Tuesday, 14 July 2015

El Chapo, the Volcan de Colima, and the days and nights of the Quinta


     We are back in town after a couple of weeks of hanging around at the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre.  The drive down and back were uneventful as usual, as was the stay.   With the heat and recent rains, one can imagine the rampage of foliage surrounding our place.   The "land down under" has become impenetrable, literally covered by the thorny tenaza trees that grow in dense grouping up to about 30 feet high.   The huge anaqua tree, with its huge twisted limbs rises above its thorny neighbours.  This part of the property is home to many of my tiny "jellybean shaped" warblers and other birds, as well as the groupings of green jays and occasional flocks of parrots, all depending upon the season.   Sometimes I think that there is some dependence upon the day of the week as well (meaning that predictability is very predictable except when it is unpredictable). 

Green and florid frenzy
     The "high ground" where the manor house of our Duchy is situation is literally canopied by various types of trees and large bushes.   The census includes a large duranta, many shrimp plants of various colours, powderpuff bushes, bouganvillas of six different colours, ebony trees, flamboyant trees, copper and paint-splatter crotons, a two tonne pencil cactus, numerous esperanzas that have changed from bushes to medium sized, ever blooming trees, splashed  with yellow trumpet-form blossom clusters. We throw in a few plumarias that produce the very sedative Hawaiian leigh flowers to the mix, an avacado, several lime and orange trees, and a really nice guayaba, several hennequin maguey (century-type) plants, and we have quite a plant zoo.  

     It has proven to be all very pleasant, impressive, just-what-we-were-
Foreground Plumaria, behind are the maguey
and behind them, the guayaba
working-for, and enjoyable.   The locals and people visiting the area from Ciudad Victoria and other urban places will stop and admire our jumble of green mixed with the spectrum of colours that could tax a crystal prism.  They especially admire the yards and yards of wax-leaf vine that began to produce the peculiar hanging ball of multi-florette blossoms....by the hundreds.

     My daughter's haliconia began blooming prolifically during these past days, and we are publishing a picture of that event.   She bought the plant at a vivero (nursery) about 50 miles to the south of the Quinta seven or eight years ago, and it has had its spurts and fits in terms of blooming, but never quite so much as this.  Efforts to post this picture are continuing.

     In the vein of "unintended consequences" , we noticed that the ability to go outside and watch the lightning bug show, enjoy the bracing 58 degree chill at 02:00 in the early morning, and actually see a perfect full moon, or a moonless night sky with  billions of stars is now very restricted.   One must move to the middle of our little trail to see all of the splendor of the night sky.
     These past several nights, for instance. were essentially moonless.   The Milky Way was extremely impressive and gave that "close enough to touch" impression.   A every-now-and-then meteor would lend a little interest,  but there were no really extra-normal manifestations.   Such "extra-normal" events are actually a normality throughout the domain of the Sierra Madre Oriental.   Special difficult to impossible explain events are seen in this area every seven to twelve days, generally, after ruling out outright fibbing and obvious misinterpretation or poor observation skills by viewers.
     It is a strange pleasure to be able to go out in the depths of the night and enjoy the temperatures and the sounds of the wild when all the world is otherwise quiet and at slumber.  The owls, the giggling snickers of the fox coven running down by the river, the howling perhaps at the lack of a moon by the coyote pack in the back section of the Hacienda de La Vega, all under a bowl filled and lined with a billion pearls is a good description, perhaps.


      With reference to the debacle produced by the "escape" by Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman Loera, there is not a lot that is good that can be said.  Suffice to say that the Partido the Accion Nacional (PAN) was better at its worst than the Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI) at its best.   One thing that is very probable is that various rumours about the combined commandancy of the Mexican Army and Navy requesting that President Enrique Pena Nieto and his cabinet step down.   The people would be willing to accept three years of military control, leaving the Congress and Supreme Court intact.
     Make no mistake.  The disorganisation of the main structures of the various Cartels has been very significant.  The successes of the previous administration of Felipe Calderon Hinojosa were under-reported and little understood by the American and other foreign observers.  The effects were real, and still remain.   The citizenry desperately wants continued engagement by the military, along with the successful search and destroy methods by the military on all fronts.
     The broad mass of the populace has also tired of the incessant demonstrations, occupations, and low-grade violence heaped upon the face of Mexico by the national teachers' union.  Their never-ending lists of "demands" and "threats" has cheapened the title of "maestra" and/or "profesora" etc.   They have become pretty much something below the clowns and "flame-blowers" at the intersections of major thoroughfares in Mexico City.  "ya! basta!"

      Finally, it has been little reported....perhaps not reported at all in many quarters...but the Volcano of Colima (aka - Volcan del Fuego) has been right at the point of full eruption for several weeks.  For all practical purposes, it is erupting right now, with significant and visible lava flows.   The rivers of molten fire can be seen especially at night, pouring down certain channels from the crater.   With the southwesterly upper flow kicking in every now and then, we could "enjoy" the blow-off of the considerable smoking, hellish emissions all the way to our little place for a few hours on two occasions.  
     Back where it is belching and blowing, one can locate the very active volcano.  It has erupted over 50 times since the arrival of the Spanish in the 1520s.  The peak is situated more in the westernmost part of the State of Jalisco (home to Guadalajara) and a little less in the State of Colima (home to Manzanillo on the Pacific Coast).  It was named for Colima, however, because the volcano began its career entirely in Colima, a long time ago.
     There are slight but significant chances for the smoke and ash material to make it into the American Southwest and/or the Texas area at any time during the next couple of months.

More later.  We appreciate the OROGs' interest and attention.   There will be more reporting and observations to-morrow.
El Gringo Viejo