jc blog - tales of a modern-day nomadic hunter-gatherer

Follow jcomeau_ictx on Twitter This is the weblog of Intrepid Wanderer. You never know what you might find here; graphic descriptions of bodily functions, computer programming secrets, proselytizing for the antichrist, miscellaneous ranting and kvetching, valuable information on living off the land... if you don't share my rather weird interests you may want to try slashdot instead.

You can consider my Del.icio.us links an extension to my blog, as are my LifeTango goals and my other to-do items. My to-buy list is also public, but only for sharing any useful ideas that might be there; I'm not requesting charity, neither do I offer it.

You can find me easily in google searches, as jcomeau, jcomeau_ictx, or jcomeauictx. There are lots of other jcomeaus, but AFAIK I'm the only jcomeau_ictx out there so far.

If you want to comment on anything you see here, try the new Facebook comments, reachable by clicking the "[comment]" link at the end of each post. If for some reason that isn't working, go ahead and email me, jc.unternet.net. You know what to do with the first dot. Make the 'subject' line something reasonably intelligent-looking or it goes plunk! into the spambasket unread.

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2008-01-31-0104Z

VIPS on the waterfront has free wifi too, but no power. SSID="VIPS ACUARIO", WEP key is 1234920409. [comment]

2008-01-30-1943Z

Already dipping into my credit account after I'd just paid it off, sigh... but I enjoy eating too much. I bought a fish for 5 pesos from a guy with a cast-net on the malecon, and tried to cook it over coals but I didn't gather enough leñs and could only eat a couple of bites before I hit raw meat. So here I am in an overpriced restaurant eating chicken instead. [comment]

2008-01-30-1617Z

Ran into some artesanos last night, or rather they saw me attempting to sleep in the park near Sanborn's after the Carnaval concert last night, and offered to let me stay on the roof where they are. I accepted, but it turns out it cost me MX$100, since the owner or manager was in the hallway when I was leaving. He would have taken MX$150, all my cash, but I told him I needed to eat. Anyway, I have a place to stay now till Saturday in case the Couchsurfing thing doesn't work out. The hotel is on Constitución near Morelos. It's really cheap, the 3 artisans were sharing a room for MX$70 per night, and there are some rooms for MX$50. I think the place is run illegally, all the better.

Some ideas: medical uses for jellyfish or man-o-war? I saw some on the beach and was tempted to try them on my remaining sores. Laser surgery might work great on these too. Or just heat something red-hot and drive it right into the infection.

Good idea to carry some kind of bait pouch. I found some little fish and fish heads on the malecon this morning, and just carried a fish in my hand till I found a plastic bag. People here, not having the Cuban yo-yo reels, use bottles or small rectangular pieces of wood as reels.

Cops here haven't hassled me at all about sleeping on the beach, in that little Zócalo, or anywhere else. There are way too many of them, with their goddamned rifles, but they mind their business, so far. [comment]

2008-01-30-0036Z

Stayed up all night, and slept most of the day, as planned. One more night of staying up, Carnaval night so it should keep me occupied; and then I have a couchsurfing gig starting in the morning. Yes!

Rundown on the infections: left leg: cured (still some rough skin, but I'm 99% sure all infection is gone); right ring finger: cured; right wrist: 95% cured. Backs of both hands still bad, left corner of mouth still a little painful. Haven't noticed any new lesions. Hoping for the best.

Went swimming twice today, when I had to get up to pee. The long Patagonia underpants make it easy, just pee inside the pants as I'm walking into the water, then just rinse out the pants in the Gulf. Naturally, I went far down the coast into Boca del Rio, where the water is relatively clean and doesn't smell like a sewer.

Checked out prices to Matamoros: the Uno line direct is MX$1036, but ADO to Tampico is MX$398 and Tampico to Matamoros MX$320, a savings of over MX$300! Plus I can split the trip into two legs and stay a week in Tampico, which might be my best option. The more I spend on travel in a week, the less cash I have for food and beer. [comment]

2008-01-29-0334Z

Last night's onion treatment seems to have removed most of the remaining infection on my left leg and right wrist. The little spot on my right ring finger is just about healed too, and though the onion slice fell off my right hand (the newest lesion) sometime in the afternoon, that seems to be mostly infection-free at this point too, very little pain and looking pretty good. The right side of my mouth seems to have healed, and the left side almost so. I think my immune system has finally learned how to kick strep butt. I'm not out of the woods, though, until all the infected spots have fully healed, because any new little cut could explode into another boil. This is really nasty shit, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Well, maybe cops. And politicians. [comment]

2008-01-28-2352Z

On Santos Perez Abascal, where it meets the coastal highway Camacho, there's a little seafood place called Don Dany's, with an excellent caldo de mariscos for only MX$35. They have a typical offering of beers from the Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma line, nothing from Modelo, and no coffee (just Nescafe), but the great prices on seafood make it a worthwhile stop anyway. They also let me plug in my laptop to recharge it, but I asked too late, and still only have a few minutes on the battery. I made some Couchsurfing inquiries -- don't know why I didn't think of that angle before -- and hope for a reply tonight.

My ears have been popping, indicating blockages. Having failed to bring one of those bulb irrigators, I used my drinking water out of a cup, sucking it into my mouth using the tube from my Katadyn base camp filter, then blowing it out into my ears. I didn't get any goop out, but that will hopefully have softened it, and next time I might be successful. [comment]

2008-01-28-2101Z

There's an unsecured "linksys-g" in front of Dolci Helados Italianos on Flores Magon. It's closed today but there's a bench out front. [comment]

2008-01-28-1807Z

Found the Sanborn's just a few blocks away, on the corner of Independencia and Lerdo. There's an unsecured wireless router, SSID "default", but for some reason I can't connect.

(Update after I left there)... across the street there's a little park or Zócalo where an unprotected Linksys signal comes in fairly well, from where I'm uploading this. [comment]

2008-01-28-1726Z

I'm gonna try it. I put all my heavy electronics shit into my big duffel bag, and took it to the luggage storage place at the bus station. After that, I jogged until I could feel my thighs being chafed. I'd forgotten about that happening in humid climates... will have to find some solution for that.

Another thing I'd forgotten is how to open a coconut. I was trying to whittle away at the bumpy, woody end, then finally decided to try the stem end; that was successful almost immediately. Drank the coco-water, then threw the rest back down by the roadside where I'd found it.

I've been walking the rest of the morning looking for Sanborn's again for a cup of coffee and pan dulce, but finally decided to try Gran Cafe de la Parroquia instead. It's probably a better place for espresso, but for good filtered coffee you just can't beat Sanborn's. [comment]

2008-01-28-0246Z

The sores were all worse this morning, but the onion at least keeps the pain to a low level. Later today when I changed the dressing, I used a single layer rather than a slice. It doesn't look nearly so weird and it may accomplish the same thing.

Here in Veracruz the coconuts are dangling just barely out of reach, just like in Hollywood, FL. Still haven't found a solution after all these years; just something to raise myself a foot or two, or lengthen my reach a foot or two. A harness to help me climb the damned things, and if I get bonked on the head by a coconut, the worst that'll happen is I slowly slip back down the trunk...

I found the beach fairly early, but the water stunk of sewage and I didn't feel much like bathing in that, especially considering the bacterial lesions I'm already fighting. I went back to my hostel and took a shower instead. Later in the day I found a stretch of beach where the water had no bad odor to speak of, south of the city near a high-rise construction site, and took a nap on the dirty sand, up on a sandbar where the fucking cars and ATVs weren't constantly driving past. Since this, the only hostel I've found so far in town, is so goddamned expensive (US$15/night), I might leave all my heavy stuff in one bag at the bus station for MX$24 per 24 hours (per bag), and sleep during the day on the beach. But I don't know where I'll hang out at night in that case.

I'm supposed to have wifi here, but the guy couldn't give me the WEP key earlier in the day, and I haven't seen him the rest of the day. Not having any competition can make for lackadaisical customer service...

I'm thinking I won't go to the rainbow gathering. They're prohibiting alcohol and electronics, and there are ticks. And, one of the main points of emphasis is "praying for peace"; which I'm opposed to, since I don't have any regard for a god who listens to humans pray, and I think low-level warfare is good for the species anyway. Besides all that, there will be naked chicks walking around, and with my enfermidad I won't be able to get laid. Why make myself suffer like that?

I might just get on the next bus to Matamoros, after spending the night here at the hostel, since I already paid for it. This town is too expensive, like Puerto Vallarta, though I did find some relatively inexpensive seafood restaurants along Arista street. A pretty young girl with piercings all over her face was handing out flyers, and she and her friend walked me to the place, an ugly pink-and-blue building on the corner of Arista and Landero y Coss. The name of the restaurant -- there are several sharing the same building -- is Parrillada Jarocha, and I had the Sopa de Mariscos for MX$70: prawns, clams, crabs, fish, and octopus in a spicy broth. Excellent. Fuck those goddamned overexpensive seafood restaurants on the beach, which want MX$100 and up for a plate of ceviche. I'm going to South Padre for a much better deal, and live music to boot. [comment]

2008-01-27-0046Z

I heard from a fellow couchsurfer, who visited India, that the healers avoid eating onion and garlic on a regular basis. That way, when they need these foods for their healing power, they get more benefit from them than they would if their bodies were used to them.

I successfully made two beers last an hour (each) this evening, by constraining myself to at least 10 repetitions of the near-far eye exercises between sips. I don't know if I can do that every day, but it's a start.

I got some pictures of the guy in the mercado who made a knife-sharpening machine out of a bicycle -- one very apt use of that otherwise obsolete machine, since it leaves the hands free. It could probably be improved by the use of a flywheel though. Anyway, I plan to publish them, preferably on some "appropriate technology" websites.

As I mentioned before, I have my ticket to Veracruz, MX$282, and I'll probably start walking to the AU terminal about 2100. If all goes well, I'll be resting on the beach tomorrow about noon. The onion seems to be helping my lesions, but they still hurt like hell, except for the one near my wrist which is relatively painless; about like it was before I tried the garlic experiment yesterday. [comment]

2008-01-26-1851Z

Good deal. I walked to the AU terminal, bought my ticket to Veracruz, and asked if there were a place to store my equipaje. There was, for MX$5 per bag. Same price as storing it at my hostel, with the advantage that it's already there, and I don't have to worry about schlepping all that shit at 10PM. So went back to the hostel, on the way stopping at Gigante for an onion, and re-doing my "poultices", got my luggage, and walked back to AU to store it. The guy at the baggage counter linked both together with the tag, and charged me only 5 pesos! Looks like it's gonna be a good day.

Went back into town, and am camped out at Cuiles for a while. [comment]

2008-01-26-1403Z

Yesterday, lacking onion, I lanced the lesions and put tequila on them as a disinfectant; then later I found a clove of garlic someone had left behind, and put slices of that on the wounds. It seems to have similar properties as onion, with the horrific exception that once you remove it, the infection comes back worse than before. The sore on my right wrist, which had almost healed, is back in full force. Last night I had 3 burning infections; it's a wonder I got any sleep at all.

Co-hosteler Joaquin offered me some cacao beans he had bought; the toasted one was nice, but the raw beans taste great, very much like unsweetened baker's chocolate but nutlike as well. [comment]

2008-01-25-1354Z

Damn. I let myself get into "party mode" last night, and not only spent all of today's cash, but put MX$70 on my credit card for a small bottle of mezcal. And if I want to eat anything today other than rice and eggs, I'll need to use it again for a restaurant.

And double-damn, I have two new (as of yesterday) lesions, one on the back of each hand. They hurt like hell. I think I'm going to make bandages out of the stretchy part of two socks -- I have extras -- and try the onion trick on them. My leg is almost completely healed after a second day with an onion slice. And that looked, and felt, the worst of all. But why am I getting new ones? That I can't figure out. My immune system is obviously going to work on them, or they wouldn't be burning like they are. [comment]

2008-01-24-2119Z

I keep meaning to blog this, just for my own reference, but keep forgetting... someone on this trip, I think at hostel Jarachik in San Pedro la Laguna, gave me the ten cent summary of eye exercises: alternate between focusing on something near and something far, over and over. So, I've been doing it on and off for a month or so, especially when I'm reading and my eyes start to get tired. Haven't noticed any improvement yet, but if it eventually works, I want to have a reference as to how long I've been doing them.

I've been pretty productive writing lately: howtos on Tunnel Through a Firewall, Secure a Linux Server, Use SSH, and Make Coffee Using a Cloth Bag Filter; and Oaxaca on about $12 per day at AssociatedContent.com.

I'd seen some date palms here in Oaxaca, but this morning, walking back from north of the Zócalo, I saw the unmistakable fronds of a coconut palm. Here in the desert! I guess it rarely if ever drops below freezing; those things can't handle the cold. It looked pretty old, too, maybe 20 or more. That thing's been sucking a lot of water for a long time. [comment]

2008-01-24-1437Z

Ran again this morning. Yeah! Feels good to feel good.

Yesterday I googled for natural remedies for staph and strep, and found this page that indicates onion can help with both, even penicillin-resistant strains. It says to use a poultice of onion with honey; but lacking honey, I just cut off a slice of onion and held it against the bad area with my sock. This is the one on my lower left leg: a 3cm by 4cm ugly, scabbed-over, area fringed with redness and swelling. At least, that's how it looked yesterday. I wish I'd taken "before" and "after" pictures. The onion slipped down during the day and night, I guess, because it was only covering the lower half. I removed it after running this morning, and it had not only dissolved the scab away, but there is much less inflammation! It looks way better. I'll have to try it on the right hand now, and possibly on the new little bump on my left hand. This could possibly be an excellent cure for impetigo. It sure doesn't hurt to try. [comment]

2008-01-24-0440Z

I'm smartening up a little... instead of waiting till I get to Veracruz, I've already downloaded and saved the state and city maps, and booked Sunday night at Hostal Zion just a short walk from the Central Camionera, where the AU bus stops. Saturday night I plan to spend on the bus. [comment]

2008-01-23-1926Z

I started jogging again this morning, and this time, despite my left foot complaining, I kept on, and after maybe 10 blocks it was fine. I went maybe 15 minutes before stopping. Hope to build up to a half hour soon.

Speaking of running, first-time visitors to Oaxaca will notice the walk signal: an LED animation of a guy power-walking, with a countdown starting, I dunno, maybe at 40 seconds. By the time it gets down to 5 seconds, the little guy is really hauling ass. You'd better be across the street by the time it gets to zero, though the drivers here don't seem as bad as, for example, Guadalajara. I'd like to think the programmer of that signal had a lot of fun with that project. For sure millions of people have seen his work. [comment]

2008-01-23-1717Z

Finally found out how to make DSL-embedded persistent across boots. The help page doesn't mention that you have to actually run the goddamned backup, it makes it sound as though it's all automatic. It isn't. The restore, however, is.

To run the backup, you have to tell it the backup device, without the /dev. That's nonobvious, too. Right-click, System, Backup-Restore, type sda1 (typically for booting via USB, anyway), and click Backup. Or, from the root command line, run filetool.sh backup sda1. You should find the backup by running find /cdrom/ -newer ~dsl/.dillo, the first time anyway; after that ~dsl/.dillo is restored from backup, so I'm not sure if it would still work. [comment]

2008-01-23-1401Z

It took me until the full moon to finish my new moon shave, due to the infected sores on my face, but finally I'm clean-shaven again as of yesterday afternoon.

Looks as though it could be at least another week till the infections are gone. A few have healed. It's a slow process, and my monkeying with it does not seem to have had much effect; probably better to just let my immune system handle it.

Re-reading James Herod's Getting Free a second time. I'm trying to understand why some of the writing rankles me so much. The word "capitalist" for one, used to describe the oppressor, bugs me because I was once a small-time capitalist; I used credit to buy machinery, "the means of production", then hired a bunch of guys and paid pretty decent wages. Eventually, as with many small-time capitalists, the business died and I ended up selling the machinery for pennies on the dollar, remaining in debt. So who ended up better off, the capitalist or the proletariat? Anyway, despite the leftist language, the book is full of good ideas, and I highly recommend it. [comment]

2008-01-20-1830Z

Conversations with other anarchists are forcing me to re-think my working philosophy. I have to see what axioms are basic to my ideology, and if they should remain, or be adjusted or eliminated. Here are some of them:

The Holocene extinction is real, and is ongoing: up to 400 species per day are disappearing for good. The "die-off" has already started; it just hasn't yet extended to the human race on any massive scale.

Dunbar's number (147) represents the upper limit at which humans in a group can maintain stable social relationships. Those anarchists who prefer group sizes of 2000 or more may therefore need to come up with new, non-hierarchical methods of maintaining group cohesiveness.

Humans are not, as a group, more valuable to me than all other life forms. At least, intellectually I cannot see it as being true; my gut reaction would probably always be to defend another human from attack by another animal. But if maintaining 6 billion humans on earth means continuing the Holocene extinctions, I don't see the value in it.

There are more, of course, but this is a start. [comment]

2008-01-17-1922Z

Met this guy today, and got myself a copy of James Herod's book Getting Free, which I plan to read this afternoon. Spent all but MX$50 of this week's allowance, which means I'll have to live very frugally from now until Saturday morning, or run up more debt on my credit card. [comment]

2008-01-16-2321Z

I'd forgotten, I'd left the amplifier on back home; started up my music from the computer, changed the audio codec back to mp3, and I could hear the sound over the VLC stream!

Also wrote up a howto on it. [comment]

2008-01-16-2005Z

Found out for sure that Technorati has been ignoring my pings, even though the response is good. So here's another link to my Technorati Profile to see, yet again, if I can get the ball rolling. I think it just chokes on the way I have the thing set up, but whatever. [comment]

2008-01-16-1942Z

Fixed the streaming to make bandwidth more tolerable:

$ cat /tmp/vlcstream.sh
#!/bin/bash
nice vlc dshow:// :dshow-vdev="ZSMC USB PC Camera (ZS211)" \
:dshow-adev="ESS Maestro" :dshow-size="320x240" \
--sout='#transcode{acodec=mpga,ab=16,vcodec=mp1v,vb=64}'\
':standard{mux=ts,access=udp,dst=tek:1234}'

And using VLC's "snapshot" feature, and GIMP to paste it into the screenshot I made earlier, I now have a picture of the whole mess for you. [comment]

2008-01-16-1637Z

OK, I've got audio/video streaming working from my shebeen, using vlc:

This one is on my server:

jcomeau@tektonic:~$ cat ~/src/vlcstream.sh
#!/bin/bash
vlc -vvv udp: --sout '#standard{access=http,mux=ogg,dst=0.0.0.0:8080}'

And this is the one from the computer at home:

jcomeau@tektonic:~$ cat /tmp/vlcstream.sh
#!/bin/bash
nice vlc dshow:// :dshow-vdev="ZSMC USB PC Camera (ZS211)" \
:dshow-adev="ESS Maestro" :dshow-size="320x240" \
--sout='#transcode{acodec=mp3,vcodec=mp1v,vb=256,ab=64}'\
':standard{mux=ts,access=udp,dst=tek:1234}'

And on my laptop here I just type:

$ vlc http://tek:8080

I tried to get a screenshot, but PrntScrn shows the VLC window as black; I guess it always catches it during refresh. Oh, well, you'll just have to take my word for it that it works :^)

Actually, I'm not sure of the sound, it's so quiet there in the desert usually anyway... didn't hear a thing... [comment]

2008-01-15-0229Z

Converting my WMA files to MP3 using a variation on this script. See the full thread, I posted my modification at the end of the other comments.

After this, it's just a matter of saving everything I want to my servers and/or flash chips, and I can get rid of this laptop and Otterbox case, lightening my load by 10 pounds or so. It may not seem like much, but my back will sure appreciate it. [comment]

2008-01-13-1708Z

I've been doing a little googling, and it seems my skin infections are possibly due to Impetigo, a disease rare among adults but can be spread by skin-to-skin contact. The reported symptoms are just how it happened in my case: first bumps, then pimples, then erupting into huge scab-covered infections.

The sores at the corners of my mouth may be the same, or may be due to riboflavin deficiency (see bottom of page -- first is some interesting info on the relationship of diet to Herpes).

Well, at least I have a better idea of what's going on with my body. The other problem -- the scratchy throat that turned into blocked nasal passages and coughing -- appears to be on the decline since yesterday, when the cough turned quite (grossly) productive. I probably shouldn't have had those beers last night, it never seems to help recovery. Oh, well. [comment]

2008-01-12-2041Z

It's fucking impossible to buy a lighter in this town! Apparently only a few street vendors in the Mercado area sell them... nothing in the stores that I could find. Finally ended up buying some matches. Didn't finish cooking breakfast till around noon.

Found the Soriana store again, much easier this time, just going east from the Zócalo to the Periferico, heading south, and when the Periferico bears right head straight, which is Universidad. Just follow that until it too turns (left), and the Soriana is right in front of you. The baños are on the left, inside the entryway before you actually enter the store. And they're free! There's a huge cinema in that shopping center too, in case I want to blow some money. The hostal gave me a one-day discount when I paid for a week; the lady gave me the "shush" signal but I'm gonna assume it's OK to blog it. [comment]

2008-01-12-0012Z

Found my brown rice! All it took was walking aimlessly through the Mercado Benito Juárez till I found the vendors with the bulk grains, and asking for arroz integrál. MX$16 per kilo. I spent another MX$10 for a small mango and two guavas, which I promptly ate. That's it for this week's money; if I spend any more it comes out of next week's allotment. [comment]

2008-01-11-2149Z

This afternoon I found the AU bus terminal. From the Zócalo: follow Independencia west until it curves around to the right and becomes Calzada Francisco Madero, at the Gigante store. Keep following it north, keeping the railroad tracks to your left. After about an hour, you'll see a park of sorts on your right, mostly dead grass with a few maguey (agave), sotol, and cactus plants. This is a 5-way junction; cross it carefully in the same direction you've been going. On the far side of the junction your road splits into two; bear left for Madero, not right, which is Carretera Cristobal Colon going to Mexico City. The AU station is a brightly colored red-and-yellow building just ahead on your right.

I was still feeling adventurous after that, so I took a different but, it turned out, roughly parallel route that brought me right back to Independencia a block east of the Gigante.

Only the sore on my left leg is still oozing. The rest have all improved but most are still infected, judging by the pain. This has been the worst day for my throat so far, but I've managed to avoid constant coughing, which only makes things worse. And it's only about 16 hours more till I get paid. I think I'll make it. [comment]

2008-01-11-1623Z

Finally I can build my customer's programs on Linux! Both NSIS and Ewe/Jewel are now producing working Windows installers on my Debian servers. A bit early to sell the laptop, but time to start leaving it behind more often and see how I cope.

Did you know a new version of Ewe is out? It's been renamed Eve, since it's a radically different VM, now with true Java threading. Michael Brereton, the author/developer, recently emerged from almost 6 months of self-imposed exile to share this new development kit with the world. Thanks Michael! [comment]

2008-01-11-0154Z

Like most Mexican websites I've experienced, Ticketbus sucks under Firefox. All database queries come up "null", even if I correct the date from their funky Javascript calendar. So I used IE and got the info I wanted: Veracruz first class, MX$356, three different schedules. Second class (AU terminal), MX$282, leaves at 2230. Matamoros is only available first class from Oaxaca, for MX$1148. Think I'll pass on that one. Nothing to Cancun nor Tulum. Looks like my next stop will be Veracruz after all, though I'm undecided whether or not to try and find the Rainbow gathering. And I might spend another week here at Hostal Santa Isabel, now that I've found the Gigante supermarket only a few blocks away, and am saving money cooking my own food. I did dip into my credit card for a US$5 dollar meal, but other than that I've been pretty much behaving myself, thanks in part to being sick. And I've still got another MX$50 in my pocket. [comment]

2008-01-08-2118Z

My sores are still oozing pus. This is so unlike my body's usual self. Plus, my throat is starting to itch as though I've picked up some kind of virus. Maybe sharing those bottles of beer with everybody in San Pedro wasn't such a great idea. [comment]

2008-01-08-1528Z

Bit the bullet and paid up the hostel for 4 more nights, to Saturday morning. I really don't want to backtrack to Zipolite despite the thought of seeing golden-haired Swedish babes lounging around naked. Next year.

Yesterday morning I paid MX$30 for a breakfast of chorizo with beans and tortillas. It had about 3 links of chorizo. This morning I walked straight down Cabrera from the southwest corner of the Zócalo to the second market (Mercado 20 de Noviembre), where all the food stalls are, and entered halfway down that block, right across from the Bancomer. There I ran into the meat vendors I had seen my last trip through, but at which I hadn't stopped due to spending that day with a young woman who was decidedly vegetarian. Anyway, for the same MX$30, I got a half kilo -- maybe 12 or more links -- of the same chorizo, and they cook it for you on the spot for no extra charge (or, possibly, it would have cost less uncooked). Now, that's a meal that might last me the whole day. By way of contrast, I then went to one of the other vendors to sit down, and ordered chocolate de agua, which set me back MX$20. It did include a pan de yema, but still, what a difference in nutritional value. [comment]

2008-01-07-1803Z

Now I know where the second class bus terminal is in Oaxaca; just on the opposite side of town from where I was looking for it previously, and not far from the hostel where I was staying last time, where I just stored most of my luggage for MX$10 per day.

The AU station is where I can get a bus to Veracruz, but the guy at fypsa wouldn't tell me how to get to it other than "take a taxi", so fuck it, I'm gonna take my time, check out OCC, look for the Oaxaca-Pochutla express minibus, and if nothing appeals to me, try to stay in Oaxaca till Saturday. It'll be tight because I've only got MX$620 left, and the hostel is MX$70 per night. Of course I could eat using my credit card, but would rather not; places that accept them tend to be overpriced.

Can't reach the free wifi from The Italian Coffee Company, dammit. Guess I'll have to go up the street to Los Cuiles for my Internet fix. [comment]

2008-01-07-1334Z

Finally on the move again, after being stuck for hours, apparently due to a collision. We were scheduled to be in Oaxaca at 8AM, so I guess 2PM is a more likely scenario at this point. [comment]

2008-01-06-2340Z

Some signs of what I call TRS, Toxic Relationship Syndrome:

Are you constantly demanding help from your partner, or asking for it with an implied expectation of "yes"? Do you get angry when eir answer is no? Your partner has eir own life. It is intertwined with yours already, sexually and/or emotionally; that doesn't imply that you own any more of eir time than ey freely offer. Especially if you are expending your money and energy to help others, you cannot expect your partner to then increase eir allotment of resources to make up for what you now lack due to your having given it to others.

Likewise, when you and your partner go somewhere, is ey free to leave whenever ey wish, or "must" they wait until you are ready? I mean, even by eirself; polyamory, where they may leave with another, is an extension of this. If the walk or ride home is dangerous, expensive, or otherwise likely to require both leaving at the same time, be ready to leave when your partner is ready, and the relationship will be smoother.

Do you make disparaging remarks about your partner's other love interests, or random people on the street? Knocking others doesn't make you any more attractive, in fact it might have the opposite affect. Look for the good in everybody, keep a buena onda (good vibe) in your conversation, and your beauty will radiate all the more.

I've probably been guilty of all of the above at some points in my life, particularly that last item. But these are all correctable behaviors; it's never too late to change. [comment]

2008-01-06-2314Z

A quick rundown on the fees coming back into Mexico: at the border the money changers might tell you to keep Q10 for a re-entry fee. It's not true, just change it all; they just stamp your passport and let you pass. Same on the Mexico side. They were giving MX1.30 per Quetzal, roughly a 7 percent fee; much better than the 30% that pendejo charged me on the way in. The run into El Carmen from Malacatán was still Q4 and the colectivo into Tapachula was only MX$10, instead of the 11 pesos I was charged on the way into Guatemala. Altogether from San Pedro de Laguna, it was Q69 plus MX$10, or about US$10.60. [comment]

2008-01-06-2206Z

Just wasted MX$100 on a new pair of jeans. I didn't need them, mine were holding up just fine. And now I've got that additional bulk and weight in my bags. Damn. But what's done is done. [comment]

2008-01-06-1858Z

While in the process of re-reading A Brief History of Everything, I ran across a Tess Gerritsen book, Bloodstream, a few days ago in San Pedro and read it. Turns out I had started it some months ago, and given up on it because it was too boring, but this time I persisted and it got much better after the first 100 pages or so. Gerritsen's characters are real people, quirky and complex, and she herself is an absolute babe. [comment]

2008-01-06-1800Z

The Bible isn't all bullshit... Ask and ye shall receive, sometimes at least. I just asked at the bus terminal if I could leave my stuff there until my bus leaves, and the guy pointed to a place on one wall where other people's stuff was already stacked. I pulled out my padlock to secure the two bags together, and a lady who worked there came over and asked me when my bus was to leave; I told her 6PM, and she offered to let me put my two bags behind the counter. Very nice. No more schlepping today, except for my laptop, which I prefer to have with me.

An hour or two ago, I bought some denatured alcohol and curitas at a pharmacy, lanced 3 of my infected sores with my knife, cleaned them, and put a band-aid on each. They're still painful, but I'm hoping this will speed recovery. I'm usually in favor of letting the body do its own healing, but sometimes I can't help mucking around with it. [comment]

2008-01-06-1428Z

I was looking for a bus to take me up the coast to the next city, but don't have a map to tell me what that is; so when I came across Autobuses Fletes Y Pasajes S.A. de C.V. on the corner of 3a Ave. Norte and 9a Calle Oriente, I grabbed a seat on the Oaxaca bus for MX$220, leaving at 1800 this evening. So I'm again singing the praises of public transit in Mexico. This line is about MX$100 cheaper than OCC, and they have seats available! And chances are its terminal is the 2nd class terminal in Oaxaca, which I couldn't find before, so I'll get to know where that is too.

Once in Oaxaca, I can decide whether to try to make Veracruz in time for the Rainbow gathering, or go back to Zipolite and hang around naked for a week or two. [comment]

2008-01-06-0253Z

I hated to, but rented a room for the night. Hospedaje Cardenas, 12a. Avenida Norte No. 27, Tapachula, Chiapas. MX$100 as long as I get out of here by 7AM (the guy said he'd wake me up), otherwise MX$150. Now to find a bar and get a sleepy buzz. [comment]

2008-01-06-0059Z

Still schlepping. Finally found the downtown, but not one goddamned internet place. There must be one somewhere... I keep asking around, and different people's answers actually correlate, but haven't found anything open yet. There's a place not far from the OCC terminal that calls itself a "Cibercafe" but doesn't offer internet, and the person I spoke with last time through didn't even seem to understand why I would ask. I guess they just thought it was a cute thing to call it. [comment]

2008-01-05-2354Z

All this time I've been ragging about how great the public transit system is in Mexico. Well, I'm having second thoughts. I'm in Tapachula, across the street from the OCC station, and there's not a single bus into Veracruz with available seats. Not one, for at least 2 days. At least Greyhound has the smarts to keep some extra buses on tap for heavy traffic periods. Nothing to Oaxaca, either. Looks like I can skip the Intergalactic Rainbow Gathering and head right up to Cancun or Matamoros. Whatever. Right now I'm stuck in this nowhere town, with all my infected sores and a fucked-up back from schlepping my luggage around. At least there's Pacifico at MX$15 a bottle, and a torta de pierna for the same price, at this 24-hour restaurant. [comment]

2008-01-05-1635Z

First it was the pimples. Then when I busted those they erupted into big, nasty, pus-filled sores. Now I've got two infected fingers just from splinters from yesterday's firewood. Something about this climate, or the lake area itself, is really putting a load on my immune system. [comment]

2008-01-05-1616Z

After passing Santa Clara, we left the lake area. Guatemala is widening the highway, so it might be a smoother ride next year this time.

David told me Flickr is better for sharing photos than Facebook. People don't need to sign up to see your pics, and you can download them again at the same resolution you uploaded them. There's a nominal charge if you go over a certain storage or bandwidth limit, otherwise it's free. I'm pretty sure I signed up some time ago, I'll have to check into it again when I get a chance. [comment]

2008-01-05-1516Z

This bus to Xela is Q35. Just for the record. [comment]

2008-01-05-1428Z

It turns out there's only one bus to Xela from San Pedro de Laguna, despite what the sign at Mikaso says, and it's at 8:30, across the street from the Catholic church. I met two photographers, David and Kendrick, who are going to Xela to photograph the surrounding pueblos. [comment]

2008-01-03-1822Z

High winds on Lake Atitlan, gusting to gale force, since Tuesday night. We lost power for good in San Pedro yesterday morning not long after sunrise. No internet anywhere, no functioning ATM (there's only one ATM in town anyway), and couldn't even PayPal Michael at Buddha Bar to run up an account there. By evening, no sign of anything happening, I emptied the last half of my 5-gallon water bottle into my Katadyn Base Camp filter bag, and took the empty in for my Q50 deposit. Went to Comedor Central for a plate of eggs, black beans and rice, and an extra order of tortillas, for Q13. That was the first real sustenance I'd had all day.

This morning, after asking around, I took the lancha to Pana for Q20. It was a pretty rough ride, almost parallel to the waves, across to San Marcos, but after that it was just a matter of holding up a piece of plastic to block the spray. It took Banco Industrial a while to get their ATM running, but at the moment I've got Q800 in my pocket after spending Q200 on a hat. I lost my last sombrero, the Tejano style wool hat I picked up for MX$200 in Oaxaca, to the wind while fishing off the Mikaso pier night before last. No internet here at Pana Rock Café, also due to a powerout somewhere along the line, so will have to upload this elsewhere. Then it's back to San Pedro for my luggage, and maybe on to Veracruz from there Saturday morning. [comment]

2008-01-01-2245Z

Can't decide whether to stay at Lake Atitlan or go back home, stopping at the Intergalactic Rainbow Gathering in Veracruz on the way... it's nice here, and I'm finally paying down my credit card, but I'm not making any progress on my projects. And I really miss my next-door neighbor; her coffee, cards, and conversation in the mornings...

Things usually have a way of sorting themselves out. No need to push, I guess... [comment]

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