Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 8

Day 8 Above San Jose de Comundu to somewhere in the desert short of San Ignacio's Rancho.
We follow our daily rising ritual of eating in our sleeping bags, then hanging them up to dry while we pack and change for the day. The road is still very bad and requires some technical skill. There are several rises to negotiate, but within the hour, we can see the Cemetery in the hills before us. It is here I get our one and only pictured tire of the trip, caused by a embedded household variety staple of all such things. After fixing it in the sparse shade of a Palo Verde tree, we investigate the crude cemetery and read the kind words someone wrote on the grave of a woman teacher who lived to be 60. Continuing on down the rough road, pass through the garbage dump before entering the Oasis of San Jose de Comandu. Once again, I am amazed at the presence of water here in the desert, and by the magnificent palms which clog the bottom of the arroyo, providing roofing and wall material for the inhabitants. Everyone has small gardens and flowers on their porches. Friendly " BueƱos Dias's" are exchanged, but we can see also the signs of hardship in the many empty and dilapidated buildings. In the nearby village of San Miguel de Comundu, we stop for food and drink. We ask if we can eat in the adjoining garden, and are joined first by the husband and later the wife, who own the store, it not being necessary for anyone to stay at the counter here. A wonderful conversation ensues, interrupted by attempts to interject humor with my rudimentary Spanish. We leave town with the knowledge that the newly constructed pavement is but 8 miles away.
By the time we reach the smooth surface, our sit bones are suffering the injustice of days off road. The wind is against us and increasing and the sun is hot. We again draft each other, Shahe pulling uphill, me pulling the flats and down hills. After a couple of hours of this, the road turns south and the wind now comes from our side. We pull into Pancho Villa, this time arriving from the north east, the road turns to sand and we stop for provisions. Tortillas, cheese and water. We discover that Shahe had inadvertently donated his water purification drops from his Nepal trip to the people of San Miguel. Cross cultural exchange. So we buy some Chlorox as well before continuing on our way. Remembering how horrible the next stretch of road is, we make a sign from some cardboard on the road, advertising Santa Domingo as our destination and soon find ourselves traveling with Dagoberto, who is taking a huge tire from the road construction machines we had passed hours earlier on down to. Zaragosa for repair. He drops us off the beginning of our previous nemesis, the horrible dust and rock road that leads to San Javier. Again the torture. At the beginning we are encouraged by the wind at our backs. But soon the drudgery of walking in the sand begins to wear on us. It is getting dark and again there will be no washing of bodies sticky with sweat and dust. Shahe offers me half of his water (for cleaning up) if I will agree to stop for the night. He is my buddy. I agree to stop as gracefully as I can. I thank him for the offer, but use my own water that night for another very unsatisfactory sponge bath. I put my pants and shirt on inside out. Shahe is beat and falls asleep soon after eating. Again I write. I turn off my headlamp and peer once more into the black curtain...

Day 8 Above San Jose de Comundu to somewhere in the desert short of San Ignacio's Rancho.

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