Hello from Mexico City (still)!
We are still here, tooling around the city...well, I'm tooling around. Rolene has a lot of work to do as far as planning our connections, sending umpteen emails, trying to call people on Skype, etc. I can only help so much with that stuff so I've been hanging out and visiting with friends here in el DF (this is what Mexico City is called in Mexico- el Distrito Federal).
I saw Betty on Sunday, for the first time since I lived here two years ago, and it was like no time had passed at all (except for the fact that we had new stories for each other, like how she has a new baby and is getting married in May!). I've been working hard on my Spanish so it was really fun and helpful to play Scrabble in Spanish with her. I learned a bunch of new words, some helpful (cerro is hill, as opposed to montaña) and some that I'm not sure I'll use on a daily basis (pato is duck, which is a word I rarely use in English so I wonder if it will come in handy).
Yesterday I had a great lunch with Rolene, her neice Rachel (who walked with her for 6 weeks last summer and is now volunteering at the Casa), and Christel, my friend and the Quaker in residence here at the Casa. Rachel was talking about her time on the walk and I asked her about how is was for her to have very little Spanish when she arrived and she reminded me about how generous and forgiving locals are with travelers who attempt to speak Spanish. We commiserated about how un-funny we are in Spanish (as opposed to how hilarious we are in English...) because humor is so nuanced. She gave me a good tip- at any point in a conversation she says "Como un burro" ("like a donkey") and whether it makes sense or not, people crack up. I may use this tactic if I get desperate.
Yesterday was a good day. Rolene and I planned our itinerary for the next month by looking at a map of Guatemala and figuring out how far we want to go each day and which towns we want to stay in. Most of it is fairly flexible. We have to go to one place called Quetzaltenango to get insurance for the support vehicle, we want to hit Antigua, and we'll spend a few days in Chicquimula, where there's a small pocket of Quakers. Other than that we are pretty fexible, which is nice because we have the freedom to hear about a cool town or some beautiful nature place and take a detour. I like having a goal/plan but not having to be too strict about how we get there.
Later in the evening I got to hang out with my friend John, from Ireland. He was a long term guest at the Casa when I was working here and is now in school in el DF, working on a Masters to become a therapist. We had a great time, talking talking talking (with some eating and drinking mixed in there) for about 7 hours. One place we went was a cool restaurant/bar in Colonia Roma (the Colonias are like neighborhoods) where we had mezcal reposado, which a relative of tequilla and mezcal zarzamora, which was blackberry flavored. Delicioso!
It is wonderful to be back in el DF and at the Casa, with it's wacky cast of characters. I feel very at home here and, except for the fact that I can't wait to start this amazing walk adventure, could easily stay for many more days. However, the pollution is pretty bad right now. When I've been here in the past the air was more clear because it was right after the rainy season. My throat hurts most of the time, which is another reason I'm looking forward to starting off on the walk.
We leave for Oaxaca tomorrow morning and will be on a bus for about 7 hours . Rolene has a meeting on Thursday with Gustavo Esteva, the founder of la Universidad de la Tierra in Oaxaca. He is working with Rolene to plan a conference for Mexican environmentalists, which will go on March 19-23. Rolene and I will be somewhere in Nicaragua by then so we'll come back up to Oaxaca for that. We will be in Oaxaca City, which is another 7 hours from the coast, so I don't think I'll get to eat fish tacos...but I'll have some delicious molé so I think I'll survive. I hope to write again in the next few days. Abrazos a todos!