Saturday, November 6, 2010

El Dia de los Muertos, Once Again

Well, it’s that time of year again, and instead of watching  the leaves change, we see colorful altars pop up around the village, in the graveyards, and in a huge display on Calle Cinco de Mayo in Chapala.  It’s El Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, of course, Mexico’s colorful, celebratory, sometimes a bit irreverent, celebration of those souls who are no longer here but live on in the memory of those who remain behind.  As long as there  people who remember you, the tradition goes, you are still able to connect back to the living world, especially on this day. 

We enjoyed our annual Day of the Dead service at our UU fellowship.  We set up an altar of our own, and we all bring photos of friends and loved ones who have died and we remember them during the service.  Here is a photo of our altar this year.  In the right front, you can see a photo of our ex-sister-in-law, Janine, who died suddenly several weeks ago of a brain aneurysm. I've also included a photo  of our UU choir singing during the service.  Can you identify Pixie?

Although I was alive and well this week, I didn’t feel so alive as I was suffering from a common Mexican ailment: the infamous amoeba!  In developing countries like Mexico, where sanitation is not up to US standards, it is common for people to get infected with various parasites.  I didn’t go to the doctor because I felt as though I had some simple gastritis; my stomach hurt whenever I ate, but then it would feel better.  I had thought an amoeba would have symptoms comparable to “Montezuma’s revenge or something.  At any rate, I finally went to the doctor.  Luckily, Mexican doctors are very used to diagnosing this and he put me on a wonderful medicine to take care of the problem.   So now, I’ve parted with my little friends and am back in good health.  Over the last ten days, I lost 9 pounds though, because I had no appetite and couldn’t even tolerate much food.  I’ve gained back three in the last few days!

Our new next door neighbors, Wayne and Claudette, are having some work done on their house,  They’ve had a new pool built, and new den added on, and much redecorating inside.  They recently had Pixie and I over for an Asian vegetarian dinner.  Wayne is an accomplished Asian cook, so we were treated to a spectacular dinner.  Here are some photos:

Here is Wayne in his kitchen:

Here is Claudette standing in her new room, still under construction.  Since their house is identical in layout to our house, this room is where the left side of our terrace is.  Below are two more photos which show how their back yard is now very different from ours.  You can see both the pool and their new room: The photo on the left is taken from the back, towards the house; the photo on the right is from the house out toward the palm trees in the back .

Well, we had some excitement in Ajijic a week or so ago.  An American fugitive convicted of large-scale corporate fraud, Rebecca “Kitty” Parnell, was arrested by Mexican authorities and extradited to the US to serve a 25 year prison sentence.  She was a member of our Ajijic Writers’ Group and a popular lakeside resident.  Friends had absolutely no idea she was a wanted criminal who had been featured on America’s Most Wanted.  I have no idea about the details of her crime nor how she was identified and caught here.  There have been other American fugitives seeking escape here, who have also been caught.  I guess if you are running form the law, Mexico is a reasonable destination.  Here is her photo as it appeared in this week’s Guadalajara Reporter:

Finally, here is a photo of Chuy being very naughty.  He apparently grabbed the clothespin bag and proceeded to dump out all the clothespins.  I caught him red-handed! 

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