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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

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Speaking topes

If you wish to drive in Mexico, almost as important as learning Spanish is learning Topes.

Topes language goes something like this: you NEVER know when a topes will appear so you MUST be on the lookout at all times when behind the wheel.

There are few rules of Topes but you can for sure count on them being congregated before, during and after a school. They will also be in front of, before and after a clinic, a hospital or any public building where people might be around.

This is a really good thing here especially because people often do take traffic lights and stop signs into consideration in that they might slow down seeing one, but if they don’t happen to see any on-coming traffic, they might not stop for either lights or signs.

So topes can protect the pedestrian or at least give them a chance to duck airborne vehicles.

And a driver should expect, slow down, and prepare to stop and proceed at 1 mile an hour at such locations.

The next rule of Topes you can count on occur randomly when there might be houses congregated on both sides of the streets, especially along highways, as people are apt to set up vending stands along any trafficked road – in the median as well as along the sides where shoulders would exist should roads be built with shoulders.

The major rule of Topes is YOU NEVER KNOW! Sometimes topes are marked. That is to say you might view a sign as you are airborne several feet beyond the topes.

Other times there might be a sign right at the topes. And still often there is a sign maybe several hundred feet before the topes appears so that by the time you hit the topes, you’ve relaxed & forgotten what the sign said.

The BEST rule of thumb is to WATCH OUT for any fading splotches of yellow paint on the road for you can be guaranteed, that yellow sits smack on top of a topes!

Of course many of the topes are either black as the asphalt they are sitting on top of, or as dusty as the rest of the road. In other words – you can’t see them. But guaranteed you will feel them, as will the rest of your vehicle.

Some are as wide as they are tall. Others appear to be slender and pointed. Some are ropes twined together and stuck across the road. Several appear as blobs dotting the highway.

Whether you are driving in the city or on a highway, you better learn to hit the topes at less than one mile an hour or your vehicle will take a beating.

Whale sighting!

Beginning at 7, I spend the morning in school again, helping the students with their pronunciation and then following along with their lessons so I can learn more Spanish.

After school I go to the ocean to run along the beach, which I missed this morning because of school.

I see a whale today. I am running on the shell mound that extends out into the ocean and there she is, jumping out of the water.

I’m pretty sure she’s a killer whale, black with flashes of white. Killer whales, or orcas, are the largest in the dolphin family, I have read. I’m so thrilled to see her.

The kids are fishing off the rocks. They have fishing line wrapped around plastic bottles, tin cans, wood boards with a hole for grasping, and some have fishing poles.

The girls allow the boys to throw their hook and weight into the water. They expertly twirl about 3 feet of line with the hook and weight at the end over their heads like a lasso, several times and then fling it into the air, holding the bottle or wood out with the other hand.

One of the boys gives me his fishing pole so I can fish. Two girls fish close to me and the boys rush off to the edge of the rocks where the shell road has ended. The girls are suddenly able to bait and throw out the line when the boys aren’t around! Fancy that!

One boy catches a small fish and I catch nothing but have managed to feed the fish almost all my shrimp! The kids leave and I return to my truck to study Spanish.

Elsa comes with a couple of her grandchildren and we go for a long walk on the beach until the sun sets.I'm happy Elsa visits and puts up with my terrible Spanish. She helps me with my pronunciation! YEAH!