Tonight, is our last night in Larry's palace. It's eight thirty and just dark. There's jasmine and lemon blossom perfume wafting in through the open patio doors. The only sounds are the cicadas and the odd dog wishing his pals, 'Buenas Nochtes'. I'm on my third Margarita. Well, it is our last night.
I've had awful problems with my lap top. It's been fading and taking for ever so today I popped into an internet cafe to pick up my emails and chanced to look into my Counselling Cardiff account. I found some shocking and devastating news. Nagu Rao, a dear person, who I trained with at the start of my career as a counsellor in 1994-5 has suffered a heart attack after a clot on the brain and has died suddenly. She was a loyal and committed friend, highly intelligent and fun loving, who had first trained in India as a chemist, then a lawyer, and in Newport at the University of Wales as a counsellor. She was very active in the Hindu community and on the board of various voluntary organisations, including 'People in Partnership.' She described herself as 'a Welsh Indian', and even phoned us while on holiday in Dallas on St David's Day to wish Rhys, 'Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant Hapus!' I will miss her greatly and our heart goes out to her dear husband, Raj.
Today, we also said goodbye to Larry. We took him out for lunch to show our appreciation for letting us house-sit even when his plans had changed and Equador was off. He could have cancelled but he didn't and although he was gracious about house-sitting his friend's house, supervising the installation of a new septic tank, it was clear today that he was greatly looking forward to getting home and being able to sleep in his own bed. His motives it would seem have been entirely honourable. He hasn't asked us for anything extra than what was originally agreed; that is we pay the Maid's weekly visit, and we reckon he could even be out of pocket as we've also used three weeks of gas, electricity and water and then there's the wear and tear on his furniture and hosuehold goods.
Being someone's house sitter is a strange relationship. It's not like staying with a friend. You're giving a service albeit in our case, very miniscule. Larry's been very friendly and amenable but he hasn't introduced us to any of his friends or taken us places. Not that we expected him to at all, but that's the difference. And what friend would have you stay for three weeks and move out? So, here's to Larry, the Archangel of San Miguel de Allende. Oh, and what was that you said Larry, about visiting Europe next June?
Tomorrow, we take a couple of buses down south, to San Cristobal de las Casas. We are going to visit projects run by Natate Voluntariado Internationale. The organisation runs work camps and projects that British volunteers participate in. I am a trustee of a partner organisation in Wale called UNA Exchange that sends and hosts international volunteers and we want to promote the work of Natate back home. The journey will take over 24hours and we're not sure yet where we'll be staying. One thing's for sure it won't be like Larry's place. Still, it will be another adventure. Just like going up to Shetland. . . Er, but not quite.