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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

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Perros y Pollos y Pez

And the dogs – haven I written about the dogs yet? I think I mentioned them in Hermosillo, how non-aggressive they are, even the starving, hurt ones.

A peoples’ animals tell you a lot about the people, I’m thinking.

The dogs here make me think of my friend Janet and how this place could be for her! With dogs that never come close except when invited.

Dogs here roam around, often in loosely gathered packs, but often alone too. They rarely bark and I have never seen them be aggressive – to me, other people or to other dogs.

Can you imagine, dogs that don’t fight with each other? Dogs that barely interact with each other except to keep a respectful distance (although there are times when they don’t obviously as many dogs are mamas).

Dogs that don’t chase chickens or cats!! Dogs that don’t bite children or adults. Dogs that are so pliable they allow children to jump on them, ride them, tumble around the ground with them.

Dogs that lay in the street, in the sun, in the shade and just be. Dogs that are RELAXED without dog therapy, drugs, or mind control!

Dogs that don’t race frantically around, pulling on leashes – dogs that do not know leashes yet are very, very mellow without a leash.

I’ve heard dogs bark on occasion chasing a bicycle down the street and bark begging when the guys get off the boats carrying buckets of fish – yes dogs here consume fish!

But they are totally ignored by both the bike rider and the fisherman. And that’s the end of that – they wander off or lay down.

But dogs that don’t snarl at you when you’re approaching their homes or chase you when you’re on ‘their’ property. Or act manic when they’re in a pack of 8 or 10 other dogs?

It’s amazing really. Chickens also roam wild around homes and into the streets and they seem to have a mutual ignoring-each-other party going on with dogs and cats.

I can’t believe that. I remember once when I was little we had a dog that kept getting into the neighboring farm’s chicken coop and killing the chickens – not so much attacking them as chasing them around and giving them a heart attack.

Much to us kids chagrin, we had to give that dog away eventually when my dad got tired of paying for dead chickens.

The cats I’ve seen around have been very well behaved also – or maybe the condition is well adjusted to living compatibly with humans.

This is another indicator of the level of violence here - even the dogs are non-violent.

The only pesky annoyances are the fuckin flies. But even they are limited on the beach but right off the beach, they are swarming on all the fresh fish! Which makes it very hard to eat the fish when people try to share, especially for a striving vegetarian. Maybe deep frying the fish kills any fly bacteria…

Maybe not…

People don’t startle.

People don’t startle.

It’s incredible, from the littlest kid to the oldest womon, whether it’s 5am or 10pm, the people here don’t startle. Even in the city.

And they think it’s really, really funny when they startle me and I jump!

And they have to tell everyone they see that they made me jump! And everyone looks at me and chuckles. Hmmmm.

It’s what I mean about the violence level. People here don’t have to always expect someone is going to attack you.

Elsa’s missing, missing Elsa!

The sun is setting and Elsa has not been here so we’ve missed our nightly visit. Her friends, Jorge and Julia, come by after their walk on the beach, and ask if she’s been by yet. They appear surprised that I haven’t seen her.

I tell them it is probably my last nite here – that I intend to leave after filtering my oil tomorrow. I’m sure they will get the word to Elsa so we can say good-bye.

I start wondering if she’s heard about the school teacher’s attempts at converting me. But she could just be tired after working, she could have missed our visit because of something that has nothing to do with me.

But saying goodbye to people seems to be becoming the hardest part of my journey thus far. After the challenge of figuring out where and how to poop and pee that will leave me free of crotch-rot!

A host of girls..

I have expected the men who were so interested in my veggie oil truck to show up as I filter. And maybe my friend Elsa, as it should be my last day here.

But instead, four or five young womyn approach the truck from the puebla road at the same time an older womyn comes towards me from the opposite side of the beach. They both arrive at the truck at the same time.

The older womon is rapidly rattling off something to me and motioning down to the far ends of the beach. The girls are laughing out loud and I can’t understand what anyone is saying.

The older womon doesn’t stop screeching really, except momentarily looking surprised when I say to her in Spanish “despacio por favor; tal vez puedo comprendar si ud. hables lentamente.” which I think is please slow down, maybe I can understand you if you speak slowly.

She continues what I now think is some kind of diatribe, as the girls are holding their sides laughing.

I tell the girls – and the womon – that I am filtering veggie oil for my truck. They want to know where I am from, why veggie oil, and who is this senora talking with me? We can barely hear each other.

The girls point back toward the town and ask me something in Spanish that I agree to, and they  happily leave. I think they’ve asked me to come eat with them at a restaurant they’ve pointed to. The old womon continues to talk randomly as far as I can tell, and then she leaves.

I open the 2 big-mouthed containers that I picked up from Pati, Sandra’s friend. I figure if I empty these, I can just easily dump the containers that are too small for the nozzle into these buckets.

I change the filter and start pumping again. I haven’t filtered these buckets at all. Almost immediately, the new filter clogs. I open it up and this time, there are globs of fat stuck to the filter, and at the other end, the nozzle.


I switch nozzles and use the flat nozzle to suck off the oil from the top of the bucket. About ½ of the way down, the thick globs of fat become visible so I stop filtering that bucket and move on to the next one. This one I can filter down about 2/3’s of the way before thick grease becomes noticeable.

I probably have gotten maybe 3 gallons from these containers – disappointing. And I have to change the filter yet again and for the last time.

I filter the last of the other containers of oil through the paper filter first so I can make the last big filter last. I have 2 more full containers that look pretty good and filter easily.

I tackle the last of the oils left, putting everything usable into one container but I can only pump about half a container before the filter clogs again.

Time to clean up. Just as I’m almost done putting things away, the girls come back. I tell them what I hope is ‘almost finished’ – casi fino, casi termandando. They take pictures and talk with me about the truck and what it means.

I ask them to speak slowly so I can almost understand. They want to know about monsanto and they love womyn growing peace and arriba mujeres.  They take many pictures of those sides.

And of course they want to know if I am sola, no esposo, and am I a tourist on vacation, where I sleep, what I eat. They are from Guasave, the city I skipped going thru to avoid the tolls.

They ask about my hair and we continue to talk about war. They say they are for peace. I give them each CodePINK buttons and they seem really happy. They keep taking pictures and smiling. I am filthy from filtering all day but what the hell, I’m working.

I tell them I’m sorry I didn’t join them but I wasn’t finished filtering. They are happy with their buttons and pictures so off they go – and I realize I’m not going to leave today but first thing in the morning!

I finish putting everything away, wash up, make myself lunch of avocado, lime, garlic, and jalpenas, and study a little Spanish.

Then it’s off to the internet ‘café’ to blog!

Filtering used veggie oil in Mexico

I intend to leave today, to get closer to Mazatlan and maybe go inland for a minute.

I rise before the sun, as usual. This morning I run on the beach for about 30 minutes – I use the term ‘run’ loosely, for I probably could have walked as quickly as I ran!

It is beautiful, as usual with the intense morning yellows, pinks, oranges. The tide is in and hitting the shore with a little more energy then normal. No one else is walking around, although there are the bigger fishing boats on the horizon as usual.

I return to the truck just as the men are starting to line up to watch the ocean. I think these men are the local fishermen and the vendedors – the sellers of fish.

So they watch the bigger boats to see if there’s fish to be bought and/or caught. I guess the fishermen are watching to see if they want to go out there. They seem to stand there for about an hour or 2 every morning. And then they take their smaller boats out, fish themselves or pick up fish.

This morning, only one or two men are there. It is Saturday and pretty quiet. I get my casa ready to roll – put away all the things into the cupboards, pots under the stove, dishes back where they belong, close the windows and sunroofs, tidy up, secure everything.

Then I turn the truck around so the back is facing the sun and blocking the wind. It is not as hot as I would like it to be, as I know some of the oil will be thick – which means the filter will clog quickly…. Grrrr

I lay down a blanket behind the truck and take out four of the containers of oil that I got from various restaurants that are not filtered at all. I line them up on the edge of the blanket so they will catch the rays of the sun and hopefully warm up.

I go to the side of the truck and get the hose, filter and pump from the propane cage underneath the truck.

I hop inside the truck and get the extension cord out to plug into an outlet in mi casa. I put on gloves and get the nozzle out along with the pan to change the filter on, the new filters, the paper filters, and the funnel.

I’m ready! I decide to try to pump the oil that has been filtered once through the paper filter for paints and is still sitting on the truck.

The first 20 liters goes great. About half-way through the 2nd 20 liters, the filter clogs. I have ‘only’ 4 filters left.

So I change the filter, trying not to make a big mess, and continue pumping. When I start on the 3rd container, the filter clogs again.

I decide to go to a different container and realize the nozzle won’t fit through the opening – grrrrr. So I have to pump without the nozzle, through a paper filter and into a container with a bigger opening. Oy vey.

I can see I will not finish in a timely fashion!