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May 5, 2000

 

For studying ecology, the children dressed as various tiny animals and walked in a procession: bumblebees, butterflies, lions and rabbits and frogs. The butterflies, with their yellow tutus and tights, wings of net and wire, looked especially light; they fluttered. The usual band thumped before them while mothers beamed. The children scuffed their colored slippers down to the park.

      The costumes were elaborate; fortunately they could be worn again the following day in the spring Lent Procession of Flowers. This time most of the bees and butterflies, heavily dependent on training wheels, pedaled their bicycles. It was wise a decision because the weather’s turned very hot. In the small park we think of as a WPA Project (because of the daily movement of rocks from one side to the other for the past four months) something new was installed: a faucet. Perhaps some day a fountain will grow around it. For the moment, it stands nude in the center of dry gravelly soil. I saw a woman wash her clothes in a bucket. A wire that might pass for a clothesline hung across the width of the area, but the woman didn't use it. She rinsed her garment and hung it on the faucet pipe to dry.

This is a country where everything is improvised. I don't believe they've yet come to the concept of the right angle. Our gas tanks fasten to gas tubes with wires, our lamps with some sort of glue. The landlady daily climbs up onto the roof with a garden hose to fill our twenty gallon water tank. The tank is rusty; grains of iron coat my scalp.

      So this leads me to explain that our Internet Service Provider vanished. No warning given; after four days of no response George went by bus to their office and found it locked, vacant. Phones disconnected. The office people upstairs know nothing.

      Yet again I change my e-mail address. This time, although our ISP is local, I've signed up with Yahoo, in hopes that it's longer lived and I can use it from either country. If you sent me anything from about March 10 onward, consider it lost in the ether. But of course I am not lost, nor is George, who at this moment sits outside beneath a large striped umbrella conversing in Spanish with our neighbor. No mint juleps.