Monday, September 22, 2008

Through Michoacan

We leave Nayurit, for the sparsely populated state of Michoacan. The jungle grows to the very edges of the shoulder-less two lane road. Butterflies float on white-wings, the size of my hands. Every shade of green in existence seems to grow on the rugged mountainsides, accented by Fanta-orange colored blossoms of something exotic. The common mode of transportation is to hop in the back of a pickup truck and hold on! Workers, families, schoolkids, even the policia can be seen cruising this way, around corners, up hills and at top speeds on the carreterra. The area becomes increasingly remote and the jungle stretches on forever. The sky grows dark as it births the next tropical storm. Empty enramadas (the wall-less palapa shelters) are the only sentinel for miles upon miles of rugged beach break. More often the occasional simple house is made from woven sticks and coconut tree slabs. Rotund vacas and brown-eyed burros stand alongside the highway, chewing back the abundant vegetation, while merely side-stepping cars, if they make a move at all. As navigator, my eyes routinely search the sidelines and I see my first of many “sleepy” burros (as in “ah, look at the burro not moving—he must be very sleepy!’) on the side of the road, bloated and upside down, with now-leathery cartoon legs sticking straight into the air. The desperate image branded on my mind the rest of the journey.

Children and workers walk along the white lines of the highway-turned-sidewalk, on their way to something. Our car approaches and, as if on cue, they all take a step off the road to simultaneously and completely disappear into the jungle. Where people were, only stalks of 5’ jungle grass wave. Our car trundles down a newly deserted road. The villagers only reappear and resume their walk after we’ve passed. It’s a strange sight that re-plays again and again as we cruise along.

We glide through Manzanillo, a big shipping port surrounded by row after row after row of cement track homes, compact, sunset-pink or colorless-gray, with the universal black water bins on top.

No comments: