Friday, April 13, 2007

April 13, 2007 Friday Morning

Friday April 13, 2007 Guatemala time 6:33 am

Today is Mike Goetz's birthday. Mike and I grew up together in Iowa. He
was a certified genius and was tested by several educational organizations.
He was a talented artist and musician. He went into the Air Force a few
months after I did in 1960 and was immediately put into a program at the
University of Indiana in Bloomington to learn Russian. He was there for a
couple of years, finished his degree in Russian and went off to Eastern
Europe to be a spy. He and I crossed paths several times when I was living
in New York City. He ended up getting his Master's degree in Fine Arts at
the University of Texas in Austin. He married, had a daughter and was
divorced. The divorce devastated him and he moved to Spain to teach
English. While in Spain he met and married a woman from Sweden and they
eventually settled in Hollywood where Mike was a film producer. He worked
for a time for Public Television. I went to see him in California a couple
of times. His wife was a real estate appraiser in Long Beach and they had a

son, Tony. When Mike was in Junior High School he was diagnosed with a hole

in his heart. He had one of the first open heart surgeries in Iowa. He
passed his physical to get into the Air Force but I found out later that he
was discharged on a medical due to continued heart problems. He had several

other heart surgeries after that. In December of 1988 he called me to tell
me that he was going to have heart surgery again after that Christmas. He
did not want to spend Christmas in the hospital. Shortly after he called me

he died in the driveway of his home in California. He was 46 years old.
Mike would have liked San Pedro and all of the native art here.

Local culture item: Rosa fixes chicken a lot. It tastes fine but it is
always the back, tail or neck. My old friend George used to call the tail
"The Parson's Nose," Or "The last part of the chicken to cross the fence."
I have never liked the back, the tail or the neck. When I fix chicken I
normally put those things into a pot with the giblets for stock or soup.
Rosa only serves us the neck, back and tail. She fixed a really nice potato

pancake thing wrapped in a banana leaf with a piece of the neck, or back or
tail in the middle. It was as if the chicken piece was the prize in the
middle of the cake. For the past two weeks I have been walking past a push
cart with a lady selling fried chicken and french fries. Always looks and
smells delicious. Much like the food you buy at a carnival or fair. Last
night I finally stopped to buy some and take it back to my room. I was not
paying attention to the lady and she just ladled up some chicken and fries
and put it in a plastic bag. When I got back to my room and opened the bag
I found, you guessed it, a back, a neck and a tail. Do I look like a neck,
back and tail sort of guy? I distinctly remember seeing wings, thighs, legs

and breasts on her rack. I will ask Estella what I need to do. I guess it
is "Ask not and you will have not" and I did not ask the right question.

I read in a guide book that you do not put any paper including toilet paper
into the toilet. It has to do with their sewer plants and not being able to

deal with paper. I thought it was only in very rural areas and did not pay
any attention to it. Yesterday I asked both Tony and Estella and they
assured me that you never put toilet paper in the toilet. You use the
toilet paper and put it in the wastepaper basket. That is fine but Rosa and

Felipe have yet to empty the wastepaper basket. I do not need to give you
any more detail on this matter.

I am at the halfway point today. I have finished two weeks and have two
more weeks to go. There is a graduation ceremony at the school every
Friday. They did not have it last week because it was Good Friday. It will

be interesting to see who is ending the program today.

Met a student yesterday who has finished everything in Spanish and is now
back to learn Mayan. Not sure why someone would want to learn Mayan. Not
me. Spanish is difficult enough.

Tony moves out tomorrow to go to El Salvador. I will probably get a new
housemate this weekend. g

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