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Colin's travel log starting 2003-11-05

Details and economy of a nomadic life. Mexico to San Diego by bicycle, bus, and ??

Added by colin #442 on 2003-11-09. Last modified 2007-10-05 21:26. Originally created 2003-11-09. F1 License: Attribution
Location: World
xregion: North America

Topics: bicycle touring, community, cycling, diet, log or journal, nomadism, public transit, route information

Latest entry

updates since:

for background visit hoboschool and log 2003-09-07 , and log 2003-10-11

2003-11-05 miércoles

  • Day: 56
  • Expenses to date: $513 dollars, $1720 pesos
  • Expenses this day: ($192 from the day before) $81
  • Income to date: $20 dollars, $400 pesos

Well, I'm back. The site was down for a while, and I've been busy, but amazingly it's still been less than a week. So I need to add some expenses for the preceding day:

  • $34 for internet.. and the woman there gave me her email address... Elizabeth Carrasco S. gatita_sincera hotmail.

I also noted that I seem to be missing money. From the ATM it says I've taken $2,500... But it seems I'm $500 short in my wallet? And the exchange rate is better than I thought: $1000pesos was $89USD.

  • Yoghurt: $36
  • brown rice: $16
  • oats: $16
  • 2 anemic burritos: $4
  • media litre de leche bronca (raw milk): $2.50
  • 2 litres of granola, and 12 or so whole wheat tortillas (good), and more yoghurt: $68
  • 3 litres water: $15

So that is all from yesterday, and maybe I'll move it to the other log eventually.

I biked out of Cuidad Guzman, and it proved to be mostly down hill. I passed a dead fat snake, but decided not to take it for cooking. Eventually I stopped in a field of sugarcane. I still was not doing to good, and was lucky things had been down hill. I ate a bit too much granola, but that wasn't a huge problem.

I was tired, and a bit tired of mexico, how I had no clue what people were saying to me... I sounded like an idiot when trying to communicate, and they (often) sounded like idiots because I didn't know if they were just making strange noises or saying something meaningful to someone other than themselves. I'm thinking of a cowherd I met near a bridge, who spoke enthusiastically, but seemed to be using some dialect.

So I woke up, and now miércoles begins. I continued, mostly downhill again, into Colima. There a guy, carlos, took my picture and asked me questions, but so far has not emailed the picture to me! I spent:

  • $20 granola
  • $6 1.5l water
  • $8 on banana, grapefruit, naranja.

I rested most of the day in the nice plaza. Near a fountain, on a bench. I laid down and rested quite a bit because I had not slept well the night before (ate too much granola?). I read some of my language books, and thought about what to do next. Become a waiter? Join the merchant marines?

Eventually I got up to go on, and found a tienda naturista and bought some more yoghurt: $21 or so.(pint). Then I headed down the road toward manzanillo.

Still mostly downhill, I found a place in a field of a plant I do not know. Ah, before that, I bought some refried beans, queso (cheap), from a woman in a roadside store intent on taking as much of my money as possible. I think she wanted me to haggle. I was planning to cook my rice, and wanted cheese with it. And I love beans. $25

Unfortunately I camped on some fire ants. Before bed I collected wood for a morning fire.

I didn't sleep well that night because it was warm, and there were ants and mosquitos.

2003-11-06 jueves

  • Day: 57
  • Expenses to date: $513 dollars, $1993 pesos
  • Expenses this day: $490
  • Income to date: $20 dollars, $400 pesos

I woke up, and since I had put the cheese in my shoe off the ground, the fire ants had found the cheese, chewed through the plastic and were in my shoe. In any event, I cooked my rice, cheese, and lentils, and garlic powder, and it was good. I did have red dots on my shoulders, perhaps from ants eating me through the insect net? Well I made it out of there, but I was not a happy camper that morning.

So I biked on into Manzanillo. I took the toll road. Ah but before that I bought 3.5 litres of water and some peanuts. $20 ?

Now there were some no bicycling signs on that toll road, but they went away after one of the entrances, and when I first saw them there was no easy way to get off, so I kept going. The guys at the toll gate motioned me to put my bike on the sidewalk and walk it by instead of paying. The restrooms there are free, and in this case, had toilet seats!!

Not long on the cuota, my rack broke entirely. Finally I would have to pay with more than time for neglecting my seat long ago. When my seat broke way back in Tenessee, it bent the rack a bit, and gradually the break grew worse.

Well I jury rigged it and figured I could by something in manzanillo.

I also had a slow leak in my front tire, but it was quite slow.

Ah, and in Colima, I'd lost one of my brake pads (I lost the cotter pins that hold them in place remember?). Fortunately I had an extra.

In manzanillo, I bought a half pint of yoghurt and some oats $20?. And then found a bike store (by asking the guy at the tienda naturista). I spent $245 on a rack. and $195 on a whole new set of brakes like the ones I had. I figured $20 was worth it to me rather than paying less and having to mess with the old kind. In austin, replacement pads were $12/pair, and as this included two pair and cotter pins, It wasn't a horrible deal. I carried the rack with me, waiting for a nicer place to work on it. Or some place less like hell.

Further down the hell road out of old town manzanillo, I stopped by an atm, got money, and got some water and some Cinchas (zip ties?) for attaching the rack to my bike.

Eventually, later in the afternoon, I got to a nice place. A road had been closed along the beach, and this was a nice place to sit. I found a secluded spot, and parked my bike. One guy did come by to talk. Then I went to swim in the pacific. I was still low energy, not joyful, and not up to par, but it was nice. Then I went back to put on the new rack. Another guy came buy who wanted to buy the bike. I'd sell it for $1000USD... but that was too much for him. He did look at it a lot and follow along for a while when I was finally ready to go.

Out of town, past santiago, I bought two bananas, a small yoghurt and some peanuts. $10.50

I found a spot in some sort of orchard, and as the night before I'd slept on some ruts (rather, tried to sleep), I made a point of trying to flatten out the ground.

But I didn't sleep well. When cooking my rice the night before, some embers had burnt holes in my mesh. And there were lots of mosquitos. Eventually, around 1am, I got out a needle and thread and sewed up the holes. Things were better after that.

The bad thing about the bivy, is that if it is hot outside, it is warmer inside, and if bare skin touches the mesh, the mosquitos will eat you through the mesh.

I had definitely overshot temperature wise. I won't underestimate the effect of altitude again! I'd gone from about right (Cuidad Guzman) to too hot to sleep.

2003-11-07 viernes

  • Day: 58
  • Expenses to date: $513 dollars, $2483 pesos
  • Expenses this day: $124
  • Income to date: $20 dollars, $400 pesos

I woke up, but not that well rested. And biked on. In a town... Cihuatlan, I think, I spent $21 on 2 tacos and 1 quesadilla to go. A drunk or some wierd guy was following me around, and I was hoping I might buy some granola and yoghurt at a tienda naturista down the way. Granola and yoghurt seemed to work well, in terms of filling, and digestibility (but as I write this, I'm now sick of it, and of the sugar in granola, so probably won't be eating more. I have a tendency to adopt a too simple diet, it seems). I also spent $38 on fruits, some yoghurt, and maybe water? from a grocery store.

Then I biked out of there.

I just remembered I spent $5 to check email biking into colima... but email and this site was down.

I tried to put in a lot of miles that day, but even with trying, it was only 100 km, going by the mile markers on the road.

It was also very hot and humid. I started to feel like I was back in the US again. One of the guys in Manzanillo had said I would see more americans near Puerto Vallarta. I saw some gringos driving a jeep (stopped by the side of the road). They were from New mexico. Later I saw more americans driving new probably rental cars, and also the American RVs with the extra car in tow... No motorcycle gangs that sound like helecopters yet.

The temperature and humidity was like northern virginia in the summer!

Toward the end of the day I found a grocery store and bought some granola, two sugar free yoghurts, and some fruit, including, a folly, a watermelon. I think the total was about $60.

I biked a bit further, and turned off the main road down a dirt road (this was near milepost 100), and eventually crawled under a barbed wire fence with a large bottom gap when I heard a truck coming. It was going to be another hot night. At first there were now mosquitos, but once night fell they came. There were big red ants, but these did not bite as much as the small red ants. They tried to eat my watermelon.

Having trouble sleeping, I got up and wandered a bit, and ate watermelon.

2003-11-08 sabado

  • Day: 58
  • Expenses to date: $513 dollars, $2607 pesos
  • Expenses this day: $533
  • Income to date: $20 dollars, $400 pesos

I rose early, planning to be on the road early, and I wasn't sleeping well anyways, due to heat in the bivy trying to avoid mosquitos. A truck came along the road I was near at about 5 or 6 a.m. I just sat still. I think it saw me, but didn't do anything, just slowed a bit. Jous said that if there aren't prohibido pasado signs its o.k. to camp... I'm not so sure about that, but that time it was o.k. I left soon after, and later realized that in addition to some shit, I might have left some of the plastic that held the lid on the yoghurt container.

I biked for a bit, then found a town, Campo Acosta, and waited for a bus to puerto vallarta. I was a bit worried, but it did show up after not long of a wait (one hour?) and it was $70 to puerto Vallarta.

I rode that bus and enjoyed the effortless power of the engine moving me, my bike, and a whole lot more along a road I would have been crawling along given my current energy level.

I remarked how tired I was of mexico, the dinginess, the uncompleted buildings, The shoddiness of so much of it. I thought of how while switzerland and the netherlands make the US look like a third world country... in a lot of ways the US makes mexico look third world... Of course, there are many good things about that aspect of mexico, like how it seems anyone can set up shop and sell food on a street corner and operate a restaurant out of the back of their truck on a quiet street. And I think I saw in the headlines, in addition to the freestate project getting coverage in the new york times, that the FDA plans to force restaurants to supply nutritional information with meals...

I didn't think much of Puerto Vallarta. There was a car-infested main strip, and an old town, and more white people than I'd seen. I found a place to buy some granola $47, and then headed to the bus station.

There at the bus station, was a cool, nice place to rest. I ate yoghurt and granola, and read the PV english language paper.

Eventually I bought a ticket to Mazatlan: $257, and by 1515 I was on my way, resting on another bus. Unfortunately it was older than the omnibus of mexico bus I'd been on, and didn't have the impressive leg room.

Into the mountain time zone!!

The movie was a Jackie Chan movie. It was pretty stupid, but reasonably entertaining. Lots of fighting and blowing things up.

I had to change buses in Tepic. Of course it was at least 1.5 hours late or maybe only one hour.

I was feeling quite bad and wondering if I should stop there and get a hotel to sleep.

Eventually I just sat in my recumbent seat to rest. In Europe or elsewhere I might have put out a pad and rested on the ground...

The bus came, but it looked as if there might not be room for my bike. I suggested it might fit a certain way, and it did. The bus driver said I should give the porter a tip for helping fit it in. I said how much.. and $30 he thought was good. Fine. I was just happy to be on my way.

This bus was super new, but maybe because the seat in front was all the way back it didn't seem as roomy as the omnibus de mexico ride.

First they were finishing the lord of the rings movie, and then there was a movie about this clown and fireman who had the power to set things on fire just by thinking about it... It was strange, and lost its tracking partway through, so I can't say much more. Then there was an interesting movie: "love and basketball" which had almost no white people, and in the end it was the woman who went on to have a career in the WNBA and the guy who went back to college (instead of trying to stay in the NBA). While in the last shot the guy looked less than enthusiastic, it was a pretty cool movie, and also amazing how nice and pretty and opulent most everything was, especially incontrast to the mexico I was bussing through.

I had a headache most of the way, and felt weak and tired, but by the end of that last movie I was feeling decent and was wondering if I should just stay with the bus and go on to tijuana... but I had a tentative plan, and no huge reason to change it, and nothing super wonderful to do in san diego. At this point I was contemplating becoming a civilization lackey, and going back to monterey, and actually paying money for a place, maybe someday owning a condo there... and maybe even get some job where I could make lots of money. Mexico sure makes it pretty clear you're either one of the well off or somewhere below... Well, I don't know. From my email inbox, I see the people doing alternative things are continuing apace... bush is going down, FTAA protest in Miami, ecovillage in croatia, and jan lundberg writing about the evilness of the very mediocrity I was contemplating... Who knows. Maybe I'd like being a lawyer. I'd be paying taxes to an evil gov't though in that case.

But all I want is a quiet, non-dusty, non-car-infested place to rest. And I'm no longer so sure I can get by just living out side.

Alright, so I got into Mazatlan, and there was a hotel economico right near the bus station! and economico it was, only $80/night ( I think.. I told them I wanted another night and the first thing the guy said was $110 or something like that before he saw my receipt from the night before). In Tepic I was told the Ferry only leaves on weekdays at 1p.m.... But I have yet to verify this. I've also thought of trying to take the train.

The first room didn't have any windows I could open, but I asked for another that did. It was much better. There was a big cockaroach, but... maybe that is a good sign.

I went to look for something to eat besides granola and yoghurt to help me get better. At a restaurant in the busstation I had meat burritos, rice, beans, and a bit of vegetables and fruit. $45

And I went to sleep.

Plus a few pesos for bathrooms in bustations: $4

I was in bed around midnight mountain time.

2003-11-09 domingo

  • Day: 59
  • Expenses to date: $513 dollars, $3140 pesos
  • Expenses this day: $175
  • Income to date: $20 dollars, $400 pesos

I stayed in bed quite a while, and maybe by about 9 or 10, and after eating the rest of my yoghurt and some granola, and deciding to throw the rest of the granola away. I thought about how no one feeds sugar to animals, but here is granola with honey and glucose added... I walked out and asked for another night: $80... I hope that's all. I did ask for a receta, but he just made a note in his book.

Then I decided to walk around, and maybe find that ferry so I could leave the next day.

Eventually I found a streetside taco place and had 4 fish tacos. $18. Later on I bought some fruit: $10.50. The guy at the taco place told me how to take the bus to the ferry. But I felt like walking.

Following the signs to the centro, I found an internet cafe, and here I am now at 1430. $30 on internet so far. And still not digesting things quite right, $3 on el baño.

Heathwise I'm feeling better (although walking around, I do feel somewhat like an old man), but do not want to get on that bike. I think a two-week break is called for. I think I might sell the thing... And imagined living in the forests around monterey without a bicycle, making bits of money from temp work (I would have a cell phone).

That's about it. I like Mazatlan so far. It has a better name than Puerto Vallarta, and not so many white people, (maybe). I haven't found a car-infested strip like in PV yet, but I haven't been to the main hotel block I think. As the sun gets lower in the sky I will probably explore more.

So long. And $10 for a .5 gallon of water.

It's been a long time, but time to write about the last week and to wrap this up. I spent about $26 more on internet, and left. I walked out of there and since they were closing the manager/owner pointed me to other internet cafes around the corner. I was amazed at how many and how large they were, but I'd done all I wanted to.

I wandered to a square (the square). I saw some cyclists. Karen and Daniel, from Cuidad Juarez. They had just arrived on the ferry from La Paz. You can reach them at Cruzada Ciclista por un Mundo Mejor (cyclistcrusaders at yahoo dot com). They are zealous, but they are not necessarily rabid econazis... They have the mellowness of anyone who has cycled or walked for long distances. Though Karen did admonish a mexican woman for hitting a kid... or at least that's what I gathered though a glance at the kid and the woman caught both smiling, perhaps bemused at Karen? Karen is white and speaks spanish like a gringo, while Daniel is Mexican. Karen is tall, and a little thin, but clearly has enough muscle to cycle. Most amazing about their story to me is that they've crossed the desert from El Paso to San Diego twice, and cycled up california from the south. I'm not really saying it here, but it seemed to me they'd done several long-distance cycling trips more than once, while I find it hard to contemplate ever cycling one of the long trips I did a second time.

They had been at the L.A. Ecovillage for a week and also at a hostel in hollywood for two days while fundraising for their trip. Their trip down baja took 38 days, as they had stopped along the way with people they had met. They had not stayed in a hotel since the Hollywood Hostel.

We talked for quite a bit, and eventually managed to say goodbye. I saw them cycling down a street later, but did not see them any more. I walked and found my way to the ocean, where still somewhat enervated, I rested on a parapet and enjoyed where I was. I was overlooking a small rocky bay. There were cliffs, waves, people in the water, and what I thought were buzzards overhead, and a nice breeze. I was happy, this place and shoreline reminded me of the beauty of monterey, though a bit more crowded with buildings, and the buzzards were incongrouous.

Later on I wasn't as sure they were buzzards. There were also gliding and diving pelicans. I thought of how it was best to travel not on land but by water. As by water, I would avoid the cars, and could explore the offshore rocks.

I walked on over the point, and saw some other gringos, two younger couples, one was an asian man with an attractive swedish-looking woman. The others looked more like american dregs, the man in a leisure suit-type shirt, and with those goofy brown-tinted, unframed sunglasses, the woman, more plush than buff, with a hint of the hippy: skirt, and 70s shirt, but definitely a pneumaticness that looked comforting. It was a beautiful rocky coast. But now, in memory, still has that mexican scumminess... The litter on the beach down below. The spraypaint on the windows of the restaurant up above, the deteriorating wall of one of the haciendas on what in Monterey would be, and probably was here, one of the prime real-estate locations, and infact, had arabic lettering as its title (you know, like in Louisiana, all the camps have their stupid names: "Last resort", "paradise found"), the shoddy roads, and, new here, parapets on the edges of cliffs that come up only to one's shins. I thought happily how I'd found another place that called out to be walked and explored, as I looked at the view ahead: a trail winding up a rocky hill to a lighthouse, A harbor... but thinking back, I don't class it as I did then with San Francisco, and Monterey... But Maybe I wouldn't class SanFrancisco with monterey...

I walked on, considering heading to what looked to be the ferry, but deciding to climb the hill to the lighthouse before dark. On the way up, giggly mexican girls were coming down. A guy testing a nice mountain bike was going up. I realized I'd slept the night before with my nasty light-colored shirt against my skin (in the sweat of climbing I was getting that horrid heat rash/pricks on my face), and under my presentable-looking dark shirt. I took the offending one off, and thought how scummy my clothes were.

I met Billy and Dillan from Vancouver Island, Canada coming down from the lighthouse. We had a good talk about their trip, and how they'd noticed the car/SUV happiness of Americans. Vancouver (Island ?) has good public transit. They were headed to Barra de Navidad. As is Jan (jibi.ca), incidentally.

I made it to the top. I didn't see buzzards this time, but many large split-tailed seabirds, as well as pelicans, coasting on the updraft from the cliffs around the lighthouse. And the sun had set, but the light had not. I took a leak, and surveyed Mazatlan from above, and headed back down as dark was coming.

Coming up were three kids and a parent or nanny of sorts. Strikingly, one of the kids was white. She seemed to be enthusiastically saying a sort of "I think I can, I think I can, the little engine that could." in spanish. I continued down behind two of the guys who'd been watching the sunset in silence at the top.

Then on past another truck filled with kids, towards the ferry in the darkness. The man at the ferry said it left every day but tomorrow (monday) at 3pm., and cost 660 pesos. I don't know if his price was right. I headed back, avoided one of those people who wishes to shake your hand repeatedly, and thought to catch a bus back, but realized I was on the wrong street. I passed a man in fatigues with a machine gun and helmet sitting on a box presumably guarding a building that was under construction or abandoned, while others on that same street seemed to be loading a small truck with furniture. I didn't stick around. Earlier I'd thought it was wonderful how walkable this place was... ferry to bus station to beach, were all close.

I caught a bus ($4). There were tons in that town. On the bus, I realized I wanted to stick my head out the window, because the glass had been painted smoky. And thought that this was why so many mexicans reminded me of dogs in their style of riding in trucks standing up in the back, or sticking the heads out of the windows of the busses they were riding. So, I was like them in that bus. And the bus was decorated as many busses are, as a shrine. golden tassles hanging down, a clear globe with mary mother of jesus in it as the knob for the gear-shift, a faux-wood-paneled dash with shiny chrome and faceted colored lights that would have made Dr. Who proud.

The woman behind the driver might be his wife, and she was riding with him as he drove his route that domingo noche, and the bus was for sale, I thought. She looked nice and happy with the man who might have been her husband. She was attractive, and he looked a little soft and bellied, but not much, and I respected him, because of his bus, his contentness in his route, and because this woman respected him. Besides her, there was only one other rider besides me. We rode past the square where the crusading cyclists for a better world said they be at this time listening to the band which sounded modern, but not harmonious or in tune. I didn't see them.

I rode all the way back to a big shopping center (le ley) near my hotel near the bus station. There I stopped at a taco place along the street for some dinner... The food looked good, and to follow the rule of not shopping hungry. Le ley... a huge box store, I wasn't sure I wanted to shop for food in there anyways.. I had three tacos, two of tripa (tripe), one of carne asada. A woman had to be sent for change. I wondered again how people eat the tacos. Stealing glances at two young men near me who seemed to know what they were doing. I liked what I had. I liked what they had, and realized If I asked for flour tortillas, I got a more manageable package. Somehow one of the young men had got a plastic spoon. I had forgotten my spoon that I'd started carrying. I used a cucumber piece to scoop up all that good stuff that squeezed out of my taco. I ordered another of a flour tortilla (they cost more). A guy with four tacos sat down right across from me. I got to watch an expert eat them. He just picked them up, dug in, the stuff squeezed out, and later he asked for a plastic spoon. Why they don't give out spoons, I imagined, was that otherwise people would feast on all the good stuff (guacamole, etc) they had on the table. In some places I'd seen a lavamano (a place to wash hands), and if I asked, a bowl and some water was usually provided, but here I had not bothered.

So my tacos were something like $26. They were good. I did walk by le ley and went in, but could not bring myself to shop. I went back to the hotel, and enjoyed having a bed and a cool and reasonably quiet (once the ceiling fan was turned on) place to sleep. Not sure what I would do the next day.

2003-11-10 lunes

  • Day: 60
  • Expenses to date: $513 dollars, $3315 pesos
  • Expenses this day: $a lot
  • Income to date: $20 dollars, $400 pesos

I decided I didn't want to stay in Mazatlan and wait for the ferry, and then wonder what to do next when I got to La Paz. I went to the bus station to find out how much and how long to Tijuana. I think it was $739 and 25 hours to tijuana. After some thought, and calling granddad in san diego (who said, "great to hear from you, I'll put another plate on the table for spaghetti." That was very nice). I got a ticket. There was a busline that was 6 or 8 dollars cheaper, but I decided to get the most expensive. I had packed up my bike and changed a flat, and taken a walk a few blocks (my $8 hotel was a few blocks from the beach).

My bus came. The luggage guy made me take the rear wheel and panniers off. I did, and gave him $20 tip... We were off. The bus was new, and had lots of leg room. And wasn't full of passengers. I moved my seat to a better one to see the tv screen. There was a movie about god.. Jim Carrey... " how do you make someone love you without affecting free will"... and that woman who is now on friends' and who looks young and healthy even though she's 40?

I noted I was practising escapism at its finest. Escaping a place I didn't want to be while escaping the long busride through the desert by watching a movie.

It amazes me then, and now, how one's attention can be moved to a place so far from where one actually is by opening and looking at print in a book or watching a video screen in a mexican bus.

I had just gotten $1000 from the atm the day before to pay for my ticket, and the rest I used to pay for food on my trip back. I had resolved to eat well. I hoped to recover and feel somewhat energetic by the time I go to Tijuana.

There was a psychadelic Jackie Chan movie.

I spent $30 on some eggs to go at one station where the women were beckoning annoyingly at every store along the station hallway. I made the right choice to avoid them, and to ask for huevos at the restaurant.

I had to change busses in Tepic... Now there was the nice bus with lots of room. But the movies these guys had were not so good, and they didn't put as many in.

Later I spent $45 on 4 burritos, a piece of pizza, and frijoles.

and $45 on another burrito+ egg + bacon.

eggs felt like what I should be eating.

I thought of how mexico was different... the movies it produced. we watched one mexican movie twice... The US movies displayed the wretched self-absorption of america, of which I am a reflection/manifestation as opposed to the life-absorption of mexico and to some extent of me while in Mexico. The {something} comes from the freedom to not worry about survival.

I found a tick on the left side of my head.

four burritos for $23

$35 omlette (not really) frijoles, rice, tortillas, chips, salsa

$25 burrito in Tijuana

$15 1.5 liter water

The ride was long, were stopped by the army to have the bus searched for pot five times (two times very thoroughly, every bag). There was a lot of desert. The same mexican movie was shown twice. It was an o.k. ride. But more like 28 or 29 hours than 25. It was dark by the time I got off. I found out how much a taxi to the border was before I bought that last burrito and water. Even so, I think I still have some pesos (50?). The taxi was $150, and I gave a $15 tip. We put my bike in the trunk with the front wheel sticking out. He drove carefully so as not to hit something with it.

I had to walk the bike a bit at the border.

Then through customs.

And then to payphones near the Tijuana trolley, and called grandad, and he told me to take the trolley to the old town stop. And I could take my bike on the trolley. So I got a ticket ($2.50) and got on the trolley.

I was in the U.S., In San Diego now, where only 28 hours before I was many miles south in Mazatlan, ...

My grandparents were at the station, and they took me to their house, and I had a bed and a blanket, and we had dinner together.. some pork, salad, potatos.

and I went to sleep. If you try to figure out money spent in mexico, it was $1000, $1500, $1050, $1000 total that was withdrawn from ATMs... I think that is right... and what is not accounted for?

2003-11-12 Wednesday

  • Day: 62
  • Expenses to date: $516 dollars, $3315 pesos + a lot
  • Expenses this day: $
  • Income to date: $20 dollars, $400 pesos

So, this is the end of the trip. I'm in San Diego, I've been here a while (as I write it is monday the 17th). While earlier I felt like writing quite a bit, I'm now uncomfortable and silent... The important things to note: originally, I was planning to head on to monterey, CA and just live, get a part time job at Whole Foods, and maybe sleep in the forest. But I realized some things. San Diego has a lot of what monterey has. The smell here reminds me of there... And on my trip I'd learned something of the value of shelter. I imagined starting a real estate agency for people who wished to live without cars.

This day, I rose early (grammie has an alarm that goes off at 5am), and walked out after the house alarm was turned off. I bought at a nearby store some fruit and yoghurt, and eggs, and spent almost $5 on some quality muesli (bobs red mill) because I could. I cooked it, ate, and slept most of the day. That night for dinner we had roast beef. (and salad, and broccoli), and some potatoes.

Some where along the way I picked up the book dr Zhivago, and I've been reading that. This morning I read Henry James' Turn of the screw but not carefully.

I thought I might settle here and live with my grandparents, and get a part time job at the local co-op or at a grocery store. I've been walking to the coop to get food for breakfast. and have spent $13.50, $2.05, and $16.13 and $9.39 at another place (henry's, owned by wild oats). Some interesting things were buying some organic pastures raw milk in the coop! I think it was a pint for $3.65?? Talking to grammie about weston a price, we found she had the book Nutrition and physical degeneration and had known about the guy for a long time, and had driven 30 miles (every day?) for raw milk at one time when my mom and her sisters were growing up. Reading the price pottenger newsletter that she picked up from her doctor after we talked about this, I was inspired to have soaked buckwheat, oats, and eventually sunflowerseeds, almonds, peanuts, kamut, for breakfast. Also,

finally by Friday, I started going through my ITP exercises. I'd only been going on walks twice a day. On Saturday, I made it through the whole sequence, plus some strength. I also saw my cousins and aunt and uncle that day going to one cousin's soccer game, and the other's lacross game. That was a good thing to do. On sunday I went to henry's (another store with whole grains and organic food) instead of to the coop, and did the full exercise sequence by a yoga studio I'd found.

And I considered joining the YMCA to swim. but doing that and going there at 5:30 am or so one morning reminded me too much of the routines I'd gotten in in monterey and New York City... which eventually came to feel like ruts to be left, and dependencies to be gotten over. I'd left monterey thinking that If I returned to California, I'd go to san diego, where I had relatives and the water was warm enough to swim in... And here I was.

San Diego and the area where my grand parents live does not have all the qualities of monterey, but it has some. The smell takes me there. The fresh air... The weather. And the sky, and terrain, and coast is/can be beautiful.

The people here are not quite... but I don't wish to address that.

and it is an alien world in a way, having been in mexico, in desert, for so long, and then coming to this place that is so different (paved, not dusty; quiet, rich, the suburban desert... no dense urban hubub, and the real desert is well hidden, or kept away; the quality buildings).. people speak english. Cars drive kids to soccer games on polo fields next to golf courses. Noisy airplanes take off from the airport below and thunder over my grandparents' house.

Sitting at that soccer game on that field with that book, Dr Zhivago, I felt that alienness... The physical world I was sitting in was as constructed and contrived as the book I could read... I could be on this otherworldly green plain, watching a contest that with banners flapping and shiny uniforms resembled some sort of showy knights' gathering, or I could look into this book and be in the Russian revolution... through words that had been translated by someone.

I realized I could settle in here, but that I should check out that monastery before I did... living and working with them would be a lot closer to my ideals perhaps. So later this week, I may bike out there.

I have another grandmother to visit.

I do some work here, a bit of yard work, and sanding tables and being somewhat helpful. And my grandparents are good, letting me wander about, and do this... I haven't gotten a work schedule or requirement yet, but I do help... Sanding a cast iron table, they wish to move out of this house early next year. It is a grander house than any in the family, a magnificient view, and the thing that keeps it from being what everyone wishes they had are the airplanes thundering over. Grammie said the last person who had sanded that cast iron table was your mother.

And the coop in ocean beach is progressive, but vegetarian. Down the street, coleen cares for a place like the urban ecology institute in seattle, and elsewhere, and I got the issue of the last carbusters' magazine, to borrow from her.

And there are surfers at dog beach, and I bet the water could be swum in without a wetsuit, and definitely with one.

Now, this morning, I didn't feel like exercising early, and knew this was writing day, and knew I had an email to write to the monastery, and other things. and Found henry James' turn of the screw, and escaped into that gourd for the morning, and ate some stuff, and felt I should exercise, but now am here, and the cursor is moving.

Feeling a freedom from the tyranny of the body that says I must exercise, I must adhere to that schedule to feel o.k. I think the requirement is there... But I don't wish it.

Now coming up, or rather past, is the four month date where I'm planning to write what I learned in the past four months and my thoughts about the next. It was November 7th. The place I write it to is FriendsOfColin

I had a break from this for an hour or so with grandad working on the fence. Signs of age and aging are all around, and on the radio: something about "it is not fun to be old without money." And then I think, well his audience can spend their lives planning for retirement. I can be old with whatever money I have at the time, and if it's hard and I don't like the hardness there is suicide. And I imagine myself like grandad, and I'm quite sure I could do it if I felt like it. On one hand it would be sad, but on the other, a wonder that I hadn't done it earlier. And that is how I feel. Grandad has trouble hammering in the nails and getting up and down from the ground, and hearing.

Now, I am course am getting older. Recent health concerns have been continued bowel lack of solidness, but that seems about over, and the soaked grains did seem to help. Yoghurt may not help as much.

The other are gums/teeth. Lower right side has a cold sensitivity. When I left civilization, I left my waterpik and electric toothbrush, and h202 and baking soda. I haven't brought them back yet, even though I'm sleeping in a bed under a roof. You know I'm old and tired now. I haven't slept in a bed for years.

This will be the end of this log and record keeping. and expense tracking. These weekly check-in times seem to be a good thing, but I will probably keep them more free form, if I keep them, and move them over to experienceart.org (purl.oclc.org/net/ea/), as at that point I will be writing entirely for myself, without consideration of others as audience, that, at least in some degree I had here.

As to what I've learned in the past 4 months? I think I can say what has happened pointing to these logs, and to my physical location. That says almost as much as I can say. I'm living in a house now. I have learned many reasons to value shelter. I'm not moving to north carolina to build my own on an ecovillage however. For now I'm getting something that I never appreciated before from being with relatives. It's unlikely I'll change so much as to give gifts at christmas, though I may actually be around relatives for a change.

What happened was, I guess, is that I used to wish for people who knew me not because of my family. Finally I had good friends of my own. And in some ways, I realized they're not that special. They don't keep talking to me like relatives do, so, in some ways they're not as nice as relatives are. And relatives don't need to have any great depth of interest in me... and yet simply from knowing less about me for longer, we know eachother more than any friends I've had. This is all just rationalizing... My grandparents live in a warm place. They let me live here, and we eat together, and they provide the modicum of socializing that is good for me, whereas in monterey I'd be tripping on isolation again. If I live long enough, I know I'll get to do that again, so there's no rush, though I look forward to it...

If I become part of a monastery family, then maybe I won't be tripping on isolation for a long time.

And there's little question in my mind that trying to be content in a part-time grocery store job might not work, but it could, and may be what I try. I think it could work, in fact, I do think it would be good to work in a grocery store, and if the frivolosnous of it all starts to get to me, the disconnectedness from nature of it all, I can read tom brown, and get my ass to one of those three-month long primitive skills retreats. Enough babbling for now. This is the end of this log here. In the future, maybe I'll post at experienceart.org (purl.oclc.org/net/ea/), and actually write up something for FriendsOfColin. And there's a bit I need to do for carfreecity.us, but I don't want to. It's not much though.

Best wishes to all who've followed this log! I think there are a few of you. I think the overall message is a happy ending, because I'm pretty happy and have things to look forward to and challenges to face, and don't feel in a rut. I had adventures, and quite possibly never will ever accumulate posessions or routines that tie me to particular swimming pools or weightrooms again. But maybe I will sleep in buildings, and even beds, and live near people related to me, while they still live.

Everyone is related to me, but the idea of intentional community...

Good night!

The monastery will be an adventure you'd like to hear about, I bet, and I'm thinking I'll bike there. But I'll make no promises if or where I'll write about it. Time for some mindless, memory-free living. Escape into books and into civilization.

A number of women here, even old ones with decent figures, wear tight and slinky running suits, and have heads of bleached, tired, over-worked hair..

That monastery could be something more than resignation though... maybe it could be life, ideals, energizing. Something more than being content to find a way to be content in a world that is interesting but not beautiful.

Colin Leath <>    

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