Posted from Puebla, Puebla, Mexico.
The Best Laid Plans….
Here’s a little update for everyone wondering what these two now-stationary globe-trekkers are up to.
Erik had a wonderfully productive few days at HQ accomplishing many Apollo- and Maggi-related chores with the help of Joe’s parents. Such tasks involved a lot of washing and scrubbing but also a little repairing. The outsides of Maggi and Apollo are sparkling again, with a little added help from a tar and bug cleaner, after the 2200-mile journey from Puebla to HQ. Everything inside of Maggi was washed and vacuumed, and some heavy duty hinges and clasps were installed inside of Apollo to help repair the damage done by those doofus checkpoint guards in Tampico.
Erik even got to enjoy one of this favorite pastimes: baking bread. And there is a rumor that cocktails (another favorite pastime) may have been involved during the weekend. Joe’s parents fed Erik well, although at some point there was talk of going out to a Mexican restaurant. That plan never materialized.
Unfortunately, the situation at the V.A. is pretty much what we were expecting. After spending 45 minutes on the phone explaining the entire ankle story to a very nice nurse at the V.A. hospital in Minneapolis, Erik was told that he should receive a call and a letter with a new appointment scheduled within the next six weeks. Since that isn’t going to fly with Erik, he hobbled himself into the V.A. on Wednesday to speed the process up. The good news is that x-rays show that there are no pieces floating around his ankle and in fact the x-rays look not too different from ones taken over 10 years ago. The bad news is that it’s still going to be awhile before he is able to be seen by the orthopedic surgery team. But now he is up in northern Minnesota, staying with his parents (who are very excited to have him there) on their farm and spending time baking bread, mowing the lawn, and watching adorable, recently born calves.
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Pepe meanwhile has been learning how to live day-to-day without letting expected changes catch him off guard anymore, which is challenging for someone who was used to being in very planned control (in his work). On June 1 Pepe “moved in” with a friend in Puebla, who invited him to stay as long as his needed considering the situation that had arisen with Erik returning to the U.S. (Pepe was thinking about a month, which was agreed to by his friend.) On the evening of Day 11, this friend told Pepe that he was having personal issues (it was nothing Pepe did) and that Pepe needed to find another place to live. Pepe was already looking for a way to get out sooner (because of the really cloudy energy in this friend’s house), but not three weeks sooner. So Pepe has extended his already-planned trip to Mexico City (to see two friends from Minnesota who are separately and coincidentally going to be there the same week) at the end of the month from three to six days, and started looking for hostels in Puebla.
Three days later Pepe’s friend told him that he didn’t have to move out anymore. But in the meantime Pepe had already made a reservation at a hostel in the historic city center for the weekend, if nothing else than to give his friend the weekend alone in his own house. But, even better, Pepe got to spend the weekend downtown, walking around visiting churches and museums, hearing free concerts in the park, and eating all sorts of fun foods! (A Puebla food post is forthcoming.) Monday he will return back to his friend’s place and see if it will work for him to stay for the week.
As it is, the neighborhood where Pepe’s friend lives isn’t very interesting - actually, it’s pretty lame. But, it just to happens to be only a few blocks from “the smallest volcano in the world.” With a height of 13 meters, an external base diameter of 23 meters, and an internal diameter of 8 meters, it was worth the 10 pesos (75 cents) Pepe plunked down to venture inside. Its name, Cuexcomotl, is from the Nahuatl for “mud pot.” It was born from the last volcanic eruption of the Popocatepetl volcano in 1064 as a secondary crater. After descending the narrow, winding staircase, there is a nicely finished floor for viewing the tunnels – one of which contains an underground stream.
Although Pepe’s situation alone in Mexico has become a little less predictable than expected, he is handling it to the best of his ability. In a few short weeks (31 days to be exact, but who’s counting?) he will be once again be living in Oaxaca and the drama should hopefully subside. (n.b.: Although the city of Oaxaca is, of course, in the state of Oaxaca, it was not effected but Hurricane Carlotta.)
Don’t forget to contact Erik directly if you have time to see him in Minnesota.
Please stay in touch! And click here to enjoy some more photos from Puebla, Mexico…