Sunday, September 25, 2011

First days

Date: Saturday, September 24      Miles: 51       Temperature: 64-76 degrees     Flats: 1

Lessons learned:
1 - Leave early. Especially when it is your first day, you haven't trained and you don't know where you are going.  Trying to find houses in suburbia at night is not awesome.
2 - Google maps sucks for cycling routes.
3 - Watch out for surfers. Southern California is crawling with them. Also, it is pretty darn chilly here!  Who knew? Prob everyone but me, eh?

So, yesterday afternoon this crazy dream became a reality (too early to say?). Amidst crashing waves, families playing volleyball, sandpipers scurrying, and two wonderful friends wishing us the best, we loaded up our bikes with altogether too much stuff and we just started riding. After months of talk, we finally took action.

Taking our fully loaded bikes on a spin!  photo by Alicia Quiros

Our first mile!  Along the Ocean!

We could not have picked a prettier place to start. We rode along the coast for a good portion of the day and it was beautiful. As the trip continues, I am sure we will remember this day of riding and want to go back in time.

Mile 8ish

The ride was alright, we just should have left earlier.  We didn't get to jump in the ocean at all!  And we need to plan our route better, especially in such a big city.  Fortunately, we won't really be in a city of this size again for a while.

The not so great news is that Eric is having trouble with his Achilles tendon.  We went on a 60 mile ride a couple weeks ago, and it was sore for days.  We don't really know what to do about it, and are open to suggestions and advice, so please send it our way!

Today we went to a migrant mass that Mount Carmel parish offers and it was really nice.  I haven't been to mass in a while, but it was outside and in Spanish and Father Farrell (who we are staying with) did a great job of dumbing down the gospel for me/us.  There wasn't a big crowd, but basically all the guys there were from 3 pueblos in Oaxaca, and I was surprised to hear that most of them camp in the area to save money while working 6 days a week for their families back home.  I have never heard of migrants camping while working in a city, but I suppose in an expensive area like San Diego it makes a lot of sense.

Before mass, some students from the University of San Diego were offering English lessons to those who desired it and after the mass, the team from the parish in charge this week served a huge meal and it was wonderful to just sit and chat and joke around with these guys.  At first, people seemed leery about speaking with us, but sitting down at a meal together, we were able to talk about jobs, soccer, milking cows, and of course, the most talked about Oaxacan cuisine: grasshoppers.   

This afternoon, we met with a woman from Catholic Relief Services who was able to tell us a bit more of the work happening in the San Diego area in regards to immigration.  While they do not do any direct service in their area (that would be Catholic Charities), Catholic Relief Services focuses internationally to do development work and to respond to natural disasters.  That said, CRS's partnerships include the Scalabrini order of priests in Mexico who operate the Casa del Migrantes, Justice for Immigrants in Washington, D.C. and the San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium.  It was also interesting to hear that CRS was recently asked by the bishops of Mexico to organize peace building efforts and this project is currently under development in the San Antonio office.  

While the CRS office is a very small operation and they don't do any direct service with migrants in San Diego, it was really good to hear about work being done on a national and international scale.

More meetings tomorrow!  Contacts and connections are really falling into place --Thank you if you have helped!

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