Monday, July 19, 2010
From Mazunte, we headed to the lovely little town of San Cristobal in the Chiapas highlands. We arrived about a week or so after my little accident in the ocean. My shoulder was still screwy, so one of the first things we did was head over to a doctor to have it looked at. After several doctor visits over the next week or so, I got an X-ray and discovered that I had dislocated my clavicle at the shoulder. I was given a sling (fun to wear with 90 degree heat and infinite humidity!), some muscle relaxants, and told not to move it for three or four weeks. So now after all is said and done –- it doesn’t hurt anymore but is still tender on occasion; I seem to have full range of movement but have been careful not to stress it with too much weight, and so am not sure (and am a bit nervous to try) whether I could do push-ups or yoga; and my clavicle moves up and down a bit underneath the skin depending on how I use it, which is unfortunate but not unexpected. There seems to be a relatively simple surgery where they can sew the clavicle back into place with a bit of cat gut, and I might think about that at some point especially since I should be able to get a pretty decent deal on such a surgery here in Guatemala or elsewhere in Central America. But at the moment I can sling my backpack around, I’m favour the injured shoulder a bit to limit any discomfort, and it gives me an excuse not to do any push-ups or yoga (did I mention a certain amount of prevalent laziness?). So maybe I’ll look into the surgery at some point, but I’m just seeing how things go and whether this might just be “one of those things” that I’ll deal with indefinitely.
For anyone else who winds up with a non-fracture shoulder injury (dislocated collarbones seem to be a somewhat common problem for skiers, especially) –- I’ve been told that the shoulder should be immediately immobilized using a sling and strap around the chest, for several weeks or as your doctor directs. For a dislocated shoulder, a doctor should be able to pop it back into place; for a dislocated clavicle, the surrounding muscles should be strong enough to pull it back into place as long as you don’t keep jostling it around and continuously stress the injured site. The first week I was injured I did not do this, and actually thought it might be a good idea to try and exercise my shoulder a bit each day –- I can’t remember my exact rationale at the time, but for some reason that seemed like a good idea to me. Upon additional information it turned out to be the exact wrong thing to do, and so please don’t make the same mistake if you somehow manage to catapult yourself into a solid, immovable object.
Anyhow, when we first got to San Cristobal, we stayed with an acquaintance of Petra’s from back when she lived in an artist squat in Paris. (Have I mentioned recently how totally cool Petra is?) Cisco is a photographer and artist, and who runs the Sol y Luna Bed and Breakfast out of his home (US $50-70, tv, wifi, external bathroom, and breakfast included if you actually pay to stay there). As you can see, there would have been no way we could have afforded to stay there on our own, so thanks Cisco for providing us with such a treat! The rooms and rest of the house were gorgeous, and although a bit damp there was a tiny workable fireplace that dried everything out and warmed it nicely. We met the other guest staying there, Lara, a mid-wife from northern California who was just fabulously interesting and fun, and whom we ran around with for the next week or so. It was really interesting to chat with her about being a mid-wife, and she had some interesting figures: if most low-risk pregnancies were handled by mid-wives instead of at hospitals, it would save roughly $85 billion in health care costs and dramatically increase your chances of having a natural child-birth instead of delivering via Caesarian. I don’t have a cite for those figures (although if anyone out there is interested, let me know in comments and I should be able to get them for you), but I found it all provocative and interesting.
We only stayed at Cisco’s a few days though, before he had bookings and needed the room. We moved down the street to a small hotel down the road, El Meson just down from Cisco’s on Calle Tonala. It had bare basic concrete rooms with shared bathrooms, but was /only 40 pesos/! That’s Wadley prices, tying for the cheapest accommodations we found in Mexico! And San Cristobal was /way/ prettier and more interesting than Wadley! Anyhow, I think one of the reasons it was so cheap is that it was a reported bordello, not that we ever noticed anything seedy or were disturbed at all by strange sounds or the like. And it wouldn’t have been the first time we’ve stayed in a bordello, although it totally wasn’t as nice as the gorgeous bordello we stayed at in Laos.
We didn’t do a lot in San Cristobal. I enjoyed hitting some of the cafes in town to watch a few of the World Cup games, and we poked around a lot of the boutique and trinket shops to pass the time. We spent a day with Lara at the orchid and nature preserve that Cisco runs, Orquideas Moxviquil, which was beautiful and interesting, and totally worth the trip. And we hung out at the newly opened Hostal de la Iguana, founded by two couch surfing couples and looks like a great place to stay (I think the dorms were 70 pesos and private rooms around 100-120, but while Iguana would have been a prettier and more chatty place to stay we were totally enthused with our ultra-cheap pseudo-bordello). They had a nice barbeque every Saturday you could drop in on, and the guests there were particularly nice in setting up one-handed fussball (table soccer) games so I could play.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
We got to Puerto Escondido by Minivan (150 pesos each) with Rich and Ian, a couple of English guys we met at the hostel in Oaxaca. It took us seven hours on that curvy road up and down the hills to get the 250km (150 miles). First we stayed in the Tower Bridge Hostel, which the boys had reserved beforehand for themselves. Really nice and lovely rooms but a bit too pricey for us (200 pesos). [Simeon says: Yeah, but for 200 pesos you got a full suite! Bedroom, bath and comfy front sitting room with a fridge filled with pay-as-you-go Coronas. And it had a television that didn’t work. Genius! You felt like you were getting a tv with the room, but you never felt the urge to watch it (since it didn’t work) and so you got to feel all superior about how you wouldn’t waste your time watching tv at the beach. The hostel also had one of the loveliest pools I’ve ever seen. Just for wading and with a little walking bridge over part of it, the pool somehow seemed to always be the perfect temperature. The owner is a gregarious Englishman who was a lot of fun in small doses and you got good free wifi and a shared kitchen area, but it’s like a half hour hot sunny walk to the beach. Still, I admit that I insisted splurging on an extra night or two here wallowing in the relative luxury.]
So we changed after a couple of days to the Cabanas Edda near a different beach, for 100 pesos a night plus a 15 pesos charge for wifi (shared bath, shared kitchen area and about five minutes to the beach). We got to know everybody that lived there fairly quickly and had a lot of fun chatting and sharing; there are enough visitors who have all stayed long enough that they’ve all gotten to know each other and a little temporary community has formed. Karen and Emilie (we couchsurfed with them on Carolina’s and Juan’s couch in Poza Rica) joined us there (hi the two of you, just thinking about you!) enjoying the beach at the end of their holidays. Actually Emilie was supposed to be already back in France, but the airline company she was supposed to fly with went on strike. And it is not even a French strike (which I just presumed with that history and Emilie going back to Paris) – it was British Airways! So she needed to postpone her flights back, if I remember correctly.
We have a little hut to ourselves and a hammock right in front of it. It reminds me a little of Laos. We are shaded by palm trees which have big bug shells on them. Just the remaining shell after growing and shedding the too small case. Still, it looks like the bugs are always on the march across everything. The owners also take a lot of care of their little patch of grass. All this watering, every day – it seems like a lot of effort for the few little shoots of grass it produces but it cools down this place a lot.
Simeon went and rented a beginners surfboard to start the learning process in the waves. He got quite a bit tumbled around and unfortunately the wrist strap got loose all the time; every time a wave came in the board shot away from him and he had to start searching and chasing it back to the beach. After a little while, he got rid of the board and started enjoying the water the old fashioned no-tools-way. The waves here can be really big; according to Sim: “The biggest waves I’ve ever seen, and the first ones I’ve actually see that are taller than I am.” And playing in them can be quite a bit of a job.
We took our chance to download the long awaited last season of “Lost” – and watched it in a marathon. We also went to the movies at the Cinema theater -- if you would call a small backroom with a big screen showing .avi files off a computer a theater -- but at least we had the chance to finally see “Alice in Wonderland” in English. For me it would have been much better to see it with subtitles because of the slurpy language. I do that on occasion, I believe that particularly this movie I would have enjoyed more if only I could understand what was said but unfortunately the characters had thick accents. The tickets were 50 pesos, but 2-for-1 before three in the afternoon. Emilie and Karen had told us that popcorn and a beer would have been included – would have been a good deal for 25 pesos each. But it turned out to be a misunderstanding; what a shame.