Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Random Law School Update 11

Last Locations: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: January 10, 2010
Departure Date: June 7, 2010

Sedona, AZ
Arrival Date: June 7, 2010
Departure Date: June 12, 2010

Berkeley, CA
Arrival Date: June 12, 2010
Departure Date: June 22, 2010

Salt Lake City, UT
Arrival Date: June 22, 2010
Departure Date: June 25, 2010

Las Vegas, NV
Arrival Date: June 25, 2010
Departure Date: June 27, 2010

Current location: Mexico City, MX
Arrival Date: June 27, 2010
Departure Date: Unknown

Next location: Unknown

This update goes out to all the people who noticed that I haven't written an update in two months. The longer it gets between updates, the less inclined I am to write because I hate long updates. But I am in Mexico with one more day before I start my internship and very few friends to keep me busy. So I will do my best to cover the last two months in reasonable length. Reverse chronological...

Mexico City

I arrived in Mexico Sunday night. My cab ride from the airport to my residence reminded me a bit of Cairo but with nicer taxis and cleaner air (apparently I arrived after a recent rainstorm). Everything has gone seemlessly. I was delivered directly to my residence which is the penthouse apartment on the ninth floor of a building only two blocks from the metro in the nicest neighborhood in Mexico City (so I've been told, I have yet to explore enough to make the judgment for myself). The apartment has wall to wall sliding glass windows and my flatmate is an artist who has designed the common space with great taste. It also turns out that I am less than half a block from the nicest gym in Mexico City, which serendipitously turns out to be a Gold's, my home gym in Tucson. It is a very nice gym and I will be able to practice my Spanish comprehension in the group classes.

I begin my internship at PEMEX tomorrow. PEMEX is a government-owned oil monopoly here in Mexico. I was excited to be offered the job which involves international business and contract law and will allow me to explore perspectives different than my own. I am a fan neither of oil companies nor big government, but I have a feeling that I am going to very much like my internship. I tend to be most engaged when my values are challenged. This internship is perfect in that it will allow me to gain skills in the areas I am most interested (business and contract law) while keeping me on my toes ideologically. I know that a few friends are concerned that this is the beginning of the end of my moral character, but I can assure you that a six week long internship will not undue 20 years of moral conviction. If anything, I expect that the experience will improve my advocacy skills.

Las Vegas

My flight to Mexico was direct from Las Vegas where Jon and I attended a conference on Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), the blood disease I was diagnosed with in April. The treatments I have tried so far (steroids, IVIG and Rituximab) have failed to produce results. The steroids were the most offensive of the treatments, impairing my cognition, memory and mood. They made it very difficult to study for exams and I was given the option to retake the semester. As much as I love law school, I was not so thrilled about re-taking a semester and increasing my debt. So I patiently powered through four of my five classes in between my weekly hospital treatments.

I am now off of the steroids and treating myself with herbal supplements. The conference seemed to confirm that western medicine is as of yet under-equipped to treat ITP. Many of the success stories were of people, who, after trying all of the traditional treatments, gave up and treated themselves with diet and alternative therapies. I would like to try a macrobiotic diet, but am intimidated by the effort and cost involved. If anyone has tips to offer to make it affordable and efficient, please share.

The conference was probably helpful, but wasn't engaging enough for me to stay awake through all of the the presentations. I forgot how much having internet helps to keep me awake in class. I was tired from all of the previous week's travel and activity so I didn't do much outside of the conference. Jon, however, kept busy at the craps table and walked away with $275 more than he started with. He showed me how to play. It is a generally enjoyable game, though I am unable to develop a taste for gambling. The most lucky thing was that my roommate, Sharona, was in town at the same time staying in the hotel next door. After Jon finished showing me how to play craps at the Bellagio we walked over to meet up with her and one of her friends at the Mandalay Bay. It was perfect.

Las Vegas food suggestions include Go Raw Cafe, Miko's Izakaya Sushi which has a vegan menu, Veggie Delight which has the best vegan thai iced bubble tea in addition to great vegan offerings, and of course Ronald's donuts.

Salt Lake City

I flew from San Francisco to meet Jon in Salt Lake for the weekend in order to join him on the drive down to Vegas. I was looking forward to seeing his family again and to experiencing Utah's glorious Summer weather. The short trip was well worth it. We went to the Utah Art's Festival, went hiking at the gorgeous Solitude Resort, and indulged in Jon's mom's glorious vegan chia seed "crack" cookies. The weather, sky, grass, food, air, water, meadow, clouds, conversations and mountain critters were complete and wonderful.

Food suggestion: Omar's Rawtopia for world class raw cuisine.

San Francisco

This is where I hope to live someday. I came to visit my best law school friend, Brendan, and my two very good friends of six years, Ben and Haiete. It is a toss up as to whether I like San Francisco or Salt Lake more. Both cities are wonderful. Salt Lake wins on the outdoor activity front and San Fran on the urban front, but each has a good mix of both. Both also have great vegan food. Salt Lake has four beautiful seasons and San Fran has mild weather year round.

Brendan works in Berkeley which is almost nicer than San Francisco. It is small but complete with it's own shopping areas, vegan cuisine and metro station. It is quiet and patient and sunny and a little bit cheaper than its neighboring city. It is also close enough by metro. Unfortunately, the Bart only runs until midnight, which makes going out on the weekend difficult unless you arrange a place to crash. People in San Fran are socialites of the best kind. I don't go out much, but when I do, I prefer for it to be in San Francisco. People throw laid-back themed parties that involve barbecuing, random field games like the viking Kube, vegan cake, faux proms, costumes, handstands, lots of style and generous quantities of beer and wine. At least that was Brendan's birthday.

Other activities throughout the week included randomly joining a community dance party outside the California State Capital, hipster-watching with Ben and Brendan's friends at Dolores park on Sunday, going for a hiking adventure at what turned out to be a very popular nude beach on a foggy day, riding from Berkeley to the Embarcadero boardwalk on Brendan's motorcycle, lunch with my cousin, Matt, from Sacramento, a trip to the Berkeley Rose Garden and Codornices Park‎ with another friend named Matt, a clothing exchange with Haiete, and a movie in one of Haiete's co-worker's home theater with plush couches, surrond sound and a very large screen. The rest of the 15-person group house, created out of what was originally a mechanic shop, was equally impressive with a full bar, upstair office space, suspended net on which to play and random decor.

While in Berkeley, I tried acupuncture for the third, fourth and fifth times at the innovative Berkeley Acupuncture Project (BAP). For $15-$40 sliding scale fee, you can have needles place in your shins, feet, arms, hands, head, ears and forehead. To keep the costs low, they treat patients on reclining chairs instead on tables. There are several chairs placed in a circle and multiple patients are treated at once in a community environment. Each acupuncturist can treat as many as six patients an hour, which impressively doesn't degrade the quality of service (other than the limited needle points since everyone stays fully clothed). Patients can stay for as long or as short as they like. The needles are about two inches long and flutter like a butterfly's wing when stirred. Being diagnosed with ITP has forced me to accept needles, which were once my most irrational fear. Now I am trying to build a positive relationship with needles. Acupuncture helps.

Food recommendations include Herbivore (as always), Cha Ya for vegan Japanese, Cafe Gratitude for their impressive raw menu, Lanesplitter for their deep-dish vegan pizza, The Little Chihuahua for Mexican food that is as good as the best in Tucson, and Gather for their innovative and fresh (though pricey) vegan offerings.


I arrived in San Fran on a direct flight from Phoenix after several days spent vacationing with the parents and Jon in Sedona. Sedona was the perfect post-law school, post-moving, mid-ITP destination. We stayed at a resort which had daily yoga, a massage and acupuncture center and a resident quail who came to work with one of the gift shop attendants. We hiked, ate well, and relaxed. I had my second experience with acupuncture which seemed to be temporarily helpful in treating my lower back pain.

Food recommendations include Chocola Tree for their incredible raw desserts, D'Lish for their excellent and generous vegan offerings, and Casa Bonita for their friendly service and lard-free Mexican food (plus sopapillas!).

Washington DC

It was an incredible semester. I learned a lot on so many levels and, facing tragedy, was able to test some of the perspective I gained during my travels. People often project that it was a bad semester for me, but this is not how I see it. Coping with law school, ITP and Meghan's death was difficult and sad, but not negative. There were many epiphanies that I am still working to articulate. Perhaps the simplest way to describe the semester is to compare it to watching a sad movie. Just because you leave the theater in tears, doesn't mean that it was a bad movie or that you had a bad experience. Some of the most beautiful and inspiring stories are tragedies. That is what the last semester was like for me. A beautiful and inspiring sad story.

Meghan's husband, and my good friend, Adam Warner, is keeping Meghan's story alive. To keep up with his efforts visit www.fortheloveofmeghan.org, ms-mae.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/ForTheLoveOfMeghan, http://www.iamthenarwhal.com/2010/03/for-love-of-meghan.html, and http://www.thestar.com/article/829909--unfinished-business-how-one-man-keeps-his-late-wife-s-memory-alive.

Photos are in the process of being uploaded to picasaweb.google.com/a.melissa.meyer.

As always, you can read archives of my updates at randomtravelupdates.blogspot.com.