Album 7 - Cofradia de Suchitlan, Colima, Mexico, for Xmas & beyond

December 24-28, 2005  -  Early morning of the 24th we leave our hotel in Antigua, Guatemala, and catch a mini-bus/van to Guatemala City for a flight north.  The first leg on Xmas Eve day would be a flight to Mexico City past a surprisingly snow capped volcano.  A quick plane change, helped along by a new friend met on the plane, and we were headed west to Guadalajara.  There we were met by our Mad River friends Jack & Susan and our ex-pat friend Ted Rose.  The latter drove us efficiently southwest to his little village of Cofradia de Suchitlan on the side of an active volcano in the small Mexican state of Colima.  Arriving in late afternoon we were met by Ted's wife Susan and more of the crew of Project Amigo.  We would have a short time to settle in before being invited to a neighbor's  home to help celebrate an authentic small town Mexican  Christmas.  The actual day of Dec. 25th was a slow easy day with no photos, but a great lunch and visit with another family from northern California who have a second home in this little village. (Thanks to the Johnson family from McKinleyville!) This album also covers the 3 days following Xmas.


We approach Guadalajara from the air & get this view of the eastern end of Lake Chapala - the volcano which looms over our final destination can be seen on the far center horizon.  

Along with friends Susan & Jack, we are given upstairs rooms in the very attractive "Hacienda" of the Project Amigo program.

Susan chats in fluent Spanish with hostess, Doña Meche (center) and her daughter.

Ted & Jack share a Christmas Eve toast & tamales at the table in the home of Meche & Lorenzo just down the street from Project Amigo.

Family & guests contemplate the crèche arrangement designed by Lorenzo containing a clever and colorful depiction of the nativity scene (sans baby Jesus).

As midnight neared, it is back inside & time for toasts, speeches and hugs all around (Lorenzo uncorks).

Christmas in a Mexico village is not complete without very noisy fireworks & rockets.

Gringos look on as the midnight pageant gets underway.

With song & candles, the baby Jesus is carried to the manger so that Christmas can actually arrive.

With the piñata strung across the street, festivities go long past midnight.

2 days later, we drive out to the labor camp for sugarcane cutters in nearby Queseria.  This loaded cane truck carries product to the refinery.

 Ted leads the visiting gringos through the grounds of the camp to meet the kids and play with them.

Jack & local Klingon in front of the school built & operated by Project Amigo.

Camp sanitation facilities built by Rotary International in conjunction with Project Amigo.

We leave the camp after many hugs, handshakes & swing pushes with the happy kids.

On the morning of the 27th we are treated to this volcano activity from this friendly neighbor, Volcan de Colima.

Susan takes us on a tour of archeological sites near the city of Colima - this one is called La Campana located south east of downtown

This site, with a distant view of the volcano, was discovered when a shopping center was expanding its parking lot. Much is left to uncover & study.

Driving some distance to the north, we come to a 2nd archeological site - this one called El Chanal.

This interesting site seemed more inviting as it has been landscaped & grass has been planted where the archeological work is completed.

With interpretive material in English, we learn that this pre-Hispanic settlement blossomed between 1100 & 1400 AD.

Taking a break in the shade on these ancient steps, Susan takes this shot of Jack, Susan, Keith & Peg.

Before leaving, we get one last look back over the Plaza del Tiempo & contemplate the nearly 120 hectares that made up this early community.

Our next stop was a visit to the Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo Museum at the La Hacienda de Nogueras, just west of Comala. Here we enjoy the almost overwhelming beauty of the flowers next to the old hacienda.

Driving back up the mountain, we meet Ted for lunch at one of his favorite restaurants, El Balcon de Don Jose, in the village of Suchitlan.

Another morning starts with everyone working on projects. Here Jack preps a hacienda fence for painting

Peg & Susan reorganize an overflowing storage room.

Jobs completed, Peg takes a break with one of the resident cats in the lower section of the hacienda.

Lunch this day would be what is sometimes called the "volcano view restaurant" & with this view, no further explanation is needed!

Ted, Susan, Susan, Jack & Peg prepare for another fine comida (the traditional afternoon large Mexican meal).

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