Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hiding out in Puerto Escondido

April 29, 2009

Pat and I are waiting out the passing of the swine flu pandemic in Puerto Escondido. I know it's got to be bad out there when I read that a French airline crew refused to board a flight for Mexico. LOL!

It's tough because we have such limited recreational activities to keep us from getting bored.

But we'll manage.

Pat just keeps working on her CME credits to keep her off of the beach just a few hundred yards away.

It doesn't help matters when we have to reside in this substandard Mexican home.

We hired this certified swine flu virus exterminator and I gotta say we sleep much better at night knowing we are guarded 24/7.

I have been drinking a known swine flu preventative to keep me safe...luckily Mezcal is readily available citywide.

Well if all else fails we can dodge the swine flu virus swarms by jumping in the pool.

Critical Swine Flu prevention tip:
Whatever you do....Don't DO this!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oaxaca, US visitors, and Swine Flu

April 27, 2009

We meet Ricky and Catherine in Oaxaca city and spent most of the time eating, sitting, walking, talking and doing some shopping. Oaxaca weather was pretty hot but cooled down enough for their visit to Monte Alban, the nearby ruins.

After 3 days in Oaxaca we drove the 150 mile curvy-stretch on Mexican Hwy 131 which took approximately 6.5 hours to get to Puerto Escondido. We all were exhausted, except for the driver who seems to relish the driving.

In Puerto, Bruce and I rented the same house we had stayed in December for part of April and May. Ricky and Catherine had the upstairs apartment and we took the lower floors. It's a perfect setting: beach vistas, walking distance to the beach, to el centro, restaurants, plus our own private pool. A routine started the following day with fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit bowls w/granola y yohgurt, and ended near the pool during or after dinner.

Most of our days passed listening to music, snacking, enjoying a cold beer and chatting poolside under the patio. Time seemed to stop for all of us. We went to Carrizalillo beach and Catherine and Ricky tried surfing. We caught them on camera for their few brief seconds upright on the boards...the remaining photos revealed their lily-white backsides. Lily-white is better than lobster-red.

On Sunday they safely returned to NYC via a twin-engine plane, a Mexican Click and the real-deal Mexicana commercial plane.....and so far no swine flu. Meanwhile, we bravely remain behind savoring all they left behind.

Good times had by all.

We've stayed away from mainstream news media but have read many reports from the internet. It seems this flu is spreading and Mexico is taking the proper precautions and doing what they can within their resources. We had to run errands in el centro and found it busy with the school children dressed in their uniforms (this morning they announced nation-wide school closures). Our visit to Super Che (grocer) revealed all employees wearing masks...I tried to purchase a couple for us but they were out...we're just going to have to take our chances. And this evening the personnel at Hotel Posada, where we play tennis, were wearing masks. In Mexico it's common to see ppl wearing masks if they have colds, so no one seems surprised by so many wearing them now.

My last encounter with a pig was in San Cristobal April 1st.

In our temporary little corner, all is tranquilo and no one is panicking...... a day in the life in Mexico.

Friday, April 17, 2009

San Cristobal to Oaxaca

April 16, 2009

5 y/o nino, burned by boiling water on chest and both arms. He never squirmed, wimpered or fought us as we took care of his wounds. It was his 12 y/o aunt that showed up at Sergio's museo at 9am asking us to come see him.

Our last week in San Cristobal passed quickly. It was “Semana Santa” and the town was alive and active with tourists, musical events and a parade. Sergio and I were busy as usual and had an additional two cases to our already busy days: one 3 year-old that was burned with boiling water (1st & 2nd superficial burn on his chest, arms and hands) and one bed-ridden elderly woman with a superficial bed ulcer. It was a bit sad leaving Sergio and I know he appreciated the help. I plan to return in September with more (and better) supplies that will improve upon the care he is already giving.

We headed to Oaxaca dreading having to go through the Straight of Tehuantepec; only because of the military stops. Sure enough we were stopped and searched near San Pedro Tapanatepec (close to the same place the officer took a “gift” previously). This time we were on to their ploy….which seemed a bit more rehearsed than I recall. We gave smiles and kind greetings as they pulled us over and asked us to get out. The lead searcher came to my door and quickly started rummaging through all the van pockets, nook and crannies. I stayed close to the searcher, watching him while the other men started asking me a bunch of friendly questions, obviously trying to distract me from looking. Bruce was watching another searcher on his side and followed him to the back of the van.
The searcher on my side picked up my camera case, open it, and I could not see what he did afterwards. He went though my purse twice…it was full with nothing important as we kept all our money on our person. After he was out of the way I explained to the two distracters what I had been doing in San Cristobal and grabbed my camera to show them pictures of the burn patients I had recently taken. To my relief the camera was still there. If the searcher took anything it wasn’t important, but one thing was clear: they were searching to take something. He found the mag light and the leatherman, examined them closely, asking “cuanto cuesta” for the mag light. I said not for sale. I don't think they appreciated gruesome photos I was showing them and they quickly let us on our way.

We stayed in Santo Domingo Tehuantepec at an over-priced nice cross-roads hotel that charged an extra 20 pesos for internet use. We thought about sleeping in the van but it was just too hot. We paid handsomely for the air conditioned room and enjoyed a good nights’ sleep after eating at their restaurant (which was excellent..a reminder that we were back in Oaxaca).

The van turned over 100,000 miles on Mexican Hwy 190 from Tehuantepec to Oaxaca. So far since we left Washington State we’ve put over 18,000 miles on the van and with a few repairs here and there, it’s held up well….it’s getting close to half-way through it’s life.

By 230pm we made it to Oaxaca de Juarez (city), easily checked in to our hotel and got comfortable. Our visitors from NYC, my nephew and his girlfriend, arrive on Saturday so we’ll hang out here until next Tuesday, then on to Puerto Escondido.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

San Cristobal Warms Up

April 5, 2009

Alcatraz flowers grow wild around San Cristobal.

We're still in San Cristobal and I continue go with Sergio on our daily medical field trips. Some of the new cases that pop up still surprise me: one lady with a 5"X5" full skin defect on the back of her neck, and gentleman with a recurrent kidney tumor (cancerous) extending out from under his ribcage and breaking through the skin. Of course there are stories behind why they wait so long to see someone or why they come to Don Sergio. The museo clinic continues to be busy with the usual lower leg ulcers.

Some villages the young children follow us shyly.

Bruce continues to workout daily and concentrate on building his shoulder back to where it was...and hopefully beyond. The weather has been perfect with occasion rain to liven up the greenery. The nights are so comfortable now that we don't have to layer ourselves in blankets.

Daily Bruce jogs up the steps to the top of this hill in the background, where there is a row of exercise equipment and a climbing wall.