Friday, February 5, 2010

February 4, 2010

The gang in Unit Three Gang arrived home last night to crow about the new adventure they have found for next weekend – a rodeo in Colima. They are going to leave on Friday morning (the 12th) so they can go horseback riding up to the volcanoes. Then they’ll stay overnight to enjoy the parade and be ready for the rodeo the next day. Vince and I decide that we will take Jason (who arrives next Tuesday) with us on Saturday to Colima City (the capital of this state, also Colima) to watch the festivities too. It’s Mexican Constitution Week and the people have celebrated every day! Sunday, the Unit Three Gang must drive to Guadalajara, so leaving from Colima City makes sense.
We are so happy to see the sun today! Later in the morning, Deanna, Paul, Vince and I hop on a bus, while Chris, Dave, Barb and Doug take their car and we all head to Barre de Navidad, over in the state of Jalisco, about an hour away. It’s a lovely little touristy town a little north and west of here, on a spit of land flung out into the ocean. Islands, canals and a long pier dot the shoreline.
On the ride there, we are treated to sloping hillsides and lush greenery. The results of our “odd adventure” with the rain are evident especially in Cihuatlan. Mud slides have covered the roads, up to the rims of truck wheels, and people are out with shovels and wheelbarrows to clean enough for traffic to wend its way through the town. Down in the valley, the river is brown, wide and sluggish with volume. A group of tin-roofed houses rest crookedly against the gouged hill and I wonder how I could have used the word adventure to describe this storm. Water pools around the shacks and on the slanted roofs; laundry hangs wet and sad; dogs sniff the mud. I see no people; perhaps they are some of those who help to scoop the mud from the downtown streets. Without us, going by in our grand autobus, looking curiously out shaded windows, there would be no trade. So I am conflicted about feeling happy to contribute to tourism or guilty for thinking often of my paltry problems.
When we reach Navidad, we are cheered by the sunshine and the energy of the little town. There is a lovely market with colourful wares spread at our feet and people calling for us to look. We meet the others at Los Archos Jalisco, home of Diego Margaritas, and we have a great time eating and drinking. Doug and Dave show off the belts and wallets they bought at the market and we laugh at the reversal of traditional roles in this group.
Next we wander through the town, glancing at the wares, people watching, stopping in the church with the broken-armed Jesus. Many years ago, so the story goes, a hurricane was threatening the shores of the town. The people gathered inside the church, to pray and await their fates. Just as the winds and water hit the walls, the arms of the Crucifix broke, taking the brunt of the storm, and the howling tempest whirled up and away from them. The people of Navidad were saved. To this day they preserve the image of the broken-armed Jesus.
We wander down to the waterside past our favourite tree from last year. We’re not sure what kind it is, but it’s wide and thick limbed and a house has been built around it. Last year, the property was for sale, but this year, it is being transformed into a restaurant. We picture eating dinner there soon. Right across the road is a booming fish factory; the smells of freshly chopped and de-boned and shelled seafood waft up through the open doors.
We find a boat (The Martha) with a driver, Augustus, who speaks very good English. He takes us on a thorough tour, up the canal, past the sunken ship, around the clam and oyster nets, circling the lagoon. Birds circle constantly, singing various tunes, and pelicans float sleepy-eyed on the gentle waves. The sky is the colour we are used to: a deep artist blue.
Augustus drops us off at Colimilla Restaurant and we sit at the water’s edge enjoying seafood, Margaritas and Clementines. It’s gloriously relaxing.
After the long bus ride, Deanna, Paul, Vince and I poop out on the Unit Three Gang and don’t go for dinner at La Sonrisa. When they return, they report that we missed the best, most delicious tacos, as big as your head for $4.
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