Monday, July 31, 2006

Just the facts, ma'am

I'm sitting in Damascus after two days of assessing the Lebanese refugee situation here. But first, some facts from our assessment report we wrote today:

  • Currently, there are over 700,000 displaced people within the borders of Lebanon.
  • 1/3 of the 600+ dead are children.
  • Humanitarian access has been very difficult due to waning supplies (including fuel), bombed roads, and continued violations of humanitarian corridors.
  • About 125,000 are living in schools, parks and other public areas in Beirut that do not offer adequate shelter or hygiene and are short on emergency supplies.
  • Because of the destruction of roads and bridges in the south of Lebanon, most humanitarian agencies have been unable to access the tens of thousands of people living in the South and most have been unable to flee out of the area.
  • The UN has stated that it is virtually impossible to get much needed food and medical supplies into many of the isolated villages in the South.

Still, we plan our visit into Lebanon tomorrow, hoping that the Israeli promise to stop bombing for 48 hours to investigate the horrific killings in Qana holds true. It's still a pretty slim chance that they will bomb the south but the UN is not taking any chances, asking its people to wear helmets and flak jackets and halting humanitarian convoys. Frankly, it's probably more to protect them against the growing anti-UN sentiment rather than anything else.

In Damascus, the situation is a lot better. It's calm here and there are about 5,000 to 10,000 people crossing every day from Lebanon to Syria. Right now, it is difficult to get accurate numbers but there appear to be about 160,000 Lebanese in Syria. Only about 20,000 of them are not staying with host families. The Government of Syria is doing a good job, in general, and has been generous in addressing the needs of the Lebanese who have arrived in Syria. The Syrian community has really taken charge of the relief effort and have been hosting many Lebanese. The Syrian Red Crescent has been providing services and giving out food, water, medical attention and information to people at the border crossing between Lebanon and Syria and also in the many informal shelters around the city. However, with school starting in about a month, many of the schools have to be cleared out and the government of Syria has begun to move people to other areas. The border crossing on the main route from Beirut to Damascus was bombed by Israel on Monday, which makes transiting for the Lebanese into Syria much more difficult. Vehicles cannot pass the crater in the road so they have to get out and walk around it and then find a taxi on the other side. The taxis are charging these people over $100 a person which is quite steep here.

Today, we drove to theborder crossing point with Lebanon to interview the people there. It took about 45 minutes on a nice smooth highway. It's hard for me toremember that all these countries in the Middle East are small! I'm used to giant Congo, Sudan, etc. where driving from one country to another takes weeks. Anyway, we found 300+ Palestinians who had fled Lebanon living in a grocery store there. They have been denied entry into Syria (probably because the government of Syria doesn't want all the Palestinians living in Lebanon to flee here) and they can't returnto Lebanon because their houses have been bombed to smithereens. They've been living there about 13 days.

On the plus side, the Italian restaurant in the bordercrossing is providing them three meals a day and they are in pretty good shape - the children were flying kites and the parents sat around in the shade talking. However, they are basically stateless, like Tom Hanks' character in that movie the Terminal - condemned to live in this no man's land until someone changes their mind and allows them in somewhere. While they are being taken care of by the Syrian Red Crescent, they are presently not allowed to enter Syria, although many were admitted in at the beginning of the crisis. The United Nations agencies squabble over who is supposed to talk to the government of Syria on behalf of these people.

At another crossing point in the North of Syria, the situation is the same for Palestinians from Irak, who are fleeing both generalized violence and targeted persecution. There were also an estimated 20,000 Iraqi refugees living in Lebanon. Many sought refuge in Syria and were granted 48 hour transit visas. After that time, they face possible deportation back to Irak. So far, however, Syria is calm. We saw a small anti-UN demonstration that postponed our meeting at the UN building at lunchtime but it was over soon. We had a scary event where our clueless driver stopped in front of the US Embassy to ask for directions and we got a gun shoved in our direction, but in general, the Syrians are warm and welcoming - even when they hear I am an American.

From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli

Well here I am 2 weeks after my trip to Mexico (the halls of Montezuma) planning the logistics for my trip from Syria into Lebanon (the shores of Tripoli!). I've been in Syria about 24 hours and its been interesting. While the place seems calm, all the taxis have posters showing the leader of Syria posing next to the leader of Hezbollah. So much for not supporting Hezbollah. I had an interesting discussion with my co-worker (a Palestinian Lebanese) about Hezbollah. She claims that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization, that it does not encourage suicide bombing, and that it is fighting an oppressive Israeli government. It's hard for me, an outsider, to support Hezbollah since I know them mostly as the group who kidnapped Americans and Westerners, including the Special Envoy from the Archbishop of Canterbury (!!). They also initiated the conflict by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers (legitimate military targets, says my human rights collleague while not supporting their action).

Today, I watched tv as they covered the Israeli targeted bombing of Qana where almost 30 children died and 60 died overall. This after the bombing and killing of four unarmed UN military observors who had called several times to insure they wouldnt' be targeted. I've been trying to educate myself about the situation - Today I read Al-Jazeera (anti Israel, obviously), the Jerusalem Post (pro-Israel, obviously) and the NY Times and Washington Post (in general, biased towards Israel but starting to change, it seems). It was shocking in the Post and NYTimes to read the apologists for Israel. It was appalling to read the people in the Jerusalem Post claiming the women and children of South Lebanon brought it on themselves. I am finding myself unable to be unbiased.

However, why the attacks on the UN compounds? Why loot the UN which is primarily a humanitarian organization that is fundamentally weak and unable to solve the problems of the world? Why turn your own anger to innocents who have come to Lebanon and Gaza to help?

While I do think that Hezbollah is probably using civilian positions in some places to cover itself, is the sensless bombing of civilian populations the way to disarm them? By killing 600 civilians? How can we, as people who love life and are opposed to war, possibly support this? Hezbollah is not representative of everyone in Lebanon. The government of Israel, however, is a Western country that supposedly respects human rights. They have rule of law. They claim on CNN that they are appalled and deeply sorrowful about the deaths of the children. Yet they say also that they need 10 more days to 'finish up the job'. They must stop the bombing now. They must! There is simply no other solution to saving Lebanese lives - and when it comes to that - saving Israeli lives as well. No more hiding behind technology and apologizing after killing children. Come out from behind the US technology and end this slaughter.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Damascus and Beirut bound

Anyhoo, after three luxurious weeks of resting and not thinking about Sudan (except when I read that book Acts of Faith), I'm off again for work. When I arrived home and met my friends from work on Saturday, I was informed I was on my way to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. That was a little worrisome because I'm much more motivated to go to new countries with new crisis to learn. But then, after discussion with Kristele, my Lebanese colleague, the outrageous needs of Lebanon way outweighed a "stateless mission to Haiti".

While I'm nervous about heading into a war zone, I'm also slightly excited. I've always been interested and wanted to travel to the Middle East. And I considered majoring in Middle Eastern studies in college but went for Soviet Studies instead (better professor). I also feel like I could really be making a real contribution. While South Sudan was satisfying in that we helped UNHCR become a better partner, the idea of a more active role is exciting. I always wanted to be a nurse and used to have dreams of being a doctor in the military (too much MASH and father working a military hospital probably did that).

I hope it works out but I don't want to take too many unneccessary risks. I told my father yesterday about this trip and he took it much better than I thought he would. Today, we decided, no matter what - we're off to Syria. We can always do something there if we get caught. I think it's going to be an awesome mission. To document what we can also watch on CNN at the same time? Outrageous!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What spring does with the cherry trees

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Pablo Neruda

XIV


Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Clash of Culture

Now I am in Puebla where I have experienced two clashes of culture.

First: I went to a cool museum Museo Ampara which juxtaposes Prehispanic art with colonial art in a shocking way. The first sixteen rooms of an old colonial house are dramatically designed and house sculpture and paintings from the different eras before ´conquest´ - as you walk out of a particularly dynamic room of large pieces of stone sculpture from some of the temples, you turn the corner into a faithfully reproduced colonial house with all the art and furniture from the time. The clash of civilizations couldn´t be more apparent. I really really liked this museum. Mexico knows what it is doing when it comes to museums.

Second: In the bus station, someone tried to take my bag. Then the guy who sells tickets for the ´secure´ taxi stand tried to shortchange me. I noticed after I walked away from the stand. I ran back to get my 100 pesos (about 10 bucks) and he tried to pretend he didn´t know what I was talking about. Luckily, when I am angry, I speak pretty good Spanish. Then the cab driver drove like a maniac and almost ran over a nun and a small child. What a change from mellow Oaxaca, slow-paced San Miguel, and even medieval Guanajuato.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Eating Grasshoppers in Oaxaca?

After hemming and hawing over my next destination (ghost town in the mountains? beach?), I took the advice of many different Mexicans and headed to Oaxaca. The Americans all said Real de Catorce and the Mexicans all said Oaxaca. Since I was tired of Americans, this is where I came.

I rode the bus for 12 hours - 6 on the deluxe luxury bus with reclining seats with leg rests so you feel almost as if you are in a recliner, earphones for the movies, and drinks service - and then 5 on the 1st class bus- I was spoiled after the deluxe bus... they played Terminator 3 very loudly while people behind me listened to the radio that they had brought with them. The airconditioner went at full blast as the windows began to fog up. We climbed over the mountains heading south from Mexico City and every 30 minutes, an alarm signifying something would beep incessantly for about 20 minutes. Thanking God that I brought my ear plugs, I did manage to sleep a little (which I needed as the drunk American teenagers in my hotel in Guanajuato were up to 5am giggling with some loud American boy about going out to get tacos...)

I arrived in the rain in Oaxaca and didn´t see much of the city. However, when I woke up, the sun was up. They serve a complimentary breakfast on the roof of the hacienda I was staying at and as I drank coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice, I watched the teenagers at the school next door practice dancing. The big folk festival is coming up next week and the teens (in a mixture of their school uniform and long full floral skirts) were practicing a type of waltz. It was lovely.

I wandered the city down to the Zocalo (town square) where I encountered the teacher´s strike. As it turns out, teachers in Oaxaca (one of the poorest states in Mexico) have been on strike for several months. They are living in tent cities throughout the main square and communist graffiti, populist slogans, and graphic photos are everywhere. In June, the police swept through the crowd and killed some children and teachers to try to drive them out. The union was calm during the elections but i guess the main party (the former party that reigned over Mexico for the past 50 years or so) won in this state and the governor that they all hate (rata! assasino!) won again. I did get to see my favorite sign of all time - Yanqui Go Home.

Last night, I went for a walk, the lovers and old people who normally sit in the zocalo moved down to Santo Domingo - the seat of the Dominicans in Mexico. Oaxaca has a very strong indigenous presence and reminds me of Guatemala to an extent.

I found a very hip bar where good looking young Mexican students were hanging out and went in. I ordered a beer and they put some mix of peanuts in front of me. I was very nervous about eating the peanuts. In Oaxaca, they eat grasshoppers (chapulines) as a delicacy. These were spanish peanuts with the skin on and some of them looked a little suspiscous to me. I picked through them carefully and resisted the temptation to put my glasses on and move the candle closer. I also met a guy named Victor who told me all about his ambitions to be a waiter in Cancun. "There´s no town there and nothing to do if you work, but you make more money than you do here. If I am lucky here, I make about $14 a night." he told me. His English was good and he helped me with my spanish as we talked about the pros and cons of bartending for a living. He invited me to go drinking mescal with his friends that night. however, after my experience at La Cucaracha (and the fact I hadn´t yet organized my lodgings for the next day), I passed.

Instead, I bought some gardenias from a woman selling flowers from a basket on her head and sat in the garden of the church for a while. The temperature was a little cool, with a breeze coming down off the mountains and I watched the clouds drifing in front of the full moon. After a while, I returned to my hotel where I had a beer up on the rooftop garden before heading down to sleep.

Only two more days left on vacation... Tomorrow, on to Puebla and then to the airport...

Monday, July 10, 2006

La Puebla in Oaxaca

I made it to Oaxaca. the boring guy, Duckie, in my guesthouse in San Miguel kept saying - the teachers on strike there, you know. I never asked him what he meant. Now I know. I just walked down to the Zocalo where there are hundreds of middle aged, young, and pretty well dressed people camped out on the streets, three blocks deep around the square.

There is graffiti everywhere and big posters supporting communisim. It´s been a long time since I´ve seen that! Anyway, they are the teachers - camping out to protest the government´s policies about education in Oaxaca state.

There was a violent attack by the police that killed at least two children in June but it appears that the original reason for the strike was for a pay raise. Also, there are signs saying no privatization of the schools. I´ve since done some research on the web and there is a good explanation of what is going on here.

I´m going to wander around and see if I can get one of them to explain to me what is going on. They don´t seem too keen to proselytize to the tourists but perhaps they are tired since it seems to have been going on for over a month. I´m very curious. I must also admit, I love Latin American revolutionary imagery! If only the Africans could get there graffics together, people might get excited about them too (blasphemy, I know).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunk low by Mexico

While all the other kids are out crusing the streets and singing songs in Guanajuato, yours truly is home with an infected toe thanks to the sadistic pedicurist in Mexico City. I have had to rush out to buy peniciellin and bandaids because like a dumbass, I left my medical kit at home since I wasn´t on mission. Dumb Dumb Dumb...

Lady Godiva Rides Again...

Well, I had the fabulous love experience in Mexico that i wanted. Sadly, the love part was all in my imagination. I went horseback riding yesterday for the first time ever. A beautiful Mexican man named Mauricio was my teacher. He spoke excellent English, had long flowing hair, a lovely straw cowboy hat, spurs, chaps, the whole nine yards. He took me up into the hills outside of San Miguel Allende where the air smelled like honeysuckle and pinon. And then he said "why don´t we gallop? I want to see the wind in your hair". So we galloped across a field of wild flowers. I kid you not. It was beautiful. The sun was shining, the air was clear and cool, and the horses just ran. I really loved it. Too bad about his Canadian girlfriend. And this morning I woke up feeling like every bone in my body was broken or sprained or bruised.

At least while I hobble around Mexico viewing the musuem of the mummies and Diego Rivera´s childhood home, I have something to remember.

Ahhhh, que hombre....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hittin´ the road with Jack Kerouac and them

So last night I went to the world famous "La Cucaracha" bar here in San Miguel Allende. Supposedly Jack Kerouac stopped here with his Mexican fellaheen and Neal Cassady od´d and died here. It´s truly a dump. For my South Carolinians - it reminds me of a dirtier, less attractive Group Therapy. For the rest of you- picture a big empty room with a rough bar in the middle. Ugly Ugly Art made by psychiatric patients along the wall and big piles of crushed beer cans in the corner. Ugly "college couch on a porch" furniture and bathroom doors that do not shut allowing you to truly smell the filth that is the bathroom. They sell a tee shirt there that says "I survived La Cucaracha´s bathrooms".

I went with a woman named Alix who is at my guesthouse. She is also a blonde. We truly felt like Marilyn Monroe when we entered this god forsaken bar. I swear to god that they were playing "American Woman" when we walked in. We were the only women in there at first and it was like a stampede to come over and talk to us.

I made a terrible discovery. I am too old to enjoy bars like that anymore. Alix is about 10 years younger than me and wanted to buy pot and smoke it in the bathroom with the bartender. I just wanted to go home. Instead I had to talk to: a drunken Indian guy with giant buckteeth who kept stroking my arm and telling me how bonita I was, a Navaho guitarist who was about 60 or so who kept talking to me about love and how terrible it is, a 17 year old American kid who had a fake mexican ID saying he was 29 and named Jose Donohue, another young American kid who told me he was a hustler on the run from the law for very vague reasons, and finally, a cute mexican guy who I met when i walked in on him in the bathroom. He danced with me until his girlfriend came to the bar and slapped him in the face. What a night. I have suffered all morning long - starting with my early morning dissertation on the merits of retiring in Panama over Mexico to the chilaquiles I ate to cure my hangover which promptly came back up again. Its the end of the day and I think I am going to drag my tired old self back to the casa and go to bed early. Sad Sad Sad.

You bring out the Mexican in me

I´ve got a new favorite poem

You bring out the Mexican in me by Sandra Cisneros

You bring out the Mexican in me.
The hunkered thick dark spiral.
The core of a heart howl.
The bitter bile.
The tequila lágrimas on Saturday all
through the next weekend Sunday.
You are the one I'd let go the other loves for,
surrender my one-woman house.
Allow you red wine in bed,
even with my vintage lace linens.
Maybe. Maybe

For you.

You bring out the Dolores del Río in me.
The Mexican spitfire in me.
The raw navajas, glint and passion in me.
The raise Cain and dance with the rooster-footed devil in me.
The spangled sequin in me.
The eagle and serpent in me.
The mariachi trumpets of the blood in me.
The Aztec love of war in me.
The fierce obsidian of the tongue in me.
The berrinchuda, bien-cabrona, in me.
The Pandora's curiosity in me.
The pre-Columbian death and destruction in me.
The rainforest disaster, nuclear threat in me.
The fear of fascists in me.
Yes, you do. Yes, you do.

You bring out the colonizer in me.
The holocaust of desire in me.
The Mexico City '85 earthquake in me.
The Popocatepetl/Ixtaccíhuatl in me.
The tidal wave of recession in me.
The Agustín Lara hopeless romantic in me.
The barbacoa taquitos on Sunday in me.
The cover the mirrors with cloth in me.

Sweet twin. My wicked other,
I am the memory that circles your bed nights,
that tugs you taut as moon tugs ocean.
I claim you all mine,
arrogant as Manifest Destiny.
I want to rattle and rent you in two.
I want to defile you and raise hell.
I want to pull out the kitchen knives,
dull and sharp, and whisk the air with crosses.
Me sacas lo mexicana en mi,
like it or not, honey.

You bring out the Uled-Nayl in me.
The stand-back-white-bitch in me.
The switchblade in the boot in me.
The Acapulco cliff diver in me.
The Flecha Roja mountain disaster in me.
The dengue fever in me.
The ¡Alarma! murderess in me.
I could kill in the name of you and think
it worth it. Brandish a fork and terrorize rivals,
female and male, who loiter and look at you,
languid in your light. Oh,

I am evil. I am the filth goddess Tlazoltéotl.
I am the swallower of sins.
The delicious debauchery. You bring out
the primoridal exquisiteness in me.
The nasty obsession in me.
The corporal and venial sin in me.
The original transgression in me.

Red ocher. Yellow ocher. Indigo. Cochineal.
Piñón. Copal. Sweetgrass. Myrrh.
All you saints, blessed and terrible.
Virgen de Guadalupe, diosa Coatlicue,
I invoke you.

Quiero se tuya. Only yours. Only you.
Quiero amarte. Atarte. Amarrate.
Love the way a Mexican woman loves.
Let me show you. Love the only way I know how.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Happy independence day from san miguel allende,

there are more retired americans here than mexicans, i think. you can't swing a dead cat here without hitting one. i was just in the internet cafe next to my guesthouse in the non touristy part of town. its a nice cafe with high speed internet and cappucino. i was trying my hardest to ignore the american couple sitting next to me. she was whining and kept talking incessantly about the weather, the town, the cars going by, the article in the magazine she was reading. he was ignoring her except to say annoyed things like I AM TRYING TO DO SOMETHING from time to time. they had the worst new york accents you can imagine. both dressed in white tennis shoes.

just as i got through writing an email, the guy says to me: senorita, will you be long? as i had planned to do some research on which town to go to next, i replied - i might be. then they both said in very aggressive tones: well its a 15 minute time limit and we were waiting for the internet. it was the first time i had been in this cafe and had not noticed the time limit and they had been there when I arrived and had not said a thing about wanting to use the computer. I then said: well let me finish this email and I will close out. Then the man said to me again: you have been on for 30 minutes. I graciously smiled and said - as i said, i will finish this email and let you have it.

JESUS H CHRIST. god save me from americans abroad. normally, i love my country but i cringe when i meet other americans abroad. the loud voices .the stupidity. the clothes. i guess its true what steve naplan said about me: I am not a very good american.

The 'Chico' Look

I took my first art class today. I really enjoyed it. I made a sort of belly dancer-mermaid figure out of a collage of tissue paper and acrylic paint. Mostly, she´s teaching me how to turn off my left brain which is what I want. The teacher, Nina, is an American expat (like everyone else in San Miguel) and is very "earthy" (You know -flowy dresses, chunky jewelry, looks like she shops at Chicos) She´s also slightly overweight, had lots of musician ex boyfriends, lives in a funky house, and has a nice cat.

I couldn´t help but wonder: Is that what is going to happen to me? (She said in her best Carrie Bradshaw voice-over voice)

I don´t know why it kind of turns me off while at the same time attracting me. I don´t think I could ever be that laid back. I certainly like frilly earth mama clothes. I like dangly earrings and I like wearing comfortable shoes. I like cats. I like musicians (or at least, I used to). I like funky houses painted in bright colors. So what´s the deal? I guess it sort of screams Old Maid to me. You´ll be alone forever or you´ll have to date a man who wears a long ponytail and a single earring. He´ll call you ´his old lady´. I like my globetrotting life (although I am appreciative of the break) and I like being a city girl. However, I think I need a change. Everyone is fleeing DC like rats off a sinking ship. Maybe its time to re-evaluate and start trotting out my resume. Cape Town? Mexico City? Amsterdam? London? Bangkok? Colombo?

Also getting baby fever with all these cute kids down here. I saw a cartoon that made me laugh yesterday. It said It´s a catch 22. My parents would be horrified if I had a child out of wedlock but I can´t breed in captivity! I think that sums it up.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Meeting Duckie in San Miguel Allende

Well, here I am -my first day in San Miguel Allende. The guest house I am staying at is quite a distance from the center of town which will either be good or annoying or I will keep the drivers in 20 pesos a day because its mountainous and I feel lazy.

I took the bus from Mexico City which was awesome. I will never travel any other way ever again. I arrived late at night and after some hassle trying to get there, I got in around 11pm and went straight to bed. I came out of my bedroom after a sound sleep to go to the shared kitchen and get coffee this morning.

And there was Mr A´s twin brother.

For those of you who don't know Mr. A (aka Duckie) - allow me to describe him. He is a man who once bored my sister and I to death with a detailed hour long description of Julio Iglaisias when we were 10 and 8 years old. So my friend, Robert, started off a long monotonous drone about the layout of the town -telling me three or four different ways I could walk into town. so much detail that i got lost the minute i stepped out the door. then he launched into the history of a ghost town next door in laborious detail. then he talked about the history of the railway in Mexico and the railroad trip he took. Then he told me the different classes of buses in Mexico and all about the bus trip he took from Phoenix to Chihuahua. He´s planning on taking the bus back up to Albuquerque and then the train to Topeka...1 hour and an extremely weak cup of coffee later, I pried myself away and went to take a shower.

Since I got lost, I took a cab into town. It is spectacularly beautiful here but quite the tourist town. So far, I´ve seen Americans outnumbering Mexicans about 10 to 1. But it is election day so we´ll see if it changes during the week. It also appears to be the town of hot pregnant women married to old guys. Well, I¨m off to find a cafe to eat in and figure out what I¨m going to do. I may just return to my guest house - which is lovely-and hang out in the hammock and read for several hours. But first food. Sadly, since its election day - no beer or alcohol but I suppose I can survive that as long as Duckie doesn´t return for part 2.