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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

Monday, January 03, 2011

In search of veggie oil Colima, Colima, Mexico - to be continued

Colima is a big city, about 150,000 people, although after walking around on my hunt for veggie oil, it doesn't seem as big as it seemed when I first pulled in.

I am also on the hunt for coconut and fruit and veggies. The biggest 'grocery' store here is fuckin walmart. People are bewildered when I tell them I will not give them my money. For them, walmart brings u.s. goods to their fingertips.

When I ask, why would they want that junk, they laugh and say they don't really. When I tell them none of the things in walmart are made in the u.s., they nod wisely.

When I walk to the "downtown" centro section, I find my favorite "mercado": a large, inside area with lots of vendors selling mostly edible things.

The fruit and veggie people are selling the exact same fruits and veggies. I buy lots: papaya, pomegranate, bananas, broccoli, onion, peppers, avocado, tamarind, cilantro, tomatoes. I am loaded down for my walk home.

And then I buy a coconut for only 8 pesos! Delightful!

If only my search for veggie oil has turned out so good.

I go to the restaurants where I witnessed lots of people at the nite before. I am excited because there are lots of Sushi places here and I've had such good luck - and good oil - from such places.

The first one I stop at tells me they sell their oil for 90 pesos a 20 liter container. He tries to tell me in other places it can sell for 120 pesos. I tell him that's not true, as I've been getting veggie oil all over Mexico.

But this doesn't bode well. The next place tells me they too sell their oil, 60 pesos for 20 liters. Now I know the first guy was exaggerating. But this place has no oil.

I go to several other places, walking my feet off as the sun becomes hotter and hotter. No one has oil.

Finally I return to one restaurant I had passed thinking they didn't do much frying. There a young, slight womon hears what I want and disappears for several minutes into the back.

When she returns, she has a huge smile on her face and two small bottles of oil in her arms, which she presses into my arms. The oil looks so clean, I think it is new but she assures me it is used. On closer examination, I can see a little black residue on the very bottom. I want to pour it directly into my tank!

If only she had more! I find another place who tells me they sell it for 60 pesos too. I tell him I will buy it, as I calculate my funds. Unfortunately he tells me they only have half a container. I will return tomorrow, just in case they have more.

I think I waited too many days after the 1st to collect oil. My competition was probably there, first thing in the morning on the first, or second. Oh well, maybe I'll head to Manzanillo and have better luck there.

Here, the places that use and change veggie oil are not so many, even though it is a "big" city.

The blood of the people

More than sadness fills me today. I am reading about the road I took through the mountains, the tragedy that happened several days ago on the very path I was on yesterday. 15 people killed in a "shoot-out" between police and drug dealers, including a 5 month old baby and her mother.

I wonder what the people of that town thought when I drove in. Often when I stopped, I heard "estados undidos" spoken softly. At the time, I didn't think much of it, except that people don't often voice my country of origin the minute they see me.

Now I know the people were and are in shock. Most people in Mexico pride themselves over living "muy tranquilo". They don't have names for the waves of repeated violence like we have in the u.s.

One man, warning me not to go into these very mountains, told me if I have something "they" want, they will block the road, throw me out of the truck, and take off.

He was startled when I told him that happens so often in the u.s. we have a name for it: car jacking. Only I couldn't translate the "jacking" into spanish.

As I sit in the coffee shop, connected to the internet, and read about this violence, I hear a sudden crunch of a crash. Traffic diverts itself and gradually comes to a stop.

Laying on the ground is a man, sprawled several feet from his upright motorcycle that has the total front end smashed in such a way that it still stands.

The womon next to me is calling the ambulance. Men working close by as guards of one sort or another, have gathered around this still figure.

I see no helmet, but I also see no odd configuration of bones, as I have witnessed when I once saw a man hit by a car. And I see no blood. Maybe he will be okay.

The cars that can't see why traffic is stopped begin to honk frantically - worse than 5th Ave in New York during rush hour.

Several cars, pick-up trucks, and motorcycles attempt to go up on the sidewalk to get around the "congestion", not considering the fact that a human being is laying on the road, maybe fighting for his life, definitely hurt terribly.

It takes the police minutes to arrive. It takes the ambulance what seems like much longer but I see they have arrived within 10 minutes.

By the time the ambulance pulls up, the police have the body sectioned off and traffic moving - maybe not in the direction the cars had intended, by they're moving.

As the ambulance pulls off, a large tow truck is already in place, picking up the pieces of the bike.

When I cross the street, much later, I see the crumpled plastic fender and a limp, blue piece of cloth - the only evidence that a life might have been taken at this intersection.