A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Jan 10, 2007 — Today I was chatting with our gardener, who was cutting back some juniper trees that run along our fence line. I mentioned that I’d seen a woman from the neighborhood taking some of the trimmings from where they had been put in the public area beside the street. She had told me that she cooks with wood, which didn’t surprise me considering that she’s somewhat gray-haired.

But I was surprised when Roberto guesstimated that about half the people in San Juan Cosala cook with firewood, small twigs to small branches. I asked if his family did, and he said only when they ran out of gas. The propane trucks cruise the streets daily, but few Mexicans have two tanks like we do. He added that when he was growing up, about 95% of the people cooked with wood and only 5% used gas.

Later this afternoon Kelly and I went walking a ways up into the mountains behind us. We were enjoying being on a trail in the woods, out of town. When we came upon a man sitting by the trail, a machete by his side, we stopped to chat. It turned out that he owned the land he was sitting on and that he was clearing the brush for a fence. He added that he was a building contractor and was interested in knowing about us. We soon established that we are neighbors; he lives about two blocks from us, not too far the highway. He commented on how the air where we were visiting was cleaner than by his house.

He invited us to come take a look at the view from his land, which has been in his family for over 100 years. We walked a little ways on the trail and he undid a simple pole-and-barbed-wire gate. We scrambled up the steep hill and sure enough, there we had a glorious view way up and down the lake, with soft pink overtones of the approaching sunset. He commented that some Americans had bought land just a little to west of where we were standing, and were planning to build several houses there. Kelly asked him if he would ever build on his land, and he said no, he didn’t have the money. In fact, he has received some offers to sell the land.

“Would you rather have land or money?” I asked. “Land,” he said. “Money just goes and then you don’t have it.”

He told us that when he was growing up here, over half a century ago, there were just 20 families in town. Vasquez, Cortes, and others. Homes were spread far apart.

As we strolled back down the hill, we came upon two of his sons, who work with him in the family construction business. One of them speaks quite good English, which he has learned mainly from doing construction for North Americans.

They were interested when I told them that Kelly also had been involved in construction, specializing in ecological approaches. Kelly knows lots of construction terms and the guys talked about all that for a good while. We ended up inviting them to stop by sometime.

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