Saturday, December 09, 2006


A small note about pictures: I have now uploaded to Flickr all of the photos I've taken, within reason, since I came to México. Not counting wedding photos in my possession and a couple of shots I took during the process of moving out earlier this week, I am all caught-up on that major project. As of this afternoon, there are in excess of thirteen hundred photographs at my account, which you can find here. Slowly but surely you can also find wedding photos here. I will be taking the next few days to order my pictures into albums by geographic location. The next time I bug anyone about this, the final time, will be to note that there are permanent links on this blog to those albums, and then I will not think about photography again for a while. Look for that last mention sometime next week after the air freight is taken care of. Enough about that. It is still cold and very rainy in Monterrey valley. On our way home from eating friendly Argentinean food tonight it was very, very foggy. Our weekend is scheduled to death: tomorrow morning I work on separating the air freight from the stuff that rides in the car with us, then we give some stuff away in the afternoon before possibly Christmas shopping, and then we are going to our going away party--which also happens to be a Christmas party--in the evening. Monday we suffer the last round of professional movers. Anything that will not fit into the car when they've left the house Monday evening will be abandoned in México. After that, there's an inspection on Tuesday, dinner every night next week, and then quite another, official Christmas party on Friday at the boss' house. Whew. [Cavin]

Friday, December 08, 2006


Today was cold and wet. We hear that this rain is at the fore-edge of another cold front--number twenty--that will hit sometime this weekend. Temperatures are already dropping to the low forties, pretty crisp for around here. Because the roads were mostly under standing water, we ate close: for the last time in our lives, we're sure, we ate just down the hill at Italianni. I have always had a like slash hate relationship with this restaurant. Undeniably, some great times have been spent there: thank-you dinners with the family usually employed to feed our cat while we're away or quick bites before VIP theater movies at the mall. Hell, Sunshine and I decided to get married at Italianni. But there were also stone bizarre times: waiters who refused to speak to us in Spanish--forcing misunderstood unnecessary English on us, generally mediocre food, and a chef who periodically stood on the second-floor dining room balcony to stun everyone with a deafening serenade. All that is behind us now. Everything we do now, we say it's the last time for this or that. I had my last Caesar salad and penne with the chili arbol sauce called arrabiato. My last cappuccino at Italianni was pretty damn good, actually. In the news: Alain Robert, also referred to as the "French Spider Man" for his hobby of climbing famous structures (the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building) without ropes or permits, finally made it to México City recently, scaling a thirty-story skyscraper in a scant half-hour.* He was immediately arrested at the summit by police who took the elevator up in a scanter ninety seconds or so. It is almost universally illegal to climb the outsides of famous structures on this planet, Monsieur Spidey. [Cavin]

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Our house isn't totally empty, but it feels that way. We still have four hundred fifty pounds air freight, and whatever we want to pack into the car with us, crammed into one room (to keep it from being shipped by the wrong movers). So the house seems totally deserted outside of that single bedroom. Being in a flat, empty, white space works on the head in odd ways. This morning, shortly after six, our power failed. We knew immediately because the alarm started beeping every thirty seconds alerting us to its powerlessness. In the silence between beepings, idle pressures, maybe, take on a life of their own, move things. I only became thoroughly awake when Sunshine rushed into the room, frightened, having heard something downstairs. A slam? A scraping? She said there were noises like furniture moving around. Our room is fitted with two deadbolts and a peephole in the steel door. It's equipped with a radio. The telephone, however, is out on the landing. Peering out the window, I saw that the power looked dead everywhere. I peeked out the little peekhole in the door, too. Our empty house is filled with skylights: during a full moon I can read in the dark here. There was no full moon this morning, and the sky was cloudy; so there was very little I could see through this tiny fisheye circle. In a big empty house, the darkness can look like shapes moving quietly around. We stayed locked in the one crowded room until the electricity crashed back on shortly before seven. She took a shower while I checked all the doors and windows--nothing amiss, emptiness, unmoved furniture. Later, she went on to work. It had all been in our heads all along in this empty house. [Cavin]

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Something like twelve movers showed up today, and the job was done before five. Items remaining were wrapped, boxed, nailed into large wooden crates and loaded onto a huge orange truck. Now the house echoes like used to when I called Sunshine before moving here. The place seems a lot bigger and whiter than it did yesterday. Next week the air freight guys are coming to take stuff going straight to DC, but that will be pretty easy. Then all that will be left to do is clean the place and pack what remains into the car. We're over the hump, I think. In online communication news: I have uploaded a lot more photos to my Flickr page. I am currently loading photos that I took just last month in Pátzcuaro. Go here to see. Tonight we had dinner with our friend Olga who is just back from reporting live from Oaxaca. The sometimes-violent protest there seemed to culminate two weeks ago when APPO factions began torching colonial-era buildings downtown, prompting police to bulldoze barricades. Olga found Oaxaca settling into normal city life, sort of. She said waiting for something to happen was difficult, and wrote this story about nothing much happening. A lesson in the news: here is the story submitted on the same day by the competition. The reporters are in the same town, covering the same subject. It is amazing how different these stories are. More from Reuters today: federal and state police in Oaxaca arrested over a hundred and fifty people associated with the APPO last month, cracking down on the protest. One leader, Flavio Sosa, ducked out of town to avoid arrest only to be captured in México City yesterday after giving a news conference.* Don't go into hiding before television cameras. Gosh. [Cavin]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Yesterday I hinted my concern about the chances we'd be completely moved out by this evening, citing the whole lot of our stuff that still remained unboxed. Apparently, the movers were worried, too: this morning at nine am four workers showed up instead of the usual two. They worked diligently until five pm, but they still did not get everything packed, let alone loaded onto a truck. They will be returning tomorrow morning. Tomorrow makes day four. Sunshine will be back at work so it will fall to me to have the last several influential Spanish conversations with people who kind-of control our future. Is that dramatic? After they left, Sunshine and I went to eat at a salad restaurant with no vegetarian food; and then, after her meal, we went to the local fish restaurant for mine. Here I noticed there was a little auxiliary menu with "oyster shots." Close your eyes for a second, picture an oyster shot. This will work particularly well if you have actually had one--but here, I'll help: a shot glass with either beer, vodka, or some other type of less-flavored clear liquor, lime juice and Tabasco, raw oyster. I love oyster shots, so I ordered one. What I got was four oysters in a four-ounce thick-bottomed juice glass. They were chilled, swimming an a ounce of cold tequila at the bottom of the glass. Layered on top was hot vegetable broth with floating onions and fresh parsley. The two levels don't mix together because of the different chemical and temperature properties. The "shot" was great, by the way. I'm pretty sure I'd like this better than the shots I'm used to--if only it was possible to shoot them. But it's difficult to chug a half-a-cup of scalding tequila soup. [Cavin]

Monday, December 04, 2006


Now that it's December, we've lived our last full month in México. Actually, now that it's Sunday, we only have two more weekends to go before heading back to the US. Tomorrow, the movers return, supposedly to pack and ship all our remaining stuff (they will have to do twice the amount of work they did on Thursday to actually manage this). Everything is in some sort of disarray. Today the temperature outside never rose above the upper forties and it rained all day. I spent my time working on photos to upload to my account. I did not feel like going out and doing things, even as I run out of occasions to do so. Yesterday, when it was sunny and hot, we went to the MARCO and a beautiful little store called Carapan that sells interesting premium art and craft items from all over México. It's located right downtown, just off the Macroplaza; yet it still took us an hour to get there. Traffic wasn't abnormal, but we had to negotiate a number of narrow, dense streets while navigating the tangle of one-way roads near there. Traffic was worse in this area, so we eventually gave up, parked at the museum, and walked. After, we ate dinner in a coffee shop that I like. Later last night there was a party for some work friends, but I didn't go. I didn't go to the movies today, either. I'm spending my last opportunities to do things in Monterrey by pottering around the house trying to make sure we move out successfully. By next weekend this will no longer be necessary, I will be able to enjoy my second-to-last weekend in this country by actually seeing some of it. Hopefully, without getting stuck in traffic for too long. [Cavin]

Sunday, December 03, 2006


After several quasi-grueling weeks sorting and stacking our possessions, we have found ourselves in a relocation lull. Because of a minor red tape snag that postponed the arrival of our movers until Wednesday, the three-day process now straddles a long weekend (yesterday's inauguration, over before noon, was a national holiday). So we have empty rooms, mostly-boxed rooms, and rooms which remain very much unchanged from the norm; we're spending this weekend tiptoeing around the house trying to keep these distinctions from aggregating. Also we are trying to get any last minute shopping out of the way on the off-chance that we buy something we decide to pack off to Vietnam or store for the future. Speaking of the future--as well as the recent, and more distant, past--Frida Kahlo's one hundredth birthday will be celebrated next year with the presentation of a trunk full of personal possessions discovered two years ago while renovating her México City home (also her México City museum). These were obviously packed as-is during the last days of her life (she died in '54), and the contents of the box still smell like her: oil paints, perfume, cigarettes.* If you’re in town, go to that show. The news from the relatively present: toward the end of November, players in the Oaxacan situation began lighting fires to historical buildings. Since then, the federal police have tightened the grip a little, kicking the APPO out of their final refuge--a university radio station that they've occupied and used for broadcast communications over several months now.* Also, the two police officers arrested in connection with the shooting death of US journalist Bradley Will on October 27th were released yesterday due to insufficient evidence to indict. Not to worry, they say in Spanish, the investigation is ongoing.* [Cavin]