Monday, March 10, 2008

Another broken thing!
Living in an RV with as much equipment as Señorita Tioga, I just have to expect things to break down. In addition, Señorita Tioga is going on 17 years old. That includes all the wiring, plumbing, all the screws holding the walls together; everything is 17 years old.

When something does break, I have to believe with all my heart that I will be able to fix it, or have somebody else fix it for me. I cannot afford to think bad thoughts and get all down when something breaks. That attitude would ruin everything!

And yet, yesterday afternoon when I reached for a sponge in the cabinet under the bathroom sink and found the sponge filled with water, I have to admit that I was a bit distressed! I emptied the upper shelf. Everything was wet. Not damp. Wet! I emptied the bottom of the cabinet which has a carpet floor. The carpet was drenched.

I used sponges to soak up most of the water, and then searched for the leak. I couldn't find that leak. Using a flashlight to illuminate the inside of the cabinet, I checked the plumbing again and again. Nothing seemed to be leaking.

I decided to let the cabinet air out and dry as much as possible to see what developed. Later that evening I was preparing to go to bed, and went to brush my teeth. One of the things that I removed from the cabinet was a gallon jug of distilled water [used for the solar battery bank]. Guess what? The gallon jug was leaking! The jug was the source of the water leak!

Double Wow with sugar on it! I am soooooooo happy to find that leaking water jug.

7AM - Sweet orange juice.
On the way out of the Town of Sola de Vega, we cruised around a bit. We spotted a little store where the lady was selling orange juice. While I sipped on my orange juice, I asked the lady whose name is Audela, if she had to obtain a license to sell food.

Audela told me that a license is necessary, and she showed me the papers. Audela's license cost her $1,000 pesos [$100US], and is good for six months. This license is a health permit, and spells out the things that she is required to do in order to sell healthy food.
Jorge at Audela's orange juice stand.

9:30AM - Poblado Ayoquezco.
We have arrived in Poblado Ayoquezco [poblado=town]. Señorita Tioga filled her fresh water tank at the Pemex. Then, we entered El centro de Ayoquezco and looked for an internet store.

While we were looking, we came upon Augustín Sanchez and his loaded burro. I asked Augustín if I could take a pic of him and his burro.

Immediately Augustín began telling me about his sons who live in California. I've found that people in Mexico love to tell me about their friends and relatives who live in the United States.

While I was taking the pic, Augustín began talking about how much it costs to buy cerveza [beer]. I took the hint and paid him $5 pesos for allowing me to take the pic.
Augustín Sanchez and his loaded burro.

10AM - Internet Store.
We parked in El Centro. A woman and man were talking there and we asked about the internet store. They pointed up. Would you believe that the internet store is on the second story just above where we were talking?! The stairs going up look formidable! Circular steel stairs! Wow!
Internet store in Ayoquezco.

Internet store using Hughes modem!
Would you believe that this internet store is using the exact modem that Mr. Datastorm is using? Except the store's modem is working! The internet store is also using the same satellite that Mr. Datastorm is using, which is SatMex 6.

12 Noon - Zimatlán.
The Team arrived in the Town of Zimatlán where we were planning to spend the nite. However, the fates turned against this plan. Wow! Here is what happened.......

In Zimatlán there is one bank, a Banemex. It is time to get some cash. Since parking is tight in this town, Señorita Tioga stayed several blocks away from the bank. Little Mavicito and I walked into El Centro and headed toward the bank.

We came to a good sized indoor mercado, and decided to take a peek. Just inside was a lady selling fried fish. There was a small stack of whole fish on the table, and I smelled them. They were fresh. So, I bought a fried fish for $10 pesos. Then I walked around the mercado eating my fish.

A guy came up to me begging for money. I asked him if he was hungry. He told me that he was hungry and I tore off a piece of my fish and handed it to him. That cracked up a couple of ladies who were selling veggies nearby. One of them commented to the other while still laughing, "The Gringo knows about these guys! If he gave him money, he would buy cerveza [beer]."

I met a guy who hauled fruits and veggies for a living. He trucked them from Oaxaca to the mercado here in Zimatlán. We got to talking about all sorts of stuff, mostly politics, George Bush and the war in Iraq. I told him that I was going to see the ancient city of Monte Alban, and he mentioned that I would have to go all the way into Oaxaca and return, because the road from
Zimatlán to Monte Alban is not paved. My map did not show the road being unpaved.

After that I went to the bank. And that is where this adventure begins. When I put my ATM card into the machine, the video monitor came up with a notice: "Your card cannot be read. We suggest that you contact your bank." Man-O-Man!

Can you imagine being deep in the south of Mexico, and finding that your ATM card does not work? Hmmmmmmm?

2:30PM - Looking for a bank in Oaxaca.
The State of Oaxaca must be the Topes capitol of the World. There are sooooooooo many topes here, you would not believe. Sometimes there are several topes in a row. Often within 50 yards of each other. It is stop and go. Stop and go. Stop and go. [A topes is raised hump in the road, designed to force vehicles to slow down and come almost to a stop.]

Inside the City of Oaxaca, traffic is like a giant puzzle. Besides the huge amount of cars, trucks and busses; there is no place to park. Not legally anyway. We came upon a Bancomer [bank] with an ATM machine, and there was no place to park. We tried to go around the block, but the streets were way too tiny for Señorita Tioga. So, we kept going. On and on we went. No way to turn back to the Bancomer.

Finally we came to a big intersection, and illegally parked just to look around and ask for help. A lady in a store told us that a BancNorte was not far away. When we saw the BancNorte, there was absolutely no legal place to park. So, we parked in a No Parking zone and put on Señorita Tioga's emergency blinkers.

My heart was beating fast when I put the ATM card in the machine. Would it work? Guess what? It worked! Wow!
A typical "wide" street in Oaxaca. Parking only on left side.

3:30PM - Heading toward Monte Alban.
It is a good thing that we have a compass, or else we would still be driving around in the City of Oaxaca. We found the highway heading toward Monte Alban, but decided to make a Nite Camp in the outskirts of Oaxaca.

It is getting late in the day, and we want to find an Internet Store to tell you what happened this afternoon.

What an adventure we had today! Is the TiogaRV Team ultra-challenged, or what?


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