Looking for something else in my journal of my time in Oaxaca, I found this account of the 23rd of March, 1998:
The evening before there had been dark clouds coming up the Valley from the southwest, the merest suggestion that rain was being considered. The French lady told me that Poosey Gato, the cat, had never seen rain, and I suspected he would not approve.
But it did not rain and Poosey Gato sits on my lap, dry and content.
As the sun gets up earlier each morning, so do I. The Morning Star seems to have moved south on the horizon (which, not actually being a star, I suppose it is allowed to do) and is no longer visible from my pillow.
Today is a library day, as I pursue my Lost Tomb of the Zapotec kings at Mitla (and wonder how many others have gone down this same trail. But you don’t stumble across your predecessor’s skeleton in a library).
And what a fine day in the books. Instituto Welty was the personal library of an old gringo scholar, now set up in a series of rooms in an old building beside Santo Domingo. Gundrun, the German lady, runs it and Mimi, who lives here at the Rancho, works there as a volunteer.
It’s a wonderful jumble of old books, journals and field notes, which Gundrun keeps track of on an ancient Macintosh. Mimi is currently unpacking maps and papers from old wooden crates, all of which she says are in deplorable condition.
The place would be an excellent staging area for an adventure. From the shelves I found La Relación de Tlacolula y Mitla and Caso’s account of the excavations of 1934-35 and Vazquez de Spinoza’s 17th Century report on his tour of New Spain.
I photocopied everything needful and when Gundrun closed for lunch I went over to the library at the Grafico and browsed their facsimile of Burgoa’s Geográfica (1674). There I also found INAM’s 1990 report on their survey and restoration of Mitla, with more fine maps, all of which I photocopied.
All in all, a productive day. I stopped off at the Zócalo for chicken mole in the Oaxacan style (I am still unconvinced that chocolate and chili peppers go together), saved a bee from drowning in my Sidral and took the bus home where I fed the cat, took a cold shower and went to bed early. What a fine day.
Other days I did other, often less constructive things, but that’s what I did on the 23rd of March, 1998. I understand that the Welty isn’t like that any more and realize that some of my references are not self-explanatory, but I was writing for myself and I knew what I was talking about. What a happy time down there. As Ambrose Bierce may have said: “To be a gringo in Mexico, that is euthanasia”.