COLIMA, State of Colima, Mexico - After weeks of having fun with amigos from the U.S. - and me hacking Arroyo Seco dust balls up like a cat in need of shots - the Admiral convinced me to go on a road trip to the cities of Colima and Comala, accompanied by our New York amigos Mike and Karen Schamel. Mike and Karen were ending up a three-week stay in La Manzanilla while they escaped the freezing temperatures of central upstate New York.
Except for the confusion generated by having two people named Michael in such close proximity, the road trip was, as we used to say, a blast.
On our last day in Comala, we drove up to a tiny town and had lunch in a restaurant that had a great view of an active volcano. Yup, the volcano is considered active. We told a few Pompeii stories while we dined, watching the volcano occasionally belch out some steam.
We did quite a bit of belching ourselves from the great ribs and margaritas.
Volcano lets out with a little toot
The intrepid volcano explorers
Comala turned out to be a more interesting place for us than the much larger city of Colima. The small town is a warren of smallish houses and stores, mixed with very interesting bed and breakfast places. On the big town square, restaurants serve you free food - provided you keep ordering margaritas.
We had plenty of food one afternoon and enough beverages that Admiral Fox was moved to leave the restaurant table and check out the violin being played by one of the wandering musicians. The Admiral's Celtic tunes clashed a little bit with the banda music around the square, but the people were fascinated to see a blonde gringa playing the fiddle.
Sylvia introduces some new tunes in Comala
That night, we came back to the square just in time to see another violinist perform as he accompanied a great singer. The town square restaurants shut down their margarita machines before sunset but most of the town seemed to turn out to hear the concert.
Singer at festival
Our time in Colima was very short - just a quick overnight at the Hotel Ceballos, but the day we left I did have a nice conversation with a team of dancers from the city who were raising money for their practices and for costumes for some upcoming competition.
At least that was what they told me.
In perfectly accented English, they asked me if I could spare them any cash - anything to help their efforts.
I agreed, but with the caveat that I could get my photo taken with them.
I didn't have to ask twice.
The Captain with the dance team in Colima
They invited me to attend their practice that afternoon in Colima, but, alas, I had to make my way up the mountains to Comala where the volcano awaited.
As luck would have it, our night in Colima at the hotel also coincided with the arrival of 150 Harley-Davidson motorcycles (and their drivers and passengers, of course), part of a rally from Mexico City that drew headlines in all the local newspapers.
They were very well-behaved bikers - perhaps better behaved than us. But Admiral Fox was able to persuade one amigo to let her check out his bike, though she didn't have quite the right outfit for highway travel.
Get your motor running...