Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Querétaro y Guadalajara

Queretaro - A lovely historic city about 3 hours by bus from Mexico City.

First stop was this attractive, safe, and sunny city. 3 hours by bus from the MX City Airport, the streets are flat and wide enough for a line of parked cars on one side & a single lane of traffic. Buildings are 3 stories high, colorful, and mostly unadorned - except for historic sites. There is something appealing about walking down a street and not being acosted by sign after sign.

The hostel, Casa San Gallito, was probably one of the best I've stayed in. Two young men own and operate it. Small but bright, clean and pleasant. I met a 31 year old from Japan who has been cycling for about 4 years - across Asia and Europe, North Africa and North America. He will cycle through Mexico, Central America, and eventually to Argentina. Then Souith Africa and points north.

The only problem he has encountered is a case of malaria that he contracted in Mali.

Tlaquepaque - a suburb of Guadalajara

Sunday in the town square is incredibly packed with people, performers, venders... The Cathedral is about 750 feet from, another church, San Pedro. There are Masses every hour beginning at 7 a.m. & going into the evening - each Mass is full!

One is advised to never eat food in Mexico from street venders which is tough here as there is so much and it looks so good! Tlaquepaque is said to be the home of the mariachi. Young people dressed for it entertained in the town gazebo. There is entertainment ALL day.

Tlaquepaque is considered a terrific place to shop for artisans' work. It is said people come from all over the world come here to shop! The main street is closed to all vehicles and the shops & restaurants rival many seen in New York and Boston.

The homestay is very nice. Four homes in an enclosed courtyard. Clean, bright and friendly are ready characteristics of the homestays. Wifi is available & meals are tasty in moderate portions - a definite move in the right direction for me!

Everywhere are shoe shine stands - 20 pesos which is about $ 1.50. I recently dug out an old pair of shoes which are great for walking but look awful. Not anymore. The man worked on them for over 1/2 hour. I lost count of the different treatments he gave them - from a wash, to coloring, to clear wax, to polish, to special treatment for tough spots. Clearly one has to give more than 20 pesos.

Tlaquepaque is flat and safe. I think ala Amsterdam, I'm going to rent a bike for a week & do a lot of touring. Well that is after my 4 hours of class each day!

Well, it's off to class tomorrow. The school provides one on one instruction for everyone. I will have to pay attention!

Take care all!

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.