"Well, it just goes to show you, it's always something -- if it ain't one thing, it's another."
Or so Roseanna Roseannadanna said. And she was correct.
One of the interesting aspects of traveling is learning how to accomplish tasks we never think of. How to find an internet café. Where to pay the light bill. What happens when there is no water.
Or –- how to deal with the garbage.
In Melaque, I bag up my garbage and place it in what looks like a very inefficient charcoal grill (to keep the scavenging animals away from the bag -- even though the clever grackles are very good at untying knots). The garbage truck then picks it up in the morning. Six days a week. Great service. And I never have to think about it.
On my first day in Pátzcuaro, Felipe told me that is not the way things are done here. I need to listen for the cow bell.
At first, I thought this was the highlands equivalent of a snipe hunt. A little ribbing of the new guy.
It turns out, that is exactly what I needed to listen for. The garbage truck drives through the neighborhood. And like a reenactment of the Monty Python "Bring Out Your Dead" skit, the neighbors drag out their garbage bags that are then tossed in the truck -- and driven off to wherever the garbage is buried in Pátzcuaro.
The alternative is to take the garbage into town and navigate through the local market with your bags in search of the Holy Dumpster.
I opted to wait for the peal of the bell. But, in the four weeks I have been here, I never heard it toll for me. I suspect I was either away from the house on my trips or deep asleep in bed when the truck came by.
But not Tuesday morning. Well, I was still in bed because I had been on the telephone until 2 AM. Let’s just call it my Martha Mitchell period.
For some reason I woke up around 7:30 and heard a bell. Not one of the many church bells. The garbage bell. I had seen the truck around town. So, I knew the sound. But I was certainly in no position to run out the door.
I grabbed my shorts, a shirt, and my sandals. Dug the door keys out of my long pants. And dashed down the stairs to grab the two bags of garbage in the atrium. Fumbled with the front door lock. And rushed down the street to where the neighbors were gathering with their respective body bags.
I caught a glimpse of myself in a car window. I looked like some crazed Santa Claus on vacation in the Caribbean -- who could not leave his work behind.
And, of course, the next door neighbors, who I had never met, were also bringing their garbage out at the same time. It was hardly an Emily Post moment. But we introduced ourselves, chatted a bit, and went our respective ways.
It was a good overture for the day. Because I have started winding down for my eventual departure on Thursday morning.
Today was the day I was lunching with Felipe and Lady Zapata. To thank them not only for the use of the condominium, but for their perfect host manners. They were always available with information when I needed it. But they let me follow my own nose for adventure during August. They are grand people.
I also made my rounds in the Grand Plaza. Several people greeted me by name. I stopped by the last performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. The cast was lunching with the audience members. It gave me a good opportunity to see several people I have met during my month here in Pátzcuaro. People who have helped me feel part of the local social scene.
And that is going to make my assessment of what I want to do next in Mexico both easier -- and a bit more difficult.
But that is a topic for another post. Maybe later in the week.
For now, I have one more visit to make to Santa Clara de Cobre. And when I have shared my experience there, I will be on the road to Melaque.