One More Step

2012-11-05 – Did you ever climb to the top of a pyramid? I have. I climbed a Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan in Mexico. At this point in the election I feel like I did when I had only one step to go at Chichen Itza.

That’s when the realization hit that once I got to the top, I had to go back down. It was very steep.

I am fairly acrophobic, but my acrophobia has specific parameters. I have found that I can climb up a slope. As I am climbing, I am facing the mountain (or, in this case, the pyramid), so the drop-off is not in my field of view. Coming down in the hard part. I discovered this field-of-view parameter by working in a high-rise building. I get nervous getting near the window, but if there is something that blocks the lower part of my field of view (such as a desk), I have no problem. So going up the pyramid at Chichen Itza was no problem (other than that it was a steep climb). Turning around to come down was another story.

To make things worse, that morning I was in the process of getting sick. Montezuma’s revenge (technically, in this case, it would have been Hunac Ceel Cauich’s revenge, but you get the point). Kit and I had awaken that morning at the Dolores Alba hotel and I was feeling a bit shaky. I had found a scorpion in our room (which I stomped on) and the toilet wasn’t flushing. Being out in the fresh air helped a bit, but climbing the pyramid made me woozy. I made it up alright, but had a hard time getting down. When we got to the bottom, I told Kit I needed to sit down and went to the refreshment area while she explored more ruins.

When she returned, I was gone.

I was having a hard time sitting up in the plaza, so I had decided to lay down on the ground. Next thing I knew, two guys with a stretcher were standing over me. When Kit returned, she found me en la enfereria,being taken care of by a woman doctor. She told us that she was one of the very few women doctors in the Yucatan.

She never gave us a bill. Apparently, Mexico had some sort of Obamacare and I was dependent on the Mexican state. But I digress.

When you go to Mexico, you are well advised not to drink the water (or at least this was true in the Yucatan in 1990 when we were there). We had taken precautions, only drinking Coke and Tecate. But I had let down my guard at Playa del Carmen, where we went into a seaside refreshment stand reassuringly (but falsely) named “Chicago.” While there, we watched WGN on the TV and I drank an orange juice with ice.

After my stay in la enfereria, my doctor told me not to travel, so we returned to the Dolores Alba, where just that morning we had checked out. The kind lady at the desk offered to give us our same room, but I asked for one without a scorpion. She gave us a different room, but apparently all rooms at the Dolores Alba came equipped with scorpions (which I found out the next morning and, again, stomped it to death).

And bad plumbing.

I couldn’t go far from that plumbing for a couple of days, so I sat by the pool and read a dreadful history of Mexico while Kit drove around to see the sites and to do a little shopping. I wondered about the name of our hotel: Dolores Alba. My poor Spanish had me thinking that it means “white pain,” though it turns out that Dolores Alba was the name of a person.

Tomorrow, I will get up early to vote. I like being in line when they open my polling place. Over the years I’ve gotten to know the poll workers, and an occasional minor politician will show up at the opening. Then I’ll go to work and come home, like I do every day.

Results will be just trickling in at my regular bed time. If things look promising, I might stay up late. But the truth is, my staying up will have little effect on the results. The votes will be in – just not counted. Maybe I’ll just go to lay down for a while and find out in the morning if this room has a scorpion.

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