February 4, 2010

A Walk to Jocotepec

 At last, the torrential 24-hour a day heavy rain may be lightening up! Everyone in a large swath of Mexico must be delighted. We've been so holed up that yesterday evening our neighbor Dave knocked on our door to see if we were ok! Today we'll do a little marketing.

The last time I picked up a few things was last Saturday afternoon, when I decided on a walk. I went out the campground gate, through the residential part of Roca Azul, and down the shortcut cobblestone road to the Jocotepec outskirts. My plan was to visit a tienda (neighborhood store) and buy some tomatoes. I wanted the exercise, so set a fairly brisk pace. Whew, after 45 minutes, I was glad to get there! I decided to settle for whatever the first tienda might have.

I bought several tomatoes, an avocado, two cucumbers, a jicama, 3 bananas and two tangerines for 18 pesos, about a dollar and a half, and began to walk home.

The last building in town is a church, and in the first field is a plastic tent where a portable milking machine sets up regularly for the nearby cows. Lots of folks are coming home on this road at 2 pm – I think work stops early on Saturday. An hombre on prancing black horse passed, with his kid behind the saddle. They’re pleased when I complement the horse, and give me a grin! Two more horses came along.

           On the left I passed a field with a white horse and a cow, a couple of plowed fields - one with a fine two-story house behind, a sign saying Rancho Macho, and a cobblestone lane with a stone wall.

A truckload of young women field workers going my way passed, too, waving and laughing gaily. Probably gossiping and planning a fun evening!
The town has dug a new ditch alongside the road to get ready for the rainy season, which begins in June. It’s accumulating many things. I saw plastic bottles, potato chip bags, computer brochures, a toilet, and a large dead dog, roughly wrapped in a blanket and black plastic sack. This I took as a respectful burial.

To the right is a raspberry field, then acreage where onions have been mostly harvested, and a Dole warehouse. It’s hot. A gringo I don’t know stopped to offer a ride, but I decline, I’m out for the exercise! I took a picture of a pretty row of trees.
Three trucks bounced toward town, guys crowded in each cab. I gave a wave and smile. Most everyone nodded or smiled back. Several people rode toward town on bikes. I saw only one person walking, a woman who was ahead of me when I first started toward town. I thought I’d overtake her, but she disappeared! Cerro Garcia stands out across the lake.
As I stepped aside to let an overloaded stake truck pass (Mexicans can truly pack a truck high!), a big white sack fell off the pile and the driver jumped out to retrieve it. I kept going, and a moment later wondered how in the world he could get it back up on top? Maybe he put it in the passenger seat.

This small dusty memorial makes me pause and reflect. It's an old tradition to leave a stone beside a shrine in tribute as you pass by. This one, with the legend GMR-4 DE 1979 on the cross, is full to the top with tiny stones.

A gringa (non-MX woman) in an old dirty car with groceries and dog in back offered a ride. Great, I'm ready now! Says she lives in a cornfield. Hmm? It turns out she means in one of the scattered houses in the stalled development outside the Roca Azul gate. So my ride was only a block long! To the left of the gate, bougainvillea bushes brighten up a few pens where the gatekeeper family keeps sheep that will disappear as one by one to become birria stew served on the town square or family table, a cow, two half-grown equally doomed calves, and a few chickens.

When I came through the gate, Jose, the gatekeeper, was waving down a truck exiting with a load of palm branches. A gringo had stopped his car behind the truck, jumped out and picked up a pitchfork that had fallen, and was was trotting up with it. Lucky it didn't fall out on the road!

As I continued on, a middle aged, sweaty gringo wearing an aloha shirt and ragged straw hat approached. He looked familiar - ah, he'd walked through the campground this morning with that large bag! I asked where he’s off to. "To the plaza to sell my new book!" and showed me a copy. "El Nitty Gritty," by Howard Fryer. It’s a very nice cover, looks a bit humorous. I compliment Howard, and wish him luck. Here's everybody's dog, watching Howard heading out!
Not much farther to go, now, but I was very tired! I sat to rest on the porch of a house I’ve always liked, but have seen occupied only once, a year or so ago. Whew! I was sweating under my hat. I enjoyed the view and had a drink of water.

Then I went on. I was sure glad to see the Roca Azul Campground gate. I made it home hot and pooped! My walk to town and back was an hour and a half. And way fun!


- Mexican Trailrunner said...

GREAT post! Good pics too! I really like your blog, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Great blog, Gigi...(and Chuck!) Looks like fun down there...Donna in cold NC

Anonymous said...

G - loved the walk. Keep up the writing.

Adrian & Barbara