December 7th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 2
Popocatepetl (not the view that I had… obviously)

When I awoke, Val was sitting in the chair next to me – she was feeling considerably worse, + had been up since an early hour with the shits.  We’d intended to walk up to the forts, because from there one could get a good view of Popocatepetl volcano.  Since Val was clearly in no state to do anything or go anywhere, I walked up there on my own.  Didn’t bother to take a bus – too much bother all round to discover which one, so I’m afraid I took the easy way out.  It really wasn’t all that far, but a disappointment when I got there.  The forts themselves weren’t especially interesting, and all seemed to be shut, + as for the main point of the trip – there was a dirty brown smog around 360 degrees, so no pictures.  Nothing for it but to walk back again, stopping off at a panaderia in order to buy some rolls for my breakfast.

Val still pretty much in the land of the unliving, + in fact stayed so for the rest of the day.  I went out + did some shopping, + then managed to amuse myself for the rest of the day.  I taped some comedy tapes of Graham’s, plus some attractive South American music.  Joe, the American guy, turned up later, when Graham had gone to work, + Barbara had taken Duncan to the doctor – the poor young feller had not been at all well.  Joe was quite concerned about Val, + popped down to the chemists to buy some antibiotic medicine that he had taken when in a similar state, + gave it to Val, along with strict instructions.  A nice guy, tho’ a touch too American for my taste.

Barbara returned late-ish, ate + went to bed.  Graham returned shortly thereafter, + then I went to bed.  Barbara + Graham have both been very kind, + made us welcome, but I’m not sure that I’ve always been comfortable with them.  Graham is a little pompous at times, + Barbara has about her a certain school-ma’am sharpness.  Mainly, I think they are a little too sane.  My best friends have a touch of idiocy – are blessed with it, I should say.

The photo, of course, is from a postcard; even if the weather had been good, I wouldn’t have got that view. Clearly, Val was in a bad way; it normally takes a bit to confine her to quarters.

As ever, a bit of a snap judgment on Graham and Barbara, but (again as ever) the diary is an honest reflection of what I was thinking at the time (however hasty or ill-judged.)

2 Responses

  1. Pamela J Blair

    Joe was quite concerned about Val, + popped down to the chemists to buy some antibiotic medicine that he had taken when in a similar state, + gave it to Val, along with strict instructions. A nice guy, tho’ a touch too American for my taste.

    –He goes out to buy possibly life-saving anti-biotics for Val while you’re out sight-seeing (or trying to), and you find him a touch too American for your taste?

    Hmm…

    • chriswalters

      OK, and absolutely fair comment. I knew when I embarked on this, warts and all transcription of my diaries, that much of it would be deeply uncomfortable. And I am not going to try to defend the person I was forty years ago; as revelatioins go, this is one of the milder ones. On the other hand, it is an accurate snapshot of how I felt at the time. And being grateful to Joe for his ministrations to Val (in comparison with, as you point out, my own rather more laissez-faire approach) does not mean I had to find him a complete saint. There are archetypical aspects of the American personality, and on occasions they can jar. I know that I was inclined to issue snap judgments on the people we met, and I am sure that in many cases these were deeply unfair, but I wrote what I felt.

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