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The hidden journaling (see the tab of sticker sayings under the peacock photo) is about getting this thing home. This is a paper mache and wooden folk art peacock we found in Zihuatanejo, Mexico when we were visiting in late 2004. I love Mexican folk art, and right before we found this, my husband and I had picked out the dia de los muertos dog and cat in the upper left, and the "nightmare" dragon in the lower right. Then we walked into another shop and saw this peacock, which we both loved. Anyhow, the peacock is about3 feet across.

I decided that I wanted to get it as a surprise Christmas gift for Ray - but there were a few logistical problems, such as 1. we were there just the two of us, and thus spending every moment together and 2. I speak almost no spanish, and had been relying on Ray to muddle through, and the shopkeepers spoke almost no english. 3. how on earth would I pack it without him knowing?

Well, as luck would have it the cafe we stopped at for lunch next door was owned by an expatriate American, brother-in-law to the shop owner with the peacock. While Ray was using the restroom, I got him to go tell his sister-in-law that I wanted the peacock, but that it was a surprise and to have it sent to our hotel. Then I made some excuse to wander back through the shop and slip her my credit card while he was browsing. When we got back to the hotel, I snuck out to the front desk, to let them know NOT to call when it arrived. The next day when it got there, I waited until about 2 in the morning when he was sound asleep, and went out to the front desk. It had been disassembled, and wrapped into about 3 very large padded packages. They took up ALL of my suitcase room, with only enough space for a layer of clothing to cover. Luckily he had room in his bags for all of my stuff, and bought my story about the souvenirs we'd gotten for friends and family taking up all of my room.

Then I just made sure we went back through customs separately, and viola! My surprise peacock. The look on his face when he opened it a couple of months later made it totally worth the trouble...