“Six Days on the Road and I’m Gonna Make it Home Tonight”

I have been home for ten days and haven’t had one opportunity to write. When that happens it is like I have a physical longing to sort out my thoughts, to reconstruct, to write, to prioritize, to analyze, and to make new life adjustments. Well, at least that’s the way I see it today.

I am going to look at the last entry, which was a table of contents and may help me remember. Damn, that is quite a table of contents….hope I don’t skim over my topics.IMG_5548.JPG
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Soooo, nothing weird about the flight…BojioGo shuttle was right there to pick me up with another IMG_5591.JPG passenger….Ruth Salmon from Calgary…she was the first of 6,012 Canadians I saw in San Miguel. She’s an extensive traveler, self-proclaimed hippie–we enjoyed a great book club discussion….I think book clubs can be the great common denominator for women meeting for the first time. Anyway, it was a good start to my week. I stayed in Leslie’s home this time instead of the casita. The “Blue Room” is a large, twin bedroom on the second floor up steep steps…in addition, the bathroom is up another short staircase. Hector, former street dog, helped me settle in then Leslie and I made a spontaneous decision to eat Arranchera at Hecho en Mexico before going to the Rosewood Hotel for a Master Teacher Program-The Kings of Opera. It was an up-close, personal, live interview with Paul Plishka, the famous Metropolitan Opera

201303151047.jpgIMG_5527.jpg bass. I had never heard of him, of course. He retired in January 2012..after 45 years as the company’s leading bass—1644 performances. It was interesting, really. Leslie and I didn’t stay for the cocktail party afterward which was a BIG mistake…champagne and solos by the students. Apparently the cocktail party was awesome. Lost opportunity. Leslie had tickets because she was keeping two, student sopranos in her casita.MUSIC-OPERA-300x168.jpg

I am already mixed up on chronology. I hate this. Ok, so it won’t be accurate. I had time on my own to wander around and see Canadian and Mexico City tourists while I tried to whittle down my shopping list. I did very well, dropping the no-earring resolution. And of course, I purchased several outrageous costumes….Frieda IMG_5787.jpg Kahlo-inspired. On the days I was on my own I walked for hours, ate lunch at some of my favorite spots, watched people, etc.

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One evening was spent at La Sirena Gorda, aka Fat Mermaid for shrimp tacos and the best-ever, IMG_5712.JPG fresh ginger margaritas…best company too….Camie’s parents, Marilyn and Jerry, and the ever-precious, Larry, sister, Camie, and Leslie, of course! One night Leslie and her neighbor and I had dinner at a new restaurant in SM called Mi Vita where I slurped up a fine plate of spinach and Parmesan ravioli…the skin was so thin it was transparent. The last evening Camie and I ate at Berlin…and sat with a stranger. Camie is smart about keeping tables open for others….he was an odd man, I thought. He lived in SMdA and does music video for bands….this week he is working in the US with Fleetwood Mac. IMG_5736.JPG

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OK, this really is hit or miss and it is making me nuts because I can’t get it to flow in my memory sequentially. I have checked my Facebook and that helps. But now the highlight of the trip…the reason for the trip: the Sociedad Audubon de México’s tour to the Rosario Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site—in the state of Michoacan—I think the nearest town would be either Angangueo or Ocampo. I went to bed anxious the night before—I had visions of the horse falling off a cliff or throwing me or maybe eating me, I don’t know. Then I also thought about altitude sickness. I don’t ever want to use my MedJet insurance nor do I want my only helicopter ride to be have me flying with a respirator….on and on.

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So, up at 4:45 so I could get my ‘day pack’ and overnighter ready for Larry’s pick up service so Camie and I would be at St. Paul’s for our van pick up. Seems like there were 20 of us…most of us rode in a super comfortable van with the remainder in an SUV….Rodrigo was our guide and I think he did an excellent job….he speaks better English than I do. We watched a movie on the 3-hour ride and we had lots of bathroom stops. The countryside was lovely, the roads quite ride-worthy, nothing untoward to tell.

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We spent the night a small inn, Agua Blanca, deep in a canyon…only 3,000 some feet high…so much for my theory that our layover was to acclimate us to higher altitude—we had nice meals and opportunities to prowl around and use their thermal pools. Stiiiiiinky…and according to the literature, full of carbonates, bicarbonates, chlorides, silicates, sodium, lithium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium….and iron but part of the adventure. A number of the group went on a hike—Camie and I took naps!IMG_5573.jpg
The next morning after breakfast we had about an hour and a half ride to the Biosphere after a little detour around group protesting work conditions at the local glue factory. Our ears popped all the way up to 9,000 feet more or less. Our driver stopped in a little village just a few miles from the park to pay a rangy, old man a toll of sorts. His job was to pull up a rope across the road…. pretty entrepreneurial. This collaborative endeavor brought the entire village funding – and you could tell because it was such a nice looking little place.

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Once we were out of the van most us sprinted the first 30 feet toward the restrooms…the remainder of the way up a small incline, I was gasping and I think turning blue. It was at this point that I knew I was riding a horse up the rest of the way for butterfly viewing. I am not sure why but I think I was either the last or one of the last to get a horse…it was a verrrrrrry tall horse. I am not exaggerating. The horse, Allison, came with a cute teenaged handler

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who wore hip-hop clothes. This didn’t inspire confidence, but at this point I was immersed in prayer. I described the ride to my Mah Jongg group this way. I may be the typical 911 Christian, but this time I was not praying for me so much, as I was praying for the horse. I wanted her to be safe and standing all the way up and down the next, 1,000 feet. I was seriously focused. Seriously. The path was steep and so dusty that the hooves of the horses were sunk into the dust. This is a good time to say, that I was not the driver of the horse. The cute hip-hopster led the horse around obstacles and removed rocks from the path. Turns out Camie really knows how to ride a horse so I didn’t want to embarrass myself by wetting all over me and Allison or screaming or fainting. I was brave and more to tell how this was an inspiration. I will tell that later. Ok, I will tell it now. Jackie and I who both are horse phobics have signed on to take at least one riding lesson from our friend Ralph B. I think he wants to teach us how to saddle up, feed, and groom too. We’ll see how this pans out. All because of the butterflies and Allison.IMG_5813.JPG

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Ok, so we made it up the mountain to where the butterflies were. We dismounted then walked another two blocks maybe. The staff of the park is made up of local residents because they own the land not the government. So I gather it is sort of a rotation. They keep tabs on where the butterflies are on the mountain and use nylon ropes on the footpaths to direct the way to go. I hope that makes sense. Camie was great…she stayed with me and pretended not to be young and capable as I gripped her arm. Obviously, I am in poor physical condition. One of the other tour members was 86 years old and used a cane. She never missed a beat. As we went up, about 50 school kids came down…I am glad to have missed sharing the sighting with them. So, at last we hit the spot….about 40 people were sitting on the side of the rise….all quietly watching. I know in my heart there were a million Monarchs covering the tree trunks and hanging in giant clusters. They aren’t single deep either…more like 50 deep on any surface. Part of my new learning is how since the 1970s the butterflies are drastically fewer in number. It used to be that they cove red over 50 acres…now fewer than 3! Since 2011, there are 59% fewer butterflies. It’s the milkweed….farmers are effectively killing it all=no butterflies. Back to the story, when the sun came out the butterflies darted about like bats. It was astonishing. I will never regret going. It was beautiful and Godly. I would recommend it to IMG_5640.jpg IMG_5612.jpg201303151952.jpg  anyone.IMG_5622.jpg
Only three of us rode horses down, the rest hiked. Show-offs. I cheerfully remounted Allison. I began to see her as a sofa. The ride down wasn’t hideous but I did have to lean backwards in attempt to use Physics to keep on the horse. Camie and I tipped our horses with apples and the teenagers with pesos. I would have bought my teenager a car I was so grateful to be alive and having never vomited. I know a lot about the Monarchs now and their beautiful, miraculous journey to winter in México. I had this wonderful adventure that was inspired by Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior.

My expensive lateral incisor implant came out, falling to the van floor. I thought I saw it roll into a hole. I tried to locate the darn thing but it seemed gone forever. I sat there for about an hour sulking until we had a pit stop. I told the folks behind me so they wouldn’t inadvertently trample on. Voila. Found. Now what to do? I sent Len a text; he called cute Dacien, our dentist at home. The advice: Fill the implant hole with Vaseline and stick it back on the stem! I did and it stayed for the next six days! Shaaaazam, I should have gone to dental school. End of tooth saga.
Because ecto is acting badly I am going to publish this page then finish in another entry and a separate entry for photos.
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3 Responses to ““Six Days on the Road and I’m Gonna Make it Home Tonight””

  1. Lou Ann Weaks Says:

    What a fabulous adventure. Thanks for sharing so I could enjoy it vicariously!

  2. Thanks for sharing it so I can relive most of it. I loved traveling with you. You are a fabulous story-teller.

  3. hartwish Says:

    I don’t want to hear another word from you about what you’re NOT doing and NOT writing about…your fans will wait for as long as it takes for you to post a blog such as this…just fabulous. Pictures and stories are the best, and I want to go with you next time, please. Maybe not on the hike or ride, but if there’s some other way…and I’ve decided I want to wear costumes, too. When can we leave?

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