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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

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Wrong street…

The street next to walmart that looks so promising, is totally full where it dead-ends into the beach, with tons of cars, a bonfire, lots of folks – and yes, the ubiquitous car with speakers to rival outdoor stages, blasting music that is causing vibrations in all stationary things within a 30 foot radius.

I head back up the street and park across from the parking lot under the walmart building, about half-way to the main road. I open my windows and close the curtains, hoping my friend didn’t steer me wrong.

Almost as soon as I lay down, the late night crew arrives and begins playing load music. Another car, with the horn bleating rhythmically as if an alarm, seems to be right outside my door. It is not.

After 20 minutes of loud noise and lots of traffic, i figure out I must be in the center of early morning nite life – which might be why Miguel thought it was a good place to park – I decide to re-secure the camper for traveling, and head back to my original location on another road by the beach.

When I arrive, the roads are deserted although lit. I park perpendicular to my original spot so I cannot be seen from the highway.

Here I rest perfectly, comfortably, and unmolested, until early morning.

A late nite pickup!

I attempt to get online while I am parked in the lot by starbucks but all the places close enough are taken. I connect but cannot navigate so I’m resigned to go inside.

Starbucks is so crowded, I cannot find a table outside to sit at, where I will be less noticeable and not subject to airconditioning. Inside I grab the last small table available in the corner next to an electrical outlet. I get online and place my empty used starbucks paper cup in a prominent place on the table.

No one harasses me, I write and use the bathroom and occupy the space until it is time to return to see if another restaurant will give me oil after 10pm as promised.

I arrive at the restaurant, find a park very close, and the young man behind the counter remembers me. He yells across the hall to the kitchen, asking for the used oil. A young woman beckons me through a small, swinging pair of doors and there is a tall, black barrel that she opens.

There is about 10 liters of oil in the bottom, which I gratefully want. I return to the truck, grab a container and the cracked funnel, cut a piece of cloth to fit, and return to the restaurant.

As much as I try, I cannot pick up the barrel and pour the oil into the funnel. I am afraid I will make a mess and the bottom is slippery with gunk I don’t want to indentify.

I ask for help and the man who was washing down the steps comes willingly and helps me. I hold the funnel while he pours in the oil.

When we finish, there is oil on the floor but he tells me not to worry.

YEAH! More veggie oil!!! I’m so excited and feel like a new person!

I will go park for the night by walmart on the street Miguel has recommended! It is also close to both starbucks and a 24 hour Kiosko, which means 24 hour bathrooms!

My first organic farmer!!!!

I’m so excited to meet my first organic farmer here in México!!!!

Miguel approaches my truck just as I am loading the last of the veggie oil containers back on. He speaks with me in rapid Spanish that I understand little of, and then he thrusts into my hands two “mandarinas” that he says are organic!

I do get the gist he is very excited about my truck, organic, and hates Monsanto!

Miguel tells me he is an organic farmer. His land is by the two stunning volcanoes I drove past a few days ago, just north of Colima.

He disappears and brings what I think is a chunky sweet potato and offers it to me. I am excited, having eaten all my organic sweet potatoes, and it is heavy and soft with a furry skin akin to kiwi.

It is luscious. He tells me the name of this delicious fruit – it is the same fruit I saw growing by the road on my way here today. We eat it together. I toss aside a piece that looks like a core and he is shocked. It is the seed!

I retrieve the seed and ask if there is only one seed. He tells me there are 2 but he swallowed the other one. Hmmm.

Miguel tells me he grows both organic and biodynamic. When I do not understand “biodynamic” he goes to his car and retrieves a book by a german womon Martha Jund or something like that.

He points out the interconnected cycles of the earth, air, seed, sun. He studies here in Manzanillo three days a week, and returns to his many acres of organic food, the rest of the days.

He also has a friend with land just south of Colima, which I passed today, 4 kilometers off the highway, where he has many acres of organic food too.

We talk about Monsanto, terminator seeds, gmo, and the dangers in México. Miguel thinks less than 1 in millions of acres are dedicated to organic growing.

When I tell him about all the produce we get from México in California that is supposedly organic, he doesn’t comment but raises an eyebrow.

Miguel takes me to his car and asks me if I like avocados! Does a politician like votes? Do ants love honey? I can LIVE on avocados!

He pulls out a bag that appears to be biodegradable and fills it with more mandarinas and a grapefruit. Then he tells me to choose an avocado – there are 2 in a small box. After I pick one, he opens his back door and there on the back seat are 3 boxes full of all sizes of avocados!!!

He insists I take some, fill up the bag. He will not sell them to me – but maybe I should have insisted harder.

I give Miguel some organic seeds I have, cantaloupe and Japanese pumpkin. I am so happy. When I ask Miguel about a coffee shop with internet, he tells me the Kiosko, which seems similar to the 7/11 altho I’ve never been inside, actually sells organic coffee, much cheaper than starbucks.

I’m really looking for internet, I try to explain. He brings me back to his car and retrieves from the trunk this time, a bag of organic coffee and tries to give it to me.

I refuse. I know how much coffee costs here and I’m just so happy he knows about organic coffee and thinks it is vital to our lives.

Starbucks is it for internet and coffee – at least for today.

Veggie oil – the tribulation

At last I find a restaurant that says they use and will give me veggie oil – but not for three days. Okay, maybe I’ll still be here. I write them down in my book.

I have walked a very far way on the beach to what looks like the end of the congested area of hotels and restaurants. Many are closed and appear to have been closed for a long time – or maybe the harsh wind and sun has not been kind to them.

I start my return to where I’m parked, this time on the road side of the hotels and businesses.

The very next restaurant I go to, the young man behind the counter tells me  so quickly I make him repeat it: he might have some oil, that I should come back tonite. When I ask what time, he says after 10pm. Okay, I think it is a little late but I write it in my book – at this point I’m desperate to try ANYTHING!

The next restaurant looks so promising and has lots of womyn working there and live music – one guy playing a double-tiered organ kind of instrument and singing. If I had it in my budget, I would be tempted to stay, socialize, and eat here.

The womyn ask me how much I am used to paying for used veggie oil. I tell them, I prefer to pick it up free but I will pay if it is necessary. She tells me 4 pesos a liter. I laugh and say, very expensive, 2 pesos. She tells me to return – in 15 days! Ha!

The next restaurant I FINALLY make out! Which is great because I was getting ready to pull an Alma and say the whole city of Manzanillo is tapped out!

The waiter I speak with asks the official looking womon behind a desk and she tells him of course, if I have my own containers, I can have the oil. I am so excited. My truck is probably more than ½ mile away by this time but I tell him I will come back.

As I rush down the road to get my truck, I see my first Sushi place. Although I hate to take the time but don’t want to back track, I ask the young guy there and he immediately goes into the back and pulls out a 20 liter container that is about half full.

He leaves it outside the door for me to pick up! YEAH!!!! I’m cooking with grease!

I get my truck, stop first at the sushi place to pick up the oil container. When the young man sees me, he rushes out to help me and insists on carrying it and putting it onto the truck! I thank him profusely!

Then I return to the restaurant with the womon owner. There, they have three buckets – two totally full and one about ¼ full – waiting for me in front of the restaurant.

I change my clothes, get my buckets and strainer I purchased in Rosalia, and return to the oil. Another well-dressed man, who might be related to the owner, comes out and helps me dump the oil thru the strainers into my containers.

I’m so very excited! I now have almost 60 liters of FREE oil! I’m back in biz!

As I pull down the door and prepare to leave, a young man excited approaches, speaking rapidly in Spanish, thrusting two huge mandarinas – which seem to be a cross between an grapefruit and an orange – into my hands.

I can only tell he loves my truck, loves organic, and I think he wants to introduce me to someone, as he disappears as quickly as he has arrived.

Veggie oil – the trial

The first place I ask, right next to where I’ve showered, first tells me no, someone else has already bought their oil. My heart sinks. My damned competition is here at the base of mountains, absconding with my veggie oil! Grrrrr

When I push him and ask if he cannot sell it to me this one time, he relents and tells me to come back tomorrow and speak with the manager, at the same time.

I continue my hunt from the beach, the sand so very hot I cannot walk barefoot. The next several places I stop at tell me the same story: either they do not use veggie oil or they are already selling it to someone else. Oh no.

I see a hotel that looks very exclusive, huge, promising, and has a large colorful restaurant attached to the side. I go up the stairs from the beach to enquire at the bar.

The young waiter explains this is a private restaurant when I approach him. I’m not sure how they know I am not a guest…. hmmmm… anyway, I tell him I don’t want to eat or drink but I’m looking for used veggie oil.

He brings me over to the kitchen, grabs a small brown thick institutional coffee cup and heads to the large stove where a pan with oil in it sits.

As he goes to pour the oil into the brown cup, I stop him and tell him thank you so much – I am deeply moved – but I need mucho mas, 20 liters. He finally understands.

He shows me the liter containers of veggie oil on the counter – they apparently don’t use that much oil that they only buy in small containers. I thank him profusely and take my leave.

I continue walking down the beach, determined not to give up, but it is very discouraging. The best part is that people understand my Spanish, and most even eventually understand that I am really using oil to run my vehicle.

Manzanillo - day 1

 I cannot resist throwing on my bathing suit and heading into the ocean when I finally land here in Manzanillo.

I am surprised as I drive through the mountains from Colima, to find the mountains don’t really end but continue almost to the ocean.

I go to centro Manzanillo, as is my habit, and see an old town, filled with tourists and regulars, narrow one way streets, tons of buses and little tiny shops. I REALLY want tamales by this time but don’t see anyone selling them.

Manzanillo centro is right on the harbor, with no beaches that I can see. There is a HUGE, long stack of shipping containers that rival the Oakland port in at least length if not height. This must be the center of shipping here.

It is blazingly hot, although the second I pull into a tiny bit of shade, it is so very pleasant. But I am getting sweaty and sticky and uncomfortable, even tho I have on shorts and a sleeveless shirt.

There is no place for me to park easily and I need to find the large restaurant district so I can secure my veggie oil. After Colima, I am feeling a little anxious. I’m even thinking about buying enough diesel to make it to Acapulco in which the veggie oil hunt might be easier.

I have no intention of going to Acapulco but I might be forced to if I can’t find veggie oil here. And the downtown does not look promising – for veggie oil. For exploration, yes!

I see signs for the hotel zone and head out there. Wonderful! I see beaches not a long block from the main road I am on, and hotels with restaurants.

I drive down and park on one such road, putting the hunt for veggie oil on the back burner, as I take a dive into the ocean.

There is hardly anyone on the beach let alone in the water, but a couple of boys several feet down from me. The waves are intense, almost knocking me over when they come onto shore, and then dragging me out when they leave.

It is not the calm water of the mar or even Mazatlan. But it is beautiful. I take a walk down the beach to look for restaurants that are affiliated with hotels and open onto the beach.

One of the loveliest things I discover after seeing about 8 guys washing themselves and their clothes, is that at almost every entrance to the beach from the little roads, there is an open outdoor shower before the beach!

Delighted, I quickly return to my truck, visions of veggie oil gone, get the soap and washcloth, and head for the nearest shower! To wash my hair – and my body – gazing out and hearing the ocean, in an open space that is so lovely!

I feel I can cope with anything.