Wednesday, December 31, 2008

feliz prospero año

From us down here in the tropical warmth of the Mexican riviera ~ well, the "lower" riviera ~ to all of you, wherever you are and no matter how cold you are, we wish you a Happy New Year. The above photograph is of the last sunset of 2008. For my part, I truly hope the new year will be a good one for all. As I have noted before, we have no TV, no newspapers, no magazines. We get all our news from either the internet (national, international) or the grapevine (local). It's frequently difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, but as far as I can tell, on the home front not much has changed. Same old scandals, same disastrous news from the finacial world, earthquakes in Yellowstone, freezing weather everywhere, same old vitriolic rant from the right, same old flowery rhetoric from the left. Internationally, wars in the Middle East ~ not only "ours" but others' as well. It seems like that has been going on my entire life. Fire in Bangkok nightclub ~ we have friends traveling there and can only hope they were not in the affected nightclub. But here, it's like being in a bell jar; it's all so far away . . .

Tonight there will be celebrations all over town, up at the hotels and on the beach front and in the streets at random. There are quite a few people here, not just day-trippers. So it should be lively and LOUD. As usual, we will stay home, have a late dinner, listen to some music and turn in early. I have made albondigas, the delicious Mexican meat balls. We have a nice bottle of Bordeaux we found up in Colima. It will be a nice way to both "go out" and "stay in."

Tomorrow afternoon we will go to an egg nog party at friends' down in the colonia. They have built a beautiful big house on the ocean side and this will be my first chance to get in and snoop around. Full report later. With pictures.

Until then, I have pretty much recovered from my bout with the Cuyutlán catarrah. I am feeling much better although still subject to coughing fits. Whatever this is has spread through the entire town and has laid many low. Even the Patient has been flirting with it but I think he's going to escape the full blast. I have about 25 more pages in "The Nine." Good read. Next: either "Dreams from my Father" or "The 19th Wife." These are about the most pressing decisions I have to make these days.

21 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Friday, December 26, 2008

la gripa that stole Christmas

I was feeling a bit peckish on Christmas Eve ~ slight sore throat, slight runny nose ~ but soldiered on at Luly and Ed's annual party. I dragged out my once-a-year-at-Luly's-party sparkly skirt and made the best of it. Good group of people; nobody got drunk and jumped in the pool (as happened once before). Turkey was delicious, fellowship abounded. But round about 9:30 I was really feeling lousy. So we came home and I went straight to bed.

I started coughing in the night, and spent yesterday in bed, hacking and blowing my nose. Also reading (not a bad thing) and drinking flor de jamaica (another nice thing), a delicious punch-juice made from the petals of the hibiscus flower. We get it in little packets, like Crystal Light. Or at Mexican market where we buy the loose dried petals and brew it ourselves. Very refreshing flavor and a beautiful ruby red color. So I spent the entire Christmas Day doctoring myself, waiting for the coughing spasms to pass. We had no internet connection all day so I could not send out my pitiful story.

This morning I am somewhat improved. The dry cough has turned wet but at least it's not so painful. I think I'll actually get out of bed and pretend to live. I will lie low, though, particularly since I have a new book to read, Jeffrey Toobin's The Nine, a gift to the Patient from my sister. He is engrossed in something else at the time so now's my opportunity. I guess we'll go down to the beach for lunch again; nobody feels like cooking and besides, it's Friday so we should eat fish.

Weather holding fair and warm.

25 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

another perfect day

We have had amazingly good weather these past two weeks. Days are clear, warm, breezy. Nothing like the cold, foggy and overcast of last year. We strolled down to Dago's for lunch again today. Not many people there so Dago was happy to cook up some fish tacos and open beers. When things are slow here's where he hangs out.

This is a photo of the front of the line of puestos that line the beach. You stroll down, find an umbrella and chairs, order your drinks and watch the sea, sparkling in front of you. The waiters scurry back and forth bringing your goodies.

Although there were quite a few vacationers, not nearly as many as in the past. I think the recession is keeping potential travelers at home this Christmas. The parking around the hotels is almost empty. Not a good sign for the businesses that depend on the holidays (Christmas and Easter) for their big yearly take. I have inquired at a couple of the hotels; the answer is the same. No reservations. Perhaps tomorrow the crowds will come in, although most may be day-trippers. Fernando is working at Dago's between Christmas and New Year's in anticipation of at least some action. I am volunteering to go eat some of his heavenly shrimp to do my part.

After lunch we walked the length of the malecon to check out the other puestos; same story. Not much action. Then we walked down the "new" main street. By new I mean the surfacing. For as long as we've been coming here the main street has been paved with cobblestone. Hard on the car but fitting for this village. Then suddenly someone decided the main drag needed to be "upgraded." Now it's cement. It looks terrible; sterile and stark. All the lovely trees shading the street were cut down. It looks positively bald. We walked by the Presidencia, the little city hall-cum- police station. As Fernando would say, "Aqui in Mexico . . ." then fill in the blank. So aqui in Mexico there is no such thing as separation of church and state, as you can see by this creche outside the city hall.

No baby yet; they will put the Christ child in the manger tomorrow night after midnight mass. In fact, everyone in town who has a display will put the baby in place.

Tomorrow night is the Christmas Eve party at Luly and Ed's. It's always a great bash; you get to meet and greet everyone who's in town, all in one place at one time. Saves wear and tear.

28 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Monday, December 22, 2008

dressing up for Christmas

I know you can't tell, but those lights strung along the front balcony are actually little pink flamingos. I usually don't do lights in the front ~ only up on the 3rd floor in the "party pavilion," but Gina gave these to me in keeping with other flamingos we have planted around the garden. I strung together some extension cordsl, draped them around the pillars and hurricanes, and there they are, a cheerful greeting for the season. Because of the upstairs lights people driving by do slow down; they think it's a night club or a lap dancing establishment. No, just our humble beach shack.

Tiangues this morning, followed by bean tacos and Negro Modelo, followed by a long nap. Perfect Monday.

Readers' alert: Ian McEwan's old novel, The Innocent. I had never heard of this one. Dread-full. He does psychological tension better than anyone.

29 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Sunday, December 21, 2008

winter solstice at the beach

This is NOT the beach; it is Rochester, New York. Here, the first day of winter dawned clear, bright and beautiful. It stayed that way until about 3 o'clock when it began to cloud up and get very muggy. Fortunately I got my laundry done and hung out before the moisture crept back into the atmosphere. Now, at 7 PM, it is very humid and hot. Unfortunately our ceiling fans are not working; fans in the living room and our bedroom have been taken down for eventual (after Christmas) replacement. There is only a slight breeze to keep us cool and semi-dry. It's been so warm that I packed away the jersey sheets ~ we used them all season last year ~ and am opting for cotton only. But tomorrow is another day and, as we say here, each day is different, at least as far as the weather goes.

Tomorrow is tiangues, and I think the shopping group will stop at La Jacaranda for bean tacos and beer, round about 11 AM. A favorite tradition.

30 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Saturday, December 20, 2008

writer's blocks
I'm not sure why this happens ~ I just can't seem to concentrate on getting anything written here. I have thought about it; lots has happened. But are you really interested? Or am I really interested in writing about it? I guess not. However, I am responding to a couple of inquiries ~ "Is your computer broken?" and "Is everything OK?" No, my computer is not broken; in fact, I now have internet at home (thank you Jordan Nelson) and yes, everything is fine. So here's a brief recap of life in our little Mexican village, 2500 miles away from "home."

Wednesday Fernando almost finished with painting the living room. The kitchen, which he finished on Tuesday, looked awfully pink at first, but once the paint dried it, too, had a lovely candlelight glow.

He also finished the living room, about which I had the same reaction: Yikes! Too pink! But after a couple of days of drying and seasoning, it looks lovely. We have finally unpacked all our books and other goodies that remained sealed up all last season because of the floor work. Looks quite civilized.

Also on Wednesday, Neighbor Nelson's son came over to figure out why the WiFi set up wasn't working. He got everything on his end set up just fine; we couldn't receive the signal. Turns out a cable was not plugged in securely. Once that was take care of, the world was ours!

And to top it off on Wednesday, the electrician showed up to fix several things that were not working; lights in our bathroom, outside the bedroom, half-bath off the terazzo (all on the same circuit), light on the front balcony, two other lights on the upstairs breezeway. He was here about 3 hours, along with his gorgeous son, and charged us 250 pesos ($20 at the current rate) and will be back after the first of January to install two new fans and to change the chains that hold the various hanging outdoor lamps. This gentleman, Gustavo by name (his son is Gustavo Numero Dos) speaks a little English, has a degree in Electrical Engineering, is retired and does this sort of as a hobby. What a find! We need to get everything done before he is discovered by the other gringos who have been relying on Elias, who is good but terminally unavailable.

Thursday morning Fernando arrived early to finish painting the living room and start on the bedroom. We decided to take care of a raft of errands in Tecoman and Colima. First stop: Bancomer in Tecoman to pay our feidecomisario, the bank trust that allows us to live here. Every year we do this we run into a bank employee who has never done this before. Bingo again this time. This bank now has computer networking with all branches; the one in Puerto Vallerta takes care of these trusts. We never did figure out what the hang-up was. But two hours-plus later we emerged from the bank and decided to do only one more thing and then go home and recuperate from the experience. We stopped at the paint store to try again for a color for the exterior of the house. The first one I chose was the color of a baby's diaper who had been fed too much spinach. The second color I tried is much better, more of a tan than a khaki. I am contemplating painting all "exterior-exterior" walls a darker color; the "interior-exterior" walls the "Sahara Tan" paint I chose. This may not make any sense to you readers and it's too difficult to explain. You'll just have to come down and see for yourselves.

By the time we got home Fernando had slapped one coat on the bedroom. I was horrified when I saw the color; it looked like every seedy Mexican motel room I'd ever stayed in. Plus he ran out of paint so we had to go back into Tecoman and buy one more litre of paint. But by the time he had finished and it had seasoned for a few hours it looks lovely; sort of like being in a recently cleaned aquarium.

Yesterday, Friday, we went up to Colima to do what we could not do on Wednesday. We went to Office Depot and bought a good desk chair on wheels; we had been using a plastic chair that was much too low and was giving me an aching shoulder. (Perhaps that is part of my writer's block?) Then we picked up some things we had dropped off to be framed; they did a good job on 3 of the 6 things. The other three have to be taken back after the 1st for reworking. Then to the local Wal-Mart for some heavy-duty shopping, then home. And last night was the first night of La Posada. The local kids came by about 7 PM, serenaded us, got their donation, and moved off.

The younger children ~ boys and girls ~ from the village sing the request from Joseph for a room for his wife, "soon to be delivered." The older girls play the "innkeepers," a hard-boiled lot who tell Mary and Joseph to move on. (The little girl in profile is Rosie, Fernando and Chuy's daughter.) They collect money for a Christmas party on January 6 for all the kids. I can remember vividly the posada when I was in boarding school. The Spanish Club put it on a few nights before we were all to go home for Christmas vacation. Someone brought a burro to school and "Mary" would sit side-saddle as the hapless animal was led from door to door . Joseph would knock on various doors and they would be opened by students singing their assigned parts. It is not until the third knock that they are given shelter, and this happened at the chapel. All those in the procession would be carrying candles, and as the group snaked around the quad it was really very beautiful.

Which brings us to Saturday. We worked at getting things in order, listened to the opera, Thais" by Massenet with Rene Flemming and Thomas Hampon. Absolutely splendid! Next week is "The Magic Flute," don't miss it. Then off to Jack's for a swim ~ full immersion this time. Only 82º so a bit invigorating.

As so here we are at a lovely Saturday evening. Cecilia Bartolli is on the stereo, the breeze is soft and warm, dinner is going to be a thawed version of something I made last week ~ birria, I think. Basically all is right with the world. The painting is done, the weather is gorgeous, Obama won the election. What more could I ask for?

31 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the first day of painting

I am standing on the porch of friend Marie's trying to access the WiFi signal from Neighbor Nelson's across the street. We still don't it in our house. But perhaps tomorrow . . .

Fernando arrived early this morning ready to paint.

He will be finished with the kitchen today and start on the sala tomorrow. I am very happy with the color; it is very soft and pretty and will look lovely in the lamplight.

35 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Monday, December 15, 2008

the prettiest virgin in town

This photo really doesn't do her justice. She is studded with tiny lights that flash and sparkle in the dark, but I love the bright colors. She adorns the wall of our friends' house.

We still don't have internet connection ~ annoying and frustrating but then, this is the beach. Help may be on the way if we decide to get our own hook-up instead of tagging on to other's system. I have to investigate this idea. Unfortunately it does involved dealing with Telmex® ~ it makes dealing with ATT seem like calling a personal shopper. I don't know who invented the Telmex® bureaucracy but they have an evil streak.

Weather the past few days reminds me of why I come here; balmy, breezy, about 75º during the day with cool nights, perfect for sleeping. Actually the days are OK for sleeping, too. Reading an excellent book ~ The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett. Lots more stacked up awaiting my attention.

Fernando will show up tomorrow morning to begin the interior patch-and-paint job. La cosine, la sala, el quarto. Then he'll paint the entire exterior after New Year's. I'm still taking colors under advisement, but I'm thinking of a warm nutmeg. I'm tired of the "salmon" shade. I've bought a litre of one color to try out but I think it's too dark. I'll go back to the store and try another color.

These colors, however, are just perfect.

36 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Friday, December 12, 2008

the virgin’s day

Every one should have one, don’t you think? For the Virgin of Guadalupe today marks the end of her 12-day festival. Beginning on December first, the tropical solitude of every morning, noon and evening is perforated by loud firecrackers and clanging church bells. These salutos are last about 3 minutes, but believe me, at 5 AM it seems like an hour. I have taken a few snaps of various altars set up in her honor which I will post tomorrow. As for what’s on the calendar for her tonight, there will be a big, noisy fiesta in the center of town that will include a parade, a castillo (a tall pole festooned with various types of fireworks. Someone lights the bottom wick and the explosions work up the pole until it gets to the top when all hell breaks loose), mariachis, random fireworks, and, my least favorite thing, los torros. These are boys who run through the crown wearing bulls’ heads with horns that shoot off firecrackers and other incendiaries. Last year Jack’s shirt caught on fire. All of this begins at 9 PM and I am not sure I will go, partly because it won’t really start until about 11 and partly because it is not something I enjoy. Harrumph!

Tonight is also the full moon. We have had a gloriously clear day ~ I even went into the pool, now 84º ~ so we are hoping for a clear night for the moonrise. Last night was clouds but made for a stunning sunset.

We may get internet connection in our house tomorrow. The problems seems to be an ethernet cable in Neighbor Nelson's house that needs a new connector on the end. We found a place in Tecoman that will either replace the connector or make us a cable to order. Here's the thing about dealing with Mexicans; they can fix ANYTHING.

40 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

la biblioteca

Five years ago the gringas in town decided we needed a library. We all had lots of books to share, we had a professional librarian among our midst, and we managed to find the space to do it. Since that time the library has had a couple of iterations, but we are back in the space we enjoyed two years ago thanks to the swift attention of one of our members who saw the opportunity to reclaim it. This morning, eight of us showed up to clean up and re-shelve over 1800 books.

We still have some cleaning to do but basically it is looking really good. With a couple more chairs around the table it will be perfect for those who want to drop in, read magazines or books, chat, socialize, etc. Many people have invested time and treasure in making this happen. In a week the Mayor of Armeria and the woman who is in charge of all libraries in our area will be dropping in for a little reception. Maybe if we have all this "official" sanction and approval we won't have to worry about pulling up stakes again . . . until the next election. At that time we'll get a whole new crowd who may (or may not) support the idea. That's what happened the last time. When our "friends" got booted out of office we got booted out of the library space.

Tomorrow is a trip up to Colima to do errands; browsing at the two viveros along the highway for new plants, shopping for more staples, looking for a comfortable desk chair, taking some things to a frame shop that does a bang up job for not very much money. We will undoubtedly lunch at our favorite crepe place, Kronos. Then if I am still conscious after all that, the first of the season's Mexican Domino games. Full day ahead.

42 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Monday, December 08, 2008

A wasted Sunday

I awoke early Sunday morning with a raging blood sugar and then spent the entire day trying to get it down somewhere near normal. As a result I didn’t leave the house. Instead I dozed, read back issues of the New Yorker I had brought down with me, dozed some morek, tested my blood, read, dozed, tested, etc. Finally, around 6 PM things clicked. It being Sunday, the Patient went uptown to buy the usual tacitos for dinner. Alas, none of the wagons was in evidence. This is undoubtedly because our village has decided to (gasp!) pave the main street and right now the area around the jardin is nothing but a pile of rubble. The paving from the seafront to the presidencia is completed; from there to the railroad tracks is either under construction or will be soon. Now, instead of the charm of cobblestones we have a charmless slab of concrete. And in order to do this horrid thing they have removed all the trees that lined the street, giving shade and beauty to the town. And believe me, it needs all the beauty it can get. It now looks like a fake “seedy Mexican village” stage set; blank, sterile fronts in a blank, sterile street. Jack had told me about it but it looks far worse than even he could describe. All that by way of an explanation of why we couldn’t get dinner from the taco wagons. Fortunately the Patient had made some delicious bean soup earlier in the day and that was dinner.

Today was my first tiangues of the season. AWalking through the usual stalls, greeting the old vendors, it’s as though I had never left. The begetable man asked when I got back, how long I was staying, and charged me 25 pesos (about $1.75) for my week’s worth of produce, not including the big avocados which I bought from a different vendor and paid 35¢ each for.

I am still trying to locate stuff I brought down~ AA batteries, some meds, the CDs (although I loaded most of them onto the iPod so who knows? I may have decided to leave them home. It’s all such a blur . . .). I finally located my shorts, packed away and left here, and some T-shirts. Add sandals and a hat and that’s how it goes here at the beach.

Tomorrow morning all the local gringos are being asked to show up at the Biblioteca Las Palmas to reshelve all our books. A couple of years ago we got booted out of our space in the local library and were consigned to a tiny space in the foyer. Since then, however, the use of our original space has been abandoned and we have been invited back. The shelves have all been moved back= and the books moved into the room but all in a jumble. So if you know you’re a-B-C’s, come on down and help us reclaim our library.

Neighbor Nelson’s son arrived today so I may have internet at home by the end of the week.

43 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Saturday, December 06, 2008


The first sight of the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean.
The first sight of my house. Brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. Yes, I am a tender little one.
The first scorpion, found in the garage. Huge. A “Bambi Meets Godzilla” scene; the Patient played the Godzilla role.
First sighting of Fernando and Chuy. Both looking splendid. They had set up the house for us. Bed made, sofa put together, furniture all arranged. After all these years they know where everything belongs.
The first Indio of the season, drunk on Jack’s terrazzo in the late afternoon on Thursday.
The first night in the house with the soft, warm breeze rustling the palms.
The first morning, while it was still dark, listening to the surf pounding on the beach just a block away.
The first trip to the fish market in Armeria. $2.50 for two big filetes for last night’s dinner.
The first trip to La Bodega in Tecoman for the basics to stock the house; tequila, rum, wine, salsa casera, olive oil, vinegar, dish soap. The rest we can live without for a few days until we take our first trip up to Colima.
First avocado, selling for 20¢ each, to go with the first bag of tostadas. Delicious.

The trip down was absolutely without incident ~ except perhaps for the momentary pause at the border so the agent could look at the box of pillows.

Best sight between Cuidad Jiminez and Zacatecas, besides the glorious sun rise: the farmer tilling his field behind a horse-drawn plow churning up the rich, dark river bottom soil. In the next field was another farmer leading a horse-drawn cart piled high with dried corn stalks. Five hundred yards from these bucolic sights was a big billboard advertising the glories of high speed internet via Telmex. You gotta love this place.

The hotel in Zacatecas was all tarted up with Christmas decorations. We had a very comfy room, ate dinner early and slept soundly, despite the trains roaring past in the night. We were up and out by 6 AM and had an easy drive. This route is one of two main "highways" between mid-country and Guadalajara. It is a 2-lane truck route, among other thingsm with speed limits betrween 30 and 50 MPH. It goes over and through two mountain passes. If you happen to get behind a slow-moving heavy-laden truck you can get stuck for hours. But the traffic was very light and we had no slow-downs. We made it to Guadalajara by 11:30 and rolled up to our front door at 2 PM. Exhausted, yes of course. Five long days of driving will do that. We don't have to even contemplate that again for five months.

Most of the usual suspects have returned or will be here within the next 10 days. It's good to be back.

Today is the 20th birthday of our adored grandson, Andrew. Feliz Cumpleaños, chico!

44 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Friday, December 05, 2008


We're here. We're safe. We're happy. We have no internet so I am writing on borrowed time. Actually, I am paying for it. More details tomorrow.

45 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

running on battery

I am sitting in the dining room at Las Palmas in Cuidad Jiminez, a seedy Mexican hotel we love. This year we got cuarto No. 9 that overlooks the filthy pool. This is a very happening spot in the summer however, and right now there is a lot of scraping and painting and repairing going on. To say nothing of the Christmas lights and blowe-up Santa decorations. They have WiFi here in the dining room, and here alone, so I am using the battery on the LapMac, and have no idea how long it will last. I'll get caught up as much as I can.

Left El Paso at 6:30, made it to the 30-mile check in 45 minutes. It took no more than 30 minutes to get the visas and car permit. There was no immigration check here, just military. We of course thought we'd aced it but, alas, 10 miles on further was the aduana station. And we hit the red light. We pulled over as directed and an agent approached the car, pulling on his rubber gloves. I had visions of our having to unpack the entire car . . . and then repack it. He asked us to open the trunk and peered inside. He looked at one box which had the word PILLOWS on it. "Pillows?" he asked. "Yes." "OK, gracias." That was it. I guess the idea of going through all that stuff was just too daunting at that early hour. So we were off the hook and off and running.

This is a very beautiful drive down the middle spine of Mexico, between the Sierra Madres Occidente and Orientale. Almost no traffic, roads getting better all the time ~ there is a statewide effort in Chihuahua called Ruta 2010 that is a massive public works project to resurface all the major roads. It makes for some slow-downs, but where it is finished it's a real pleasure to drive.

We got to the hotel at 2:30, unpacked, had a bite to eat and downed the first of a season's-worth of Mexican beer, and are now in deep relax mode. We have an early start tomorrow to make it to Zacatecas by mid-afternoon. That's a stretch that has many miles of 2-lane road and lots of trucks. Not fun.

It's good to be back in the land of Pemex gas stations that have full service and really nice bathrooms.

48 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error

Monday, December 01, 2008

they grow 'em BIG in New Mexico

New Mexico State University is the home of the Road Runners. Nothing would do but they put up this HUGE statue of one of these little fellows. As you're tooling down the freeway it makes for an arresting sight. Likewise, this announcement in the same Rest Stop. Consider yourself as having been warned.

We left San Diego yesterday morning at 6 AM and arrived in Tucson at 1:30. Of course our room wasn't ready so we sat in the car, listened to music, read and dozed. Finally we could get in, unpacked, then went out for some last minute shopping. A couple of years ago we found a Trader Joe's just up the street from the hotel; a good place to know about as you stock up on travel nibbles. Had dinner ~ our room has a kitchen ~ and went to bed early. At 12:45 AM the fire alarm went off in the hotel. Sleepy, groggy guests poured out into the cold night. Nobody saw or smelled any smoke, but the alarms were screaming and lights were flashing into the dark. After 15 minutes a big fire truck showed up, checked the place out, turned off the alarms and we all filed back into our rooms. About 5 minutes later the alarms went off again, but this time for only 2 or 3 seconds. So back to bed, back to sleep. At 3:30 AM it started all over again. Alarms blaring, lights flashing. However, it was all over very quickly this time, in perhaps 30 seconds. I didn't even have time to get my shoes on. All quiet the rest of the night.

We were on the road to El Paso by 7 AM. This is a hard drive because the road is straight, the landscape barren, and there is very little traffic until just on the outskirts of the city. It's easy to doze off. But the mountains are spectacular and the sky was a bright, cloudless blue. Again we arrived at the hotel early and had to kill 1 1/2 hours. We were on a great crossword/Sudoku paperback hunt for Jack and, on the third try (CostCo and Walgreens came up empty) we found some at Target. These will keep him happy for a few weeks.

I am about to prop myself up on the bed, read today's NY Times and do the puzzle. It is probably the last one I'll get for 5 months unless we can find a Starbucks on the way to the border tomorrow morning. We'll finish off the good turkey soup for dinner, watch the news ~ esp. the president-elect's morning news conference which we could not get on radio as we were in some sort of Arizona-New Mexico radio frequency dead zone at the time. Then it will lights out early. We'll be on the road by 6:30, across the border by 7:00, down to the 30-mile immigration check by 8 AM and, if the gods are with us, on the road to Chihuahua by 9. We are currently on Mountain Time; change to Central Time comes in Cuidad Jiminez. We think it's 2:30 when we get there; it's acually 3:30 and time for the first Mexican beer of the season. I doubt there will be any more internet until Cuyutlán, unless by some miracle the hotel in Zacatecas has fixed it's dark internet cubby and something actually works this time. You never know.

49 days until 1/20/2009: End of an Error