November 18, 2008

A gold mine in Mexico

Old Mexico

We crossed the border in a convoy of delapidated trucks and freshly painted mining equipment, heading for the sonoran moutain desert. funny as it works this time I was waved through, while everyone else had to dig for their wallets. A hundred bucks here a thousand bucks there a few days later and we evenually got all our gear through. I was pit crew for our mecanically feable fleet. It seemed as though from Colorado to base camp we experienced it all, from broken windows flat tires, trailers jumping off their tow hitches while cruising down the highway, fuel problems, new pumps, compressor problems, two new compressors, running out of gas, locking the keys in the car, paying road side tire repair guys to watch our trailers, getting totally separated with no means of communication and camping along the side of the road in dangerous parts of Mexico.
The adventure of gold minining in mexico has long begun.

Once we arrived with our pile of gear we rounded the troops for a meeting with the owner of the ranch where we would hopped to set up this mine. The ranch owner happens to live in a hacienda style compound with gaurds and surveilance cameras on the alleys that border his estate. Why all this? he's got alot to loose. Most mafia familes do. when we arrived We were expected and were ushered within the thick compound walls single file into a large air conditioned meeting room with marble floors, leather chairs and a surveilance monitor with my car awaiting out in the alley front and center.

Our host was unlike the weathered sunglassed faces that possed around his property. He was middle aged, well groomed, and greeted us each with a bottle
of water and a soft skinned hand shake. He smiled with perfect teeth
a perfect mustache and stood short but tall in a perfectly pressed shirt. we were tired, dusty and sweaty palmed. An hour before we had had breakfast
with a local that had filled us with horror stories about this man and his connections and other possible businesses. Our meeting started casually and
revolved around the interpretor. When it was discovered that we would need a document, Castro would pause, make a call and moments later a courier would be
at the door panting with a freshly typed up document.

We discussed legistics, partnership details and the use of Castro's planes. Yeah of course this story wouldn't fit the bill if it didn't involve a
private air strip and planes awaiting. We concluded the meeting and on our way out admired his car collection and reconveined in the alley. In mexico there are many
parties struggling for power and pilaging or taxing the people. The government patrols with the military. Federali cops patrol with little oversite.
Local cops patrol with even less oversite. then
there are mafia types and militia gangs. Who's on top, who knows? Our association with Castro keeps everyone away. Who is he? Thats not our business, our
business is to find gold, and keep our promises. I am kind of intrigued by him, but I figure it wouldn't pay to dig for anything around here other than gold.

What am I doing down here?
Sitting on a gold mine by my self with a bunch of rusty equipment. I play around on it till my imagination runs dry or I get embarassed
because I think someone is watching me pretend to drive tracktors that are not turneed on. I can hit a pop can with my sling shot from ten yards and I know
where a den of jack rabbits are come thanksgiving. I learned "G, D, C and E'm" on my Mandoline. I tarred the roof of my trailer this morning and just
climed the highest hill in the area. Its beautifull down here. The moonhas been bright at night and the sunsets on the desert landscape are always

I found a local cheese maker and a tortillaria, so I pretend I am in france. Instead of being close to everything, I am fifty miles from the nearest gas station
and twenty two kilometers from the nearest street light. I made pinto beans yesterday, and it took all day. I am reading Down the River by Edward Abby.
Talk about coincidence, Abby left the day he cast his ballot for the 1980 elections then went on yet another river trip. The story is in journal form and its
the same calendar day as the day I started this trip the day after I cast my ballot. You guys know more about him than I do, but he talks alot about mining
and industrialization, mexican labor and ruening the earth with our urban foot print. Its easy to come to the same conclusions as he does when I look out
across the beautifull desert from the top of a hill. I see the magnificence of the desert vegitation, sense the struggle for life, admire the hillsides,
and then contrast it with the view of a fifty year old pit mine that looks like a wound that has never healed. I look at the power lines and dirt roads
that bisect the landscape. I view the trash we leave and listen to the heavy trucks rattle back and fourth. I imagine all the open pits that we created,
so that we could make those trucks, and the fuel they consume so we can make more pits, and I close my eyes and imagine them all gone. You can't have to
much of a concience and carry on being human. Even the most fervant environmental lawyer drives a Toyota Tacoma. Its all hypocracy. Where do we begin?

It would help though if we all realized that gems and gold only hold the value we place on them. Gold makes things shiny, and has a few electrical applications.
what else does it do? What do dimonds do on our fingers mounted in gold. Its simplifies the human race down to that of a hungry fish that strikes at a shiney luer.
We like shiney things, and are enamored and estemed by glitery objects. They cost lives and create huge holes in the earth, reck landscapes and waste time, the only true gold we will ever have.

The tremendous cost of a miner to aquire and a consumer to buy a piece of gold. What do I do if I find a nugget of gold, should I smile? should that make me happy? I'm not sure what I am supposed to do. What a miner can find in one life time amounts to a small pile of Gold. How much promise does a pile of gold yeild, and how big a pile would you trade your life for?Its an easy annology. What are you trading your life for right now? A garage full of stuff from Walmart, a car that people esteme? Its all worth thinking about, what are we exchanging our youth, vitality and life for? Is it the promise of something in the future, like freedom in retirement? All in all I still think the promise of retirement is a crazier idea than looking for gold in mexico.


robert said...

wonderful dan. good luck down there and keep working on your lifes work. It is coming along just perfect, I promise.
Oh, and retirement... you know that you and I will never do that...

James said...

Have a happy birthday in Mexico. Vaya con Dios throughout Advent.
Hasta la vista, hasta pronto.

Eimear said...


I saw your ad for crew online. My name is Eimear. I´m a 24 year old Irish girl. I´m in Argentina at the moment, will be travelling South America for 6 months and I´m hoping to work/travel on a boat for a few months - my travel plans are very flexible. My email address is Let me know if your interetsted.


Anonymous said...

Hi Your time sailing looks like your having a great time! maybe i can come along one day gives an email. Very much of a backpacker myself and a sailor for my job (ust out of work atm!) CHeers Faye (UK)

Anonymous said...

Hi daniel!
First I decided to have a "short" look on your blog...But at the end it was a very long one! so many great picture! So many great place! This make me dreaming!
thank again!

Sylvain from france and Sailing boat EOS.

Anonymous said...

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