down was tense, peppered with light moments of laughter that came from all of us being tired, scared and nervous. I think it was then that I seriously began to think about mortality. Not just my father’s emergency, but also my own mortality. Life will not remain the same forever, and realizing that the cycle of life affects all of us was frightening.

I’ll never forget the moment we walked into Dad’s hospital room. He didn’t know we were coming, and my father has always been a strong man. When we walked in the room he was sitting up, and looked tired and sick. It took a moment for him to register that we were all there, (my brother and nephew left Denver the same time I left V Town) I could see the illness in his eyes, combined with a little bit of fear and confusion. But two seconds after we walked into his room, I saw relief in his eyes. Relief that he was not alone, relief that his family was there. We were relieved to see him ourselves, and although my family are not cryers, I think we all found a moment to step out of the room and shed a few tears. Of course the joy of the reunion was short lived, when we realized that my mother was still missing, having been denied a seat on the medical jet that delivered Dad, she was driving from their camping spot several hours away, and none of us knew for sure where she was in transit at the moment.

We pulled together as a family, and although the next few months were full of fear, doctor’s appointments and eventually surgery for Dad, we were together. There’s nothing like a hospital waiting room to give you plenty of time to think about what could go wrong, both in surgery and in life. But he pulled through and is now nearly recovered. True to form for me, I handled everything like the strong martyr that I am, and apparently am having a delayed reaction to it all as I sit here bawling my eyes out in Mexico. I miss everyone. My family, my friends, everyone. I miss them all terribly, and as I lay awake with a throbbing knee and melancholic heart, I eventually cry myself to sleep.

The funny thing is that when I fled Salt Lake and headed out on my own, I thought I wanted to get away from all the drama and worry that comes from having a family. Turns out now, that in all the travels that I can picture for myself in my future, I really want to travel to be with family and spend time with them. Apparently they’re not the source of my discontent, but rather they are the cure.

RAINY DAY IN THE HUERTA (FINALLY!)
Once again I was awakened by a strange sound in my room. There’s a small window mount air conditioner attached to one of the windows in my room, the same one the birds are always poking about in. I heard a “ting, ting, ting,” and as I lay there, again trying to figure out my best plan of attack, Becky sat straight up in bed.
“What’s that noise?” she asked in a panic.
“I don’t know. It’s coming from the air conditioner in here, I think something’s trapped inside.” I said, hoping she’d come to my rescue. She listened closely for a minute to the foreign sound.
“It’s rain!” She exclaimed, jumping out of bed. “Dammit, the clothes are on the line.” We both jumped up and while she ran outside, my wounded knee took a few minutes to loosen up when I stood up, so I hobbled quickly outside behind her. We had discussed whether or not to bring the laundry in last night, but with the humidity here it takes a long time for them to dry. I made the mistake of putting some tank tops away the other day that were slightly damp, which resulted in all of my clothes taking on a sour smell, especially when I was outside and sweating. Most of the clothes we were rushing to save now were mine, having had to re-wash them to get the smell out. But it hadn’t rained in six months, so when it came down to getting off the couch and interrupting the Seinfeld marathon to get the clothes in last night, I made the executive decision that they would be okay for the night and would be dry in the morning.

We got the clothes in and I went in the kitchen to make coffee, and apparently with rain comes electricity outages. I sat on the patio and watched the rain fall for nearly an hour, marveling at how the desert plants know how to grab the water falling from the sky and direct it to its roots. With no electricity to run the water pump, we were also without running water. I boiled water on the stove for instant coffee, then strapped on my walking shoes to check out the huerta in the rain. My knee is still very sore, mainly as the skin scabs and dries out. I decided a good walk would help the healing, so I put my music in my ears, grabbed my stick and headed out. The air was fresh and smelled of wet dirt, and suddenly the barren fields along my walking path didn’t seem so barren. Bursts of purple, pink and yellow flowers dotted the normally brown fields, and green plants stood out where before there was nothing but dead bushes. Birds were chirping and singing their songs, dogs along the walk were friskier, and even Einstein, the temperamental old donkey along the way was in good spirits. It was like a party in the huerta.

The electricity was still out when I returned from my walk, so we decided to go to Todos Santos to do some grocery shopping. The drive was uneventful, and gave me the chance to see more of the greenery in the desert that comes out with the rain. We got to Bancomar (the bank) and Becky parked across the small street and waited for me while I went in to withdraw pesos to go shopping with. When I got into the little hut the ATM is in, the screen on the machine was black. Apparently the power was out here as well. That put me in a bind because I had no pesos whatsoever, and was in desperate need of milk, juice and cigarettes. It was another culture shock to realize that there just wasn’t any way to get money today. No way to shop because the stores here don’t take plastic. This would never be a problem in the states, somewhere an ATM would be working, or all of the stores would accept my card. It was a little unsettling.

The streets of the tiny town were full of people. Families, groups of teenagers, little kids all filled the town park and street corners, and many of the taco stands were full of people waiting in line. Partly because it was Sunday, and partly (I’m assuming) because they didn’t have water and electricity, everybody had the same idea we did—lets mill about town. El Sol, the supermercado we shop at, had a backup generator. No lights were on in the store, which is maybe 2,000 square feet, and the floor rattled as the generator pumped out electricity. The rhythmic clanking of the generator was so loud I could feel my heart rattle along with the floorboards. The cash registers were run off the generator, but all of the coolers were without power. A young boy, about 10 or 12 maybe, whistled at the end of the checkout counter as he bagged our groceries, (not many because Becky scraped her change to cover it) then proudly lifted the bags and offered to carry them to our car for us.

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July 27, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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