Isang's Blog/ www.Isangsbikeride.com











{March 12, 2010}   The butterfly counts not months but moments…

Much time has passed, a bit too quickly. I find myself anxious sitting in front of the computer. The closer my departure comes, the more I yearn for every moment spent outside, experiencing all to be experienced. Mesmerized by the rhythm of this city I know only to well how hard the separation will be. It will be waking from a dream. This city with its merciful beauty adjusted what doubts I had left and brought me into harmony with life as it is and meant to be. I can only laugh and recall how when I first arrived it was to fulfill my simple quota: learn spanish, volunteer and bike. Little did I know I’d be zooming down long stretches of mountain forest roads, taking in views not many have the pleasure to experience. Little did I know I’d find certainty with my own dreams as I helped little girls with theirs. Little did I know I’d take the deepest longest breath I have taken in life and wind down with some of the best chocolate and fruit ever :). Life is simple and sweet here in Guanajuato. Ask anyone who passed through either to glance or live and you’ll find most had their heart stolen.

I can’t do justice with a blog really to describe how amazing this place is for myself and others. I feel most people I chat with say there’s some sort of magic going on. I’ll sum up a few thoughts good times before I bring in the past few weeks events. Dinners on the terrace with new found friends and good beer. Plazas with old folks performing studied dancing as they are watched by a silent and pleased crowd. Hugs and kisses after a good computer class at Buen Pastor. The cutest of perros running around and sunning themselves in a plaza full of people who pass by smiling and cautiously stepping around so not to bother them. Coffee in the mornings after a Panoramica run. Fruit cups with lime juice. The list goes on…but now for a few updates on the happenings πŸ™‚

A man locked himself up in this Salsa bar for 3 months. Going crazy was the best thing that happened for his art work and this bar ;). It's incredibly disturbing and fascinating all at the same time!

Only in Mexico! So a man walks into a bar and asks everyone if they wants to get electrocuted. Naturally...I acquiesce ;). Two people hold one bar of the machine and as the volts go up whomever partakes in this incredibly hilarious game will fight for their right to get shocked the most.

Juanita and Fernando!! At this moment we're all holding hands and praying someone drops the damn stick!!

Ana y Yo: Ana volunteers at Buen Pastor with me. A Texas girl, she brings love, ambition and lightness to the shelter :).

Salsa dancing is incredible!! :). Mexicans are very studied in their dancing and bring the meaning of “dance your heart out” to the areas local salsa clubs. People can go all night here!! I’ve enjoyed a few outings con mis amigos to Guanajuato’s night scene. Most places are not pretentious and thankfully don’t ask for cover charge. Mexico you save my wallet from grief!

Ana and Rufus the 5 week old puppy!! He was a delight for our hiking adventure

Puppy Hiking!! I know Rufus looks like I've tranquilized him but a 5 week old puppy is going to eventually sleep for a hiking journey. I just lugged him up onto my shoulders before we started up the rock face. Lucky puppy πŸ™‚

Where's the food!! Rufus hides in the bag after our long ascent on La Bufas rocks.

Puppy hiking is quite a delight πŸ™‚ . Juanita, Ana y Yo took a hike up La Bufa on a beautiful Saturday. Rufus enjoyed being pampered and carried for most of it. As his first long journey he did quite well walking on the leash. Of course, after a few minutes of sun and uphill climbing he was ready for bed. Good weight training when you hold a puppy in your arms for awhile!

A plaza in Leon with the coolest looking trees I've seen yet!

One of the many amazing churches in Leon. Most iglesias aqui tienen beautiful architecture and detail on their walls. Mexicans are very good working with their hands. You can see their craftsmanship in their incredibly detailed jewelry and stone carvings.

A childs' dream to be surrounded by that many balloons πŸ™‚

A visit to the flat area of Leon was a treat although I was a bit dazed from being in an area with no uphill streets or alleyways. Β An industrial city, Leon reminds me of back home in Cali. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a McDonalds (Thank God). Getting there was a beautiful process. The bus systems in Mexico are very efficient and cheap. Their buses are comfy and spacious and I had no problem snoozing away on a cushiony chair. In Leon you can buy many leather goods at amazing prices. For the Shoeaholic, beware!! Chances are you’d have to buy a duffel bag to take home all the cheap and fashionable shoes Leon has to offer. On my side I just bought computer programs that are, ahem, cheap ;).

Hello down there! As cyclists we like to take things to new heights and so climbed this mining tower near some ruins of a ghost town πŸ™‚

Our bike savior! Thanks to Justin, Shannon and I survived a long trek to Santa Rosa. The guy built his own bike and is fairly experienced in outdoor adventures. He's a welcome addition to our group πŸ™‚ . He already got us out of a rut with his expertise.

Shannon is officially a mountain biker! You have to fall and receive your battle wounds before you can say you mountain bike. Although her bike gear got messed up from how hard she fell thankfully Justin came to our rescue and used his tool kit over my idea of using a rock to knock it back into place ;). Way to go Shannon! Proud of you! πŸ™‚

Shannon and I biked to Santa Rosa along with newbie Justin. Taking a dirt path to Valenciana we made our way over to the main access road for Santa Rosa. After a few hours we finally arrived and treated ourselves to Limonada and amazing Mexican food at the towns local restaurant. Thank goodness it was all downhill after that feast. Any more uphill and I would have wasted precious regurgitated Mexican chocolate! Justin and Shannon enjoyed this long downhill trek. It’s quite beautiful coming from Santa Rosa. Along the way one is passing a la presa and a ghost town. The forests are thriving with green trees and the speed at which one can go past the trees is, as I always say, likened to flying. Shannon got a treat with her first battle wounds and has something to show off now to friends and family concerning her bike adventures :). I’ve improved so much on handling the bike. I can go into curves now with confidence and at speeds I never thought I could do. Thanks Bike Station! πŸ™‚

Fun little idea of a car in Guanajuato. This guy took his quad and put car sides to it and you got a nice little donkey kong mining cart look alike!

Ok...I know what you're thinking. It's a bit weird to see a real skeleton on a red satin pillow. This guy gets special treatment since being exhumed after his grave bill went unpaid.

The Mexicans are really into celebrating death, and are quite comfortable with portraying it realistically. This mummy museum contains the bodies of those who are accidental modern mummies. They were literally "dug up" between the years 1865 and 1958 when a local law required relatives to pay a kind of grave tax.

A combination of the soil conditions and a dry climate of the mountainous area caused the bodies in the local cemetery to dry out naturally before they could decompose. The bodies were placed in tombs, seven rows high; apparently, those in the middle row were more likely to have been naturally mummified.

I weirdly appreciated seeing this. It just makes you rethink what the hell you are doing with your life and how you'll eventually end up like that (shouldn't be a sad thing though, more like a motivational boost). Seeing it face to face is a reality not many can shrug off easily.

Unfortunately not all deaths are natural. This woman died within her grave. Thankfully they have methods to detect activity in the brain these days vs. thinking ones dead just because they're not breathing/moving visibly.

A little trip to the famous mummy museum in Guanajuato took up part of a Friday. I haven’t done much museum touring around here but Ana and I decided to give it a try for the weekend. It was a bit on the creepy side but overall an interesting experience. Have to say though it’s tough to comprehend that just because a family couldn’t afford a tax law their loved one was dug up and moved to an area that isn’t, from what I understood, the best place for a body to be put.

Isabel y Yoahna

Buen Pastors finest πŸ™‚ . Getting ready for a photo shoot!

Our computer lab up and running. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Juanita and Fernando they brought in new computers for the girls to use. We now have four up and running with amazing programs for math, grammar and typing practice.

A little munchkin who loves to sing and dance πŸ™‚

So many great things happening at Buen Pastor these days :). We recently set up and organized a computer class that involves most of the girls. Fernando installed computer programs that appeal to all ages and involve the computer user in educational material. I’ve never been so excited for these girls. What started off as having a few try out the programs is now an encompassing experience for all. We can practice typing skills with the older girls in the event they go out and try to find a job that requires typing ability. We can practice math and grammar and even logic. My favorite program is the typing program. I started Isabel and a few others off practicing correct typing form. Their rate of improvement astounds me. Soon enough they’ll be off the charts with their words per minute. It’s very important these girls are exposed to computer programs. By the time they are at that age where finding a job is important they will have necessary skills many businesses/offices require. Tomorrow I’m going to San Miguel to represent Buen Pastor at a luncheon. It is my hopes we can gather more interest and financial support for desired projects at the shelter. A library and more books is an important project that will provide the girls with more reading ability and education. Hopefully I can make a good impression to and for everyone! πŸ™‚ It’s an honor to represent these girls.

Well that’s it for now again. I’m going to escape to some jugo de mango delight πŸ™‚ Adios!

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Whitney (AJ's Mom) says:

Marissa-
Looks like you’re having quite an adventure! What a great experience-I’m envious :).
Hope all continues to go well. I’m sending a small donation for your ride. Hope to see you when you’re back home!
Love,
AJ’s Mom



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