My new apartment smells faintly of dog food.
This is because I now live directly above a Purina food store, complete with stacks of animal feed and wire cages brimming with bunnies and chicks. The building is located along what is somehow a busy street, considering that there are few people -- and hence, few cars -- in Huajuapan. I'm reminded of my days in Chicago when big trucks roared by at 2 am, stirring me out of a sticky sleep.
Sticky. I should mention the fact that the apartment's windows don't open -- a fact that I discovered after it was too late to turn back, after I'd packed my stuff in my old place. After I'd rented a truck to move it exactly one block. After I'd handed over the keys to my former apartment, a place full of functioning, opening windows and fresh air. After the mercury in the thermometer rose to 42 Celsius -- well over 100 Fahrenheit.
Ah, the things we do for cheap rent and free internet and proximity to Mexican boyfriends.
Anyway. My non-opening bedroom windows face the street and the shoe store located on the other side. Inside that shoe store in my new arch nemesis, a bright red car, a children's ride, complete with headlight eyes and fender mouth. It's the sort of insert-a-quarter ride you used to find in the lobby of a Wal-Mart back in the day, right next to the machines that would sell stale bubble gum and little plastic treasures inside little plastic eggs. Every 10 minutes, the car's headlight eyes flash and it calls out in an slightly-demonic-sounding cartoon voice: ¡VEN NIÑO, VEN A DIVERTIRTE! ("Come here, kid, come have fun!") and then there's an onomatopoeia-tastic BOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIING to finish things off. It's loud enough that I can hear it clearly in my room, even with the windows closed (and, yes, they always are!).
And that's the noise level of the car at rest. Imagine the ruckus after a kid actually convinces mommy or daddy to part with two pesos to get the thing going. The result is a hellish-sounding mix of Western music and gas pedal revving.
But besides the car and the dog food and the non-opening windows, my new digs fantastic. In the new place, there are no nightmare-inducing spiders lurking on my ceiling or armies of ants in my pants-drawer. In fact the place is pretty clean (guess that's what happens when it is hermetically sealed with -- have I mentioned this? -- windows that don't open), which is surprising, considering I'm now living with two guys.
(They're two Mexican guys, mind you, who have somehow been programmed to make their beds and do their dishes and take out the trash. While my mom gave raising me right her best shot, it turns out that I'm the slob in the apartment, a fact that my new roommates find endlessly entertaining. Because of this, they've kept the housekeeper they'd hired before my arrival. She comes on Fridays and make the place sparkle for $100 pesos, about $7.50 dollars.)
The best part? My rent. $75 dollars a month! Kind of puts it all in perspective, no?