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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Friday, November 12, 2010

2 Spanish lessons!

I have 2 Spanish lessons today: one in the morning, the other tonite.

In the morning, I get more exercise sheets. I try to explain to the other 2 students that I need their oil! Ismael does a good job explaining to them but they don't understand. We have all learned words we didn't know, but I come away with my fantasy smashed.

In the evening, Rebeca gives me the words to ask for veggie oil so tomorrow I can begin my quest. We have a three hour lesson so we get to cover a lot of ground, expanding on the present verbs, and answering questions - both those she's made up, and my own list that I bring.

Exploring the city

Hermosillo could be any town usa. Starbucks, MacDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King and of course Wal-Mart are all here.

As is Woolworth and Sears - proof our corporations have been here at least 50 years. Who knows in the states from Woolworths these days?

Sidewalks are as present and not as Atlanta and Des Moines. Curbs are really high in some places, missing totally in others.

Pedestrians dart quickly and daringly across the street among crazy speeding drivers and insane buses, yet everyone seems to dance with and around each other to the tune of the erratic Hermosillo traffic score, with cars seeming to NEVER yield to pedestrians and pedestrians seeming to ignore vehicles rapidly approaching, ignoring stop signs and continuing through red lights as if they're still green. Although there are lots of cars, even heavy traffic moves quickly (especially as they begin before the light turns red and continue after the light turns red again!) and doesn't seem to be as congested or frantic as it is in the states.

People have turned what appears to be their front rooms into every business imaginable. Store fronts, businesses, homes are hard to distinguish, even when they have signs. Of course, my Spanish is lacking so I’m not sure exactly what a lot of them are – except for the food ones, of course.

I’m trying to walk around for at least an hour every day. Today I walk in this amazing business district – it feels like nyc minus the tall apartment buildings and the bustle – but a zillion little businesses mixed in w/homes, some taking up a 5’by5’ space, others much larger. Some popping up inside crumbling adobe walls, others sporting dissolving cement and protruding re-bar.

And several little street vendors selling vegetables, fruit, tacos, ice creams, and Mexican pastries too. Some with little carts, some on cardboard boxes, others holding their wares in their arms or hand.

And, as the performers and artists entertain on the nyc subway, Hermosillo's entertainers actually stand out in the street in front of the traffic that has finally stopped at the red light and perform.

They are all guys, as in New York, and they juggle, stand on each other's shoulders contorting their bodies, do magic tricks - and at night, I even see someone almost invisible in the dark but with fire batons, tossing and twirling them as if they're giant, flaming match sticks.

There is a hospital and holistic college that seem to be overflowing with people. I don't have any conversations but almost everyone nods their head and greets me. I walk around maybe a 10 blocks radius.

I find a little ‘store’ that sells paint and see some screen that I need to repair my camper windows. I ask how much and pay $25.50 pesos or about $2 for it. I’m sure that’s a good deal! I am triply proud of myself for being able to conduct the transaction in espanol and then figure out the pesos.

I say “store’ but what it really is, is a very long counter under an overhang and a wall a couple of feet behind the counter where paints are stacked. It has the feel of the setup of a game on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. No one can got behind the counter where the employees stand. There is a door in the middle of the wall that leads to a storage maybe. Interesting. It works!

I see several stores for internet and mobile phones, fancy dress shops and children’s clothing stores, a large jesus christ (catholic I’m sure) school and tons and tons of street construction – fancy that for making one feel at home!

Before parking, I was actually driving around the city looking for El Centro – more specifically, for “Secrets” in El Centro, which is supposedly a Lesbian Gay bar. I can not find El Centro nor the bar but I do make what I think was a loop around the city.

My profesor Rebeka is supposed to bring me a map of Hermosillo tonite – I will be able to see where I was and hopefully where I want to go. I want a better map of Mexico too – the one I have is for tourists and only lists the toll roads. I don’t want to keep spending $$$ on tolls – which I forgot to add into my expenses, which means I’m WAY over budget… grrrr – I’m hoping when I get to the ocean or further south, my expenses will be minimal if not non-existent.

Three nites, four days...

In addition to listening for dogs and traffic when picking out a street to park on for the nite, one must also be aware of rectangular iron covers sitting on the sidewalk - for they cover cesspools I think!

I went back to the first neighborhood I parked in last nite but failed to search the sidewalk for such covers, so whiffs of slightly perfumed breezes occasionally wafted thru my sleep. But I did get my 8 hours!

I can't believe I'm sleeping 8 hours thru the nite now. Normally I sleep 5 or 6. But I am. Last nite I had my first lesson with Rebeca and this morning my second espanol lesson with Ismael and two other students, both from China learning Spanish.

The other students work at a Chinese restaurant so I attempted to ask them in Spanish for their used veggie oil. I was not successful, altho the teacher Ismael attempted to help explain - to no avail.

So, this weekend I REALLY have to put my energy into finding veggie oil. I attempted to also find the one lesbian/gay bar but was also unsuccessful. "El Centro", where the bar is located with a big rainbow painted over the door, turns out to be a huge area but I will keep looking.

Now I am back at my espresso place. Pedro asked me today if I am known as a "hippie" to which I said maybe except I do not do drugs. He turned red and let me know I answered his question.

When it gets quieter in here, I will ask him about the present drug wars we hear so much about and get his view.

I have another lesson this evening at 5pm. Now I am heading to the park to check it out, hang out in the sunshine, and hopefully engage in conversation!

Chosing a parking place!

Finding a place to camp: is easy in Mexico. I pick a street that is close to a major intersection but not close enough to hear. Then I make sure parking is allowed on that street – the absence of signs & unpainted curbs is very good!

I look for a residential neighborhood, where there are people close by but not too close. Or a mixed use neighborhood where the businesses and houses are separated by a big parking lot or empty space.

I never park directly in front of someone’s house but I try to park next to a tall fence marking the end of the property, or where they might be an apartment building or plenty of neighbors so I could be visiting any of them.

I listen for dogs. I look for street lights. I don’t want dogs barking or lights shining in my eyes. I make sure the businesses are closed and not about to open in the middle of the night. And I find parking on a street that has lots of available parking but some cars already parked.

Gila Bend was perfect – the streets just stretched 3 or 4 blocks off the main road and although the pavement was just big enough for 2 lanes, the shoulder was smoothly graveled and very wide. I could see the main road but couldn’t hear a thing.