Feliz Anos!

Colima, Mexico

Cloudy skies our last morning in Manzanillo produce a gorgeous sunrise. An auspicious start to the day!

We drive to Colima, where we spend the remaining days of this junket at the Hotel Ceballos, an atmospheric hotel in the “zona historica”. Ornate cathedrals, parks full of lush greenery and colourful blooms, and shaded, arched porticoes grace this part of the city. Mountains and one very large volcano rise in the distance. A flamenco guitarist plays as we have lunch at one of the many cafes on the plaza.

The ghosts of Miguel Hidalgo, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata are everywhere. These brave revolutionaries fought to free Mexico first from the grips of Spanish colonial rulers and then from Spanish descendants who continued to rule a 100 years after Spain had been booted out. The 1910 revolution, in particular, was supposed to bring equality and opportunity for the peasants. Sadly corruption, class structure, nepotism and religion in modern Mexico conspire to keep many in poverty while others are obviously very wealthy.

It is hard to see wrinkled, grey haired men riding rickety bikes along the side of the road, kids in rags playing with scrap metal instead of toys, women with numerous kids and babies in tow, and often another gestating. We remind ourselves that we are projecting our own values and ambitions onto people we know little about … perhaps they are content with their lot in life? Maybe even happy?

However, the book we are reading about the drug trade suggests that this is not so, and that the gangs flourish because membership is a way out of a life of drudgery. Of course the demand for drugs north of the border is the other driving force. And the number of gun shops along the border make it easy for the gangs to arm themselves. But wait a second, Donald Trump’s wall could solve all of these problems!

But back to Colima, a gem that we are visiting only because Craig’s colleague and friend Roberta is hosting her 70th birthday at her winter home here. For those of you who have read The Midwife of Venice and its sequel The Harem Midwife, this is the author, and she wrote the books while here in Colima. Of course, I am just a wee bit envious of her success as a published author when all I can manage is a travel blog! Sigh!

The party features a rock & roll group called the Tallboys Band and we dance until after midnight. They actually seem to be kind of famous in this part of the world. Check out their website at http://www.tallboysband.com

Our hotel, The Ceballos, is on the main square and has amazing views from our room and the rooftop terrace. The pool is a very chill spot for cooling off late in the afternoon. The cathedral feels close enough to touch.

New Year’s Eve is a bit of a bust. We get dressed up and head out in search of a chic restaurant for a glass of wine and a good meal. Not that there are that many restaurants in the first place … and they are all closed anyway, except for the cafe outside our hotel where we have eaten most of our meals thus far and we end up there again, grateful that it is open, although the staff are beginning to close up and we are lucky to place an order and get some food, which is very basic as it is just a sidewalk cafe, and we are almost the only ones there. We ask the waitress where everyone is and she says “Manzanillo”. Also, the cathedral is full and brimming out the doors, so I guess that is where the fiesta is happening. If nothing else, it will be a memorable New Year’s Eve!!!

Today a road trip north of Colima includes Nuathl Indian ruins, the volcano spewing steam and ash and lunch in the white city of Comala.

An e-card from niece Erin showing her son Blake in the snow in his new sleigh looks very cold, reminding me that we head home tomorrow. Back to, not snow, thankfully, but rain and cooler temps. Another amazing vacation is coming to an end. Thanks for listening to my stories! Felix Anos!! Happy New Year!! See you in 2016!!

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