Although I am not a Christian and Easter is not a big day for me, it is a HUGE day in Mexico. In fact, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a huge time for vacations, beach trips, and family gatherings. The price of fish, for example, around Lake Chapala doubles during this week to meet the demand. Children have two weeks off from school, and the Lakeside area becomes overwhelmed, not with gringos, but with Mexicans from Guadalajara who have viewed this area for many years as a weekend retreat for Mexicans.
Each commuity has their own customs around celebrating Easter. Ajijic has its own tradition which is known throughout Jalisco. In Ajijic, each Good Friday, a procession goes from the church in the center of town, up onto the mountainside, with characters including Roman soldiers, Christ and two theives, each carrying their own crosses, where the crucifixion is reenacted. Today they tie Christ onto the cross, but several years ago they would actually nail his palms to the cross. It is a great honor chosen to be chosen to be Christ, but it used to be a good deal more painful. At any rate, it is a remarkable ritual for which this town is very proud. Here are some photos taken from the online magazine Mexico-Connect:
The weather here is getting warmer, especially in the afternoons, and dust is becoming much more noticeable. Wash you car and an hour or two later, it is covered with a thin layer of "polvo" or dust. Some people cover their comuters during this time of year. You often see people, presumably with medical problems, wearing surgical paper masks. Perhaps partly it is because of the dust. There is, of course, very low humidity, so the heat is not oppressive. It cools off by evening and stays cool in the morning. But it is much warmer in the afternoons than usual. The temperature may only be 90 degrees F, but because the sun is much more intense so it seems much hotter.
I have, unfortunately had another experience with the medical system. Although my mysterious brain bleeding is recovering nicely, and I am having far fewer symptoms and reducing my medications, I was having some sever pains in my calf, so I returned to my (new) physician. He thought we should rule out a clot so sent me for an ultrasound. Well, it turns out, I have a deep vein thrombosis in my right calf. The treatment is complicated by my brain bleeding, which means they can't use anticoagulants, the therapy of choice. Since the clot is below the knee, though, it is not in a high risk for breaking off and causing a pulmonary thrombisis (clot in the lung) which could be very dangerous. They are monitoring the clot very closely to see if it changes or grows to become more dangerous. I can report that it finally seems to be improving and my pain is better. I have never had problems seeing either my physician or my cardiovascular specialist the same day if I had any concern. I have had top notch imaging evaluations, including CaT scans, MRI's and doppler ultrasound. So, hopefully, once this is over, I really will be better.
The really sad news is that Pixie lost her mom to a long and courageous battle with lung cancer this week. Pixie had gone to Maine in late January and stayed for five weeks to help her sister care for her mom, but she felt she had to return in Early March and help me with my problems. It's been a tough winter for Pixie. Here is a photo of her Mom in 2003 talking with Pixie:
Pixie will return to Maine for a few days next week to attend the memorial service. Unfortunately, I cannot fly now because of my medical problems, so Maggie and I will be staying with our friends Fred and Mardele Harland while Pixie is gone. It's been a difficult time for her entire family, and I wish them the best.
Sheldon James, a good friend of ours, found this excellent article which accurately discusses the narco-violence problem in Mexico. I continue to get emails from my friends north of the border who worry about this issue, and imagine us trapped in our house surrounded by bandidos, certainly not the case. Here is the article. It's from a blog entitled The Truth About Mexico: