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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

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Chapala to Colima - and veggie oil.. to be continued

What an amazing country, México. I drove today from Lake Chapala, the largest fresh water lake in México I think or this area, through the most amazing mountains filled with villages, towns, and incredible views, to Colima which is a city of about 150 thousand people.

I have found internet in Colima – in fact, they have free wireless downtown centro, which I drove thru but didn’t stop. It is Sunday, vacation time for most people here, and the streets are mucho crowded.

Tomorrow morning I will begin the hunt for veggie oil. I hope I’ll find some here – my tank is less than ¼ full and I don’t want to run it down to the bottom for fear of nasty particles dragging along the bottom getting into the engine!

Mountain Mama and Colima

I bid the small village on the lake 'goodbye' and head onto the main ‘highway’, which is the 2 lane road with no shoulder and if you’re lucky, only a 6 or 8” drop at the edge of the tar.

I take the turn-off that I believe will take me south – my map is very worn and my eyes are very worn too so the words I could read yesterday, I can’t make out too well today.

I start climbing through mountains that again are so similar to the California, Nevada, and New Mexico deserts, except much more giant.

Few vehicles are on the road, thank goodness, as it begins to curve and twist up and down through amazing vistas and deep gullies. I slow down when appropriate and help cars pass me so they don’t do anything crazy, like try to pass when someone’s coming.

There are a few resort signs for renting cabins, swimming, boating – and I believe the rivers that either feed the lake or flow from the lake toward the ocean are here.

The terrain changes often, sometimes with tall pines, sometimes only short trees and cactus, but always with a stunning view.

And sometimes there are pueblos straddling the highway, sometimes the pueblo extends to either one side or the other of the highway, and sometimes there is just a sign with the name of the town and 5 kilometers pointing down a dirt way.

The towns that are visible are just so charming. The houses are painted brilliant colors and many front yards are full of vegetation being cultivated in pots and plots.

In one town, at ever few houses, there is a single cow being fed out of a tall bucket, sometimes with a dog eating out of her bucket next to the cow! And the smell of carne asada fills the air!

Horses and donkeys are hosting men with babies or toddlers, trotting down the roads; womyn are sweeping, older children watching or walking.

And mega-farming is taking place in the nooks and crannies of level ground around towns and mountain roads. It looks like faena is the going corporate farm here with agri-something. I get glimpses of cattle ranches too.

Acres and acres of sugar cane mostly, and then chili and some orchards with orange trees I think.

Some of the villages look so laid back, so relaxed, so tiny and unassuming, I just want to move in, get myself a couple of chickens, maybe a goat or two, an internet satellite, and I’m set!

One town says there are 40,000+ people in it, which is unbelievable. I think I can see most of the town from the rise before I get there and it looks big but not ten’s of thousands of people big.

Finally I see a sign to Colima and I know I’m going the right way.  It is actually a huge map on the side of the road, telling me I’m in the Sierra del Tigre and it is a scenic route! I pick the road to Colima that looks most interesting and off I go.

The only limiting factor is my fuel. By the time I get to Colima, 100 kilometers the sign says, I will have very little veggie oil left. Thank goodness Colima is a big city – hopefully I won’t have too much trouble getting veggie oil.

The last half of my trip to Colima, the road gets even steeper and windier but it is perfect. Most of the roads I’ve been on appear to be newly tarred, it’s wonderful.

The two huge barren mountain peaks that I got my first glimpse of when I climbed up to the awesome “Sierra del Tigre” mountains, and which I continue to get glimpses of around curves and between vegetation appear to be getting closer. I cannot tell if it is clouds at the peak of one, or snow. They look like huge volcanoes – maybe like Mt. St. Helen before she blew.

I descent sharply to a lovely valley, crossing over a gorgeous river and continue to climb back up on the other side. Before I know it, I see the city limits of Colima -= 150,000 people strong.

Centro is crowded with people, two large plazas each with the church and the many vendors, narrow streets and no parking. I find a little store to ask where I can get online and I get directions to starbucks.

When I find starbucks, I see the competition less than 3 blocks away! A really cute, interesting 2 story café with free internet, several tiny rooms with comfy chairs, tables, pillows, and a sign painted on the stairs that say: you want, you live, you have, you. I’m home!