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French protests (and me)

The french are at it again, protesting their own government´s policies. W must love it; as long as they are protesting Prime Minister Villepin, they can't protest him.

"The police eventually turned to tear gas and water cannons to clear the protesters away." [link]

Water cannons? I mean, of course water cannons. Riots = Water Cannons, but when you think about it, do we even *have* water cannons in the U.S.?

"Strikes and demonstrations are part of the fabric of French society."

Quod erat demonstrandum - Water cannons in Paris.

There was a demonstration the first week I arrived to live in Paris in 1995 (I love the french word for it; "manifestation"). It took me by complete surprise; the street was shoulder-to-shoulder, curb-to-curb. People were carrying signs, banners, skeletons on poles, megaphones, each other. I ask my ami what it was about, this huge demonstration.

"Ne sais pas". I dunno, he said, shrugging his shoulders, not really even giving it a second thought. "Labor or something?"

There was only one other demonstration that I knew about that summer; a protest against the French Government performing nuclear testing in the Pacific. The French Government setting off bombs.

It was in Place de Bastille and there were several thousand folks there, mostly young, milling about and looking for...I don't know what. A few people spoke, there was some drumming going on. People danced around and yelled stuff. Some folks were dressed in black hooded robes, dressed like death.

The organizers passed out sheets of little round stickers with nuclear triangles on them. They were to be affixed to french coins to raise awareness in the marketplace of this terrible act by the government. Every time I used them, the little shopkeeper would just peel them off and examine the coins suspiciously for counterfeit.

Maybe that was unusual, to have so few demonstrations that summer. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was the more immediate fact that Algieran terrorists were setting off bombs of their own in trashcans all over Paris...making Moruroa in the pacific seem even further away.

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You know you´ve been in Mexico too long when... brush your teeth with bottled water back in the states, too wake up to a cold shower and think "well, the gas is out, but at least we have water..." come home to leaky plumbing and a puddle on the floor and think "well, at least we have water..." start to like the taste of huitlacoche look forward to soccer matches on T.V.

...and you know the teams in tonight's match ("TYT" stands for "Trinidad y Tobago") think of "gringos" as other people from the states laugh at "gringos" who go to the Gigante just to buy tequila a restaurant, you ask for "Coca Light" and you don't bother saying "sin hielo" describe everything that doesn't go your way as "pincha" turn on your left blinker to indicate to the guy ahead that he should move to the right never use your right blinker hear the Christopher Cross song "ride like the wind"...and realize you've got such a long way to go to the border of Mexico...from the wrong side.

Ride like the wind to be free again.
And I got such a long way to go.
To make it to the border of Mexico.
So I'll ride like the wind.

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Britt in Black and White

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Mexico Stories - Mercado

Every city has a central market...the one in Guanajuato is huge, crowded, noisy, and has everything for sale; from pirated DVDs of movies not yet in Gringolandia theaters to vats of pickled chicken feet and steamed chickpeas. Wires crisscross overhead, encased in decades of dust and spiderwebs.

Inside Mercado Hildago - Skylight...Hall...Endless stalls

For Sale - Quail´s eggs, by the 1000's...guayaba...the ubiquitous hat blankets, T-shirts, bracelets, pottery, crucifixes, sunglasses, jimcama, chicharron, baskets, copper pots, flowers, cowboy boots, empanadas, ostrich skin belts, octopus...

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Meixoc stories - Flowers and Mine

I don't know the name of this first flowering tree; one of my amigas tells me she used to eat the petals as a kid...don't know if that means much (I used to eat glue), but I'll look into it.** The other two pics are flowers on door stoops.

Minas de Rayas - 456 years old and 1400 feet deep. The first photo is of the cable coming out of the hoist house, over a pulley, and down the shaft...a cable that must be the length of nearly 5 football fields. I'd like to see the drum they wind that onto... [link]

Silver used to be extracted from this mine, but I can only find references to other minerals produced today (argentite, acanthite). I'm sure I need those minerals...but I just think the view is pretty. [link]

** As it turns out, in Veracruz, it's called "gasparito" or "coral tree". The best we could hunt down on the internet was that it might be "Erythrina berteroana" or "Erythrina coralloides" [link]

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Mexico stories - Doors

People use a lot of colors on their houses...a relatively inexpensive way to brighten the uniform brown of the landscape.

Several of these doors are along the first street pictured; others are scattered along the alleys and passages of this hilly little town.

These doors are the separation between alley and home - there are no lawns, no courtyards, no stoops, no porches - they are as much part of the side of the alley as they are the side of the house.

I love the details (one door has the street number "5" in the door frame and "14" on the side of the house. Many have no doorknobs. So many different blues!)

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Mexico Stories - Church

Love this church...Guanajuato is built into a mountain valley...this church is on the opposite side the valley from everything else I had explored so far. It seems to be falling into a beautiful pile of shapes and colors.

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