From the heart

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Escrito por Mexicanadian desde ( el día miércoles, 12 de agosto, 2009 a las 04:33:27 horas :

I just returned from a 2 day road/surf trip to Northern Michoacan which is receiving media attention recently because of an amped up military presence and a major land dispute between the local indigenous community and their mestizo neighbors to the North. In other words I just got back from being right in the middle of probably the hottest area for a potential violent uprising in the country right now and I can tell you this... even though I passed through the indigenous roadblock 4 times (twice at night), had the vehicle I was travelling in blow a gas line and leave us stranded on the side of the road miles away from the nearest town (the mestizo town to the North being the closest place I could buy a new gas line) leading me to decide to hitch-hike into town at night to track down a new gas line so we could "get the hell outta dodge" (as your friend would probably say) before we ran into any "danger" that may find us camped out on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere! I got to town, walked (barefoot) from one end to the other (at night remember) asking about the whereabouts of the mechanic shops in town and when I found both of them closed, I asked the locals where the mechanics lived but still to no avail because when I found them they didn't have the the right part. They pointed me in the direction of one of the parts stores in town and gave me the name of the person who works there. When I got there, a little girl told me the guy who works there had already went home, so she told me where he lives. On the way to find his house on the other end of town I asked the taxi drivers where the kindergarten was located and they asked me, "what for?" (and why wouldn't they?), I told them that the guy who works at the auto part store lives next to it. The taxi drivers said, "the guy you're looking for is an old man and it will take a lot to get him to walk all the way back to work". So they pointed me in the direction of another parts store (who's owner wasn't there to open up shop but his family hooked me up with the hose I needed). I went back to town expecting to try to have to convince one of the taxi drivers to take me past the indigenous roadblock to where the van broke down (which would have been a hard sell seeing as the roadblock was there so as not to allow vehicles from that town through!), but the taxis weren't there anymore. So I walked across the street to the nearest person available for questioning and asked if there were buses running this late in the evening and he said one would be by shortly. 20 minutes of heated political discussion later (concerning the current events in his town and neighboring communties) I was heading back into the "danger zone" to attempt to change a gas line (for the first time in my life!) and in turn GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE! When I got back I saw my friend and the van surrounded by angry natives with machetes and now they see me running at them with a hose in my hand....... What do you think your friend would tell you was about to happen next in that dangerous situation? What would he have suggested I do? Start spinning the 2 meter rubber hose in the air to ward them off of my friend? Or maybe do the less painful thing and just forget about my friend and jump off the adjacent cliff to my sure death to avoid a violent conflict with the restless natives? Well what actually happened next was that everybody jumped with joy at the fact that I found the part so late at night and got back in record time (OK... I was the only one actually jumping!) and then they grabbed me and forced me to eat the catch of the day that one of the indigenous guy's wives had cooked for us when she was told that there were some stranded travellers in need of some supper. After I finished eating we all stayed up talking about the current events in that area, politics, the internet(which they hadn't heard of before and which I had a hard time explaining to them what it was and how dependant the world is of it!), conservation of ocean species (of which they knew a surprising amount of educated information about!), all over a case of cold beer until the early morning hours with the occasional semi-tractor trailers roaring by all but 20 meters away from where we were sitting under their roadside palapa which they so kindly offer to let me use to hang a hammock for the night. When I woke up alive and without a single machete wound (good thing they said "no" when I asked if it would be a good idea to sleep with my machete seeing as were to be so exposed to the dangers of sleeping next to a major highway at night in the middle of nowhere!) I heard the sound of a machete chopping, I looked over and didn't see my friend! I looked the other way and saw our new friend hard at work cutting the weeds around his 1000 tree papaya orchard (I later told him that there is a machine that could do that for him in a fraction of the time it would take him called, a 'weed wacker') I walked down a checked out his private virgin beach (with only 2 pairs of footprints on it), later he showed me where his own private hot springs were on his property. I then fixed the van, shared a coke with him and his nephew to beat the heat. Then cut open and offered them a coconut to share, which they did while I asked his nephew about his school and his teachers, before we said our good-byes and thanked each other for having met this way at this time and promising to visit the next time we are in the area and giving them my information so that they have the option of staying with us here in Troncones the next time they do their annual trip to the temple in Petatlan. I enjoyed every minute of that experience even though I could have been surfing the world class waves just a short distance away that morning (as previously planned)!

My point is that even though I was in one of the most dangerous places in Mexico at the moment. I left that area feeling more love for Mexico and it's people than ever before in the 14 years that I've lived here (pretty much non-stop). Now after reading about your friend's concerns about your safety and the dangers of travelling in Mexico, I'd like to ask him, "if he was in my shoes in that dangerous situation, what would he have done differently to stay safe?" Would he share a coke with indigenous people (who we all know from the media, are very suceptable to swine flu) If he said he wouldn't share the coke for any other reason than that he had a cold sore he didn't want to pass on to those good people, you shouldn't continue to allow him to "program" you anymore (you'd be better off watching TV!) If you agree that it wouldn't be a good idea to share a coke with those people, you probably don't belong in Mexico to start with. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but it is "coming from the heart"!

On a lighter note...

Concerning swine flu in Mexico...

I have been asking all of the Mexican tourists and friends that have passed through our doors this summer if they or anyone they know has contracted swine flu. Not one has! Actually come to think of it, the only person I have actually reason to believe has had swine flu is one of the contributors to this message board, 'cdoc' and he says he contracted it in the states! So maybe people should be less worried about contracting swine flu in Mexico and instead start worrying about bringing it down with them on their next vacation to paradise!

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