Saturday, March 14, 2009

Security, Friends, Coffee and Motorcycles...

The meeting on Thursday, that I mention in the post below (which I´d love for you to read), was about security for the town. I tried watching it on TV for a bit but my Spanish wasn´t sharp enough to make up for the poor sound quality. What I´ve since heard of its aftermath is that nothing got done, lots of talking but no solutions. Early today my friend said he overheard people talking about the idea to require tourists to register, I guess you could call it, with information about where they´re from and how long they´ll be here and what they´re doing. Which sounds ridiculous because a) how are you going to keep track of a bunch of wandering hippies and travelers in a town like this where nobody really seems to know what they´re doing and when? and b) the incident that led to the meeting didn´t have anything to do with tourists, except in the obvious ways that it indirectly did. I don´t know, it´s all hearsay at this point, and I might be leaving town before I hear anything more substantial. I did, however, for the first time in two weeks, see a police presence on the main drag here last night.

In other news, I´ve been having a pretty incredible time mobbing about town with a great crew of kids. England, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Guatemala (of course), and Japan are represented among the entire group. Oh yeah and the U.S. too. But there´s a core of about eight that hangs in a way that feels tighter than anything I had even in Brattleboro. Incredible people with Incredible stories all overlapping temporarily and I hope very very much to see these kids again somewhere along the Thanks to you Phil, Eric, Andrew, Cody, Jai, Alexandra, Olivia, Bridget, Andres, and Dysheinka. And Pedro, Pablo, Juan Elisio, Phillipe, Pedro, Andres, Carlos, Chano, Ventura, Felix, Israel and all the rest. This is fun.

Lately, in addition to the learning about coffee that I´ve been doing at the beneficios (hopefully at the farms too now that I´m done with my spanish classes in the daytime...) I´ve found some opportunities to teach about coffee too. I didn´t really expect it but it´s been an amazing opportunity. I´ve said in the past that maybe what I´d like to do eventually in the coffee industry is work with farmers and processors at origin to help improve quality and, believe it or not, I´ve done a bit of it here. Of course, I don´t believe that I know enough yet to consult on agricultural topics or anything, but I´ve roasted and consulted on packing coffee with one of the beneficios in town. At the same place I also helped to adjust a milling machine so that it doesn´t break the grains anymore when the parchment is being milled off. At some commercial beneficios I´ve seen fermentation practices that I think definitely compromise the quality of the coffee but I don´t feel anywhere near a position to suggest that they try to alter the procedures they have well in place.

Also, two new friends Andrew and Cody, who happen to be from the town in Cape Cod where I´ve vacationed almost every summer since I was young (the world is still thisbig) , have recently, as of this week, taken control of the Italian bistro they´ve just bought in the middle of town, Fata Morgana. And here, they happen to roast their own coffee. I taught Andrew and the Italian former owners and roaster how to cup coffees, and given some informal seminars, usually over drinks in the palapa, on coffee process, quality, roasting science and green bean selection. Next week I plan to assist in adjusting parameters of the roast that I believe will take the coffee that the Lonely Planet guide calls the best in San Pedro and make it potentially way, way better. We´ll see. But having the chance to share what I know at a country of origin is a little bit like a dream come true. Maybe someday I´ll get paid for it instead of draining my savings to do it. Anyone? Anyone?

And finally, Motorcycles are awesome. The end.

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