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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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recognized in Hermosillo

So I spent the whole day on the hunt for veggie oil – when I wasn’t filtering or blogging or taking a very very short walk around the park. It was really hot today, and it still is warm – the kind of weather that makes you want to be at the beach or river – any water, not in the desert.

It doesn’t look good. Three are 2 major problems with veggie oil in Mexico: 1) is that most people use hydrogenated oil – which is the biggest problem; but 2) is that people are actually able to sell their used veggie oil for 3 pesos a liter – which is 12 pesos a gallon – which is about $1 per gallon.

In the states, people are paid 3 CENTS a gallon, maybe, for their old oil. The used filtered oil that I did actually pay for (remember I got lots free), cost me from $1 to $2 at the MOST per gallon – and that was premium clean oil that alls I had to do was undo the lid to the tank and pour it in!

I broke down and went to Costco to check out their veggie oil prices, not that I want to buy new but I was hoping knowing the whole picture would give me more bargaining power.

Weeeeelllll, the fucking oil is $320 pesos for 20 liters – not at Cosco but another big store, cheaper than Cosco which is about $5.50 a gallon. Five fifty a gallon.

Which reminds me of the other myth u.s.a. folks have swallowed to make our gluttonous lives more palatable. That we are genetically modifying corn so that we can feed the world.

Feed the world like hell. Over $5 a gallon and for corn oil that’s been genetically modified and preserved with who knows what. I couldn’t believe it. It’s the same price in California and you know how wages compare.

Anyway, this might put a cramp in my joiyssey – but maybe not. When I get somewhere more permanent, I can allow the oil to sit for a week or so. It’ll be easier to then get the right quality oil for the truck.

The great thing was that several restaurant folks not only recognized me – actually recognized the truck – and asked me about my joiyssey, but shook my hand and told me how pleased they were to hear about my joiyssey and meet me.

I worked on my cards today too – en espanol – so I’ll have them to hand out to folks.

Ms. Xan Joi

En Mi Joiyssey

Mi blog:

Mi email:

Topes Flying

I’ve been thinking how bug free Hermosillo feels. I’m not complaining mind you. I’ve seen huge red ants at the park, and little ants. And at night, like now, I hear a few crickets and night bugs.

But the worse bug they seem to have is those pesky little flies that land on the lip of your coffee mug just when you’re getting ready to take a sip. But that’s it for the insect world that I can see here.

Speaking of flying things, I was airborne for a several seconds (too long) today. I really didn’t think I was going that fast when I realized I was just half a second from being on top of a topes speed “bump”.

The truck and I must have been 3 feet in the air – and managed a perfect crash landing. Grrrrrr. No wonder there are so many hospitals in Hermosillo. It’s incredible. Damn topes.

On occasion they’re marked – could be you’ll see a sign, slow down, and just when you’ve gone a couple of blocks and decide it’s an old sign, wham, you hit it. Or maybe there’ll be a sign about 6 feet after you’ve already flown over the damn thing.

I am too afraid to stop and do damage control. When I finally do stop, it looks like the biggest damage happened in the back when something crashed into the distilled water and cracked it. But it’s the desert, everything will dry out soon.

If you decide you want to experience a pedestrian death-by-vehicle, here is the place to do it. I can’t believe how people dash across the street, in front and in between cars going 45 miles an hour if they’re lucky. Even the little kids know how to duck in and out of traffic.

I think Muni drivers must have gotten their lessons here. The buses act as if they are the bullets at target practice. And the people are like those bumper cars racing across the streets, around corners, disregarding oncoming traffic let along lights.

Buses - and cars - barrel through stop signs, red lights, yield right of way and then think nothing of stopping in the middle of the lane to let people off or pick them up.

I do like the blinking green light warnings. The green light blinks three times before it will turn a quick yellow and then red. And I also like the order of the lights. Most of the time, the green forward and green left turn come on at the same time, letting one direction go all the way together. Then when their light turns red for them, the other direction gets to go forward or turn. It seems to really work here.

Veggie oil, now what???

Oy vey, what an ordeal!!!! It was so bad this morning, I think I lost my mind for a moment when a ribbon of words dashed thru my consciousness splashing around something like how much does fuckin walmart (of which there are TWO here) sell veggie oil for?

Blame the heat, the dust, the oil – the oil – the oil!

Okay so, I really shouldn’t complain. I have probably almost 10 gallons of oil in my tank now that I didn’t have yesterday BUT it was an ordeal. So much of an ordeal, I hallucinated momentarily.

From the beginning. I greet the sun this morning, like almost every other morning. The sky is the most beautiful deep, soft blue and now I know why people here call it ‘azul’ – like ‘a jewel’, but better.

My morning ritual complete – teeth, coffee, watering the trees – I head out to find a spot where I can comfortably filter the oil, somewhere where it won’t matter too much if I make a little mess, somewhere a little private and out of the way.

I find a kind of dirt road between a couple of huge buildings that are definitely industrial – they appear equally in use as not, so I take a chance and park there.

I put down a blanket, liberate the hoses, filter, and pump from their cage with the propane tanks beneath the truck. Then I get the oil filter wrench, jeans fabric, funnel, pans, plastic bag out the container and I’m ready to salsa!

By this time, I’ve spoken my broken Spanish with several workers (the buildings are occupied) the truck driver who pulled in to deliver to one of the huge buildings.

They are all amazed that I am traveling without an amigo – I correct them of course and say amiga – and they stare harder when they realize I think I’ll run my truck on veggie oil.

I bring down the two containers of used veggie oil and two ‘clean’ containers. Oren has said filtering thru the water filter is enough but after my trouble in Phoenix, and my swiftly dwindling filter supply, (ah, but there is an Ace here, as well as Home De Pot), I decide to filter through cloth first and then use the filter.

Have you ever tried to filter oil thru cloth? For some reasons, in Berkeley it seems to flow right thru. Today, it was so pathetic, I think it will take me the whole day to filter just the one container.

One of the workers comes back and helps me. He plugs the pump in as I hold the hose over the filter and funnel. He unplugs it swiftly before the funnel overflows.

He tells me he spent 6 years in Phoenix and loved it because there were lots of Mexicans. I ask him if he was deported too (at least I think that is what I asked him) but he said he came back here to work, and points to one the big gray buildings.

He then pulls out a very high gloss photo pamphlet with about 10 pages of all sizes of polyester ropes, pointing out for me the pages that are for gardens as he skips over the heavier duty ropes - for the boys?

Except he knows I’m a gardener from the mural on my truck.

The oil is dripping thru at about one drip per hour. I look at Alan (I least that’s what I think he said) when he says such a small amount, and tell him I think it must be the material – tela.

I hope it’s not because the oil is hydrogenated grrrrr. Suddenly Alan has left me, behind the truck with the filtration system and just as suddenly he returns, to my surprise, holding a dusty black stocking out to me. He shakes it vigorously, and stretches it out to see if it will fit over the filter.

Suddenly another man appears from the other building that sits several feet above the ground where we're at, calling to us. Alan goes over to the tall fence and catches what looks like paper, that the other man has tossed over the fence.

He gives me the cone-shaped filters that are paper with small mesh cloth over the bottom and sides. These work perfectly – and I feel I really AM in Mexico where everyone knows what you want, sometimes even before you do.

And where everyone steps up to help! Alan is called back to work and I continue to first pump the oil from one container, thru the paper filters (which work fabulously) and into another container; and then pump the oil filtered once, again thru the water filter this time and into the tank.

The oil from Sushi To Go is very thick and I’m worried about it. The oil from the 2nd container from Jung is almost so clean I wonder if it’s been used. But on the first filter and near the bottom, there are burnt black flecks, indicating it is used oil.

The whole process takes over two hours and I only have ¼ tank of fuel to show - and that's combined with what was already in my tank. GRRRR.

So I decide I better get in gear and go hit up a few restaurants on the strip close by where I’m staying. It is almost noon and I’m careful not to go to those that are crowded with customers, but I take note of those, just in case I’ll need to return.

I am unsuccessful finding oil. One place, the young woman Diana, wants to speak English with me. She tells me she lived in Sacramento once to go to school, English school!

It is funny, people here can tell the minute I say ‘buenas dias’ that I’m not a Spanish speaker. The only word Diana said to me was ‘ok’ and I new she spoke English. Her eyes widened incredibly when I told her I run my truck on veggie oil.

We spoke briefly about my joiyssey – and I was reminded I want to make cards to hand out to people – and then she found out her restaurant workers had just tossed their 20 liters of oil in the garbage that morning - a huge dumpster full of rotting food.... If only I hadn’t been so lazy yesterday! Grrrrr

Another place I went to – and spoke only Spanish with – seemed to be expecting me. I think they were asking about my truck. One of the men took me out back around to the garbage and showed me a container full of oil! I was SOOOOOO pleased until he told me it would cost 3 pesos a liter – ochenta pesos.

He must have thought my math was a bad as my Spanish. In case yours is, 3 times 20 is 60, not 80! Anyway, 60 pesos is about $5, mas o menos, for about 4 gallons – of unfiltered, oil, raunchy, most likely hydrogenated oil that I shouldn’t use anyway.

Which is when those visions of walmart scooted thru my head…. oy the sun, high noon, almost a full moon!And not enough veggie oil to get over 100 miles.

I also had a vision of yesterday’s visit to a restaurant when the young womon told me they sell their used oil to a farmer to mix with feed for his cows and pigs. And guess how much? 3 pesos per liter!

I wonder if I’m the farmer or the pig at this point.

I was going to wait until I find enough oil to fill my tank but now I’m thinking it might be better to get to the ocean, find a place to stay for awhile, and then collect oil so I can let it sit before using it.

Whoever thought this veggie oil shit will work in Mexico???? hmmmm