Posted by: lianadevine | 22 March 2009

Last Thursday in Paradise

Thinking back on Thursdays in my life, not counting the Thursday that I was born, I’d have to say this past Thursday was one of the better ones. In my previous life, I used to dread Thursdays like some people dread Mondays (see “This was MY Thursday” – January 2008 – for the backstory), anticipating a day-from-hell in the Histology Lab. But that was then and there – this is here and now. “Here” is our little piece of Paradise, Number 6 Tabachines Street in the Trailer Park Campestre, just south of the little town of Chiconcuac, sort of in the neighbourhood of Cuernavaca, Morelos. And “Now” is my between-jobs time when I get to do what I want, when I want, especially since Calvin’s not here at the moment.

How does a single gal live it up in Paradise? Here’s my day:

Naturally, Spike wants breakfast before the crack of dawn. I stall him until at least 6:30, but with the birds singing outside he’s hard to convince it’s not “daytime” already. I want to grab 40 more winks…

Not wanting to waste too much of my day, I get up and make a coffee-woffee…though my stash is running low, I HAVE TO use it up because the best before date is TODAY. But I sit and sip it while enjoying the rest of my breakfast, peanut butter and banana toast, and watch the rest of a very inspirational movie I’d started a few days before. I think our friend Rolene left it for us, and because it has the G-word in the title, Calvin doesn’t have any interest in it, but I find it quite thought provoking. So much so, I surf a little to find out more, until I hit a wall of ads that leaves me cold on the subject. Into the shower. I think about Rolene, the Walker from San Diego, walking to Santiago, and send her good vibes for her Grassroots Environmentalists’ Conference starting today in Oaxaca.  Wish I could’ve been there.

Sewing Room in the Shade - Paradise!

Sewing Room in the Shade - Paradise!

I assemble my equipment and move it out to the patio…ahhhh, an outdoor sewing room, how very delightful!

To relieve the 36C heat, a light breeze blows under the awning, flapping my design wall clothespinned to my laundry line. But all the blocks in my design-challenged quilt have been carefully pinned into place, so nothing goes astray. It’s only me, from time to time forgetting how Mary-Ellen wants me to pick up my blocks in sequence, that causes me to re-invent my own pattern, then take it apart to fix. But I’m not upset at all…how could I be? I’m in Paradise.

A small pick up truck stops in front of the bus and the man asks if I want to buy some Oaxaca cheese. Do I??? Do I!!! The Morelos version of “Oaxaca cheese” has left us disappointed, so of course I jump at the opportunity, but check his license plates and question whether this is FROM Oaxaca or is only “Oaxaca-style” cheese. Well, he’s from Puebla, he says there’s no cattle in Oaxaca, so how can they really make the cheese there anyway…he dumps what I suppose is water, and hope is actually bottled water over his hands, then unwinds a thick strand of cheese from a huge ball taken from a cooler in the truck box. “It’s only me, after all,” I tell him, “I can’t eat a whole kilo myself…” (before it goes bad like the local stuff did, I add to myself). It’s not really a bargain, but I’ve been longing for proper Oaxaca cheese, so it’s worth the 33 pesos. Mmmmmmm, my quesadilla lunch is just what I was after.

Karen Skypes me on her lunch break and I tell her about my fabulous day. Calvin’s been staying at her place, but hasn’t let her know if he’ll be there again tonight. We discuss and laugh about houseguests and house”pests” we have known…

I continue sewing through the afternoon, enjoying Spanish music meant to help entertain the gardeners working in the site next door. Earlier, I’d asked our friendly gardener  “Curly” to cut down a palm frond that was touching our roof, thinking it was the access point of the microscopic ants that had invaded our bus. I  watch Curly and the rest raking and mowing to the Latin beat, in preference to anything else in our eclectic music collection. By four p.m. I’m on such a roll, I record my telenovela “Atrevete a Soñar” and work toward a logical endpoint by about 4:30.  I’d promised Andrea to pick up a plant for her, and I remembered the vivero re-opened at 4 until 6.  I unwrap the Thing from its car cover and make the short trip into town, detouring by the vet’s to see if it’s OK to bring Spike by for his shots.  Dra. Paula isn’t there, but her assistant tells me she’ll be back in a half hour.  I return to the nursery and pick up the coveted 3-branched Cacaloxuchitl (plumeria to you and me) sapling, a bonsaied Adenium that reminds me less of a BC dogwood today than it did the first time I saw it, and the fragrant gardenia that Andrea has vowed to keep alive longer than the Oaxacan varieties she’s had poor luck with so far.  The friendly owner reminds me about sunlight and watering needs, and as she scatters ant killer on one of the pots before taking it to the car for me, she shares a client’s secret for getting rid of insect pests on foliage: Roma laundry detergent.  “Only that brand?” I ask. “Yes.”  Driving home, I smugly calculate the exchange for the beautiful plants I’ve bought: about $21 Canadian for all three.

New Plants Add to the Sewing Room

New Plants Add to the Sewing Room

Back at the bus, I carefully arrange my new babies to take advantage of the last of the sunshine, then gather Spike into his harness and carrying case.  It’s been more than half an hour – a Mexican half hour at that – and Dra. Paula hasn’t returned from her errands.  Spike is restless in his confined space, so I let him out on the leash…he KNOWS where we are.  But Dra. Paula drives up in a few minutes, Spike is as good as gold having a shot in the hip, and we’re back in the car ten minutes and 100 pesos later.  Just in time to stop by the tiendita where Daly knows I love her icecream bars.  I tell her I don’t feel any guilt only buying one, my husband’s away today.  As I dash back to Spike waiting in the idling car, I wonder “Gee, did I sound too gleeful about that ?”

Sitting back, savouring my irish coffee and pecan-flavoured treat while Spike nibbles a little of the freshly-cut grass, I reflect on the good progress I’ve made on my long-delayed quilt, still hanging on the sheet I’m using as an improvised design wall.  Crunch the cat comes for a look at what food I might have for her, but I remind her that chocolate is for people.  I miss the garbage can as I toss away the empty stick, and she sniffs it with disdain – nothing of interest anyway.  When I get out the hose to water the lawn, she hightails it, thinking she’s in trouble again.  But I’m aiming at the grass, waving the water in time with the tunes, and I sneak a splash at Curly, now piling sand and gravel in the street to make a big pile of concrete.  They’re putting in a patio for the neighbours’ gazebo.

They work through the fading light and into a drizzly evening.  The third hour of telenovela finishes recording while I dismantle my sewing room.   I sit down to watch for the evening, eating supper in front of the tele like I would at home.  The Oaxaca cheese tastes good on the tostadas I make, and burn,  talking to Calvin on Skype.  Oops.

Karen Skypes me again from home, and between us we decide that popcorn is the thing – she to watch “Survivor”, me to finish “En Nombre del Amor“.  It’s good to be the grown-up.  Even fast forwarding through commercials, it takes me awhile to watch the day’s episodes, then it’s time for bed.  Spike has beat me to it, as he often does.  Cats have their own schedule and pretty much ignore what their people are doing.  It’s good to be the cat.

“Good night, daddy, wherever you are, ” I tell Spike, as I turn off the light.

This WAS the last Thursday in Paradise, because next Thursday, we hope to  pull out early enough to beat the traffic jam of 22 Quebec RVs due to leave the park.  I hope they’re not headed to Oaxaca like we are…



  1. I loved reading the account of your “vacation.”

    Has Calvin gone to look for some kind of parts for the bus?

    I gather that you’re about to leave your present place to keep looking for just the right spot in or near Cuernavaca. I hope you find it soon and look forward to reading the next installment!



  2. Hmm….I guess I need to explain. We suddenly realized our drivers licenses needed renewing, which, of course, has to be done in person. Since Calvin’s had actually expired, we decided he needed to remedy that before turning a wheel to go anywhere! So he unexpectedly made a trip home to Canada, just for a week.

    We did some repairs during our two months in Cuernavaca: Ted from Coach Maintenance helped us out again with a thermostat housing, and we spent half a day on a scavenger hunt of sorts for a throttle cable 35+ feet long in the ‘burbs of Cuernavaca. Enough to get us on the road again.

    We’re back in Oaxaca at the moment, intent on renewing our FM3 visas at least. Future plans for travel, work, or otherwise, sort of depend on how the visas come out. Stay tuned.

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