Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great Balls of Fire!!!

From the Guadalajara Reporter:

Jalisco's unique 'round stones' receive cash boost
Written by Tom Marshall
Saturday, 15 November 2008

JALISCO - The famous “round stones” (piedras bolas) of Ahualulco del Mercado were once an exclusive port of call for explorers well-versed in the art of tracking down poorly promoted but fascinating sites of interest in provincial Jalisco.

More than 150 balls of rock that are almost perfectly spherical are spread throughout a forest in the Ameca Valley.Now thanks to the injection of ten million pesos over the past two years, the site is more accessible than ever to tourists and daytrippers.

The piedras bolas comprise of around 150 strange balls of rock that are almost perfectly spherical and spread throughout a forest in the Ameca Valley.

“These symmetrical boulders are unusually large. Nothing quite like them exists elsewhere in Mexico, or, according to current scientific opinion, anywhere else in the world,” writes Tony Burton in his excellent tome, “Western Mexico: A Traveller’s Treasury.”

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe the boulders are 25 to 30 million years old. There has traditionally been a lot of mystery about how they were formed. People used to think giants built them or they were somehow man-made, but more conventional theory suggests they were created during a volcanic eruption in the Tertiary geological era.

The uniqueness of the site has spurred the Jalisco Secretariat of Culture to invest seven million pesos in 2007 and three million so far this year in the area’s infrastructure. The money has been spent on new paths that provide excellent views of the flora in the area, a camping zone, three cycle routes of varying difficultly and a pair of new of suspension bridges.

The aim is to improve and expand tourism in the area, as well as protect the boulders, scientifically known as megaspherulites.

The piedras bolas are located 14 kilometers south of the town of Ahualulco de Mercado, around 70 kilometers west of Guadalajara.

Merry Pranksters - Part Two

So yesterday I told you about one of the greatest college pranks I ever read about. I was (regretfully) not part of it. But here's one that I WILL admit to, lo these nearly 50 years later.

It was one a classmate of mine (whose father amazingly was on the board of directors of the college) and I designed one night. We had (in our sophomoric way) grown indignant at what we conceived as the slovenliness of the night watchman. Keep in mind this was a fairly small college . . . student body at the time only about 500. We had noticed that he had failed occasionaly in one of his duties, which was to lower the American flag from a high flagpole at sunset. He would make the rounds of the various classroom buildings after their curfew for the night, make sure no one was still inside, turn out any lights, lock the doors and then go home to his bed. But he was forgetful about bringing down the Stars and Stripes.

So we decided to make an issue of this. One dark night, my classmate and I skulked through the shadows and entered the campus dining room through a window. We then swiped all of the silverware . . . well, all of the forks and spoons, as I recall . . . emptied them into a pillowcase, tied them to the flag-raising rope and raised it to the top of the flagpole before retiring to our beds for the rest of the night.

I admit it. I didn't have the nerve to show up for breakfast but my friend did. He said it was interesting watching the early risers trying to eat their grapefruit and eggs and cereal, using only knives.

Well, the sad thing was that the pillowcase was fairly early noticed at the top of the flagpole and silverware was retrieved.

The watchman continued his absent-minded rounds and we began looking for something new to do to avoid studying and have some fun.