29 July, 2005

In The Yucatán!

Hello, all!

I´m writing to you from the internet cafe en el centro de Izamal, Yucután, México! It is beautiful, although very hot and humid (of course) but the good news is that we have some air conditioning in our casa -- the Korean Mission Building in town. The food is local and incredible. The showers are cool and slow, but are refreshing at the end of each day...I realize it is a blessing to have them at all!

Our first day-trip was extremely hot, and our bus driver got lost, so we were on the road many hours, driving through the scrub-brush Yucatán countryside for far longer than anticipated. We had brought plenty of extra water, but some of our travellers got "sick" along the way in the bumpy bus. I felt the effects of that today, needing to lay down and rest for the morning, and take some pain meds for a tough headache. An Asian woman on the trip with us did some accupressure on my shoulders and head, and that helped tremendously, along with some Tiger Balm patches that I happened to bring along.

The people here are open, friendly, and nice. Almost none speak English, so we are getting good practice with our Spanish. Our 16.5 yods and I have gone on a ¨Photography Safari¨ trip with hubby's school (The Winston School) to offer photography classes for a group of local school kids. We will be setting up onsite printing, matting, and framing so that we all (local students, included) can have an exhibit on Saturday here in Izamal. We are leaving some 35 mm cameras here with the locals, plus new printers for them to keep and use.

To see some of our and our kids´ work (photos) you can check out updates at Project Izamal.

The site has had some trouble, but try clicking on "enlarge" and they should load. I know that Matt, the webmaster, has been working on it when he has the chance, but we are at the mercy of going to the internet shop(s) in town for (sometimes) unreliable service.

We have been enjoying the slow pace and timing of things, here. People really take time for each other and are out playing in their commmunity. That is SO refreshing. Siesta time is also very nice and so sensible, here. Stores open back up in the cool of the evening until very late. The whole town spends a lot of time outdoors, at night. Late into the night, you can be walking down the main street and be in the open front doors of the families in their homes. They are usually in their doorways, seated and visiting with neighbors and saying ¨buenas noches¨ to us!

I´ve made a contact here with a local who owns a famous shop, called ¨Hecho a Mano.¨ He is originally from Austin, but has lived in various places in Mexico since the Viet Nam war, and he looks the part, anyway. Hector Garza is his name, and he is quite a character! He used to be a roadie for The Grateful Dead, worked with Willie Nelson, knows former TX Gov. Anne Richards, has taken photos for the Bush's, and has known many famous artists and illustrator´s, etc., etc., etc. He supplies stores in Dallas and Austin, such as The Whole Earth Provision Store with hand-made goods (including some very nice hammocks) from different regions of Mexico made by the locals. Anyway, He wants me to restore some of his old ¨History of Mexico¨ type books, and some artbooks of famous artists that he has befriended over the decades. He also wants me to make some journal books for his store, out of various papers and materials (local or otherwise). I´m going to shop around and buy recycled and handmade papers, bark paper, and whatever I can find here to use. I am still processing this opportunity, so am a little in disbelief at the moment!!

We have already taken a day-trip to Merida and Uxmal (an ancient Mayan pyramid), and plan on some other day trips soon...to a beach that I can´t remember the name of at the moment, chichen Itzen, etc., this week and next. I am so thankful for this opportunity that Jonathan and I have been given.

When you think of us, remember to keep us all in your prayers for safe travels and good health. I'll try to post a picture or two, when I remember to bring our memory stick with us to this internet cafe. ¡Adiós! ¡Hasta luego!

Javamom, writing from the Yucatán Peninsula
Es loco, ¿no?

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