By gsnyder, Aug 12 2012 05:37PM
When I was an undergrad at UCLA, I took a class on pre-Columbian Meso-American art history. It helped satisfy one of my humanity requirements. In that class, we learned about many Indian cultures, including the Zapotec Indians that lived in Southern Mexico, near the Guatemala border. A few miles outside of the Mexican city, Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-ha-ka), is an amazing archeological site called Monte Alban. Monte Alban is a city that was built in 600 b.c. after the Zapotecs leveled off the mountain top. I couldn’t think of a better place for Jack to have his next adventure.
Oaxaca is still very much an Indian culture, with outdoor markets and people weaving in the streets. The people, culture, and food were incredible. I spent seven days in Oaxaca, and loved every minute. When it came time to write about the orphanage, I hired a guide to drive me. When I asked him to take me to a local orphanage, he did a double take and asked if I would rather go to Monte Alban. After some additional discussion, he drove me to his office, because he had no idea where any orphanages were. We drove around for several hours, visiting four orphanages in the Oaxaca region. It was the last one that I used in One Moment in Time. I asked Maria, the woman in charge of the orphanage to write down their address so I could send them some toys and other items when I got home. She did, but unfortunately, Amazon.com and Walmart.com both said that it was not a valid address. I really wish I could have given them something to make their lives a little more fun.
When I was researching adoptions, I had to seek out the U.S. Consulate. I couldn’t believe that the Consulate was in a mini mall. Some things you can’t make up. I appreciated the Consular taking some time to speak with me, but he was very abrupt and dismissive, which is how I made him in the story when he spoke with Maggy.
After a week in Oaxaca, I flew to Mexico City for a day. I stayed in the Sheraton next to the U.S. embassy. I lived in Los Angeles in the early 1990’s, and thought I saw a lot of smog. It was nothing compared with Mexico City. My lungs were glad I only spent a day.