Mexico states today: Chihuahua

This morning we headed off to find the Dublan Cemetery – Dublan Memorial.  Wade’s great grandfather founded the town and his Grandpa Lake was born here.  We bought oranges, pecans and cacahuates (peanuts) from a street vendor.  He gave us directions to the cemetery and we followed them and ended up at an LDS church.  So we asked again and again and again and again and again.  I told Wade, “I can talk but I can’t listen.” He agreed, way too quickly :-), apparently he has thought of that before.  We asked directions about 8 times.  One woman said, “I live here and know where it is but we don’t have signs like you have in the United States. We say things like, ‘It is across from Juan’s house or the house with the yellow flowers,” well that is what I think she said.

Funny Graffiti.

Funny Graffiti.

Tonight I was reading the map and found “brecha” on the legend!  That is what everyone kept saying – dirt road (I think), I figured it out it only took 8 hours.  Wade came up with a brilliant plan 1) Ask them to draw a map 2) Record them so we can listen to it again and look up the words we don’t understand.  We finally found it and when I saw where it was and what landmarks we had to work with I didn’t feel so bad.  We probably would have had to ask 4 times in English and so 8 isn’t bad in Spanish!  By the way, the maps they drew were kind of funny.  I don’t think they think that way.  We’ll keep experimenting.

Dublan Memorial, Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua, Mexico

Dublan Memorial, Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua, Mexico

After finding Dublan Memorial, we looked for a long time and found George Lake’s grave.  It was awesome to be there.

Wade and his great grandpa George Lake, Colonia Dublan

Wade and his great grandpa George Lake, Colonia Dublan

Also, Philomelia Lake somebody that must have been his daughter, named after his wife, about age 20ish or something.  I took lots pics so we have all the info.  I feel like we picked up some Lake angels to tag along with us on our own personal pioneering journey.  They certainly knew how to do this.  We wanted to leave something on George’s grave but didn’t have any flowers.  We gathered cool hexagonal seeds from the trees that line the cemetery – something in the pine family, another seed and an orange.  We stacked them on his gravestone, making a little alter to honor him, and took more pics.

IMG_0381We found one Douglas Merrell Pratt in the cemetery, probably a relation to Brett, as her gr grandpa Merrell lived in Colonia Juarez. IMG_0346

After the Dublan cemetery we decided to go to Colonia Juarez.  It was about 10-15 miles out of our way.  Colonia Juarez was beautiful.

Orchards all over, lots of farm land.

Orchards in Colonia Juarez

Orchards in Colonia Juarez

Clean.  Beautiful.  We stopped by the LDS temple.

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Check out the road going to the Colonia Juarez temple. For real!

It was closed so no one was around but the grounds and surrounding land is beautiful.

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Beautiful Colonia Juarez

Then we found the cemetery, also lined with the same type of pine tree as Dublan.

Colonia Juarez Cemetery

Colonia Juarez Cemetery

I fell in love with the graves there, well with the Mexican graves.  They are stacked up with a mound of rocks covering the  entire grave then on top is some colorful decoration.  That is what I want.  Bury me in MX – don’t put any chemicals in my body.  Put me in a hole in the ground.  Cover me in a pile of rocks.  Then color a picture or paint a painting or make some flowers or a pinata to put on top of me.  Not a sterile grave.  I would feel loved and honored by one of the graves I saw in Colonia Juarez today.

So sad that this is the only picture I got of the Mexican graves in the Juarez cemetery. They were really beautiful and this shot does not do it justice. But it is all I got :-(

So sad that this is the only picture I got of the Mexican graves in the Juarez cemetery. They were really beautiful and this shot does not do it justice. But it is all I got 🙁

We also scored finding people in the Juarez cemetery.  We were looking for Turleys because we knew that they had married the Lakes.  We found a handful of Turleys, one of them named George Lake Turley.  He was born about 10-15 years after George Lake died.  He must have belonged to someone who loved George.

IMG_0464Then I found Lemuel H. Redd.  He, or his father is my friennd, Melinda Redd Stone’s gr grandfather and I have a connection to him through Grandma Carol’s line – I think one of his wives!  I can almost remember her name – someone Jane.  Yes, Keziah Jane Butler Redd who my Gr. Grandma Jane Butler Nielsen was named after!.  Ahhh.  Been mulling that around in my brain all day.  Whew.  So there he was, one of mine, or close, clear down here in Colonia Juarez, Mexico.  Cool.  Cool. Glad we stopped in Juarez and picked up a few more angels.

Lemuel H. Redd's grave.

After the cemetery we hit the road.  Gassed up at our first and second PEMEX stations.  All gas stations in MX are Pemex.  They are a govt thing.  All the same price.  Today $12.84 pesos/liter for diesel.  They pump the gas for you.  We got 15 mpg today.  We were happy with that with the load we are carrying.  It is quite the math project to figure miles per gallon when it is in pesos, liters and the odometer is in miles.  The money still seems really foreign.  I can’t figure out how much anything is yet.  Brain too full.  About 5 mins after I need to know, I can figure out if it is a good deal or not.  It is coming.  Just so strange to be paying $230 for things.  $6.5 for a juice.  I guess I thought $ meant dollars – it just means whatever money it means so now $ means pesos for us.  Weird.

I realized today one of the reasons you can take so much Spanish in school and not file it in such a usable place in your brain is because you are not doing the activity.  You know that feeling of seeing someone and thinking, “I know you from somewhere, I know you well!  Who are you?”  Then when you figure it out, the reason you didn’t remember them is they were in the wrong place . . . like Matt from Doctor Mom’s herb shop that I just ran into at Smith’s dressed up like the produce manager.  I knew I knew him but from where? Aaaahhh!  That is what my brain feels like constantly here.  The guy at the Immigration office yesterday said, “Efectivo?”  My brain started scanning, I knew I knew it but it was just in the big pile of spanish words in my brain, not connected to anything.  Once I figured out he was asking if I wanted to pay in Cash, I linked it with paying for something.  Now it is in the “Purchase Things in Mexico” file instead of “Misc Spanish words” file.  I love how my brain feels, making so many connections and learning so many new things.  It feels like we have been here for days.  I can’t believe we just came into MX yesterday.

Pemex has water to fill the trailer and clean bathrooms.  Clean bathrooms are a relief.  I thought we weren’t going to see those for months.  Bring your own toilet paper and (we think) throw the t.p. in the garbage can instead of flush it.

We are sleeping in a Pemex parking lot tonight.  We couldn’t find a spot to stay before it got dark.  We just asked the gas station attendant and he showed us where to park.  We went on our first two Cuotas today ( toll roads).  The cuotas didn’t go through any towns.  There were rolling hills on either side with NO roads leading up to them.  None at all.  Weird.  Occasionally a ranch on the side of the road.  The land is fenced the entire length of the cuota.  The cuotas were $101 and $85 today.   Gas was $780.  Those are pesos, thank goodness. Weird, such big numbers.

I am not loving the maps that I have.  We did discover yesterday that the Pemex stations all have numbers which are used on my very simple detail maps in the Mexican Camping book.  But mostly the maps don’t have the names of the roads and the streets don’t either.  To top it off there are a million streets named Benito Juarez and Francisco Madero and other Mexican heroes names or they are named historical dates, 5 de Mayo, 16 de septiembre, etc.  We have been through two Cities named Juarez today and neither is the one everyone has heard of on the border of US/MX.  All three are in the state of Chihuahua.  It is confusing when you see an arrow pointing right that says Juarez and there is one East of you, West of you, North of you and most likely one to the south of you.   Note: the next day while still in Chihuahua we drove through another Juarez, south of us.  🙂

Map- Signage note: We discovered that the Retornos (turnarounds) are also named.  At first I thought they were just random names, but then I realized they tell you which city you can go back to.  So we might not know where we are but at least we can see where we have been. 🙂

I wanted to get new ideas, new ways of thinking.  Great ideas.  Weird ways to do something.  I wanted to fall in love with new things and miss old things.  I am getting exactly what I want – I am not in my little box any more.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring, hopefully a way to charge my computer and nook and good tasting water.  What an exciting feeling- an unwritten journey!