We are going into the final week of the Art by Lowell, aka Luis Sabor, Art Show at Delectables on 4th Ave. in Tucson, Arizona. Come by and have a look before these beauties go back to Texas!
I was sitting in the shade looking at a dragonfly perched on the hood of my truck like a tiny hood ornament, thinking about how flies can stay in the vicinity even after a stiff breeze comes by. Do they fly against the wind to keep in place? Do they hide behind something until it passes? Are they blown away and just replaced by flies from upwind?
These are the profound thoughts I was having when I noted a small roar off in the distance. I’ve heard it before, and it was getting louder and closer. It was the roar of wind blowing through the brush and trees of my desert vicinity. As the roar became increasingly louder I could see the trees in the distance bending. The roar of the wind was fluctuating as it approached, like a wave approaching the beach. It was just about to break upon me.
As the wind hit I closed my eyes, but the sand and jetsam stung my bare skin like tiny needles. I was then thinking I should have ducked into the shelter, but soon enough it passed. A stool had blown over, and a wooden pallet, but most everything stayed in place, having been situated according to previous blasts across the land.
I looked over at my dragonfly hood-ornament, still in place. The flies would be back soon.
I thought about including this post in my Journey Through Latin America, but after spending some time in Texas I realized it really is not very Latino. They have alot of Latinos there , and some great Tex-Mex food, but it really is a place of its own. After a week with my parents in Victoria, Texas I scooted up to Reedville to stay over with my cousin Luke and his beautiful wife and darling daughter. I took full advantage of the huge crop of pecans they had all over their yard before heading out towards Austin. As I left Reedville I spotted this Longhorn grazing nearby.
Austin, Texas has grown phenomenally since I lived there in the 80’s and early 90’s. They seem to have raised a skyscraper for each of the 17 years since I left. It is a fabulous place, with posh restaurants and a funky neo-retro look to all the latest architecture. They have a great statue of my old buddy Stevie Ray on the shores of Ladybird Lake.
Despite the urgings of my friends to stay in Austin and re-make my life there, I felt the Sonoran Desert calling me. I had a long drive from Austin to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico where I stayed with my cousin Jeff. I enjoyed meeting his kids and viewing his leatherworking shop, but soon I was back on the road to Arizona. I stopped at my favorite rest area near Texas Canyon, AZ where the landscape is otherworldly.
By mid-afternoon I was in Tucson, and I breathed deep the air of the Sonoran Desert. Stepping out of my car into the yard of my friend Ann Marie, the smell of creosote bush and other subtle fragrances wafted welcomely through my nostrils. The next day I couldn’t wait to drive a little further west towards the Coyote Wilderness Area where I hope to purchase some land and begin building a Sustainable Desert Community. This is my latest dream, and I encourage you to follow this new blog to see how it progresses.
I suppose the beginning of the trip was when I left Tucson, Arizona around Sept 16, 2012 at 3AM and drove to Las Cruces, New Mexico where I called my new Couchsurfing friend Paty who had generously offered her abode for my much needed rest. It had been a stressful day before as I had packed all the belongings I could into my Toyota Camry, leaving behind everything else to my friends and the house I had lived in for the previous 9 years, to be auctioned off in October.
I slept for a few hours at Paty’s place, then had dinner in El Paso before driving all night until I was dangerously sleepy and decided stop at a rest stop outside of Junction Texas. By dawn I was much better, then got out of the car to do my morning ritual of Qi Gong exercises before driving in to Austin, Texas. Austin has changed a whole heck of a lot in the last 15 yrs since I lived there. I stayed with a couple of friends of mine, Tim & Taz, and later Gary, and had a couple of shows playing guitar and singing my songs. My stage name is Luis Sabor and I have been planning to sing my way through Central America and finally to Lima, Peru, where I will spend the New Year with my 9 yr-old son, who lives there.
I visited alot of friends and family on my way to Victoria, Texas, where I stayed with my parents for a few days and left my car parked in their driveway. My folks drove me to McAllen, TX where we visited with my Uncle Leon before getting on a bus for Reynosa Sept 29. Right in the bus station I met a lovely Mexican lady named Alejandra, who was travelling the same route to Queretaro Mexico. We were instant friends and we talked a great deal along the way. We said goodbye in Queretaro as I took a bus to Morelia, where I had another Couchsurfing friend , Marjolaine, generously offering me a place to stay.
My stay with Marjolaine was wonderful–I really got the rest I needed. The second night in Morelia I played at a restaurant for food and tips, then my last night I got to play all night with a Salsa Band, playing my Guiro, a percussion instrument which is great fun.
Now I’ve used up my time in this internet cafe, so I’ll be posting chapter 2 soon. Hasta Luego! Luis
For many years I had a dream of starting a chain of mini-bookstores throughout Latin America. I have spent a lot of long vacations traveling in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru, and I always noticed that tourists like to leave behind their used books. I also noticed that buying books in these countries was very expensive, even by USA standards. One day I found a great little cafe from which I could escape the heat, perhaps in Valladolid, Mexico, where I noticed that the local youths seemed to gather. That is when I began to think how great it would be for a cafe like that to provide books for the people to buy cheaply, and sell back to them in order to purchase more. This, I thought, would provide an economic incentive for the restaurant owner, and also ensure the re-circulation of books throughout the community.
When I first joined Facebook, I thought this would be a perfect forum for discussing my ideas, and perhaps develop an organization for promoting literacy in the manner I had in mind. I started a Facebook Group called “Promoting Literacy in Latin America” and most of my friends joined up, and I also made new friends with similar interests. Strangely, however, I couldn’t get more than three people to post anything. I couldn’t get a discussion started. This was disappointing, but I still thought I would implement my plan at the first opportunity.
My next setback came when I actually started planning my next trip to Mexico. Thats when it dawned on me that tourists, and especially backpackers, don’t want any extra weight to carry—and books are very weighty. While they may carry one or two paperbacks that they are reading, the amount of books necessary to fuel my plan would be too much. I felt my dream dissapating, but I still had respect for it, as my personal belief is that dreams come from God, and are a clue to the future if nothing else. So I kept several boxes of books available for my trip to Mexico.
Living in Tucson, I felt that the most logical town to implement my plan was Magdalena, Mexico, just an hour south of the border. So I drove to the center of Magdalena, parked on the plaza by the church, and walked around looking for candidates. Most of the cafes were small, smoky and serving beer—not the type of place to promote reading in youths. Then I found an ice-cream shop with plenty of room and I approached the lady at the counter with my idea, assisted by a typed and illustrated description I had prepared for that purpose. She liked the idea, but the owner of the shop was not due back for a while, and in the meantime she introduced me to the holistic medicine lady next door. From the herb shop I was directed to another cafe that apparently already was set up to sell books as I had described. Walking a few blocks away, I found Cafe Sed, where I was surprised to find a perfect example of what I had been dreaming of.
I spoke to the manager in charge, who was animated to discover my interest, and spent the next half hour describing the business structure of their operation. Cafe Sed is just one of several operations created to educate and support the youths of three orphanages in the area. You can read about them at these websites: http://www.cvemx.org,
Cafe Sed is a small operation compared to the meat processing business, part of which is located next door. I got a quick tour of how they process organic jerky, and it was quite impressive, the youths were at the meat-stick stuffing stage when I was there. These are all older teenagers getting excellent career knowledge and experience. The operation was spotless, and strictly following high food safety standards. Apparently the whole meat business was designed and developed by an American doctor of meat science, a volunteer and significant donor.
Well, I found a place to donate my books after all. I don’t know what part this experience will play in my future, but I felt that I was led to this organization for a reason. Guess we’ll just wait and see.