January 29, 2010 –Friday
Our fourth collection day. Today’s collection will be a morning one. I finished translating some copies of letters, Maria had given us. Now, I have to make sense of them.
We stopped briefly at INSO and left to make our way to Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo, Etla. We collected the samples by 11:30 and made our way to the taxi stand in Etla. We must be famous as one of the drivers recognized Rick and greeted him warmly. You would have thought they were long-lost cousins! However, they weren’t family enough for him to want to drive us back to Oaxaca. Another one was happy to accommodate us for 33 pesos. Our taxi rides cost us anywhere between 55 and 35 pesos, depending on the number of passengers and the driver. We always ask and bargen with the drivers before piling in to any taxi. We arrived at UABJO early in the afternoon and dropped off the samples in exchange for our last set of collection bottles. The collection process only takes about 30 minutes, however the entire process (door to door) takes about 3-4 hours with 3 buses, 2 taxis, and one Took-took ride.
Friday night we dined at La Biznaga along with quite a few Americans. We decided to look for a new place that Americans don’t frequent.
January 30, 2010-Saturday
Our 5th and final collection day. Please see our You-Tube video of the collection process. We were up bright and early at 6 am and left at 7. We walked to the Mango Lady and arrived just as she did. Rick and I (Susan) got fruit and then hustled to the bus in the rain. The usual transportation process took about half the usual time with very little traffic on a wet early Saturday morning. The bus was almost empty. We all got on and went to the back. The driver zoomed down the street at a pretty fast clip. Rick and I were in the very back and suddenly found ourselves airborne as we hit a bump. Just as suddenly, we hit the seat hard! Now thoroughly awake, we got off and walked under every raindrop to catch a taxi to the dump between Etla and Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo, Etla (I say this in Spanish to the driver). We got in the taxi with 2 people already in it (we were really packed) and rode to Etla. The driver dropped the other 2 off and took us to the dump.
Rick and Stan started dressing and setting up the equipment when Maria Soledad Gonzalez (the Municipal Administrator of Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo) walked through the gate and greeted us. She was very excited when she saw us collecting water samples and commented about the rain mixing with the effluent. We clarified our meeting date and time with the town council for Thursday at 8:00 pm this coming week. We finished collecting the samples, cleaned up, packed up and said good bye. We caught our last Took-took for this trip to the town center of Etla. At this point, we were still an hour early. We got a cab back to the second-class bus station in Oaxaca and bussed to UABJO. On arriving, Erik was not in the lab but in another part of the campus. He was not expecting us at 10. One of his students took the samples and started analyzing them. We left the university exhausted but feeling great to be done.
Saturday afternoon after showering and a siesta, we walked down to the big super Mercado in search of 100-peso Levis for Rick. We walked a very long way in the rain in vain. We found refuge from the deluge in the large market for an hour. The three of us walked back to the pension for a marvelous discussion with Sheila from CT and Francine from Nova Scotia now living in New Westminster, Canada.
January 31, 2010-Sunday
I (Susan) went to church and came back to find Rick and Stan “computering”. We went to lunch at a tiny place with great food and slow service. Rick went back to Rosalinda’s for another siesta. Stan and I went to the museum connected to Santo Domingo Church in Oaxaca. What a place! It used to be a monastery. One could easily spend several days there. My understanding of and appreciation for the history and culture of the indigenous people of Oaxaca deepened after touring this magnificent museum.
February 1, 2010 Monday
Monday was a holiday in Mexico so INSO was closed for the day. I (Rick) continued to do lots of resting and I think I have finally kicked my cold that has been hanging around since the first part of December! It was truly a day off for all of us. We just hung out and did a very little work and lots of resting. This coming week will be more “normal” in that we are arranging meetings, researching, and translating documents and presentations. The weather is still cool with some scattered cloud we will probably have a thunder storm this afternoon-evening.