Sunset over the mountains
south of Monterrey, Mexico.
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Joshua tree in the high desert.
Cool rocky passes traveling
south from Nuevo Laredo.
Already February.  How time flies when things slow down.

After about two weeks of sending out email pitch letters, it seems we have secured an agent for our book.  
Essentially this means that he believes he can sell our manuscript to a publisher.  We have set up a website book
proposal, and if things go well perhaps we'll have a book deal - wow! - before we know it!!

Which means we've got to start getting busy on our editing!  We've polished about six chapters out of twenty-five,
so obviously we have a lot of work to do.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago we had to run up to Laredo to get new visas and a new permit for our car.  It was
pretty neat and little strange to be in the States for a few days.  But then, Laredo is definitely a border town.  I had
several cashiers tell me my total in Spanish.  We went a little nuts at the grocery store, stocking up on a few things
we can't get down here, like Jello Pudding and cheddar cheese.  We also went to see "Night at the Museum,"
which was cute.  And we watched TV, something we only get to do in hotels nowadays.

Sadly, I started to feel sick just as we were leaving, and a few days later I woke up with a seriously sore throat.  I
could feel that one side of my throat was swollen very badly, and, not wanting to wake anyone up, I waited
anxiously for one of our Spanish speaking neighbors to appear.  Thankfully, Arturo came by and I asked him if he
knew a doctor I could go to.  He piled me and Elea in his car and drove us to the Centro.  At the doctors' office,
we discovered they don't go into work until 10, so he took me to the hospital, a charming, ancient building tucked
up next to a church (it looks like an old monastery - I need to go take a picture).  I paid 30 pesos (about $3 US)
and was directed to the Urgencias, Emergency Room, I take it.  The final result was four penicillin shots over the
course of four days ... I had to send Arturo to go purchase the syringes and medicine, which I thought was pretty
cool.  Overall, the whole shebang cost me under $25.  The last time I had strep throat in the US, I believe I paid
around $250, with only one shot.  So the next three mornings, I strolled into the Emergency Room with my little
bag of medicine and a pretty nurse stuck a needle in my butt.  The last one was the biggest and is still sore!

Tomorrow we are leaving for a Great Western States Tour.  It may seem strange to be driving so far, only to
come back to our little Patzcuaro home, but Dave loves to drive and it will be an adventure.  Our first destination
is Mazatlan on the Pacific coast, then to Hermosillo.  Our US leg of the tour includes Phoenix, the Grand Canyon,
Las Vegas, the Lake Tahoe area (unless the mountain roads are closed), San Francisco (the purpose for our trip -
Dave has his fourth Foreign Service Oral Assessment on the 20th), and Los Angeles.  We may drive back down
the Baja Peninsula and take the ferry over from La Paz, back to Mazatlan and home.  We're all excited and ready
to go, and in fact everyone else is asleep and I'm taking this opportunity to finally post a little something here.

It looks like we won't be here a lot longer after we get back.  We'll probably do a little of our editing work on our
trip, but mostly we'll dive into it as March approaches.  We suspect we'll be packing up to make our way back to
the East Coast sometime in April.  

And that's about it for the news south of the border.  Expect a new post about our trip, and hopefully some more
creative ways of talking about it!
Elea enjoying the swing Arturo
put up on the porch.
Sunset view from the rooftop.