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

Monday, December 27, 2010

Staying put!

I might stay here a couple of days if it turns out to be as nice as it seems. 

The water is perfect, the guys all leave me, and I watch the stars appear one after the other until the entire sky is brilliant with stars that can only shine like this in the country.

Hot springs

I’ve come to an agua caliente – hot spring – several kilometers off 54, which is the ‘highway’ from Zacatecas to Guadalajara. This stretch of road, after Villanueva, is definitely the worst road I’ve been on for a major highway.

Still, it is very drivable, the potholes have been filled so they’re visible but not deep. Most of the road is flat through the plain between the mountain range. Then the road begins curving and ascending.

I know I'm taking a chance, heading into the mountains as the sun is descending quickly. I see black rain clouds in part of the sky, but it doesn’t rain.

I find the turn off for the "Balneario" and proceed several kilometers over a white powdered sand and rock road that is in pretty good shape for such a minor road, but I can’t go over 5 miles an hour.

It goes up and down and around, through mostly fenced land with cows and cactus. I – barely – am able to pass a couple of vehicles coming towards me. They all assure me I’m heading in the right direction.

Just before I finally get there, I have to drive across a little river. Then I have to make a right onto another road and into the grounds, which are almost deserted. I speak with a womon who is hanging out by the bathrooms, waiting for her daughter.

She points out the hot spring and tells me I should park anywhere. There’s a little store about the size of 2 small bathrooms with mostly drinks and a grumpy old man there tells me I can park anywhere. There are several picnic tables and barbeque pits scattered around under nice bushy tall trees.

I have my choice as no one else is inside this park area. I pick a tree and then head in the direction of the hot spring. I hear voices and sure enough, there are several men in the spring.

One is especially scary. He’s wearing black sunglasses even though it is dark by now – and he’s from the u.s., Chicago he says although I see his Arkansas plates on his car. He’s the closest I’ve seen/been to who feels like he could be involved in drugs or gangs!

There are about 4 or 5 other guys in the water. They invite me to feel it, and it is hot! I go back to the truck and change into my suit and head back.

The water feels good. Hector wants to speak english with me – there’s one in every crowd, eh? I tell him I want to speak Spanish.

Hector tells me there are 60 people who live around here. I ask if everyone is a rancher and he says yes, although he only has two cows and one horse.  He doesn’t own land, only the house. I have to find out more tomorrow.

I hope this was a good decision. I eat my last tamale and climb into my top bed tontie!


Villanueva is a pretty big pueblo. The road to Guadalajara seems to go through the middle of town. I leave the main road and look for the river I’m told is here.

The road is stone, very narrow, and the houses line either side, connected together with many storefronts opening to the street. Where the actual house walls are not connected, cement/clay fences connect them.

Several serious young boys ride horses down the streets I’m driving on, streets with sometimes cars parked on either side going any which way. I know I’m traveling the right way only because I’m following another car.

I ask two older womyn standing on the side of the road talking, where the river is. They tell me the way to go. I ask them if it is possible to park there over night. They look at each other and say sure.

I get to the puente (bridge) and turn down the side road. There are fenced areas and deep rust dirt that I now see are little corrals holding a few cows each. I drive to the end of the road and it is lined the whole way with cows or donkeys. Hmmmm Not a very good aroma to sleep with!

So I continue driving around the town. It is very crowded, the streets very narrow, but at the end of the town is a large park where many boys are playing basketball. I love to park at parks but the guys love to drink at parks or so it seems.

I explore the streets by a large hotel that is backed by what looks like a huge empty ranch with a sale sign. I pull over but I think it is too small for me there.

The last business out of town is the pemex station, which has a huge paved lot, an oxxo store at the very back and another store on the side. If it was closer to dark, I would stay there. I can come back to it too if I don’t find the hot springs.

Wixáritari (Huichol) Ruins/Chicomostoc

I end up leaving Zacatecas a little later than I planned. First I was waiting to connect with Sonia, a feminist and lesbian who lives in this city; and then two newspaper reporters were waiting at my truck to interview me and take pictures.

I am able to speak to the reporters more clearly this time about the dangers of Monsanto and like corporations. And growing organic. Both guys speak english so I don’t have to struggle to say in Spanish what I need to say. I hope they will not have to struggle too hard to interpret for their articles.

So I don’t arrive at the Wixáritari ruins until after 1pm. This place is so intense, so beautiful, so ancient – close to 2000 years old, at the very least – or at least the last layer unearthed is from around 500ad.

It is unfathomable that people 2000 years ago could build stone homes, walls, streets without the benefit of modern technology – and walls that are put together so precisely they will and have certainly outlasted anything modern man has constructed except waste.

For the mystery of all the stone fences, the stone walls, the stone roads of Zacatecas and the surrounding areas is unveiled here.

These early people somehow broke rocks into flat pieces and built the walls of their homes, the posts of roof column supports, their roads, their paths, their steps – everything out of these amazing rocks that many of which have withstood wind and elements as well as human pillaging for so many centuries now.

And talk about high up – these early people built on the sides and tops of the tallest mountains around, stretching for a long ways, miles I’m sure. It is hard to tell distance when you are that high up.

My calves are already sore from my hike up to the top of Cerro de Bufa in Zacatecas – this hike is equally intense, mainly because a lot of it is climbing huge steps that line up the side of mountains. And really good for my muscles!

There is a museum when you first enter this sacred area and a movie on a large screen again. I enter when it is already playing to a handful of other Spanish speaking tourists.

After they leave & I’ve seen & struggled to understand the whole movie once, I ask the museum guy if it is in english.  He gets out another cd and plays the movie for me again, this time w/english subtitles. I’m happy to know for sure what the movie is really saying.

I learn many interesting things, including Zacatecas was in a pine forest with a river flowing through it – but the Spaniards found the trees and river unuseful for their mining purposes so down went the forest, and the river dried up.

This Wixáritari area has been less than 1% excavated and that didn’t happen until the 60’s and 70’s - and thru the eyes of white people. The ruins have been exploited and pillaged but not as much as it could have been as it was declared ‘protected’ in the 1500’s.

One of the early Spaniard conquerors recognized the value in preserving this unoccupied site – not that he was interested in preserving the lives of the earliest people he was subjugating in the occupied ancient cites – plus he hired a german architect to map the existing ruins and roads, which apparently he did pretty accurately.

This ruin seems to be some huge pueblo at the crossroads of many peoples, some of whom roamed what we now call the north-western u.s. and all of México and who knows how far south?

One reason this site was so preserved is that there was a giant fire between the 600’s and 800’s which caused the collapse of all the roofs and the entire city. The fire debris of the roof has been carbon dated, as has the floor that was preserved under the roof debris.

 Of course everything modern people found here is seen thru the western eyes of war and peace. So where there are many human bones buried, near what is thought to be a temple site, archeologists guess it is a human sacrificial or war place – not their holy burial grounds.

There is also a pyramid in the pueblo that still stands today – that was uncovered several decades ago. I feel so fortunate to be able to walk thru these mountain tops, climb these ancient stairs, feel the energy of the children learning to be mountain goats, springing up and down stairs and sides of mountains, the womyn sharing sleeping and cooking areas, the amazing vistas of the tranquil terrain stretching across miles and miles and miles of stone, earth, plants, trees, rivers, stone roads and walkways.

I drive out close to 5pm, thinking I might stay in Villanueva, if the river is really still there, or try to find the hot springs if there’s enough daylight left.

Violence: yesterday and today - to be continued

The violence that has occurred here in this beautiful place is the more than unspeakable violence.

What is happening today with gangs and men trained to be killers and those involved in the drug trade, is horrific, very sad, and again, as always, the perfect rich peaceful u.s. is at the bottom of it all.

1.7 MILLION farmers lost their farms within 2 years of NAFTA bringing into México u.s. mega-farmers and mega farm produce. Not to mention the tons of chemicals, machinery, etc. that goes hand-in-hand with horrific mega-farming.

 If each farm here had an average of 10 people working, that’s over 17 MILLION people with no means to support themselves.  And it’s probably more considering all the jobs growing food supports – not to mention all the life.

But it is drug users in the u.s. that are buying these drugs with little concern about the people who are dying in order to get them their drugs. As usual – who cares what it costs other people, as long as we have a ‘cheap’ source of whatever we need.

And we sell the glories of our lifestyle with more zeal and illness than the early priests sold christianity, if that’s possible.

When will we realize there is no way we can live the way we do in the states without hurting a whole lot of people?

But the violence here began almost 500 years ago when Spaniards came to this place where people have been co-existing for over 10,000 years. Within a couple of years, Europeans again perfected the destruction of a people.

I read that the people here organized their communities in a circle around the library/sacred building that was home to not just their sacred objects of thousands of years, but the sacred people/leaders.

The first thing the Spanish did was to destroy these centers of culture and life, and to murder the spiritual leaders. Of course the priests worked hand-in-hand with the soldiers.

Although eventually at least one priest, hilgado put out the call for the people to rebel. He must have been like the Iraq veterans against war, who participate ignorantly but maybe idealistically in genocide and then realize the horrific mistake they’ve made.

But such a disregard for human life, no a blatant cruelty and ability to destroy human life – and now most people still have that gene in them, or if not the gene then the memory of that destruction.

And they certainly have the benefits and detriments of that destruction to varying degrees, depending on how close they are to conquistador blood.