Guadalajara (Part 2) :: For the Love of a Livable City!

Cyclists of all ages come out to take over the streets of Guadalajara every Sunday. Long Live Via RecreActiva!

One of the things we especially loved about Guadalajara was the Via RecreActiva, an event that began back in 2004 and that occurs every Sunday.

Via RecreActiva is a Car-Free Sunday event where the city blocks off over 65 km of city streets to motor traffic for six hours (8 a.m.-2 p.m.).   Over 200,000 (!!) people come out to take over the streets with mostly bicycles but you will also see pedestrians, dog-walkers, runners, rollerbladers and skateboarders enjoying the wide boulevards.  Hundreds of volunteers, some paid staff and a handful of civil servants come out to make sure everything runs smoothly.  Artists, performers and exercise enthusiasts fill the parks and plazas en-route, providing people access to things like free dance or exercise classes, nutritional counseling or entertainment (check out the hula-hooping!).  Via RecreActiva even provides bicycles on loan if you don’t have or can’t afford a bicycle of your own (one I.D. gives you access to two bicycles for the day) as well as maps of the route and guided bicycle tours of the city.  We had a blast cycling alongside thousands of others every Sunday.  It’s just absolutely fantastic to see people of all ages out exercising on streets normally congested with bumper to bumper traffic and it proves that there are many people eager to create newer and healthier ways to travel in the city!  Check out the video and the photos we captured of Via RecreActiva below:

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2 cycle 2gether Around the World :: Guadalajara Via RecreActiva from 2cycle 2gether on Vimeo.

Scenes from Via RecreActiva:

Via RecreActiva Guadalajara

Via RecreActiva Guadalajara

Via RecreActiva Guadalajara
Via RecreActiva Guadalajara
Via RecreActiva Guadalajara
Via RecreActiva Guadalajara
Via RecreActiva Guadalajara
Via RecreActiva Guadalajara

Of course, neither Via RecreActiva nor the many other group bicycle rides that take place in the city on a daily basis, would be happening without the diligent and persistent activism of many bicycle and pedestrian organizations in Guadalajara, like Cuidad Para TodosGDL en Bici and COM:PLOT.  Citizen activists along with members of the latter groups advocate for a more socially just and livable Guadalajara.  From guerrilla creation of bicycle lanes when city planners don’t do it for them to installations of bicicleta blancas (white bicycles) on street poles to visually memorialize the death of a cyclist (27 cyclists have died so far in 2012 alone), they are fighting the age-old story of short-sighted city planners and an unhealthy car-enabled culture.  While on tour-walks around the city, they even stop to highlight the most grievous errors in city planning and infrastructure, using spray-paint and stencils to highlight things like lack of access ramps for people with disabilities on the sidewalks and handing out ‘citizen tickets’ to drivers blocking sidewalks or otherwise violating the space of non-motorists.

Cas Ciclista, Guadalajara

Casa Ciclista, Guadalajara

White Bicycle Memorial, Guadalajara

White Bicycles are hanging from posts throughout the city, memorializing the death of a cyclist in that location.

Bicycle Sharing Program, Guadalajara

is a public-use bicycle rental program in Guadalajara.  Once you register you can pick up a bicycle at any one of the numerous stations around the city and then return it to any of the other stations in the city.

Performing Theatre in the entrances down to the subway, Guadalajara

Although we didn’t ride the metro in Guadalajara we did notice that some entrances were built in a way that allowed for impromptu performances. The stairs doubled as seating and the roof over the entrance to the metro doubled as a stage.

Kai & I stopped by to meet some of the GDL en Bici activists when we visited the infamously friendly Casa Ciclista (Cycling House) in Guadalajara.  We had already met one activist on the day we cycled in to Guadalajara.  Remember that hellish ride in dwindling daylight and pouring rain?  Well, Maqui happened to see us cycling and she took the time to stop and make sure we had the Casa Ciclista phone number so we could call when we got to the city(what a sweetie!).  She wasn’t the only one who was fabulous – we met Jorge, Bernardo and Marina, all of them spectacularly welcoming and helpful.  In fact, they offer a place to stay to cycle tourists passing through so be sure to contact them if you need a few days in the city and you want to hang out with really awesome people.

Casa Ciclista shop, Jorge & Kai

Visiting Casa Ciclista. Jorge showing us around the shop. The sign says, “We demand respect for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Jorge, Ciudad en Bici magazine, Casa Ciclista

Cuidad en Bici is a magazine put out by GDL en Bici to raise funds for programs.

Casa Ciclista, White Bicycle Wall in Shop

The “White Bicycle” wall in Casa Ciclista Guadalajara.

Casa Ciclista, Sign in shop

As seen in Casa Ciclista Guadalajara.

Marina's husband, Margit, James, Marina's son & grandson, Marina & Kai, Dinner at Marina's Home (Casa Ciclista Folks)

Dinner with Casa Ciclista folks & our friends Margit & James. Thanks Marina & Ernesto for so generously hosting a lovely dinner!

Bernardo & Margarita (of Casa Ciclista), Dinner in Guadalajara at Marina's House

Dinner with new Casa Ciclista friends, Bernardo & Maqui (and someone else trying to wiggle his way in to the photo too!)

Probably one of the most serendipitous and wonderful things that happened to us while in Guadalajara was our random reunion with cycle tourists Margit and James.  We met them, very briefly, back in December of 2011 as we were cycling down the Pacific Coast highway in California.  They had pulled in to a state campsite late in the evening and were exhausted from a long day’s ride (over 100 miles!) so we didn’t get to chat much & we didn’t really even get a good look at each other in the dark.  They left the next morning before we woke and all we knew about them was that they were on a short training ride in prep for a trip to South America in 2012.  One Sunday, while cycling the Via RecreActiva route, we pulled off to use a restaurant’s bathroom and noticed two touring bicycles leaned up against the building.  It didn’t take us long to find them in the crowd and we spent a good hour talking before we realized they were the same couple we had already met on the California coast months ago!  Another two hours and an ice-cream/fruit break later and we were still on the streets talking (see what happens when you haven’t had a face-to-face conversation with other touring cyclists for months on end?!).  What great luck to have randomly run in to them in a city of millions!

Margit, Kai & James unexpectedly reunited in Guadalajara

Having ice cream with Margit & James, just after running in to them in a city of millions!

James & Margit

Having dinner at Goa with Margit and James.

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Guadalajara (Part 1) :: In the Heart of the City

Murals in a plaza & the Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento, around the corner from our hostel.

Wowza, we have lots to catch up on!  Sorry we’ve been so silent on the blog lately, we’ve been visiting with family and we’ve also been hunkered down working on our Tiny House book – turns out it takes a lot more time to write a book than we thought (kind of similar to how it took a lot more time than we thought it would to actually build our house ….hmm…. I’m sensing a theme here!  But, hey, this is another “first time” for us, so we’re learning as we go.).  Other exciting things are happening behind the scenes here too, like our meeting with and interviewing folks in the area who are doing some incredibly inspiring work (we’ll share videos soon) and, last but certainly not least, the stars have aligned to allow us to focus on some really important life-work, but that’s a story we’ll share with you another time.  For now, I want to get you up to date so let’s start where we left off – Guadalajara!  There’s a lot to cover here so I’m going break our time up in to several posts, this is Part 1.

August 14 – September 10, 2012

Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico and we were excited by it’s energy.  The location of our hostel, the Casa Vilasanta, teeters between the “Colonia Americana” section of the city and the “Zona Centro” (or historical center) and is perfect for those who prefer to spend most of their time in the cultural heart of the city.  Our originally intended two week stay turned in to a 26 day stay, something we’ve heard often happens to touring cyclists passing through!

We loved walking or cycling through the older neighborhoods where every corner revealed amazing architectural delights and blazing colors.  Occasionally we would come upon tiny mini-markets, bookstores or a park, where we would find lovers sitting on benches or sprawled on the green spaces smooching (seriously, EVERY park is FULL of amorous couples – love IS alive in Mexico!).  Traveling westward through the Colonia Americana we found neighborhoods of ornately decorated historical McMansions, some of which had been turned in to public or government buildings (like the U.S. Consulate).  Upon crossing Chupultepec Street colonial housing morphed in to modern skyscrapers of high-priced condos and we discovered Chupultepec Street’s walking avenue where street performers, concerts and sometimes indigenous crafts vendors could be found on weekends.  Heading south we would run in to the industrial section of town after meandering through mostly residential areas sprinkled with small businesses.  On the East side of us sat the Historic Center, where we could find blocks and blocks of early colonial architectural gems, corners where night-time Mariachi bands performed and the largest public market in Mexico, the Mercado San Juan de Dios, which is three stories high, covers over 4,000 square meters and offers almost 3,000 vendor booths selling everything imaginable.

El Expiatorio Cathedral, Guadalajara

Inside of the Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento – it’s simplicity much more beautiful, in our opinion, than the more-popular Guadalajara Cathedral.

Historic Center, Guadalajara

In Historic Center Guadalajara.

Teatro Degollado (theatre), Guadalajara

Teatro Degollado

Pinatas, Guadalajara

Piñata shop in Guadalajara.

Shampoo, Soap market, Guadalajara

BYOBottle and re-fill your shampoos, creams, etc..

Markets in Historic Center, Guadalajara

Some streets in the Historic Center are blocked off from motor-traffic.

Taking a Shade Break, Guadalajara

Taking a break in the plaza.

Guadalajara Cathedral from Plaza de Liberacion

A photography show in a plaza, Guadalajara Cathedral

Photography Exhibit in the Plaza de Liberacion

The photographs were of scenes from around Mexico.

Photography Exhibit in the Plaza de Liberacion

Pottery Table in the Plaza de Liberacion

Beautiful pottery on the plaza.

Female shoe-shiner off the Plaza de Liberacion

The first female shoe-shiner I’ve seen in Mexico.

Sidewalk Scene from Guadalajara

Street vendors everywhere.

Fruit Vendor, Guadlajara

Our most-visited type of vendor, those who sell various fruits (usually cost around 20 pesos or ~$1.50 U.S.)

San Juan de Dios Market, Guadalajara

The Mercado San Juan de Dios from the third floor.

San Juan de Dios Market, Guadalajara

Mercado San Juan de Dios Vegetable vendors.

Lots of Bras, none without underwire, Guadalajara

Mexicans like their padded and under-wire bras – can’t find a simple non-padded exercise bra anywhere!

Street Scene, Guadalajara

Where the Mariachi bands come out to play.

Mural in Guadalajara

Handmade brooms are used to clean streets

People who sweep the streets use these really beautiful hand-made brooms.

Side Street, Guadalajara

A quiet side street.

Tree taking over Cement

We were amazed that the beautiful HUGE trees survived in the city – trunks were being swallowed by cement and asphalt.

Tree Taking Over House & Fence

This tree seems to have revolted, swallowing up the fence and the house! They survive despite all the obstacles.

Scenes from Guadalajara

Churches churches and more churches

Ferreteria = Hardware Store, Guadalajara

A hardware store.

Plaza de Armas, Art sale, Guadalajara

Local artists selling work on the plaza near the cathedral.

Kai & Sheila in Teatro Degollado

Our day at Teatro Degollado, what a magical place!

Teatro Degollado

Teatro Degollado

Teatro Degollado Folklorico performance

Ballet Folklorico at the Teatro Degollado

Although we usually make all of our own meals to save money, we also try to take advantage of the dining options a city the size of Guadalajara has to offer.  When we wanted to cook our own food in the hostel’s kitchen we would gather food from the local organic bakery (La Panaderia), a natural food store (EcoTienda) and the grocery store a few blocks East.  If we wanted to live it up we’d head West toward Chupultepec street and beyond, where we could find cafes serving chai lattes, could spend an evening at our favorite Indian restaurant (Goa) or we could gorge ourselves on a very reasonably priced and tasty vegetarian lunch at Vegetariano Zanahoria.  And if we were in a mood to explore we would wander around the streets of our neighborhood or the historic center, where we would find hole-in-the-wall sandwich shops that served torta ahogadas, sit-down historic restaurants that served pozole or birria, or street vendors that served everything from hamburguesas to tacos to freshly roasted corn-on-the-cob slathered with mayo, sprinkled with queso fresco (a crumbly cheese), sprayed with margarine and then topped with a dash of salt and chili (still haven’t tried that but I plan to and will share photos with you when I do).  Unfortunately we couldn’t really find many street vendors in the historical center selling anything but meat-based meals so when we hit food-coma after a few hours of searching for vegetarian options we would often find ourselves sitting in the Chai restaurant on Juarez street where they served fairly-affordable and decently-sized portions of international fare.  We only wish we would have discovered the fabulous vegetarian restaurant El Jardin Buffet Nutricional Vegetariano, located just around the corner from the hostel on La Paz street, earlier in our stay.

Kai in Casa Villasanta Kitchen, Guadalajara

Kai using the kitchen at Casa Villasanta.

Dinner at Casa Villasanta, Guadalajara

Kai’s always making us something that’s delicious and healthy.

Bulk Peppers, Guadalajara

Picking up sandwiches, Guadalajara

Grabbing a quick bite at a sandwich shop.

Nieve (Ice), Flavored & Handmade, Guadalajara

Always room for Nieve (water-based ice cream made with natural fruits and other fresh ingredients).

San Juan de Dios Market, Guadalajara

A Restaurant in the Mercado San Juan de Dios.

La Pandaderia Bakery, Guadalajara

Visiting our favorite neighborhood bakery, La Panaderia

La panaderia Bakery, a favorite in Guadalajara

We might have been attracted to them because of their sign.

In our next post, Guadalajara (Part 2), we’ll share a story of serendipity, will talk about the amazing bicycle culture in the city and will share a video of our ride with thousands of other cyclists.

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Galvanizing Hope :: Sujatha Baliga & Restorative Justice

gal· va· nize [gal-vuh-nahyz]; verb

1. to stimulate
2. to treat with induced direct current
3. to startle into sudden activity
4. to coat (metal) with zinc (to add strength)

Welcome to our “Galvanizing Hope” series.  This series, as we mentioned in our “On Goals and Living Intentionally” post back in June, will highlight ideas, individuals or organizations that strengthen our hope in our collective future and that represent our ability to achieve great things, both as individuals and as a community.  When our momentum waivers, when burn out or despair sets in, when the world seems to be working against humanity’s best interest, we turn toward the light of the people or organizations highlighted in this series to remind us that we are all interconnected and that, together, we can create a better future.

Sujatha Baliga

 

Restorative Justice Advocate :: Sujatha Baliga

I first found out about the Restorative Justice movement through Sujatha Baliga, back in 2006, when I met her and her husband, Jason (who is equally inspiring, by the way), at their then-home in Brooklyn, New York.  Long time friends of Kai’s, we had flown in to spend New Year’s weekend with them.  Within a couple of hours of being around Sujatha, I knew she would play a pivotal role, not only in my life, but in the lives of many others.  One of my everyday-heroes, Sujatha is one of those people who reminds you of what it is to be wholly human, she constantly strives to stay connected with the world and the people around her.  Let me tell you more about her story and why she inspires me and then I’ll tell you more about RJ (Restorative Justice).

 

Currently serving as Director of the Restorative Justice Project for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Sujatha is equally dedicated to helping both people offended and people accused of crimes.  She has an amazing and beautiful personal story about how she was called to practice and preach Restorative Justice.

 

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The Battered & Abused, Rage and the Dalai Lama

After graduating from college, Sujatha worked a few years with battered women’s shelters, with children who were abused and with young girls from Nepal who were abducted and taken into Bombay’s red light district to be used as sex slaves.  She describes these years as a time when she was “trying to work out my own history of being sexually abused by my father” and she recognizes that her work at the time was being “fueled by this real rage at what had happened to me.”   Her fury cemented her desire to go to law school and become a prosecutor so that she could “lock up all the people who” committed heinous crimes against women and children.

At one point, Sujatha found out that some of the cops she was working with and trying to build relationships with were corrupt.  It forced her to take a break from the emotionally demanding work and she began to recognize her rage as damaging.  “It was eating me up, it was just destroying me personally.  I had migraines and I had all kinds of health complications.  My relationships were really complicated with my friends and my boyfriend.  It was just bad, all around bad.”

In a search for answers and to gain some peace she went hiking in the Himalayas.  There, she met the Tibetan community in exile.  “Hearing their stories of victim-hood changed me permanently. It was a complete and total wake up call that people could be living lives that made my childhood look like a cakewalk and, not to diminish what happened to me, but really just abuse and trauma after abuse and trauma for decades on end.”  But the thing that struck Sujatha most was that they seemed to be happier than she was.  “Much, much happier,” she says.

In an attempt to understand their happiness she started talking with them.  They all suggested she write a letter to the Dalai Lama to ask him what to do about her unhappiness and rage.  Sujatha laughs and recounts, “I thought…’Well, he is busy.  I don’t want to bother him with this’.”  But her Tibetan friends continued to press her to write the letter so she did.  And she got a response back from his office and only a few days later found herself in a private audience with his Holiness.  There she asked him, “How do I work on behalf of the abused and the oppressed without anger as the motivating factor?”

The Dalai Lama’s very specific advice eventually led Sujatha to “a personal transformation” within herself that allowed her to accept her suffering and to, eventually, forgive her father.  [As a side note I think it’s important to note Sujatha’s take on forgiveness here in relation to RJ:  “Forgiveness and restorative justice are really different things. I can’t think of a better scenario for growing forgiveness or cultivating forgiveness then restorative processes but I don’t see restorative processes as being designed to produce forgiveness…..we need to honor wherever victims are in their journey and it may or may not involve forgiveness.  It just happened to be that way for me.”]  In addition, after Sujatha incorporated some of the things the Dalai Lama suggested in to her life, such as meditation, she found that her health and relationship problems “vanished”.  In an attempt to “consider aligning myself in my heart with my enemies”, another piece of advice from the Dalai Lama, she decided to become a criminal defense lawyer instead of a prosecutor.

 

How Being a Public Defender led to Restorative Justice

Sujatha spent several years as an appellate public defender in New Mexico and at the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City, eventually relocating to California in 2006 to work on capital cases.  During her time as a public defender Sujatha had an experience with a client that made her realize that the justice system and her own choice to become a defense attorney were flawed approaches to justice and real healing.

She was working with a young man, 19 years old, and she felt they had an absolute win on appeal for him.  He had killed his cousin’s boyfriend, who was the father of his cousin’s child, by stabbing him in a drunken fight.  It was a very close call on self-defense.  All witnesses agreed that the other guy had started the fight and was pummeling Sujatha’s client.  It was believed that the knife came from the person killed during the fight but that evidence had been excluded by the court.  This meant that it was a complete reversible error and she would be able to get her client a new trial.

Sujatha recounts, “Meanwhile there was no question that my guy killed this other guy.  Regardless if it was self defense, somebody was dead.  Somebody he cared about, the father of his favorite cousin’s child was dead at his own hands. And the guilt he was carrying was unbearable.”  At the original sentencing hearing, the family had requested that he offer some kind of acceptance of what he did, they wanted to hear he was sorry, but the client’s defense attorney at the time, as they should have and for his legal protection, required that he say nothing.

Later, as Sujatha was working with her young client he broke down and sobbed.  He had written a letter of apology to his family explaining how much he wished he could take that fatal night back and in it he took responsibility for how he could have acted differently to avoid the fight.  And he wanted to send it to his family so they knew that he was sorry.  As his defense attorney Sujatha responded, “You need to tear that letter up.  Or read it to your priest.  But don’t ever, ever, ever send that letter.”

Sujatha vividly remembers what happened next.  She watched a coldness come over him.  She had just closed the door on his capacity to be able to take responsibility and to say “I’m sorry”.  As she drove home that evening she was tortured and thought, “What did I just do?  As a defense attorney I did absolutely the right thing but, really,what did I do?  What have I taught him and how is he going to do in the world without this capacity to give the apology that his own family so desperately wants and needs?”.   It was then she realized it “did not sit well with my soul and I knew we needed to do things a different way.”

 

A  Different Way

Sujatha found a “different way” through Restorative Justice.  And she’s leading by impressive example.

Sujatha Baliga Speaking about Restorative Justice (photo credit : northeastern.edu)

In 2008, Sujatha was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship, which she used to spearhead a groundbreaking restorative juvenile diversion program in Alameda County, CA, that keeps more than 100 children out of the juvenile justice system each year.  She teaches restorative justice to undergraduates and law students, is a frequent guest lecturer at academic institutions and conferences and has served as a consultant to the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.   She is regularly invited to address groups of prisoners and restorative justice programs about her personal experiences as a survivor of child sexual abuse and her path to forgiveness and compassion (see Resolve to Stop the Violence Program and Inside Prison Project) and has testified before legislative bodies on proposed legislation impacting criminal and civil penalties for sexual assault and abuse. As the Director of Community Justice Works in Oakland, CA, she expanded the restorative juvenile diversion program she began through her Soros Fellowship.  She is now Senior Program Specialist at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, where she assists communities in implementing restorative justice alternatives to juvenile detention and zero-tolerance school discipline policies.  As an emerging national voice in restorative justice, she was honored as Northeastern University Law School’s Daynard Fellow, and has been a guest on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.  And if that weren’t enough, Sujatha is also the Founder and Executive Director of The Paragate Project, an organization dedicated to encouraging deep, non-judgmental, personal inquiry into the value of forgiveness of self and others.

And now you may understand why I, and so many others, find her so inspirational! 

 

So, What is Restorative Justice anyway?

Restorative Justice is recognizing that crime harms people and communities, first and foremost, and isn’t simply a violation of state or federal law.  RJ brings all parties involved in a crime – the harmed, those who have harmed, family and community members who are affected by the crime (including proper authorities, like police or attorneys) – together, and gives them equal opportunity to actively and collaboratively determine how to repair the harm that has been done.  In this context,  the victim of a crime is able to voice how the crime affected him or her, is able to directly address the person who committed the crime and is able to lay out their needs for reparation while being surrounded by people who support  them.   Likewise, the person who committed the crime has to face the person/people they harmed, are given the opportunity to accept full responsibility for their actions and are given the support to both repair the harm they inflicted and to prevent future criminal behavior.

 

Why Use Restorative Justice vs. our current justice system?

Studies have shown that Restorative Justice practices reduce recidivism rates by as much as 27%! 1  Studies show that for every dollar spent in the U.S. on restorative justice we save eight dollars on incarceration costs.  The United States currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world.  The population of people in prison has increased 800% over the last 30 years, while the cost to maintain the prison system has grown by a staggering 1700%. 2  Restorative Justice practices could help substantially reduce recidivism and incarceration costs in relation to low-level and non-violent crimes.

But the most striking thing about Restorative Justice, for me, is the restorative and transformational nature of it.  It gives victims a voice so that they can emerge as survivors and advocates, healthier and more whole (instead of being re-victimized by the courts and given no say in how the offender is delegated punishment).  Studies have shown Restorative Justice conferences have reduced PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for victims of crimes by as much as 40%.  It also gives offenders the chance to be seen as human, fallible but accountable, and offers them an opportunity to make amends and to get help for the underlying problem (instead of being told by lawyers to withhold acknowledgement of the harm they inflicted then being warehoused without support to rehabilitate).  In fact, when RJ is used in place of court systems in cases of juvenile crime, 9 out of 10 offenders complete their agreement and criminal charges are dropped.  Only 10% of them end up committing another crime, compared to about 70% of those who go through the traditional criminal-justice system. 3  Lastly, RJ recognizes that community members, family and friends, public officials and authorities, are all affected by crime and it gives them voice in the outcome as well.

Restorative Justice is a means for consensus-based and victims-centered reparation to be made in a space that allows honesty and compassion.  And ultimately, compassion helps break the cycles of trauma that lie silently beneath most criminal behavior.  Restorative Justice embodies everything that Martin Luther King, Jr. expressed when he said,

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.

This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

 

To find out more about Restorative Justice:

Examine restorative justice in real world contexts, through a conversation-style format with Howard Zehr and guests via a FREE Real World Restorative Justice Webinar Series.  Next webinar is December 5: “Trauma and restorative justice”.

Listen to Sujatha tell her personal story on Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast with David Onek.

Sujatha discusses a particularly moving story about how Restorative Justice was used in a case where a 19 year old young man killed his 18 year old fiance on NPR Talk of the Nation.

Learn more about the rules of Restorative Justice by watching Sujatha’s speech Beyond the Binary: Restorative Justice as Liberatory Practice”

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What are your thoughts on Restorative Justice or the Criminal Justice System?  How have you dealt with crime, trauma or tragedy in your life?  How has rage affected your life?  What are your feelings about forgiveness?  Or about reparation?  Whom are you inspired by?  Please comment, share and discuss.

Notes:

  1. Just Action :: Restorative Justice, Creating a Safer Society. Study conducted by Lawrence Sherman. “Evaluations conducted by seven Cambridge led experiments in Restorative Justice showed that the experience of victim-mediation reduced re-conviction and recidivism by 27%”
  2. ACLU: Senate Hearing Explores Exorbitant Costs of Incarceration
  3. Parade : A New Kind of Criminal Justice

Climbing to the City :: Rain, Flats & Night Riding

Climbing toward Jalisco state line; Looking back at Ixtlan

August 11 – 15th  ::  Ixtlán del Río, Nayarit to Guadalajara, Jalisco

Our panniers are packed and we’ve smeared ourselves with the proper amount of sunblock.  We’ve been ready to ride out of  Ixtlán del Río for hours now yet we’re still standing in the hotel lobby with our loaded bicycles leaning against the registration desk.  We’re not alone.  Every single one of the hotel staff are present, other guests crowd the lobby and street vendors are standing in the doorway.  Outside, children on the sidewalks press their faces against the lobby’s huge window, hands up around their cheeks acting as blinders so that they can see better.  All eyes are on the hotel lobby’s television set, watching the Mexico vs. Brazil 2012 Olympic soccer game.

Mexico has worked it’s way to this final match and they are the underdogs.  As the game begins the tension and excitement in the room is palpable.  Right out of the gate and within the first minute, Mexico scores it’s first goal and the room and streets erupt with cheers.  Kids are jumping up and down, screaming with joy, and the adults look at each other with pride and nod – yes, yes, yes.  How can we leave now?!  We decide to forgo an early start in order to watch the first half.  Big smiles stay plastered on everyone’s faces as the Mexican team continues to play well.  As the first half closes the energy in the room bounces off of the walls and we’re all grins as we shake hands with friends we’ve made and say our goodbyes.  [While we rode that morning, Mexico won their first Gold Medal in the second half, scoring another goal and ending the game against Brazil 2-1!!  A very pride-filled day for Mexico!].

Grasses, Ixtlán, Nayarit to Magdalena, Jalisco

Cycling Nayarit. Beautiful grasslands, mountains and agave fields.

Cycling from Nayarit state into Jalisco, we find ourselves in a land of valleys and gorges which make for some surprisingly steep inclines.  We spend the day skirting through the “volcanic sierras” (the western edges of the Sierra Madre range).  Nayarit has hundreds of miles of rain forest and it strikes us as odd to see evergreen trees in the midst of overflowing vines and dense vegetation.  As we dive in to valleys the rocky cliffs swallow us up.  Calls of birds we’ve never heard before echo off of the craggy walls entangled with vines.  It’s a natural “surround sound” system, compliments of mother nature.  As we climb back up and out, toward the open sky, we find ourselves briefly balanced on a short plateau.  Before making another drastic dip downward we catch glimpses of magnificent and lushly vegetated valleys even further below and to the east of us.  It’s an absolutely breathtaking ride.

Agave Plants, Ixtlán, Nayarit to Magdalena, Jalisco

Agave Fields

Horse crossing, Ixtlán, Nayarit to Magdalena, Jalisco

Another form of regular transportation : horses. On an overpass over the toll road.

Lots of climbing, Ixtlán, Nayarit to Magdalena, Jalisco

Lots of highs and lows, Ixtlán, Nayarit to Magdalena, Jalisco

And let the serious climbing begin.

Waterfall, Ixtlán, Nayarit to Magdalena, Jalisco

In the dips life is bountiful – waterfalls, vines, birds of all kind.

Shoulders between Ixtlán, Nayarit to Magdalena, Jalisco; gas line laid

Freshly laid piping in the shoulder made for some interesting riding in the late afternoon. We had to wonder why they were so opposed to digging a straight line.

We climb over 2500 feet that day and end at an elevation of 4600 feet in the town of  Magdalena, known for its opal mines.  We cycle the last five miles in the dark and in heavy rain, having been delayed by two flat tires earlier in the day.  (The first flat was mine and, unlike last time, Kai was with me, so I took the opportunity to learn how to change and repair it on my own, with Kai offering verbal instruction as I needed it.  Of course, as I was cleaning up we turned around to find Kai had a flat of his own!)

Now, riding through pouring rain with distant lighting occasionally breaking the darkness is not an ideal end to any day spent climbing and fixing multiple flats but right now it doesn’t really matter to me.  I’m so in what I call “the zombie-zone” – meaning, I’m in the space between complete exhaustion and last-ditch determination to make it to wherever we need to be next – that I am on automatic pilot.  Kai describes me as switching over to another dimension during these times, noticing that I “kick it up a notch” and claims that I “bring us home”.  During these long moments, the methodical pumping of my legs (up and around, up and around, up and around) and my unusually focused and steady breathing represents a whole-body meditative mantra of sorts.  I am a body but I’m not really in my body.  And, quite surprisingly, to help get me to where I need to be, my mind turns toward gratitude.  How incredibly lucky am I to have cycled through this gorgeous, gorgeous countryside today?  How great is it that I am capable of repairing and changing flat tires?  How frickin’ fantastic is it that I’m going to stumble in to a hot (hopefully) shower then fall in to a perfect, perfect bed tonight?  How blessed is this life, my life?  Incredibly.  Incredibly.  Incredibly.  (said in sync with the beat of pumping legs) Blessed.

Sheila, Ixtlán, Nayarit to Magdalena, Jalisco

Cycling to Magdalena. Late afternoon, before the flats and the rain and the dark.

Magdalena Church

Pretty, tiny historic church in Magdalena

A Fire Opal from the Magdalena mines. The unique red/orange of these gems comes from the presence of iron oxide. (Photo by: Jason Stephenson)

Lunch in Magdalena

Lunch in Magdalena : The jug holds and naturally cools water. The chile relleno and tortillas were great.

Magdalena Fruit Stand

Fruit Stand in streets of Magdalena

The Irony

We continue our upward climb toward Guadalajara on toll road 15D, passing the town and World Heritage site of Tequila, home of the infamous alcohol that bears its name.  Blue agave plants, from which Tequila is made, dot the countryside, their blue-tinged razor-sharp leaves providing an aesthetically appealing contrast against the dominant dark green vegetation surrounding it.

As we’re packing up from our midday snack break we notice that Kai has a flat tire.  We laugh in disbelief.  We rode through all of Baja without one flat tire despite all the warnings from other cyclists about thorns and now, in mainland Mexico and far away from thorns, we’re getting flat after flat.  Although we love the room we have on the toll road, the shoulder has been degrading in to a collect-all of nails, screws, broken glass and a plethora of blown tires and no matter how much we try to dodge these obstacles, we can’t miss it all.  The most insidious of threats are the thousands of the thin wires that run through automotive tires.  When tires are blown the wire is strewn everywhere and there’s barely a spot alongside the road that we don’t see either the wires themselves or wires sticking out of rubber remnants.  They’re stealthy and deadly, slipping their way deeper and deeper through the tire until they puncture the tube.   I inspect my tires while Kai changes his and use a tweezer to pull several glinting pieces out of my own rear tire.

Agave Plants

Agave Fields near Tequila

Jalisco Landscape

Just Beautiful Valleys in Jalisco

Sheila & Water Well : Toll Road to Guadalajara

The toll roads have emergency phone booths and water wells (the black/white well you see in this photo) every kilometer or two.

Fields in Jalisco

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The End-Of-A-Bad-Day-Getting-Worse-Push-Home (a.k.a. Hell)

By the time we’re ready to take off again we’re both feeling lethargic from taking too long of a break, it’s late in the afternoon, storm clouds are furiously building above us and we still have about 20 miles of climbing ahead.  After asking for the time from a passer-by we realize we’ve lost an hour due to a time change – when did that happen?!  Some swearing ensues.  We’re grouchy now and when we try to offer each other our not-really-sincere-pep-talks about pushing through the last half of the day we both fail and end up just turning our grouchiness on each other.  At some point, through the bickering and mutual whining, we realize we’re procrastinating.  Time to just shut up and ride already!

Cycling Jalisco

We’ve got some climbing ahead of us.

Sheila, cycling to Guadalajara

Sheila riding through the sprinkles.

We start off strong but within 5 miles the skies darken and it starts lightly raining.  As we get closer to the city of Guadalajara the traffic increases and, as if on cue, the rain simultaneously increases as well.  10 more miles in to it and the shoulder starts to narrow and eventually disappear, replaced by a deep concrete gully and no guard rails.  Daylight dwindles away.  I’m feeling some panic now as my worst cycling nightmare is starting to unfold before me.  For some reason, for the last half year, I’ve been having horrible make-you-sit-straight-up-in-bed-with-fear nightmares about cycling along and suddenly falling in to a deep, dark hole that randomly appears in the road, my being unable to swerve or avoid it.  And, here I am, in speeding double lane traffic, teetering on the edge of a slimy, wet roadway right next to a deep, cavernous gully…..in the near-dark!  Not good.

What follows is about 7 miles of pure, unadulterated hell.  The clouds open up.  Thick rain pelts us as we unsuccessfully try to take some of the lane.  Traffic is too thick and steady so instead of cars slowing and merging into the left lane to give us plenty of room they try to squeeze themselves between us and parallel traffic.  Guess who loses out in that situation?!  I’m furiously shaking by now, certain that I’m going to die exactly as my dreams foretold, falling into the abyss to my right.  I pull off at the first chance (there aren’t many) and I try to pull myself together but as it’s getting darker and darker and traffic is becoming more congested, I know road conditions are becoming more dangerous with every minute I stop.  Now I’m feeling both panic about riding and panic about not riding……perfect conditions for a quick and furious cry and a slight mental break down!

We manage to muddle through the last few miles without dying, hitting Guadalajara’s multiple lane highways and a cornucopia of underpasses till we find a cheap hotel off an exit on the outskirts of the city.  We are exhausted, wet and hungry and, of course, the hotel attendant insists that there isn’t a single restaurant or grocery store nearby.  For a brief moment we consider going back out in to the weather to scout for food, incredulous that there isn’t something nearby.  But when we push our bikes in to our room and immediately fall on to the bed we laugh deliriously, knowing we’re not going anywhere.   Eventually I make an executive decision and order a pizza for delivery, usually a last choice for us since Kai is vegan (they have a Domino’s Pizza here!).  When it arrives we devour it like wild animals and proclaim it the best pizza we’ve ever, ever had in the whole wide world.  How’s that for cycle-touring induced delusion?!

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To the Heart of the City

The next morning we sleep in without guilt.  It’s lightly raining outside and we’re less than 10 miles from our hostel in downtown Guadalajara.  Forced outside by our check-out time we begin riding on the main artery, Vallarta Avenue, which was to take us directly to our hostel but soon enough we find our selves on parallel side streets, preferring to meander through calmer neighborhood streets.

We eventually make our way on to Lopez Cortilla Avenue and fall in line with slow moving city traffic, the many stoplights giving us a chance to stop and take in the scene of each block.  As we get closer to the historic center of town we start to see some beautiful stonework and architecture.

Kai, Cycling in to downtown Guadalajara

Cycling in to Guadalajara Historic District

Public Sculpture, Guadalajara

Public Sculpture/Art in a Plaza near our Hostel.

We find our hostel, in the heart of town and adjacent to a beautiful park, and they happen to have an obscenely huge room on the ground floor available for us.  The Casa Vilasanta hostel is unique in that they offer private rooms, each with their own bathroom, instead of the normal dormitory-style shared bathroom option.  We still share a huge kitchen and common areas with the other guests but it’s nice to have a little privacy, not to mention the security it offers us for our gear and bikes, when you’re staying in the city for a few weeks.

Casa Villasanta Hostel, Guadalajara

We find Casa Vilasanta off of Lopez Cortilla on quiet Rayon Street.

Casa Villasanta Hostel, Guadalajara

Casa Vilasanta’s colorful interior courtyard, as viewed from an open window from our room.

Casa Villasanta Hostel, Guadalajara

Our huge, beautiful room with original stained glass doors.

We spend the afternoon Skyping with friends and family and relaxing in the beautiful interior courtyard of the Casa Vilasanta.  In the evening we excitedly walk to Goa, an Indian restaurant Kai had scouted out online weeks ago.  This is one reason we love visiting cities – the variety of gastronomical options available to us.  It is a glorious meal and we totally gorge ourselves on pakoras, Chana Masala, naan, mango lassi and, finally, chai.  As we sip on our chai, completely satiated, we watch the staff make naan in the tandoori oven.  And when the sky opens up for its normal early evening rainstorm we watch it from our warm and protected outdoor table, grateful that we don’t have to go anywhere any time soon.

Chai at Goa Indian Restaurant, Guadalajara

An accidental but kind of cool photo of Kai sipping chai on the patio during a rain storm. Goa Indian Restaurant in Guadalajara.

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Route from Ixtlan to Guadalajara

 

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One Year Anniversary & Valuable Lessons

Today we’re celebrating 365 days of being on the road!

We’d like to send out A Big Thank You to all the wonderful people who have supported us along the way!

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Three (of many) valuable lessons we’ve learned over the past year:

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Don’t believe everything you hear or let media-driven agendas feed your fears.  

We’ll admit we were nervous coming in to Mexico because of all the media attention over the very real problem of narco-related violence but soon after we cycled over the border we realized the media was not representing Mexico accurately.  We’ve been blown away by the peaceful nature of this country and we have not once felt threatened.  The people who live here are amazing, kind and generous beyond our expectations.

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You don’t need much in the way of material possessions to survive and be happy.  

In fact, the more time that passes (and the more passes we climb) we realize we could live with even less than what we currently carry in our panniers.  What we thought of as “necessary” items when we left a year ago are now considered “luxury” items.

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Relationship dynamics intensify on a long-distance cycle tour.  

This is true for your relationship with yourself, with other people and with nature.  Cycle touring strips the nonessential away and, without distractions, previously unresolved problems, issues or connections take center-stage.  Our relationship has been challenged in ways we never expected and, as a result, we’re learning how to be more patient, empathetic, compassionate and communicative.  We’re also realizing our individual potential, accepting how strong we can be and questioning previous assumptions about ourselves and other people.  Our relationship with the natural world has been renewed.  No matter how emotionally difficult it all is, we’re on the way to forming stronger relationships with each other and the world around us and that’s pretty spectacular.

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These lessons, and the many more we’ve not mentioned here, are what we were searching for when we started on this ‘pilgrimage’ a year ago.   It feels like we’re just beginning to live our lives with more intention, even though we’ve been working on it for years now.  There is so much more for us to learn.  We hope you’ll continue to join us as we pedal off in to the next year!

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Nayarit :: Rain forests, Volcanoes & Lessons Learned

Riding the “mole hills” out of Tepic.

August 2 – 10th, 2012,  Nayarit, Mexico

We leave Tepic with our eyes set on the town of Jala, a little over 72 kilometers away (~44 miles).  Now that we are 3000 feet above sea level, the weather is bearable.  But it doesn’t take us long to realize that we’ve traded insufferable heat and flat roads in for some climbing and heavy humidity.

The day begins with a slow and gentle climb overlooking rich, dark green valleys.  By mid-day the landscape is dotted with abrupt but neatly symmetrical peaks that jut up out of the ground.  It’s sort of surreal looking and I can’t help but imagine a giant mole crawling around underground, responsible for making these perfect mounds.  We’re cycling through a volcanic basin and before the day is done we’ll see two ancient volcanoes.  We pass by the Sanganquey volcano, outside of Tepic, at 2340 meters and  just before Jala we see the Ceboruco (2280 meters), which buried an ancient city under it’s lava and volcanic rock.

Housing on outskirts of Tepic

Housing on the south side of Tepic. Gas and water tanks on rooftops.

Toll road outside of Tepic

Looking back toward Tepic.

Cycling south of Tepic toward Jala

Lots of beautiful ups and downs.

Volcano outside of Tepic, Nayarit

Sanganguey

Rock formations outside of Tepic, Nayarit

Interesting cliffs pop up out of nowhere.

Ancient Volcano south of Tepic, Nayarit

The Ceboruco Volcano comes in to view in the late afternoon.

Volcanic lava/rock, Nayarit

Surreal landscape for miles, lush vegetation growing out of the lava and volcanic rock.

Sheila climbing in Nayarit

Sheila coming up over another climb. Thankfully we had cloud cover but it was warm & humid.

Within 10 miles of reaching Jala I begin to get excited because I know that we have a six mile gentle descent in to town.  I’ve never experienced riding a descent that long and I have been holding it up my mind as a special treat of sorts.  The fact that it would put a smile a mile wide on my face at the end of a sweaty day made me feel simply giddy.  So, you can imagine how my heart fell when, just a 1/2 mile in to the descent, I got a flat tire!

 

My Embarrassing Confession :: A Smart & Independent Woman Woefully Unprepared!

Normally a flat wouldn’t have been such a big deal, right?  Except that I really hadn’t changed a flat tire in quite awhile and, to be honest, I had never had to change a tire without the help of someone else.  I had taken workshops on cycling maintenance and had changed a tire there, but it was with the help of my classmate (it was a shared task).  I had carefully watched Kai change his tires and, once, two years prior, changed a tire on my mountain bike with the help of Kai.  But here I suddenly found myself, sitting on the side of the road, with the sun setting and Kai miles ahead of me whooping it down the descent, realizing that I had had very few flat tires in all of my cycling years and very little experience changing one completely on my own!  ‘My god’, I think, ‘and you consider yourself an independent and self-sufficient woman?!’

My head starts reeling.  ‘OK. OK. OK.  Stay calm.  Theoretically, you know how to change a tire.  You can do this.”  And I start unscrewing the release bolt.  But then I realize I really don’t know how much I should unscrew the Pitlock stainless steel locking skewer or really how it works – it’s not like a normal quick release that I’m used to.  It was then that I realize having Kai be solely in charge of cleaning and maintaining the bicycles while I was in charge of other things, like GPS route prep and maintaining our computers and our blog, may not have been such a great idea.  I am woefully uneducated and unprepared!

As the sun drops deeper behind the Ceboruco volcano, I finally get the rear wheel off and start to wrench the tire off the rim with the few plastic and pathetically weak tire levers I find in my tool bag.  I don’t remember I’m not supposed to take the entire tire off the rim so I yank it completely off and then take the deflated tube in my hands and start searching for the mysterious puncture point by simply staring at a one inch section then staring at another once inch section, as if a hole will just magically jump out at me.  Up to this point, I had tried to ignore traffic speeding past me and was trying desperately to look competent and like I knew what I was doing (ah, the ego!).  But, now, I hear someone yelling so look up.  There, on the other side of tall cement medians, and across four lanes of speeding interstate traffic, is a man is waving.  He yells, “You’re husband’s waiting for you on the bridge!  He’s about 8 kilometers down the road!”  Great.  Just Great.  I thank them with a wavering smile.  They drive on.

Bridge overlooking toll road, Jala, Nayarit

Kai’s view from the bridge he was waiting on. Jala, Nayarit, Mexico

As I pull my headlamp out of my rear pannier I start to feel queasy.  I realize I’m not going to be able to change this flat on my own in the dwindling daylight and that Kai is probably getting really worried.  Just then, a truck with two mountain bikes in it’s bed pulls over in front of me.  A man and his son hop out and ask if I need help.  Do I ever!  We throw my bike and my bags in the back, I profusely thank them and we commence with a part Spanish- part English discussion about cycle touring (they’ve toured through parts of Mexico).  In less than 10 minutes, we meet Kai, climbing his way back to me.

After we unload my bike and gear (thanks again Jorge & son!!), Kai quickly switches out my tube and puts my wheel back in place but not without admonishing me for taking the release completely apart or for taking the tire off the rim.  It’s dark by now and we’re both testy so we concentrate on racing off the highway as quickly as possible and on to the exit ramp leading to Jala.  We stop at the hotel closest to the highway.  The room is up two flights of stairs (requiring us to make multiple trips up and down with our gear and bicycles), has no screens (and therefore a plenitude of creepy-crawly bugs are scurrying around the room) and no shower curtain (and a shower head that squirts water all around the room so that everything gets wet).  However, it does have it’s good points – clean-ish sheets, hot water & a roof.  By the time we haul our gear and bicycles upstairs that’s all we need to get us through the night.

Lesson Learned :: Know how to maintain your bike, even if you have a partner that likes to and offers to do it for you.  You & your bicycle (and maybe even your partner) will be a lot happier if you know what you’re doing and can do it confidently and efficiently.

Ceboruco Volcano (2280 meters) Nayrait

Me on the side of the road with a flat tire. At least I had that gorgeous sunset and ancient volcano (the Ceboruco) to keep me company.

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A Change of Plans 

After a night of fitful sleep (I kept dreaming of bugs crawling up my nose and in to my ears), we wake early and head off toward what we thought would be our next stop – the town of Magdalena.  It’s going to be a long day, over 74 kilometers (46 miles) of climbing.  When we pull off in to the town of Ixtlan del Rio, only 17 kilometers (11 miles) down the road, to pick up food for lunch and dinner, we end up meandering our way further and further in to town in search of a mercado.  By the time we find it, threatening storm clouds are beginning to dispense large droplets, so we say, “Screw it!” and make our way to a hotel deeper in the valley.

Nayrit, Ancient volcano

Riding out of Jala the next morning. Look at that gorgeous grass.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Late lunch in Ixtlan. This is a market off the plaza.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

The orange bicycle – a Mexican made bicycle that roaming vendors use. We see these everywhere.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Looking in to a shoe shop in Ixtlan.

Ixtlan ends up being a sweet, bustling town and we decide to stay for a few days to take it in.  We really love something about these small towns.  They seem so alive and interesting, so welcoming and homey.  We wander the streets, climb the hill outside of town that houses a church and huge statue of Jesus on its peak and linger on the town square to listen to musicians serenade us in the evenings.  We buy fruit from the street vendors, Kai gets a much needed haircut and we sleep in most days.  Surprisingly, we also see several funerals over a few days time in which large groups of family and friends and a New Orleans style band playing festive music walk down the main street in town behind a hearse and a truck whose bed is overflowing with flowers.  People are dressed in bright and bold colors.  Some attendees, at least in one of the processions I see, hold bottles of alcohol and take long, mournful swigs of the whiskey or tequila as they swagger behind their departed loved one.  Armed police men and women flank either end of the processions.   As they pass, out of respect, the entire town slows and stops business and watches with saddened eyes until they are out of sight.  Then, slowly, they return to their transactions, to yelling for a taxi, to laughing and chatting.  And, just like that, we witness life both passing and life going on.

Fruit Vendor, Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

We love the fruit vendors! The fruit here is placed on a wooden table top which is tied down to a wheelbarrow. They push the wheelbarrow around town and stop at various places during the day.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

The church in the plaza.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Ixtlan at night. Many shops sell piñatas, many of which are “super heroes”, dressed in random outfits with sometimes funny emblems.

Streets of Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

The hill of Cristo Rey (Christ the King) in Ixtlan. On the last Sunday of October, on Day of Christ the King, pilgrims and dancers gather on the hill to carry out the traditional dances of la Pluma (The Feather) and los Matachines.

Looking down on Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

View of the city from Cristo Rey.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Statue on top of Cristo Rey.

Los Toriles, Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

View of “Los Toriles” archaeological site south of Ixtlan which has prehispanic vestiges in the form of Petroglyphs , from the top of Cristo Rey.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Cactus growing on the hill over Ixtlan.

Bullfighting Stadium, Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

The bull fighting stadium in Ixtlan.

Red Ants, Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Red Ants. These buggers are everywhere in Nayarit and we often find them crawling on our feet and biting us within 10 minutes of stopping on the side of the road for a break.

Flowers, Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Love, love, love these flowers, blooming everywhere this time of the year.

storm clouds, Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Storm clouds building over the cobblestone streets of Ixtlan.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Lots of cyclists in Mexico.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

So much color everywhere.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

We see entire families on motorcycles here.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Lots and lots of VW bugs in Mexico.

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

Looks like we’re not the only ones who love our fruit. Mango!

Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit

People gather to chat in the town plaza.

Video of the Week:

Cycling Around the World :: Tepic to Ixtlán del Río, Nayarit, Mexico from 2cycle 2gether on Vimeo.

Music performed by a local band and recorded in Ixtlán del Río, Nayarit, Mexico,at the town plaza on a Sunday night.

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