09 April, 2008

A day in the life

So what, you may ask yourself on occasion (or not), is a typical day for me? Well, things are never all that typical in the field, especially in Mexico where Murphy's law rules the day. But there is a certain rhythm to the days that I can sorta break it down a bit.

The day starts early--the alarm on my ultra-cool Casio watch (with solar panels!) goes off at like 5:30 on the dot. I get myself out of bed, close the folding doors between my room and the artifact illustrator`s (Ms. Meghan) since she gets up later than I do and pop on the lights. I shuffle my way to the kitchen--cause I'm still all sleepy like and stuff--and make myself coffee. Coffee making is interesting because I have to boil the water in a carafe and then pour it over the grounds into a coffee pot. I leave the water to boil then shuffle over to the bathroom for morning ablutions.

Once I'm done with that the water is ready and I "make" coffee. Pour in some milk, spoon in some sugar and I'm back in my room, making the bed and getting dressed for the day. At some point I've also pulled my water bottle out of the freezer--as a block of ice its heavy to carry up the hill but I have cold water until the end of the day when it transforms into agua tibia--and my torta for the day. Sipping my coffee, I get dressed, pulling on work jeans and slathering myself in sunblock before putting on a sportsbra, a tanktop and long-sleeved work shirt--which I always roll up the sleeves as I have a tan to work on!

Once that's accomplished and the coffee has been hastily drunk its time to brush my teeth, pack my bag, lunch and any breakfast items I choose to take with me--typically a banana--then its out the door by 6:15 to walk up the street to Gary & Linda's place where I climb into their car with Rolando and off we go to Mátatlan. At some point we stop to pick up Carmela and Minvera--sometimes only one or the other--then its an awful bumpy ride to where we park the car. I get out and shake hands with and greet all the trabajadores, stretch my muscles and then its time for the big climb.

I've already hinted at what an intense climb it is, but its hard to really understand it until you've actually done it. Its intense. Very intense. And I do it every day, five days a week, for a half hour. Once you gotten up the first ridge there's a flat part where one can take a breather--this is also the site for a possible marketplace but that's unconfirmed at the moment--then the really really hard part comes, as the rest of the hill is fairly steep, the path is small, and you are walking over a lot of loose dirt and rocks. Today I made it my mission to count the trees or cacti that are present at every turn until I get to the top and it goes like this "Uno, dos, los tres, cuatro y nopal!" ("one, two, the three, four and nopal cactus!").

Once at the top, and after catching my breath, flapping my shirt to get cool air on my skin and sucking down some ice water, Minerva, Carmela and I set up the transit unit. If we need to take elevations right away or set centers then we usually do that unless some mapping or other stuff needs to happen. Then throughout the day I am either mapping units, setting up strings, observing the work, sticking my trowel in the dirt, taking elevations, setting centers, helping out where I can and asking Linda and Gary a ton of questions.

Around noon or so Gary calls "la hora" and we eat lunch. Its a half hour for lunch but I usually get less than that as I try to help them out as much as possible while the trabajadores eat--I do want to make a good impression here. Once lunch is done its back to all the aforementioned activities until about 3:30 or so when work stops for the day. I break down the transit unit and pitch in in whatever needs to be done so we can get going. Once everything is covered its back down the hill, which, while less work, is also scary cause now you have to go down the incline over loose rocks and dirt--but poco a poco (little by little) I'm gaining more confidence.

By the time we get down the hill we are sweaty, thirsty and tired. Rolando, Minerva, Carmela and I climb in to the back and we take off, dropping the two sisters off at the pick-up point and then driving the 15 minutes back to Mitla. There, we drop some things off at Gary & Linda's place and its over to the lab to check bags, chat with Meghan and I leave to go to the house and shower. I get about an hour break before dinner, which is cooked by the lovely Elena, and after an absolutely delicious meal the evening is mine. Where I either go to the internet cafe, study spanish, play computer games on my laptop, read, walk around mitla, etc.

Okay, that was quite a post, phew. But that's generally it. Saturday is my day off so that varies and Sundays are in the lab scanning that week's maps and tracing in the features. Good fun in all....again, I'm sunburnt, dirty, and sweaty but that beats sitting in a office for eight hours a day stuck inside!

The two men in the photo btw are Chavo on the left and Rolando on the right, what a cutie!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maaaan, Chavo is waaaay the fairer one. :)