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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 18, 2011

Eating on the beach

I retire to the beach, ‘swim’ – which means getting totally wet in the waves and laughing a lot as they knock me over and right me again!

I’m thrilled when an old womon comes right up to me saying the magic word: “tamales”. She only has chicken tamales and first I refuse but my stomach growls loudly and I try to remember when I ate today.

I protest, I am a vegetarian, no pollo and where is the tamale elote? Or even queso y chili? She lowers the price and before I know it, she's sitting on the beach next to me, hauling out the goods.

I don’t get one but two chicken tamales and are they the BEST! They are wrapped in banana leaves, not corn husks, and there is layer upon layer of tamale. I’m in heaven.

Another vendor passes by and she sells me the round white meat of a coconut with the water still inside. Yum!

I decide to go back to the showers that I discover walking on the beach my first night here. I think this is my second ‘real’ shower since I’ve been in México. It’s funny how habits can change.

I say ‘real’ because the shower is inside a closed room with a door and a faucet high above that runs indefinitely cool water. I wash my hair, scrub my skin until my tan glows reddish – and then run outside and back on the beach in time to watch the incredible sunset – and the guys fishing!

Live and

Guillermo and his worker, with a ladder, a few buckets, and pouches of tools, show up a few minutes after 2pm.

Roberto climbs up the ladder with a towel and continues to wash off my panels. Guillermo takes out his voltage meter and checks the batteries, the charger, the wires.

He struggles up the ladder to peer over the top and check the wiring of the panels.

Alls good in that section!

Then he instructs Roberto to clean the batteries before opening them. Apparently I should have been cleaning off the tops of the batteries before opening them to add water. Duh.

Roberto has a bucket of water, a sponge, and baking soda. No gloves. I cringe again as he grabs the metal post with one hand and washes with the other. I watch him closely, making sure he doesn’t connect accidently.

Guillermo wants me to record the volts every two hours. The charger has a digital meter with three different settings measuring 1) the amps from the solar panels; 2) the amps from the batteries; and 3) the battery volts.

It is the battery volts I am to write down every two hours or so.

And Guillermo wants me to turn everything off so he can see if the batteries will maintain their charge.

I tell Guillermo I usually fill the batteries every Wednesday. He's horrified but politely expresses his concern, that they are taking so much water.

He gets a mirror and looks at the batteries. He tells me they are all full, too full even, and shows me where I've been overfilling them and where the cutoff point is.

I suppose I knew at some point in my life that you are only supposed to fill batteries up to a certain point – most likely why Shazam wanted a mirror – but it’s an ancient point.

All that distilled water I purchased in Manzanillo – grrrrr. Oh well, live and learn…solar!

Veggie oil promises!

I am at 100% Natural, using their electricity early this morning, not to mention their bathroom and sink! I blog until it is time to head to the beach and watch the sun rise and the guys catch even more fish then they did yesterday!

When I return to my truck, Guillermo appears, asking me what the system is reading. It is bad, 21.2 volts only. He is not pleased. He says he will return at 2 with his helper.

I am excited – I will have time to return to the several restaurants who have promised me oil. I decide to walk first and if they really do have oil, I will return with my truck.

The first place, Palacio, welcomes me back and says there is no oil. I guess the bitter disappointment shows on my face cause the guy relents and tells me to wait a minute.

Several minutes later, he returns with a gallon jug filled with warm oil usado. I am touched as he tells me this is all they have. I thank him and lug the greasy plastic jar about 5 blocks back down the street to my truck.

One down, three to go. The next place, Bambu, tells me I just missed the manager and to come back tomorrow.

Finally at Marco Polo, they are expecting me! A young man leads me outside and around the corner to a narrow doorway, shows me the buzzer, and continues down steep steps into the basement hall. He takes me several feet into the bowels, to where yet another guard sits.

He tells the guard I will return for oil quemada.

I see at least one full bucket and another half full bucket. Then another man brings down a huge aluminum pot full of oil. I tell him I have containers for it, not to worry.

Off I race to get my truck before anyone changes their mind! When I return, I have to double park on the side street, much to the chagrin of the little shop owners, not to mention the 3 or 4 racing cars that try to speed past my truck.

I ring the bell and let myself down the stairs again to the guard’s table. He tells me to wait and leaves me drooling – so much oil within my reach!

He brings down the really nice owner, who is so happy I am using his oil for my truck. He shakes my hand and leaves me with the two buckets, the aluminum pot, and another 20 liter container.

I ask one of the guys for help. I hold the funnel with cloth over it in my empty container and he fills it with the pot of oil. I am left to haul the containers up the stairs by myself.

I reassure the shop owners, 5 more minutes, as I return to get more oil. By now, the whole kitchen staff has appeared to drill me about why I want this oil. One womon is telling another that I must be selling it.

I promise them I am not selling it, explain the reasons I use veggie oil, and invite them to grab a bucket and come see my truck – at which invitation, they all go back to work and I’m left to continue lugging containers up the stairs.

As I heave the last container up onto the truck, the owner appears again and tells me to please feel free to return for more oil.

Wow. I have just enough time to go to the other end of the beach to Poncho and Pablo, the great guys that started me off with the liter they pulled out of their garbage for me, before Guillermo and his helper are due to arrive.

Arit is still staffing the desk when I get there but she calls Poncho. They have filled the container I left with them. Poncho carries it out to the truck for me and upon seeing some empty containers on my truck, he asks me if I want him to fill another.

YES! So now I have another place to return to on Friday!