Saturday, July 5, 2008

July Rains

The mountains have suddenly turned green and the weather has turned cooler, although the threat of rain hangs in the air every afternoon and evening. Last night we had a steady, drenching rain and rumbling thunder all night. This morning, the clouds had dispersed to reveal a sunny, cooler day, typical of this season. We are glad to have the dust gone!

This week we had a visit from Sara Wright who used to work with us at the community college in Maine. She was only here for four days but she was able to check out the area for herself. She was a most enthusiastic visitor. Sara has spent a good deal of time at a women's cooperative in Peru and is used to the Latin American culture. She found many similarities between Peru and Mexico while she was here. She enjoyed driving with us along the north shore of Lake Chapala and visitng the markets. One disturbing thing we see at markets here is wild birds in cages for sale as pets. Sara purchased a captive cardinal at the Chapala market and released it near the lake:

Here are photos of Pixie and Sara and of me as we drove into the mountains east of Chapala towards Mezcala later that day:

One interesting development about the lake, which we saw with Sara on our travels, is the remarkable absence of Lirio, the invasive water hyacinth which used to cover large parts of the lake, damaging the ecosystem. The government of Chapala decided, last summer, to treat the lirio with some type of herbicide. (Previous attempts to simply haul it out by the truckload did not work.) The environmental group, Amigas del Lago, protested, claiming it would kill many fish in the lake. Well, the massive fish kill apparently did not happen, and the lirio is mostly gone. There have been various claims by the government of the safety of swimming in the water, but some contradictory claims as well. I'm certainly not going to swim in it. The government also built a beautiful walkway along the lake in Chapala, called a malecon. Living in Riberas now, we are halfway between Ajijic and Chapala. We spend more time in Chapala now, shopping. It's more Mexican and a good deal less expensive than Ajijic. Here are some photos of Chapala:

One more interesting event: we ran into a woman who showed up at our UU fellowship last week who was walking from San Diego to Santiago to raise awareness about the environment. Her name is Rolene Walker (get it?) and she's haired drivers to drive her camper while she walks so she has a place to sleep at night. She was hoping to hire one of us at church to drive for her, but no takers. The trip will take her two years, she anticipates.
If you are interested, her website is

On a personal note, Pixie is almost fully recovered from her surgery and feeling much better. After a long stay in the US, having all the renovation done, and Pixie's surgery, we are looking forward to getting back to our "normal" life here. I am writing a sermon on why I am an atheist to be delivered next Sunday. We enjoyed a 4th of July picnic yesterday at a gathering for Democrats Abroad. We picked up our applications for absentee ballots so we can vote for Barack Obama!

Here is one final photo. We didn't know it, but you have to groom palm trees. They grow fruit which feeds the fruit bats, which causes them to defecate on our terrace. The palms also drop seeds and other waste, which makes a mess. Here is Israel, our tree trimmer, at work this morning:

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