Monday, May 22, 2006

very long bloooog

It was hard to leave Maya Pedal, such a brilliant, empowering project, but my spanish was cripeling me, so I made the decision to travel to
Monterico where I heard there was a really good spanish school, few distractions and warm sea to swim in. The journey down on the ever musical and chaotic chicken buses was great fun, as I travelled down the country I got hotter and hotter, until reaching my final destination, I collapsed in one of the many hammocks by my hostel and sweated, I contined to sweat, I walked down the beach, I got chased by a pack of stray dogs, I narrowly escaped attack by jumping a wall and running through someones garden, Hot and full of adrenaline I swung in my hammock drinking beer thinking about my next move, but I couldn´t think, the heat was unbearable, O.K. I thought i´ll go swimming, So I jumped off the hammock and ran across the black sand, which burnt my feet and jumped in the water, it was warm, but you couldn´t swim you just kind of got thrown around in the massive waves, back to the hammock, I can´t learn spanish in this heat, I can´t do anythink in this heat, so thats exactly what I did for the day, nothing but drink and swing, which was grand, but I had to leave, as Hunter S Thomson said in Rum Diary which i was reading at the time: "There was no reason to feel pressure, but I felt it anyway- the pressure of hot air and passing time, an idle tension that builds up in place where men sweat twenty four hours a day." and that what it was like twenty four hours a day of sweat and idle tension.

I had many thoughts about animals while I was there, its seems generally in Guatamala animals are let to roam freely, in Monterico pigs of all sizes walked around town cleaning up any organic waste and looking fairly healthy and happy, almost everywhere chickens peck around undisturbed, all the animals seemed fairly happy, except the dogs, who make it dangerous to walk around at night and necessary to wear earplugs to block out their insesant barking, I suppose a lazy way of looking after animals works well for the pigs, who are smart, friendly and can eat practically anything, and probably are living the closest a domestic animal can live to that ever elusive and often fought about equality. o.k. at some point they are killed to be eaten, but after a full and happy life, (which it seemed from observation) from a permacultutre perspective it would be seen as wasteful to bury them, I guess thats where permaculture and animal rights clash, in a society where food and resources are sparce it makes it harder over simplify the debate which in the past I perhaps have. Lazy dog care just dosn´t work, the dogs here look painfully undernourised and basically need humans to help them out, the guatemalen goverments solution is to sporadically put down dog poison, and if your dog, stray or not is out on that day, he´s not coming back. Nuetering and food are the obvious solution, but this isn´t happening as its pretty low down on peoples agenda and it sounds like a problem for the whole of latin america, and theres no money or intent to solve it.

The next day I arrived at "Earth Lodge" in the mountains outside Atigua, as I walked down the path many signs greeted me in different languages saying welcome to Earth, I had a nausious feeling that I was heading for some kind of rainbow establishment and was about to be surrounded by lost souls with spirals in their eyes or generally ignored for not having reached the correct leval of enlightenment, but no, I was happily surprised, It was run by a really sound canadian couple, they kept goats for milk and a had the whole place covered with advacado trees, which I learn´t give fruit after as little as one and a half years of growth, the place was surrounded by trees, I could think, I could breath!, I could have a sauna and practice spanish with a really good teacher, yup i spent a really happy few days here, I would recommend the place to anyone, when I´ve sorted out my links, I will put their website down. This was the cabin I was living in, right next to the sauna, which was just about perfect fot me

So I´m back in San Marcos, struggling to speak spanish while surrounded by english speakers, and trying to organise a puppetmaking workshop with youngsters at a childrens project here.

Heres one of the stained glass creations, at an artelier here, where i´ll hopefully be contructing some puppets, the really interesting thing about all the stained glass is, that its using waste glass and instead of lead joints he use´s paper mache mixed with wood glue then covered in wax, very sustainable.

I met a really interesting russian american who was travelling around in his vegi oil bus while making a documentory about it, how in costa rica he had trouble with the authorites who said they needed a permit to collect the oil from fast food places, so he went to the mayor who thought what they was doing was great and wrote them a letter saying they could do whatever they wanted, It was great to see a vegi oil van that worked so well, heres a picture of the system; basically theres two tanks; a diesel one and a vegi oil one, the vegi oil comes straight from the chipper, though one filter into the tank, though another filter then through these two marine engine filters, which are wrapped in this copper tubing coming from the engine, this heats the vegi oil, and after about ten minutes of running the engine on ordinary diesel the oil is heated sufficiently to make it runny enough to combust the same as diesel the flow from the diesel tank is stopped as the vegi oil is let do its stuff, the marine engine filters can be taken appart and cleaned in about one minute when required, cool, seemed like a really interesting way to make a connection with the local people, most of whom where facinated by the whole project, and theres a film being made about it so watch this space. The only problem was when once they didn´t flush the engine out with diesel when they stopped to go swimming one day, and when they tried to start the engine again the oil had cooled and clogged the engine up so two days was spent taking the engine apart and cleaning it out, I suppose you learn alot from these experiences though.

After all this talk of unheathy and agressive dogs heres a couple of picture of some very heathy and happy ones that I met on my travels, ok for some reason blogger won´t let me download them so you´ll have to imagine them.

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