Mexico 2005 - Page 2

Mexico 2005 - Page 2

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We didn't really see any need to stay another day so we left in the morning for to see the beautiful water fall at Misol Ha and the multiple turquoise falls at Aqua Azul. We thought maybe we would camp there but they had no services and you camped in a big parking lot with no security of any kind. 

We decided since we had started early and it was only 100 miles to San Cristobal de las Casas that we would just go there. Well it's very mountainous and although the roads were in good repair they must have had Topes (Mexican speed bumps, about 6" high) every quarter mile. Everyone wanted you to slow down, so you would buy their food or crafts. Some ingenious kids, not having a Tope to stop traffic would pull up a rope in front of you so that you would stop and buy anything they were selling. It took us 4 hrs to get to the narrow streets of las Casas. We were scrapping the curbs, clearing cars by inches but we made it to the camp only to find out that there was an easier way in that didn't involve going through the center of the city. The campground is in the country on the edge of the city, it has nice large grassy sites and is very secure and quiet. It is much cooler at this altitude 7000', and it goes down into the low 30's at night. Actually the coolest place since we left Cleveland. However the clear blue skies warmed up to mid 60's by noon. The Rancho San Nicholas campground is very nice and quiet with grassy sites and shade trees.

I rode my bike around town  and used the internet on Thursday, but on Friday we decided to take a tour to two nearby Tzotzil Indian Villages. You go to the zocallo (Main square) in las Casas at 9AM and look for a tour guide name with an umbrella named Mercedes. 

We then walked to the market to catch a van to Chamula. They were just finishing their Fiesta de San Sebastian and were shooting off fireworks and running around on horses. I don't have pictures of any of this since they do not allow any taking of pictures in the church or of any of the festivities. Market picture and Church picture below.

Picture taking can be a hazard in Chamula, there are rumors of tourists killed for taking pictures in the church. The churches are not really catholic churches although a priest comes there every 20 days to perform baptisms. There are no pews, groups sit on the floor and burn candles, chant and drink Coca Cola, I'm not kidding, Coca Cola is part of the ritual and a Shaman is also involved. 

Well outside the church I was careful to not aim my camera in an illegal direction, but I guess the people behind Peggy were wives of the city officials and they thought I took their picture. A large group of tiny men, these guys are less then 5' tall, start forming around me and start shouting that I took a picture. I protest while they try to grab the camera. Several recognize that it is a digital camera, so I offer to show all the pictures that I have taken. The crowd swells and they can't see the pictures well in the bright light so someone says, take him to the tourist office. I'm relieved, I feel the pictures will vindicate me. We move in mass past wide eyed tourists wondering whether I'm about to be hanged. Once inside, they review each picture and are happy that none show any celebrations, rituals or costumes. I'm set free. 
So when we go to the next town of Zinacantan I'm afraid to even take the camera out. They were in full celebration of the same holiday, dancing, bands, bike race, basketball game, wild costumed characters running around with fireworks going off on their costumes. Three men dressed as Jaguars climbing a tree while the people below throw dead squirrels at them. Not to mention that all these Indian people wear beautiful dark blue and Turquoise embroidered costumes with iridescent  threads that looked like upholstery material to me. This was a tour to remember, it was unlike any part of Mexico that I have ever seen.
We stayed a few more days in las Casas, took a nice hike (picture-on right) and went shopping in their big outdoor market. We finally got tired of the 35o mornings and 65o high temperatures, Peggy was looking for the heat and beaches of the coast. We drove down from the 7000' town over a 8000' pass down to about 1500' at Tehuantepec, it's not a long drive but it took us 8 hours.

The big thrill on this drive is when you get close to the coast and pass an opening in the mountains from the Northeast coast of Mexico to the Southwest coast. The winds always blow hard here, sometimes reaching 100 mph. We prayed that the weather fronts were such that it would not be bad, considering that on one of our past Mexico trips the front window blew half out in the high winds. 

We knew that we were close when we saw the big wind mills and the town was called La Ventosa (The wind), the wind was strong but not giving me any driving problems when Peggy remarked that out large awning was staring to unfurl. The winds were strong enough to rip it right off if it kept going. However I couldn't pull off the road anywhere since there were no shoulders. Finally I saw a small driveway from a farm, I stopped and backed in to get off the road. No problem that some duct tape couldn't fix. I taped the locking mechanism on the awning so that it couldn't move to the open position and the problem was solved. Interesting enough in the short time I was pulled off the road, a Green Angel truck pulled up and offered assistance. I've seen the trucks before. It is a free road service in Mexico, these guys drive around to help any motorists in trouble. Just as good as WV, we have them there also. 

That night we picked a campground about 4 mi off the road that is back on a farm. Figured it would be nice and quiet away from the Pan American highway. Guess what, a caravan of 24 RV's from Quebec pulled in to stay for the night. They have been on the road since October. They had a big dinner and entertainment but we didn't attend, just got lulled to sleep by the music.
Got an early start on Tuesday and headed for Huatulco. This is a resort development, with 9 separate bays, that was planned by the same group that built Cancun. They started it over 10 years ago. We stayed there about 8 years ago and not much more has been built since. Lots of big all inclusive hotels on one beautiful bay. What was new is that they put in a little campground with bathrooms and showers, no power or sewers, but it is right between a large hotel and the golf course.

It is off the beach in the trees, so we have shade. We got here by 10 AM and it was already in the mid 80's with bright blue skies. The internet is a little more expensive here but it is only a short walk away. On Wed morning we walked around the hotel next door to the campground and took some pictures, plus I took a wide angle view of the bay looking out from our campground beach. I then went for a nice kayak paddle to the next bay.

Scroll to see entire view of Tangolunda Bay from our campground

Views from Quinta Real Hotel next to the campground

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