Sunday, December 25, 2005

Oregon fog

Christmas night. We have been submerged in fog for the last few days but tonight it has lifted and the lights on the opposite hill are visible again and lovely floating in the darkness beyond the window's glass. All in all, it was a good day. We had a delicious Tofurky dinner this afternoon with family and friends and, other than the fact that I am miserable from over eating, I happily report that no animals were harmed in the making of the feast. Later on I phoned my brother. Among other things, we talked about Delicata who, at this moment, is tucked into her cozy hot hut home back in Nevada. He complained that I don't update her diary more often. I am flattered to hear he reads it at all. So, as I won't be adding an entry until I get back home later this week, I thought I'd do a quick update here. This one's for you, little brother.

Cockroach Diary 12.25.05
This Christmas is the third anniversary of Delicata, Nugget and Ha'penny joining us and this Christmas Delicata is the only one left. Nugget died this September and Ha'penny the September before. Delicata is an old lady now so this may be her last holiday but I did everything I know to make it a good one. Before we left, I gave her a sweet, fat, juicy, fresh slice of orange, her favorite.

There was, however, a small catastrophe the day before we left. I cracked the side of her terrarium when I accidentally knocked a rock off the top of it. The glass broke, exploded actually, with a terrible sound. It was such a drag. Delicata's world is a peaceful place. Plus, she is a member of an ancient species that has lived peacefully on earth since long before we swaggered out of the jungle and that will most likely live peacefully here long after we stagger off into oblivion. Thinking about her simple life gives me a bit of relief from the unrelenting, mind boggling, soul draining shit storm of human news and events. When I cracked the terrarium I not only violated her tiny sanctuary, I violated the vicarious refuge I find there. To make matters worse, like a fly to shit, Mr. Lee instantly zoomed into the room and, seeing how distraught I was, could not help suggesting that perhaps one of Delicata's tiny legs would get stuck on an edge of tape and be ripped off. Evil bastard! But the tape is tight and smooth and the cracks are contained. I ran my hand over and over the surface checking for splinters or glue and found nothing. The rest is up to the god of small beings.

Happy New Year, cracked glass and all!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Happy Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice
Text version of this poem here

I wrote this poem as poet-in-residence at Actor's Theatre in Ashland Oregon (thanks Michael) and added the graphic later. It's from a photo I took in a canyon in the Nevada Great Basin. It was a magical place, ridiculously difficult to get to even with a rugged vehicle and off-road driving experience. After a few unusually wet springs and flash flooding, I doubt access to it exists anymore.

In any case, this is my favorite holiday so.... happy winter solstice. Here's to a better world.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Found writing

I was at the second hand store the other day when a cheap little sports purse caught my eye. I like bags and am always looking for ones to add to my collection so I checked it out. In the pockets were 2 pennies (they were both heads and go towards my next hexgram from the street thing), an eyebrow brush, lots of crumbs and that rare item, a scribbled piece of "found writing", perhaps composed by the girl who formerly owned the purse.

It's a sad, little composition:

"a single diamond tear emerged from the red eyes, rolled down the bland face, and shattered into a million pieces on the rocky asphalt The wind played with her hair. She suddenly knew what to do. Her feet guided her though the Prowlers & the terrys. Row after row of trailer disappeared behind her. "Don't give me that bullshit" echoed in her head. "You can't get me now dad. I'm free," she thought."

I hope she is free, but more likely she still has a very long way to go.

Ps. The winter solstice is in 2 days. That's the center of my holiday season! Happy Winter Solstice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Fur farm hell

Click here

Barbaric Trade

In the summer of 2005, investigators from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) traveled to an animal market in Guangzhou in Southern China and reported that:
"Dogs and cats crammed were in tiny wire-mesh cages, and were visibly exhausted. Many had been on the road for days with no food or water. Some were so lethargic they could barely move. Others were aggressive and fought constantly, having been driven insane from confinement and exposure. They were covered in gaping wounds. Many animals slowly perished in their cages; other dead bodies were piled on top of the cages. Some of the animals still had collars, a sign that they were once someone's beloved companions.

As many as 8,000 dogs and cats were loaded onto each truck in crowded cages stacked one on top of another. One by one, the cages were tossed from the top of the truck to the ground 10 feet below, often shattering the legs of the animals inside. The animals were lifted out with long metal tongs and thrown over a seven-foot fence to be killed and skinned. They were bludgeoned, hanged, boiled or bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses. Many were still alive while their skins were peeled away.

The fur stripped from these poor animals is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from another species and exported to other countries to be sold in retail stores worldwide.

In the photo on the right Rick Swain is holding the pelt of a skinned cat, Heather Mills McCartney is holding a coat made from 31 brown cats and Rick Wakeman is holding a rug made from 4 golden retriever dogs. At the conference, Struan Stevenson MEP also showed a coat made from 42 alsatian puppies.

78 animals had to suffer a cruel, vicious death to make 4 garments ....... Please help put an end to this barbaric trade.

China's official response

In November 2005, a spokesman for the Chinese Ambassador in London told BBC News,
"Though cats and dogs are not endangered, we do not encourage the ill treatment of cats and dogs . . . But, anyway, the fur trade mostly feeds markets in the US and Europe. This fur is not consumed in China. So the Americans and Europeans should accept the blame… We have no plans to clamp down on this internally that I am aware of - it is for the US and Europeans to take their own action. They should boycott fur as a fashion material."

The Chinese government's unwillingness to stop animal abuse makes them as guilty of these horrendous crimes as the people committing them. Please write a letter to the Chinese ambassador in your country and protest China's apathy and total lack of compassion for the needless suffering of innocent animals. In the US write:

His Excellency Zhou Wenzhong
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008

202-328-2582 (fax)

Also sign the online petition
to the Chinese Embassy in the US.

Get informed. Join ban on the entire fur trade. They are deplorable relics of a savage past. Life is life. No animal should suffer living or dying in those conditions. Boycott those who support the fur trade.

Other petitions against fur traders:

EU Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou

Burlington Coat Factory

A petition to ban seal hunting in Canada

Report on the global fur industry (in German and Italian)

Information on petitions in other countries

Now that you've worked so hard signing petitions and writing letters, relax and have some fun kicking the Fur Ho's ass!

Dec. 14th speech another Bush evasion


Pres. Bush made a show of taking responsibility for invading Iraq under "wrong intelligence" in his speech today. It was just another carefully worded evasion of the truth. Bush and Company didn't invade Iraq under "wrong intelligence". They made up the so-called "wrong intelligence". In other words, they lied to the American people about Suddam Hussein in order get support for their invasion of Iraq. When will people get that through their heads?

The fact is Suddam Hussein had NOTHING to do with the terrorist network. Bush and Company are oil men. They are the ones who sell us gasoline. They wanted to secure the oil fields of Iraq for their personal ecomomic advantage, i.e. to stay billionaires as long as possible as oil reserves dry up. They tried when Bush Sr. was in power but Sr. had enough sense to see we can't conquer Iraq. Iraq is at war with itself. Attacking Iraq only means inheriting its ongoing civil war. Saddam, bad as he was, kept that at a simmer. Bush is like a guy who throws a brick at a bee hive so he can steal the honey. It's stupid and dangerous. You can't win in a fight with a swarm of pissed off bees. It's stupid and dangerous. There are smart ways to do business with bees. Bush is a stupid thief and a traitor. I'll listen to him when he takes responsibility for the outing of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame. Not a second before.

We need leaders who will stimulate the development of alternate forms of energy instead of miring us in an unwinnable war for what's left of dinasaur oil.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Virgin of Guadalupe's day

Today is the anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe 464 years ago. She is much loved, especially in Mexico where the day is observed all over the country with festivals. Mexicans have parades and celebrations constantly anyway but today is an extra special day. The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of the country. I decided in her honor to post a few of the photos I took when we drove to the Yucatan this fall. Her image is everywhere but on the mudflaps of trucks.

As the story goes, she appeared on the hill of Tepeyac, once the site of a temple to the Aztec mother-goddess Tonantzin. She told the pious Aztec convert Juan Diego to go to Bishop Zumarraga in Mexico City and tell him that she wanted a church built there. Juan Diego did as he was asked but naturally the Bishop rejected the request. He insisted on a miracle for collateral. The next day she filled Juan Diego's cloth roses that did not grow in December and when they spilled out at the feet of the Bishop, her now famous image was imprinted on the cloth. I've left out a few details but that's the gist of things.

I'm not into organized religion. It's corrupt, violent and dependent on TV, the bigger the screen the better. But I do like the Lady of Guadalupe. She is kind and she is safe. I guess you could say I'm an informal Guadalupanan, if I got the word right. I am also an informal Buddhist, an informal Taoist etc. I take what I like, what works and leave the rest. And I'm a crank. I can't help wondering if old Bishop Zumarraga didn't "convert" her message to better serve the land grab and genocide the church and Spain were in the middle of. After all, she looked Aztec and spoke Nahuatl. Why would she encourage barbaric foreigners who where plundering her native land and killing her people to build their church on top of a the pyramid of the goddess Tonantzin, a place sacred to her people? The bloody record of religious crusades, past and present, is proof that mixing wealth, political power and religion is an extremely toxic combination.

In any case, these days the old, bureaucratic Church still does it's damnedest to own her, but I don't believe it can. The Virgin of Guadalupe is independent, something they despise. They tolerate her because she is the refuge of the soul of Mexico. Anyway, whatever happened or didn't happen on December 12, 1531, today is her fiesta. Hope you had a good day.

Friday, December 9, 2005

International Animal Rights Day

To live is so startling
it leaves little time
for anything else.
-- Emily Dickinson

Ethics and society.

December 10th, is International Animal Rights Day. Light a candle. Write a letter. Make a donation. Sign this petition. Give your pet an extra pat.

McDonald's scalds chickens alive to make their McNuggets. Labs and schools dissect animals while they are still alive and fully conscious. Unimaginably cruel tests that are redundant, unnecessary or merely padding for an institution's research budget continue to be performed on animals around the clock. If you don't believe in this, sign the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights . Contrary to public assumptions, vivisectionists are not strictly regulated. The reality is that in the lab virtually anything goes, and animal researchers are a law unto themselves. For example, New York's Columbia University is guilty of committing grotesque abuses to animals in their laboratories including routinely performing invasive surgeries and leaving the helpless, suffering animals to die in their cages without any painkillers.

In labs worldwide, animals are cut open, poisoned, and forced to live in barren steel cages for years, although studies show that
because of vast physiological variations between species, human reactions to illnesses and drugs are completely different from those of other animals. This is beyond barbaric.

Today's non-animal research methods are humane, more accurate, less expensive, and less time-consuming than animal experiments, yet change comes slowly and many researchers are still unwilling to switch to superior technological advances. Animal experimentation is not only preventing us from learning more relevant information, it continues to harm and kill animals and people every year. read more

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Christmas past

judybluesky recently posted about the "sense of need that I will never forget". It got me thinking about Christmases past. When my kids were little I was a single mom and we were desperately poor. Yes, we all had feet and we all had shoes and we had a roof over our heads. I don't take that for granted but I couldn't even afford to buy new shoelaces. I pulled them off of the shoes that ended up in the Co-Op free box. You can pontificate all you want about "true spirit", Christmastide around our house was always a bit sad.

In a good year I might manage to save up fifty bucks by Thanksgiving for Christmas gifts but that money had to be spread between several people. I was always, and to this day, too ashamed to tell my sister I couldn't afford to exchange gifts so, besides my own three kids, I bought presents for her, her husband, their three kids and my brother. Actually they all came first because their gifts had to be mailed. Everybody got shitty, little things from the second hand store. I admit I didn't want to abandon the tradition because my sister sent nice things which was a big treat for the kids. Not only did they get something new and cool, they got cash and, more importantly, they were reminded that they were part of a bigger family that also loved and cared for them. My sister also occasionally sent us a supermarket gift certificate, her way of making sure the kids got a hearty holiday meal and, I suppose, that I didn't blow the Christmas dinner money on booze. My brother sent cash for Christmas. Sometimes it was a hundred, sometimes two but it was more likely to arrive on Christmas eve or after Christmas than before. That genuinely sucked. I needed it to buy the "real" gifts for the kids.

To brighten the holidays I went to the Welfare office every year and signed the kids up to receive presents from the "Tree of Joy". Perhaps you know how that works. Children are represented on the tree by little tags that say things like, "Girl, age 9 - Likes books and games" with addendums like, "Needs winter hat" added at the prompting of a grown-up. That kind of thing. Good hearted people in the community pick a tag and buy that child a gift. A few days before Christmas, a smiling old couple would appear at our door, usually Soroptomists, with three gifts. They were very nice. It was very embarrassing for the whole family but I couldn't talk myself out of these sad attempts to make Christmas look "normal". I also signed up for the Welfare department's Christmas food voucher. But, in spite of my efforts, Christmas was never the best of times.

This is my twentieth sober holiday season. The kids are grown and gone on to their own lives. Life is generally good these days but for the shame and regret I have over my failings as a parent and that (horrible) "sense of need I will never forget" that judybluesky mentioned. It's irrational but I sometimes feel apologetic that my standard of living has so dramatically improved since those days. I wish the changes had come sooner, when the kids were still little, but things happen in their own time. It's better today so we go from here. Besides what choices do I have? Like they say, reality is for people who can't handle drugs.

I didn't go with the bird party photo for the birthday card the other day. I used this one instead.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Task of the day

I begin with what must be done, carving it out of all that should be done. And among what must be done I look for a thread with which to unravel that crucial first step because without defining a simple starting place I will get nothing done, no matter how urgent. I have come to accept this about myself.

Today the time-sensitive task is making a birthday card and wrapping the present and, most important, mailing them by the end of the day. I already have the gift. I need the card so the first thing I have to do is select the photo. I am thinking about using this one that I took last winter but perhaps it's not right? I have one hour. If I accomplish this, I will count the day personally productive. A small measure for a priceless and irreplacable day in one's life but nevertheless it is the task of this day.

In case you're wondering, I have already done other things today. It is not that I just woke up from too much sleep, or sobered up to be overwhelmed by the life awaiting me. No. But I am in shock at all the Xmas tasks awaiting me on the living room floor, the piles of gifts sorted out by name and family. And my motto for the season is "keep it simple". But today, the birthday gift must go and to that end so must I.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Street scenes, Mexico

Here are a couple of photos I took in Mexico recently. To me, these two particular images have a lot in common.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

No exit strategy


Which idiot would make a better president:
Alfred E. Newman or George W. Bush?

(I realize it's a tired old comparison
but we still haven't gotten it right. Otherwise,
why don't we impeached the bastard?)

Here's a nice photo from showing Mr. Spaz and President Hu Jintao sharing a chummy photo during Bush's recent visit to China. Now check out our dingbat President struggling to get off the stage in this clip at This man is our "leader".

Alfred E. Newman? George W. Bush? Who would be a better president? After all, Alfred doesn't even exist. No problem. Neither one of them are real. They are both idiot media creations. Alfred. at least, would be doing a lot better job than Dubya. He isn't a draft-dodging, war mongering traitor, liar, high roller religious freak.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Perspective shift

What do these trailers for the movies The Shinning and West Side Story have in common with Republican politics? Check 'em out. It's all spin in the spin zone.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Home again

We're back from the Yucatan. Over the all, we drove about 10,000 miles so my photo to miles ratio held at 1+:1, the 1+ plus being the number of photos and the 1 being the mileage. Not bad. I've deleted a lot and will delete many more. Then there are the ones that make sense only to me. I'll keep those. Among the remainder, there are a few worthy of presenting to you, the rare, much appreciated, occasional visitor to this tiny outpost border crossing. Also, naturally, I have a few things to say about the trip and, for your traveling convenience, I have compiled a list of tips for people brave enough to leave the gringo trail and travel in real Mexico. All this to come. At the moment, I must get coffee. Outside of tourist joints it is nearly impossible to get a good cup of coffee in Mexico, the land of coffee, a fact I find nearly impossible to comprehend.

Get it RIGHT. Get us OUT.


Go sign the petition at Tell Congress to get us out of Iraq. I did. Here's my letter:

"Get us out of Iraq NOW. We should have NEVER gone there in the first place. You were all FOOLS to go along with Cheney and Bush. Now get it right. Get us out!"

It only takes a few minutes and it is the very least we can do so now you send one.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Right to NOT die


Commenting on the Iraq war, Washington Post Op-Ed Columnist Michael Kinsley said today:

"The last man or woman to die in any war almost surely dies in vain: The outcome has been determined, if not certified. And he or she might die happier thinking that death came in a noble cause that will not be abandoned. But if it is not a noble cause, he or she might prefer not to die at all. Stifling criticism that might shorten the war is no favor to American soldiers. They can live without that kind of "respect."


I couldn't agree more.
We crossed into New Mexico this morning and are currently, happily, tucked in into the Sands Motel in Socorro, New Mexico. It's a great, family-owned place directly out of the '50s except for the fact that the owners are a nice, vegetarian family from India and we have high speed internet in the room. A fantastic deal all for $40. This morning we stopped to visit the International UFO Museum & Research Center in Roswell. Nothing new there but it was fun anyway.

I admit, I have been a "believer" since childhood. At that time, I was in the habit of secretly staying up past bedtime to scan the skies for flying saucers with my binoculars. One night a milky white, quarter size light suddenly shot into the open skies above the trees. I dumped the binocs and watched. It was climbing very quickly so in seconds it passed over the house and out of sight. I ran to my parent's bedroom and looked out their window. Nothing. I ran back to my room and looked out my window again.
To my total wonder and delight, there were now four milky white, quarter size lights stopped in the sky above my room. They had formed a square, and hung perfectly still in the night sky. They stayed like that for about a half a minute then the three in the SW, NW, and NE corners, maintaining formation, broke off and quickly disappeared above the trees to the NE. The fourth one, in the SE corner of the square, shot away in that direction, retracing the path of the original light. That was it. No funny scars.

No weird dreams-like memories but I have been looking ever since so, no matter how hokey, stopping at the museum was a must.

A bit further down the road we pulled over to visit Smokey Bear's grave and museum. It cost two bucks to walk the path to Smokey's grave so we peaked over the wall instead but the museum was a free, sweet, homespun place housed in a small log cabin. There were the usual things ... tshirts, cups, hats, jewelery etc. but there was also a wonderful collection of Smokey Bear memorabilia including photos of baby Smokey, anitque posters and products long out of circulation and several scrap books of Smokey's newspaper clippings, photos and lots of hand scrawled fan letters to Smokey from grade school kids from the 40's on.

A little while later we passed the last stronghold of Billy the Kid. New Mexico! Great place.

Smokey the Bear's Grave, New Mexico

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's an idea. Be thankful and compassionate. Have TOFURKY for Thanksgiving.

We're in Texas. It's great to be back in the US. We didn't have a problem crossing the border. It took about a half an hour so we arrived by noon. We're staying in McAllen for the night. The jeep needs an oil change. We will leave in the morning. It will take a couple of days to get across Texas but we plan to be in Las Vegas on Sunday. Tourism is down there during the holidays and rooms are cheap. We have reserved one at the Orleans for $20 a night. Hot water and towels in a town with street signs! What luxury.

This evening we got veggie frozen dinners at a local health food store, and some flan. There are 74 channels on TV and internet in the room. Include a tube of cortisone for the many mosquito bites I got camping and it ammounts to an excellent evening. I hope everyone has a sweet, homey holiday. Remember to share it with the animals.

Invite a turkey for dinner or share a meal with a homeless animal.

Mexico, homeless dog at Palenque ruins in Mexico. He was so sad. Seeing him broke my heart.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cuidad Victoria, looking back

So far we have made it to Cuidad Victoria. Tomorrow Texas. In the end, I guess you could say we were driven out of Mexico by the hurricanes and tropical storms. Gamma was just one too many. Too bad. The place we were camping was terrific, plus Lee needed a break. Driving in Mexico is really, really difficult! I wouldn't want to do it. I'll go into more detail when I have more time. Last year we didn't drive nearly as much. We rented an apartment in Oaxaca for six weeks. It was cheap and restful. At least as restful as living downtown in a noisy, polluted city allows. I didn't sleep much and got kind of crazy but I like the poems I wrote in Oaxaco so can't complain too much. This trip was very different. We visited tons of Mayan ruins. Megatons. Muchomegatons. It was a "trip of a lifetime" kind of thing. But we drove daily. Mr. Lee drove daily and Mexican roads are terrible, the maps don't work, the guide books are wrong and the signs, when they exist, are impossible.

My time at the cafe is almost up but just quickly, Mexico changed the way I see the world and the way I view my own life. For starters, human history is no longer the exclusive story of the East. It has completely independent roots south of the Rio Grand, or Rio Bravo as that river is called in Mexico. Perhaps the Aliens augmented monkey intelligence in both hemispheres at the same time, but the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs evolved independently from the rest of the world from that point on. And, as with my first visit to Mexico, I have again struggled daily with the contradictions, poverty, community, beauty and suffering that inundates me moment to moment in this foreign sister America. And, like last year, I am returning home with a renewed appreciation of the US, the American people (not our radical right wing government) and what we have created of our part of the New World. And this time I return home with an appreciation of taxes. Mexicans do not pay much in the way of taxes. It is a cash and carry economy and consequently the infrastructure is in permanent and incredible shambles. Cities can't afford waste management, raw sewage flows into the streets and water ways. Communities cannot even afford garbage cans what to speak of men and trucks to pick it up. And then there are the hoards of homeless, injured, diseased, starving, lonely dogs and cats that people wandering everywhere. OK. Time here in the old internet cafe is up once again so gotta go. More later. Hasta leugo mi amigas.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

La tormenta

It is hard seeing beyond purely "human" concerns and even harder to act on behalf of creatures or circumstances generally considered secondary or trivial compared to human life.

The camp at the coast was wonderful. Ten American dollars a night - 20 feet from the Caribbean - nestled under the trees - white sand - orange kayaks - big fire pit - reef snorkling - his/her toilets and paper - a shower (outside, cold water only) with stalks of giant bamboo for walls (spaced about 3-6 inches apart, who needs privacy?) vollyball in the sand - open air restaurant (still closed, tourist season begins Dec. 1st) - thatched roof cabañas (still being readied for Dec.) - half of beach piled with washed up coral (fantastic fantasy shapes) - the rest of the beach groomed sand - extremely friendly, obviously cultured, barefoot host (retired engineer) dressed in a bathing suit working on the cabañas with a couple of young guys - lots of wild beach to walk in either direction ...

We camped at the far end of the resort, as it turned out on a conch shell and misc. rubbish dump. No matter to us. It´s all about the very important Tuck Factor. Just after we set up camp, Mr. Lee and I were sitting by the water eating survival cheese sandwiches when a tiny, big-eyed, bony puppy crept up behind us and sat and cowered in the sand shivering, hoping for a handout. She broke our hearts. I don't believe that the majority of people care much about or even notice the terrible suffering of its animals.

I cringe as I write this. I cannot forget the puppy´s condition or deny the painful, lonely death that surely awaits her. Of course we fed them, four dogs total, all puppies. That puppy and another were only a few months old. The other two were not a year, both female and had already given birth. I kick myself now for not putting food on something (perhaps a piece of driftwood) to keep it up out of the sand. She ate what she could. The two older dogs instantly adopted us. We didn´t see the really young ones again until leaving. Too bad. I found bowls and bucket lids on the beach the next morning and we fed the older ones (Twiggy&Ziggy, my name for them) more dogfood (I had a bag with me), tuna fish, milk, cheese cake, a carmel nut roll and a couple of vitamins that fell in the sand. The two older dogs were obviously sisters. Their lives revolved around each other, they frolicked around each other, slept together in a curl, bit one another´s fleas and licked each other´s whiskers cleaaan. Our very nice host seemed to look right through them. I don´t see how civilized people can be blind to the suffering of innocent creatures. Spay or neuter them. Feed and care for them or give them to people who will. Or gently, kindly kill them.

Tropical Storm Gamma drove us away. At first we thought we´d wait out la tormenta (the storm) but by noon, in buckets of rain, we made a get away. Twiggy&Ziggy followed us down the road as far as they could. I´m honestly not sure which they hungered for the most, food or a kind touch. It was really horrible watching them in the rear view mirror but there was nothing we could do to alter their fate but give them a couple of good meals and a little love as we passed through their lives.

In the morning we head back for the States. It should take us about a week to get back. Then I will post more photos of the ruins and trip in general.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Calakmul notes

We camped at the ranger station about 40 kilometers from the entrance to Calakmul last night. The moon was full and the most fierce I have ever seen. The area is a bio-reserve and the jungle is very dense so we camped right on the road not far from the station. The next morning we left early and saw all kinds of wildlife driving into the site. A flock of wild parrots swooped out of the trees and crossed the road just in front of the jeep. The last parrot in the bunch was clutching a large yellow seed pod and dipped a little too low. For a moment we feared we'd hit it. We also saw several toucans, a little guaqueque (waa-kay-kay) crossed the road and there were plenty of wild turkeys. No jaguars or spider monkeys though. They are still on the hope to see list.

We were the first people to get to the site and for most of the day we had the place to ourselves. Structure I was the high point, literally and metaphorically. A couple of buzzards sitting on the top of the pyramid watched us huff up the stairs then took off just before we reached them. We sat on top for quite awhile listening to the howler monkeys in the distance. We saw a beautiful eagle nestled in the top branches of a nearby tree and wondered which rise on the Guatemala horizon might be the recently discovered, long lost city of the Maya, El Mirador. It is nice knowing that, at least in this particular circle of horizon, there are only a few indigenous communities living in the jungle. I took about 600 photos but won't be able to post any until I can get to an internet cafe.

That´s it for now. We´re back in Chetumal for the night then we´re headed back to the coast. We found a great looking campsite by Xcalak (Skalak). It´s right on the beach and looked very clean. While we´re there we plan to snorkel and hunt for conch shells and hope check out the defunct and spooky Iguana Hotel (our name). It´s an abandon beach resort hemmed in by a termite infested lagoon. Wonderfully creepy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Full moon in Calakamul


A sidewalk lunch stand

Driving through Mexico this way is like traveling the wheel of Samsara. The entire country, not just the Mayan ruins, is layer upon layer of post-apocalyptic world´s in ruin, chaotic, lovely, disturbing, simultaneously phantasmagorical and excruciatingly real. Being here is a combined spiritual bucket of cold water, slap in face and a wild, fresh wind, and overall a much needed and appreciated antidote to the suffocation and miasma of corporate Amerika.

We´re back in Chetumal after spending a few days camping on the Caribbean and visiting a few minor archaeological sites in the area. The Jeep part arrived two days early but the hotel held it for us. With all the pictures I took of palm trees, sea trash, the rising moon, buzzards and storm battered beach cabañas my photo count is now over 10,000. That means the ratio of photos to miles is more than 1:1.

I haven´t got any new ones transferred to the flash drive but here are a few random images from earlier in the trip. Today we´re driving to Calakamul, a new site that´s just beginning to be excavated. We´ll camp there tonight and spend the day there tomorrow. Then it´s back to the coast for a few days. After than, we´ll begin working our way up back up the gulf.

Zapatista road sign

Advertisement for our hotel in Palenque

Fruit for sale. Roadside vendor.

Dead street dog in San Cristobol. People don´t even seem to notice them. Just the passing dog and me.

Be prepared to pay to use public bathrooms. It´s also a good idea to carry your own toilet paper. This ticket entitled me to about 3 squares of tissue but a lot of places don´t provide any.

Our hotel in Halapa provided a full roll on payment with the room key. Nice place.