Wednesday, March 05, 2003


I’m not feeling at all well. I have had, for 4 days now, a low-grade fever, a headache, and a general weakness of the body. Similar symptoms (plus chest congestion, which, though I smoke a great deal of tobacco, I do not have) seem to be common this time of year (early March) in this town.

This town is Guadalajara, Mexico, and I’ve been told by people who seem to know (one is my boss, the other my Spanish teacher) that the upsurge in illness is due to the fact that we are well into the “dry season”. As I write this, it has not rained here in weeks. When it rained, weeks ago, it was brief and unusual. Before that it had not rained in, well, weeks. It won’t likely rain again for weeks.

One of the things that happens when it doesn’t rain for weeks and weeks is that human waste, which normally festers in lagoons around the area, dries up. “Remember,” the priest used to say on Ash Wednesday as he dabbed an ash cross on our forheads, “that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” So the things I eat become feces, which I deposit in the toilet and flush. The flush sends my feces, eventually, to a lagoon, where they meet up with other feces from other people. The assorted feces then dry up, divide into tiny teams, and take wing. I then inhale the feces while sitting on my balcony writing this. It is possible that more than seven million people live in the greater Guadalajara metroplex. That’s a lot of fecal dust.

And don’t get me started on the dog feces.


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