Monday, April 14, 2008

Colima's Quiet Charm

Colima's Quiet Charm
Published: February 8, 2004

The city's situation near two volcanoes and in an earthquake zone means that it has little architecture worthy of the name, old or new, and the standard building is a ground-hugging, one-story structure. Perched on the edge of disaster, fading, peeling, dignified Colima continues its precarious life without pinning its hopes on grand monuments or dressing up for visitors. Last year an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 caused at least nine deaths in Colima and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Each room in the Ceballos has a ceramic sign in the archway between bedroom and bathroom that says, ''En caso de sismo, párese aquí'' (''In case of earthquake, stand here''). This year, I eyed the decorative plaque with new respect.

As a result of the earthquake, Colima now has an estimated 500 construction sites. Every so often, there's a rubble-strewn lot between two standing houses, like a missing tooth in a smiling mouth. One of the city's few remaining colonial buildings, the church of San Felipe de Jesús, at Constitución and Vicente Guerrero, has an elaborately carved 18th-century facade and a plaque noting that the revolutionary hero Miguel Hidalgo served here as a parish priest. Ominous cracks run like veins behind the altar, and the congregation has decamped to the chapel, leaving the main church bare except for a few lonely statues.

New York Times article


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Colima is a state in western Mexico. It shares its name with its capital and main city, Colima, Colima. Colima is a small state, sharing a border with the Mexican states of Jalisco to the north and east, and Michoacán to the south. To the west Colima borders the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the capital city of Colima, the state's main cities include Manzanillo and Tecomán.

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