The day evolved slowly. I woke up early to surf the internet to plan the trips of next year (Egypt and Spain, I think), but the rest of the family did not surface until past 9 am. After breakfast my cousin Carlos took Maya and me to the Museum of the Desert, one of the not-to-miss sights in Saltillo. It has all sorts of interesting things about the desert, but is better known for its displays of dinosaurs. As it turns out very few fossils have been found of Triassic and Jurassic dinos, but in the Cretaceous a shallow sea embayment formed in what is now the state of Coahuila, and its shores provided the perfect environment for the activities of dinosaurs, and for their preservation as fossils once they died. The museum is not only a showcase, but includes a team of paleontologists that search, dig for, and investigate these fossils.
The museum also has a small collection of black bears (still roaming around in the mountains of Coahuila), coyotes, and Mexican wolves. The latter are pretty much extinct (the result of a systematic campaign of extermination by US and Mexican cattlemen, who in the 1950’s to1970’s used poison in out-of-the-way water ponds), with only three populations left in captivity. The museum is part of an effort to expand the captive populations with the hope of reintroducing these animals in some protected areas.
Afterward we came back to another fine meal (Pescado a laVeracruzana), and very, very slowly prepared for the trip to Monclova. My aunt and uncle wanted to drive us to my parents’ home, both to make life easy for us and to visit my parents. My aunt let the cat out of the bag when she told me that she wanted to see how my Mom was doing. “What happened?” “Oh, she fell and broke her nose.” “What?!!” Yes, my poor Mom had slipped forward while fiddling with her walker, and had hit herself against a sharp edge and broken her nose. Falling down is, alas, a common occurrence, but this is the first time that she has not been able to do the ninja roll, so she was hurting. Pobrecita!
So we started kind of late (maybe 4 pm), and then we found out that the first third of the highway was closed for repairs of the damage caused by the heavy rainfall of storm Alex, so we had to do a big detour through the old highway and that took forever. My cousin Carlos was driving, and he has a pretty heavy foot, but it was not until 6:30 pm that we got to Monclova. By this time my aunt had covered the whole recent history of the family, and Maya’s head was spinning, so it was with relief that we pulled in front of my parents’ house. Wow, my Mom looked like she had been in a boxing match! She fell 8 days ago, so the swelling and the pain were all gone, but she still looked like a mean street fighter.
A few minutes later my other cousin arrived. His name is Jorge and he moved to Monclova seven years ago to work with my brother in the steel mill. Five years ago he married Yvonne, and they now have two children, and a house in the process of construction that is almost90% ready. He wanted to take his parents to see the new house, so of course we all went to see it. It is in the outskirts of Monclova and it is huge! The lot must be as big as mine, but the house is very large (actually, it is a three bedroom house, but everything is large in it). Jorge was so excited talking about his new house, which they have built little by little as money became available, that it was hard not to be carried along by his excitement.
We ended the day—a very long day—with supper at a local restaurant, where I did my best to gross Maya out by ordering the head of a baby goat. Mmm . . . tacos de ojo, sesos, y lengua!