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6 May 2010
Dave Clingman

Still hot and dry, but maybe not quite so safe and secure?

It has certainly been an interesting week with a shooting, an armored car robbery, and a brush fire. Fortunately, we were not involved in any of these, but we were close. The temperature is getting up to 100 degrees (38 C) this week, and even the Mexicans are starting to complain about the heat. We're looking forward to the start of the rainy season, so everything can turn green and the temperature drop. First, though, here's some of the fun things.

After church Sunday, we headed over to stay again at Casa de las Flores Bed and Breakfast in Tlaquepaque, something that we very much enjoy and which seems to be becoming an occasional benefit of working on their website. Monday was the local neighborhood's religious festival, called Fiesta de la Cruz (Festival of the Cross), which started at 5 in the morning. There is a procession that lasts for about six hours as people transport the cross from the local shrine along the rough cobblestone roads to various other local shrines. Exploding skyrockets let everyone know their progress. A band plays constantly as a line of people walk on their knees the entire way, with other people supporting them and moving blankets from the back of the line to the front to soften the path of the "kneelers". At each shrine, the people enter to pray. It was interesting and exciting, though Mela didn't much like when the skyrockets were blasting nearby. In our room at Casa de las Flores, she would at first bark and growl, but she soon realized that we didn't care and so the explosions must be okay. But when we walked to the procession to watch, she would shake fiercely from fright.

Yesterday Andrew got his second tattoo, of a very colorful gecko. The needles were jabbing his skin for an hour and a half! He said he thought this one, which is on his chest, hurt more than his other one (of a cross made of nails), which is on his back. It looks great, but I still don't care for needles.

Last week as we were trying to drive into Guadalajara, the traffic was the worst ever. It took us an hour to drive what with normal rush hour traffic takes about half an hour. We later found out from a friend that the cause was an armored car robbery in which a dozen gunmen with three cars blocked the street and got away with sixteen million pesos (about 1.28 million US dollars). Of course, all the Federales (national police) and other cops had to continue blocking the streets as they investigated the crime scene.

Saturday afternoon as we were relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet of our little RV park, we heard three loud bangs in quick succession. I was sure it was someone simply banging on someone's car, but it turns out that someone in the cabanas across the park from our van was shot. Andrew watched the shooter drive away in the getaway Hummer, and the victim being carried into a car and off to the nearby hospital. Having lived for so many years near Fresno, California, a city with a high rate of shootings, this hardly fazed me, but I guess it just goes to show that Mexico isn't quite paradise. We are fine, by the way, and have never been bothered by such things directly.

Monday afternoon as we were relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet of our little RV park, we heard a helicopter circling frequently overhead. I went outside to see what it was and discovered that the helicopter was carrying a large bag of water (even here in Mexico, Kittina!) to fight the large fire that was raging up the hill behind the RV park. The firefighters worked quickly, and nothing was damaged except one corner of someone's retaining wall up the hill. But it just shows how dry the brush is here at the moment.

Wednesday afternoon as we were relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet of our little RV park, we heard only the birds singing in the trees, and nothing exciting happened, as we continued to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of our little RV park.

An unusually exciting week, in an RV park where usually nothing happens!

Happy Mother's Day!

Read update 1 May 2010

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