April 30, 2009

An update of swine flu - and closing of restaurants

LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - We had just returned to La Manzanilla Wednesday (after dropping off amigos Sanders and Pat Lamont at the Manzanillo airport) and were heading for Palapa Joe's where I was ready to slosh down a Cuba Libre (or two) and have dinner. Then we ran head-on into the Mexican bureauacracy.

Thanks to an edict from the governor of the state of Jalisco earlier that day, Willy's doors were firmly locked and will stay so into next week - or maybe longer as Willy had planned to close down the first couple of weeks in May anyway.

The governor wasn't picking on Palapa Joe's - though it feels like it if you wanted to eat there. He shut down most of the public gatherings in the entire (and huge) state of Jalisco, neglecting of course, to shut down things like a long-planned fiesta in La Manzanilla to celebrate the end of recently public construction.

But I digress.

Up and down the main street, all restaurants were closed and we learned from amiga Kate Fisher that the only food we could buy, outside of tiendas, was para llevar (to go).

A plastic cup with a Cuba Libre would not be the same, even if Willy had opted for selling takeout. Very few places have so far.

The H1N1 flu, the flu-formerly-known-as-swine flu, is getting personal.

Red Cross lady two
With the head of the Red Cross

We had an inkling of something going on in Melaque and then Barra as we walked the streets Wednesday. Many restaurants were shut down and we didn't know why. And we couldn't find one at which to eat. Very abnormal.

Then at the airport, the first person we talked with was Bonnie Sumlin of the Red Cross, who was soliciting donations from people heading back to the states and Canada. She opined that we should all wear masks - especially on airplanes - but that authorities believe the flu will burn itself out as the weather gets warmer.

I don't know much about the science behind that thinking, but I like it. It has a nice ring to it.

Most of the airport staff was wearing masks and after we crossed the Cihuatlan River, health workers (masked, of course) were handing out flu literature at the ag inspection station. I have trouble enough understanding Spanish, but when someone is speaking to me through a tightly tied face mask. Well, I know she told me to wash my hands a lot, but the other parts went by like the lectures of my algebra teachers in high school.

Rusty and Cisco
Rusty and Cisco head out on the highway

Back at Arroyo Seco, we arrived home just in time to see the police post signs up about the new restrictions on public gatherings. Of course, the notice posted on the wall of Luis & Nena's store drew the largest crowd I've seen here outside of a quinceanera here last year.

Earlier in the day, we stopped by our amiga Rocio's veterinarian office in La Manzanilla and ran into Rusty and Cisco - the famous Cisco for whom the Cisco's Amigos organization was named years ago.

Rusty had brought Cisco to see Rocio for some kind of problem with his foot. Cisco's foot... not Rusty's foot. Of course, we didn't ask Rusty about his foot. But Rocio is very talented and probably could help Rusty's with any ailments anyway.

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