|Brother Doug - our first guest!|
Here we are again. Came in on the flight from Houston this time. I've been trying out all the travel options for getting here and back. A plane full of young teenaged girls apparently returning from a Justin Bieber concert, clutching stuffed toys and copies of the 16-year-old Canadian's insipid new biography.
Brother Doug arrived a couple of days earlier, catching the bus from Cancun. First time in Merida, first time in Mexico. My first guest. He spent a couple of nights getting eaten by mosquitoes in a nice hotel before I arrived. Sunday night was the first night staying over in the house for both of us.
Last trip I rented a room elsewhere because I didn't know if the electricity and plumbing worked, and a proper lock was needed on the front entrance gate. I wasn't sure if the house was habitable, but by the time I left it definitely seemed to be so. But Sunday night we both had doubts about whether it was fit for even the most rudimentary kind of habitation.
The house was damp and sour-smelling. This was in part because the plumbing for the kitchen sink was leaking. We had water all over the floor (again). I'll be glad when that plumbing's replaced. The dampness was probably also due to the heavy rains seeping through the roof that needs repair. It hasn't had the chance to dry out with the house all closed up. Cracks showed where I hadn't noticed them before. All the rooms seemed smaller.
Tired, jangled, having pissed off the airport taxi driver by asking him to drive an extra 10 blocks, everything seemed wrong. I couldn't sleep. Every sound was frightening. What were the neighbors' dogs barking at all night? It was one of those occasional what-the-hell-have-I done kind of moments.
One good thing: there were no mosquitos in our house the first night we were here. I guess they figured out there hadn't been a meal in the place for going on two years. It didn't take them long to notice fresh prey. In the morning we opened the windows and back door to air and dry out the house. Immediately they followed our carbon-dioxide vapour trails inside. Later, whenever we disturbed any of our papers or clothes, they rose in little clouds from their hiding spots.
Monday morning started better, with the shower water in the hideous bathroom nicely heated by the new stationary gas tank, and tasty, cheap panuchos and fresh juice at the market stands down the street. Some challenges regarding internet and bank machines commanded much of the day's attention. But when we got home the house felt different, dry and fresher.
Tonight (after an inaugural trip to the new, nearby mall for some basics like towels and anti-mosquito artillery) we just sat around on the bare floor, talking reading, eating cheese and crackers and learning how to do things on computers when you don't have internet. And everything seemed just fine with this place.