Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

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 25, 2010

In search of oil - BONANZA or should I say BUDDHANZA!!!

I have totally lucked out here in the beautiful city of Los Mochis.

Leaving Cafenio, after moving my truck into the space directly in front of the cafe for tonite's sleep and access to internet!, I walk down the street looking for the tortas place that I THINK the hotel guy came running out to tell me about as I was leaving.

I cannot find it but I also need to exchange more money, as the forced purchase of diesel, not to mention the toll booths I have been unable to avoid, has left me with little pesos. Did I mention that diesel costs $9 peso a liter, which makes it about $3 per gallon here? And the toll is $89 pesos which is close to $8.

I support high prices for fuel, but how can people in Mexico pay the same as people in the u.s. when they make so much less?

But I digress from my FABULOUS news.

I decide to go to a bank where, when I was driving into town, I saw a good exchange rate posted for dollars - $11.88 per $1.

I try to exchange $200 us dollars (half my cash stash...ut on!) and the womon behind the glass wants to see my passport, which of course I have left in my truck.

The bank is closing in 5 minutes and my truck is about 6 big blocks away. I tell her I will try to make it back. As I am asking what time will the bank open in the morning, the customers at the teller next to me come over and the womon Pati, gives her card to the teller and has her change the money for me!

Pati and her son Neil, who speaks a little english, tell me they are buddhists, Tina Turner's buddhists! And my sistah Shirley's buddhists!

We begin talking and I find out that they are working for world peace in their way! I try to ask them about aceite vegetal, but they, like everyone I've met so far here, cannot understand me the way they did in Hermosillo and Yavaros. hmmmmm - maybe my tongue has gotten lazy.

They try really hard to understand me. Neil and I talk in english to no avail. Then Pati calls a friend who speaks english. I speak with him on the cell phone.

First he wants me to go to the supermarket! It is so very hard for people to fathom using veggie oil to run a vehicle.

Finally he understands and suggests macdonalds and burger king - they are lower than the bottom of the barrel in the u.s. but all things being relative, I may have to seriously check them out but I KNOW they don't use 100% veggie oil - why should they? Who eats at those places and cares about hydrogenated oils or lard?

Pati and Neil understand now! YEAH!!!! Pati is an amazing womon. She is a womon who can - and does - do anything in life. Even though I cannot understand her words, I certainly understand and appreciate so much her energy.

She is short, beautiful, lively, and boisterous with a truly infectious laugh!

She tells me to get in the car waiting at the curb with her esposo behind the wheel. First I say no, I'll walk but then I figure I have taken my chances with Mexican drivers as a pedestrian and survived, I might as well try with a driver!

As we invade the car, she rapidly explains to him who I am, what I am doing, and where we are going. He points the car in the direction she indicates and off we race, avoiding collisions, bicyclists, and the random pedestrian.

We go to a restaurant that is two blocks from my truck. In fact, you can see the giant pink peace symbol that Phoebe redid for me - THANK YOU Phoebe - from way down the blocks!

I go into the restaurant to ask the womon there. She has no idea what I am saying and calls for the man mopping the floor to come and see if he can understand me.

As I attempt to talk with him, Pati bursts through the door, grabs her friend and hugs her, all the time speaking rapidly about what I want.

Her friend from childhood, Carila (I think) grins broadly and sends the man to the back. Out he comes to the sidewalk with not one but TWO containers of oil!!!

With no lids. But Neil speaks with his father, who gives him a wad of napkins, and voila! the containers have lids.

Neil tells me he is a student, a singer, a guitar player, and his mission in his young 18 year old life is to bring peace to the world! He also has a blog, which he is taking mucho pictures for! I will try to remember to ask him to email me those pictures so I can post too!

We load the oil, and ourselves, back into the van/station wagon, with no seat belts... and off we swing around the corner to make it back to the truck.

All the way, Pati is talking about where we can go to get aceite vegetal usado! She tells me most of the restaurants are closed by now - it is becoming dark - anochecer I think, that moment before it is really nite and no longer day.

When we get to the truck, Pati cannot believe my "Arriba Mujeres, Arriba!" To say she LOVES it is to say there are a few grains of sand on the shore!

Pati has called friends, brainstormed places faster than I can understand, and taken me to the local cooking school, that uses very little oil for frying which is malo for me but good for people's health!

Pati tells me she is a teacher for special ed children, the director! Another special thing about Pati! Her husband corrects her saying one of the few words he has uttered the whole time we are together "principal". She laughs. Director, principal - who cares, I image her saying.

Now she tells me, I think, that she will return in the morning and take me around to find oil. When we return to the truck, she rapidly tells me her friend lives two houses away. This is after she has grabbed yet another womon walking down the street, hugged her, and introduced us, all the time asking her for veggie oil usado!

We go to her friend's house, who invites me in with Pati and Neil. I'm not sure of her name, but she is also buddhist. She tells me her home is my home and invites me to sleep on there, eat there, go to the bathroom, etc.

Pati tells me her friend writes for the paper and they will want to interview me tomorrow. In english! At least that's what I think she says.

I wish I could invite all of them for cena, dinner but it will take me forever to cook for so many. I need to know how womyn here have a perennial pot of food always ready!

So tonite, I will sleep REALLY well, knowing I will most likely get enough veggie oil here (I hope I hope I hope) to travel far and wide in Mexico, ecologica (like english but w/the soft 'g') and economica (and with a couple of accents!

But best of all, without support la guerra - WAR - in order to travel! YES!

Los Mochis, internet, and the search of oil!

I arrive in Los Mochis and as I’m driving two young men in a van pull along side me, speaking espanol rapidamente. But the gist is who are you, what is this beautiful mural, and where are you going?

We speak as we’re driving and I get caught at the red light. They stop in their lane ahead of me so I can pull next to them when the light changes. They actually speak pretty good english – I ask about a coffee shop with free wireless and they point to a row of businesses that we just drove by!

People are honking so they pull off and I go around the block to find the coffee shop. I park outside a hotel, just in case this is where I will spend the night, grab my computer and go look for the coffee shop.

It is closed. But I see a womon at another restaurant working on her computer. I ask her if she’s on the internet and she says no. I ask about a coffee shop, cafenia exactly and she says yes! There is one in this city.

Los Mochis appears to be more affluent – and much smaller although still a big city – than Hermosillo. I get directions to Cafenia (6 blocks away).

I ask her about aceite vegetal and she calls the person out of the restaurant but he says they do little frying and have even less oil.

On my way back to the truck, I go to a Sushi place and a hotel restaurant. Both places the people look at me as if I’m crazy. They want to send me to the supermarcado (supermarket). Even when I tell them, no USED oil for my TRUCK, they try to refer me to social services, I think. Hmmmm

Well, there are lots of restaurants. I have found Cafenia easily! YEAH!!! Free (with $1 coffee) internet! I will catch up with my emails, blogging, and ebay. Then hit the restaurants again!

And so the quest to do Mexico on veggie oil continues…

u.s violence invading Mexico

As I am getting ready to leave, a man drives his truck over to the edge of the water where I am parked. I go over to talk with him.

We great each other and he says something rapidly in Spanish. I ask him to slow down and we have that "little english/little Spanish" apologetic conversation.

He asks me slowly what I am doing? He says everyone is curious about this truck and my presence.

Earlier this morning, the old man on the bike came by again to say "Buenos Dias" and most likely to make sure I wasn't an illusion but real. While we were talking, the other not quite as old man came out of the house I suspected was inhabited, come over and asked me what I was doing here in Mexico and to tell me I shouldn't worry about anything, that he had my back covered, last night and for as long as I wanted to stay.

Now Jesus is wondering the same thing. He tells me he is a fisherman and has lived here all his life. He asks me about Monsanto. We talk about growing organic and about the huge farms that have sprung up. He says little farmers have either been taken over or several farmers have joined their land and resources together.

He says he does not eat organic but wants to.

We talk about war and the u.s. starting and continuing so many wars. We talk about war by the u.s. as one of my reasons for leaving the country. I actually get to have this conversation often. I am deeply moved by how aware the people I speak with here are and how passionately they feel about war too.

Another younger man joins us. He speaks a little English. He tells me he was in the Bay Area for 8 years. He says he does not like the u.s. because of all the violence and he is so very happy to be back for the past 2 years.

They both say so very sadly that the u.s. violence has invaded Mexico. And then they both reassure me that Agiabampo is very safe, peaceful, with no violence.

I ask Jesus about women fisherpeople. First he says no, only men fish. Then he looks at me kind of oddly and says, well, there is one womon who fishes. She goes out by herself, sola, he says.

The boats I've seen this morning leaving the shore have at least 4 or 5 men in them. I ask why she goes by herself but Jesus can't or won't explain.

I ask to meet this womon fisherperson and he says "es no posible". When I ask porque? he doesn't answer. I wait. He tells me in English his time has run out and they must return to work.

I thank him and the other two guys for talking with me. We shake hands and say goodbye. I am sad I cannot meet the womon fisherperson & I seriously debate with myself about staying another day - and maybe taking a walk through the town, searching for this womon fisherperson.

I know she is the town lesbian. Or if not, she is the womon in town who dares to challenge sexism.

But Los Mochis is calling me - and Las Glorias! Not to mentoin aceite vegetal!

Sunrise, Sunset Agiabampo

I wake up this morning, wondrous, for here I made it through yet another night in yet another strange (to me) place.

To think, there is no one in this town who would want what I have or think I have so badly they would harm me to get it.

And so many in this town have little possessions. I probably have more ‘things’ in my truck then they have had their whole lives.

Does that make them envious of me… or me envious of them?

To not have the burden of STUFF. Can you imagine to not know the fear of someone attacking you for something you have? How much of our energy is tied up with that fear?

How much of our energy and focus in life is on how to protect what we have from those who have less? Not just with our locks and electronic devices, our fortresses and carefully constructed neighborhoods, but with all the ways we dehumanize if not demonize in our hearts and minds, those who have less.

All the while building major justifications why we need and deserve to have all that we do – to the point we can even justify war, the enslaving to the taking of human life, to get the things we want.

And we totally ignore the theft of our souls.

It is dark when I arise this morning but the horizon to the east has that very tiny suggestion of the amazing lightening hinting the sun’s coming.

By the time the roosters start their racket, I have dug my hole several feet from the truck. The land here is thick sandy clay, unlike Yavaros, where I had to dig thru layers of shells. By the time someone leans on the horn somewhere deep in the town – an alarm maybe for the fishermen? – I have finished covering the hole and knocking the clay off my handy dandy fold-up shovel.

In moments, as if they were giving me privacy, several men appear and build a fire by the near-by empty house structure. I am tempted to join them. If they were womyn, I would definitely join them.

Soon another truck, parking lights on only, drives thru the dark to the water’s edge. The boats that I thought were different from the simple Yavaros boats turn out to be very similar, maybe a little larger but with a motor perched on the back.

I weep when the reds, pinks and blues finally appear with the almost full moon, the big dipper, and other stars I know not their names, bare witness to the coming of a truly new day. How have I slept through so many glorious moments? How can anyone?

As I sit here writing, the sunrise only gets more intense, as the land mass becomes silhouetted and the one strand of cloud in the sky reflects black, then pink, then deep red, and now grey on top with wisps of fluffy pink underneath.

The little part of the sky that is light is now predominantly shades of orange and the blue of the water has appeared.

The only human sound is that of boats and sticks clacking as they are dragged off their moorings and set into the water.

So many bird and animal sounds I don’t recognize. Some dogs yapping in the very distance, a very few roosters still crowing, birds squawking, clucking, cooing, caw-caw-cawing over the waters and through the air. The splash of a bird hitting the water, grabbing her breakfast.

And now a car horn again, maybe the town alarm for the kids to get up this time to get ready for school.

Only the morning star and the moon remain bright in the sky now.

And now a noisy boat motor adds a loud humming to the mornings songs. A donkey moseys on by and over to the one structure with the plastic roof that appears inhabited. A man has also just ridden his bike up to that home and I hear male voices.

Everything and everyone is taking form now, but it is still not total light. The donkey is silent as she wanders off again.

I will leave soon for Los Mochis, internet, and maybe veggie oil. I will have to exchange dolares for pesos too if I can’t find veggie oil. And then to Las Glorias!!! For Gloria!

The lone cloud is now a fiery red with the sky above it morning’s blue, and beneath it the sunrise still lingers, but lighter oranges. I still await the appearance of the sun.

An hour and a half since I’ve risen and the sun still has not appeared but her light has taken over the entire sky. Even at the fartherest west, the black night sky has turned that beautiful deep blue and suggestions of pink float in strokes where clouds are.