Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways

14 08 2013

WordPress, my blog platform, puts forth a weekly Photo Challenge. Following is my interpretation of One Shot, Two Ways:

Mexico is a hallucinogen, snaring me in a massive hug of subtle hues, intense scents, raw intensity of Life….

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Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors, writes:

“In the afternoon when the sun lights the stucco buildings across the street, it’s possible to count a dozen different colors of paint, all fading together on the highest parts of the wall: yellow, ochre, brick, blood, cobalt, turquoise. The national color of Mexico. And the scent of Mexico is a similar blend: jasmine, dog piss, cilantro, lime. Mexico admits you through an arched stone orifice into the tree-filled courtyard of its heart, where a dog pisses against a wall and a waiter hustles through a curtain of jasmine to bring a bowl of tortilla soup. Steaming with cilantro and lime. Cats stalk lizards among the clay pots around the fountain, doves settle into the flowering vines and coo their prayers, thankful for the existence of lizards….”

The Lacuna ~ Barbara Kingsolver

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My Past. It Lives in a Tuff Shed.

10 08 2013

Monsters under the bed.

Skeletons in the closet.

My Past lives in a Tuff Shed.

I’ve come to believe that at a certain point, life creates a dichotomy.

A dilemma.

Do I maintain my safe, comfortable, familiar life — remain with status quo?

Or.

Experience the life I dream of?

Things I’ve enjoyed throughout my life: Linens. Shiny baubles. Rusty gadgets. Christmas ornaments. Funky hats. Books. The unique, the no-longer-produced, the weird and the wonderful. Hand-crocheted nut cups from the 1940s. Rosebud Haviland china. Depression glass. Silver-plated pewter. Rosepoint crystal. Ginny dolls (predecessor to Barbie). Headboard beneath which my great-grandmother was born. The round 54” claw-foot table that expands to seat 21 at which my grandmother fed a multitude of harvest hands at Threshing Time — at which I fed a multitude of Fab Fam and friends for numerous Thanksgivings. A lovely home nestled in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies.

I also enjoy travel and new experiences. Meeting people. Mountain vistas. Deserted beaches. Sunrises over marshes.  Sunsets on the desert. Undulating fields of wheat. Neighborhood bars in foreign countries. Adventure.  My family and life in Colorado. Friends and lifestyle in Puerto Morelos.  An easy to lock-and-leave, uncluttered, condo near the beach of Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

Precipitated by many of the changes that take place when one proceeds to fifty and beyond, I thoroughly examined and re-invented myself. Actually, with the help of a kick-ass Life Coach, I created the Me I was destined to be.  (Wow. That sounds weighty. )

Growth? Definitely.

Scary? Certainly.

Exciting? Unquestionably.

Worth it? Absolutely.

I sold my business. Bought a condo in Mexico. My husband became ill, then Transitioned. Our family home in Colorado found new owners.

My mother also Transitioned, and my brother (who hadn’t spoken to her in over 40 years) protested her “Irrevocable Trust,” and attacked my integrity as the executor and as her daughter.

All this is now resolved. I am stronger for having had these challenging experiences. I have learned to put things into perspective — to lighten the load — to let go of hurt and anger – to forgive.

During these – and other — upheavals of life, I consciously set a direction:  Simplify my life – release what no longer serves me.

Sounds easy enough. The actual logistics, however, were practically overwhelming.

Take a deep breath. Believe in the Outcome. One step at a time.

Making the decision to release my house – my home for over 20 years – and all the wonderful Stuff in it — was major.

The basement den was delegated for Stuff To Release.

Staring at shelves holding more than 60 years of book acquisitions, here’s a sample conversation with Self:

“I can’t get rid of this book. I love this book.

Mary. Seriously. Will you ever read this book again?

Well. Probably not. Actually. No.

Ever heard of a library?”

Many similar conversations followed by enough trips to Tradesmart, which pays 25-cents to a dollar per book, netted nearly $1000 and a barely a tad of freed-up space.  A beginning.

My daughter Leslie provided the best mantra, “Does this item bring me joy?”

Things that truly bring me joy – into boxes to stash and store.

Gifts to family and friends. Load after load to Salvation Army and women’s shelters. An auction house took two giant truck-loads. Several months later I received an itemized sales list with a not-fat-enough check. Cashed the check, never looked at the list.

And then I inherit my mother’s three-bedroom home with a packed-full-of-stuff two-car garage.

“Children. The time is Now. Take what you want.”

“Mom. We don’t want it.”

I come from a long line of Savers. I have been the repository for All Family Stuff. Thus, in the past year, I have reduced my lifetime of Stuff (No. More accurately: five generations of lifetimes) from two large homes to two 10’x20’storage units. Throughout this time, more sales and give-aways.

Down to only one of these units.

And I still have Stuff.

But as of last month, I’d down-sized to (#1) Stuff That Gives Me Joy and (#2) Stuff I Must Keep, such as tax records, photos, 35-mm slides of family (having discarded thousands of scenic slides early-on).  For me, family photos and slides are “Must Keeps.”

Again and again, I asked myself: Does this item give me joy? Yes.

However. Do I have a place to display, use, or enjoy it? No.

Am I ready to release it? No.

Sigh.

So. Fed up with paying storage rental fees, I invested in a Tuff Shed. Surely my Stuff will fit into 8’x14’.  It does. Barely.

Simplify and Release.

My Stuff has become a metaphor for my life.

I consciously choose:

What to keep.

What to discard.

Stuff.

Ways of Thinking.

Ways of Being.

The Past, of course, is part of Me.

I can bring it out at will.

Rely on it when necessary.

Love it.

Cherish it.

And lovingly tuck it away.

I am neither controlled nor defined by it.

My Past lives in a Tuff Shed.

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Mexican baseball. It’s all about the food.

16 05 2013

My first Mexican baseball game –the Quintana Roo Tigres.

I now know all about Mexican baseball.

It’s all about the food.

Well.

And the people.

!!!And the fun!!!

 I understand there is also a competition called baseball.

Not only beer, margaritas, hotdogs and burritos - but flan! And a baseball game.

Not only beer, margaritas, hotdogs and burritos – but flan! And a baseball game.

Entering the Cancun stadium is not unlike any sporting event in any part of the world — theme-adorned Fans, venders hawking tacky toys, candy, food booths, team wares. Testosterone. Feminine energy. The raw vitality of Anticipation.

And Tigres games are affordable. Ideal seats. Four-rows up, behind home base: 95 pesos (about $8.50 USD).

Whadda ya want? Just beckon, and your gastronomic desire arrives pronto. Beer. Chiladas. Michaladas. Plumaros (a massive margarita-like concoction of tequila, sprite and salt). Rum-and-coke. Sodas. Aracherra (beef) burrito with guacamole. Hot dogs.  Weiners splayed open, then deep fried (let’s maximize the grease factor) with French fries, of course. Fried bananas. Salchiccha. Chorizo. Pork chop. Chicken wings. Kibis and bolsas (Kibis are a deep-fried eastern Indian dish Mexicanized with habenaro and marinated red onions. Bolsas seem unique to the Ball Game: small-portion kibi balls served in a plastic bag.) Elotes and esquitas (My personal faves, even though they’re Montezuma’s Revenge waiting to happen. Elotes: corn-on-the-cob on a stick. Esquitas: cut off the cob and in a cup. Slathered with mayonnaise, cheese, crema, chili and lime. YUMMM!) Flan. Candy apple dipped in a tamarindo goo and rolled in chili. Neon-pink cotton candy. Deep-fried churros with your choice of chili or chocolate.   Fried crepe stuffed with Nutella and cheese. Did I mention there’s an abundance of “fried”? What’s not to love about a ball game?

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And the people!  Moms. Dads. Babies. Kids. Grandparents.  Great-Grandparents. Hombres in droopy shorts and backwards ball caps escorting bejeweled girlfriends with five-inch heels, cleavage, and rhinestoned hair. And a few of us gringos.

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Of course we have the requisite scantily-clad cheerleaders, bouncing out from a canary-yellow sports car, coaxing the Tigres to Victory. These dark-eyed lovelies not only gyrate as expected but mingle throughout the stands.

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Alas. Chacho, Tigre’s popular human-in-tiger-costume, was absent this night.

I was particularly attracted to the dead-pan-mime clown who periodically changed costume. My fave was his North-Dakota-style ear-flap hat and saggy pants. His star act? Munching a sandwich, then sharing bites with eager children.

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There was also the crazed fan affectionately referred to as Pollo (Chicken) based on his memorable costume: What else but a vivid red-and-yellow chicken suit? Pollo’s a staple at every game, rousting chants from the crowd, strutting the chicken dance and leading each Section in The Wave. Now how did this possibly happen? There’s a lull in the game. I’m out of the way, lounging by the tunnel, people-watching and minding my own business. Suddenly.  I’m Pollo’s dance partner.  ?A gringa? The crowd goes wild.

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This night, Tigres defeated the Merida team 3:1, including two home runs. Each hit was applauded by the enthusiastic band, heavy with drumrolls, and punctuated by the crowd’s exuberant cry: Tigres!

Did I mention (could we ever be more wonderfully politically incorrect?) that the batboys are dwarfs? The Merida team had one, but Tigre fans lament that “Mexico City stole ours – we’re looking for another.”

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Yes.

Mexicans know how to eat.

And how to dress.

And how to fully enjoy An Experience.

They create Amazing Fun.

Thanks to my partners-in-crime for including me in their regular sojourn to support and enjoy the Tigres: Ken and Kathy Ouellette, Amber Pierce-Schultz and Caden, Ed Murphy, Kim Temple, Anne and Steve Lowen with her mom Joan, Rob and Joanne McKinnon.

Thanks to my partners-in-crime for including me in their regular sojourn to support and enjoy the Tigres: Ken and Kathy Ouellette, Amber Pierce-Schultz and Caden, Ed Murphy, Kim Temple, Anne and Steve Lowen with her mom Joan, Rob and Joanne McKinnon.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust





Viajera Soltera ~ Solo Traveler Álamos Adventure

28 04 2013

The traveler sees what he sees.

The tourist sees what he has come to see.
G.K. Chesterton

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For me, the ideal time to experience Mexican tourist areas is in Low Season….April and May are my favorites. Most Snow Birds have returned home, shopkeepers are elated at the possibility of a customer, and the temperature has not yet reached sizzling.

When traveling by bus in Mexico, it pays to be vieja. Well. Not that I ever plan on being “old,” but my official age does qualify, and I’m certainly not too proud to request the Old Person discount (no special card necessary, just proof of age). With it, my six-hour bus trip costs only 95 pesos.

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Buses in Mexico create their own Adventure – comfortable although frigid and usually showing American movies with Spanish voices dubbed over — gotta love Sylvester Stallone brandishing a knife and barking orders in high-pitched Spanish. Vendors hop aboard for a short stint to offer tamales, dulces, and fruits. On this particular trip, the special treat was a sweet quesadilla stuffed with pineapple.

I’m phasing into traveling Very Light, adding yet another interesting aspect to my trips – living out of a backpack in which my computer, two phones, iPod, Kindle, camera and various power necessities take the majority of space. (Note to self: Purchase larger backpack. Smaller computer. Fewer electronics? Nah.)

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Upon arriving in Álamos, Sonora – designated a Pueblo Mágico by Mexico — I spotted a vine-covered posada for $500 pesos/night —  including almost-good morning coffee on an almost-private patio overlooking The Square – thus providing a vantage point from which to witness the town awakening in the morning and, with a glass of vino tinto, observe nighttime activities.

Posada de Don Andrès is an ideal location — night-time perhaps not quite so perfect with the questionably-talented yet enthusiastic musician at the otherwise deserted Cantina across the street till nearly 2:00 and the Singing Truck announcing something obviously important at 7:00 am sharp…. Proprietor Jorge cautioned me that a farther-back room might be more tranquila/peaceful. I prefer the heart of activity.

Hence, I sip coffee, check emails, and watch the community come to life from my wrought-ironed, bougainvillea-adorned patio. On The Square, white-hat vaqueros lean on their camionetas, taco carts roll in, tenderos unlock doors and toss buckets water onto the street….

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Álamos , a beautiful specimen of Mexico’s Colonial period, is known as “La Ciudad de los Portales” (portales — roofed verandas or walkways).  After reserving my room, I walk up Callejon de Besos, (kissing alley) to the Tourist Center in the Plaza de Armas for a bit of local history and to arrange excursions.

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My touring chariot is an ancient Jeep which includes Ligo — an attractive guide about my age whose somewhat-English meshes nicely with my somewhat-MexSpanglish — as well as a creative paintjob highlighting marvels of the area. And.  !?just when I thought life couldn’t possibly get better?!  An Ooompahpah Ooompahpah horn which also bugles out animal imitations, cocks crowing, and tacky tunes.   I LOVE IT!

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Access to the once-active mine, Libertad de la Quintera, requires four-wheel drive. Dodging cacti, tumbleweeds and lizards we wend our way up. Ligo, flashlight in hand, motions for me to get out and follow. He crouches and descends into an intimidating hole. Alice in Wonderland?

I have a momentary lapse into Common Sense: Who is this guy? A deserted mineshaft?! in the wastelands of Mexico?! What the hell am I doing?!

Good judgment, however, seldom creates Interesting Experiences.

I dutifully follow into the bowels of the earth, winding through tunnels, peering into holes where lamp light disappears to nothing, dodging startled bats that circle our heads before returning to rest on inverted roosts.

I ask Ligo to turn off the lamp. Complete. Total. Black.

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We proceed to La Aduana with its sweet little church, circa 1538. Adobe homes. Abundant flowers. Friendly people. I couldn’t resist purchasing two hand-made pillows, orange marmalade, honey and seriously-hot salsas. I visualize myself: Boarding the bus juggling plastic bags and string-wrapped parcels in addition to said back-pack – a striking image as an authentic Mexicana. (Yeah. Right.)

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 Friday evening. Town Square dutifully rolls up the streets for a while – then around 9:00, the area livens up. Apparently, anyone owning a “peeck-up truck” has it equipped with an external boom box and  hopped-up amplifiers. Singing Truck circles the area blaring songs from the 50s while announcing disco (Yes. Somewhat of a disconnect.).  The public bus arrives with screaming brakes. As this cacophony dies down the local cantina gears up. Ahhhh —  fin de semana – the week-end. Eventually — around 3:00 am – silence.

Saturday morning. On the bright side: An opportunity to actually use my newly acquired Mexspanglish idioms.

!!!???Que carajos???!!!                !!!???What the hell???!!!

 I was mentally prepared for cantina activities and weekend-revelers. All part of the “Mexican Experience.” However. At 6:00 am. Sharp. What would be the one thing a sleepy traveler might least anticipate? Re-roofing the hotel. Above my bed.  ?Porque no? ?Why not?

 At least Jorge had hot coffee waiting on the patio.

Sigh.  Nothing quite like a Mexican tourist town in Low Season….

P1270922“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”                ~  Mary Anne Radmacher ~

Note:    Pueblo Mágico

Álamos was named a Pueblo Mágico in 2005 — a designation given by the Mexican Secretariat of Tourism to towns that offer a ‘magical’ experience by reason of their natural beauty, cultural riches and historical relevance.





You did WHAT? You went WHERE? My solo venture into Mexico’s Copper Canyon

18 03 2013

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It’s been over a year.

My hiatus from blogging.

Challenges.

Growth.

Life….

Emotional journeys:

Death.

Love.

Loss.

Release.

My Mother’s death.

Re-evaluating Friendships.

Cherishing True Friends.

Releasing others.

Connection with Family and divesting Self of possessions in Colorado.

 Experiencing extremes in Oklahoma: Great Love and Ugliest Greed.

Thanksgiving in Mexico with daughter Jessica and hubby John.

Nicaragua with daughter Leslie and other elite Obstacle Racers.

Puerto Morelos, which is now Home.

Gratitude.

And now:

My solo journey through northern Mexico’s Copper Canyon.

Why?

Well.

?Por qué no?     Why not?

Barring having That Special Someone with whom to share experiences,

I prefer traveling solo.

Plan as I go.

Turn on a dime.

Meet interesting people.

This impromptu journey

far exceeded my already-high expectations….

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Day One

6:00 am ~ Boarded the train Chepe (Ferrocarrill Barrancas del Cobre) at Los Mochis, Sinoloa, Mexico, with my ticket to travel 650 kilometers to Chihuahua City ~ looking forward to majestic vistas voyaged through 39 bridges (the longest, 500 meters) and 86 tunnels (the longest, 1500 meters).

So I’m drinking coffee in the dining car, watching shrubs and saguaro cacti roll by and planning my journey. After reading various on-line sources, I decided that a “must” includes experiencing Copper Canyon via zip line (tiroleses)  ~ soaring over 1500 meter-plus canyon drops ~ and returning to the rim via cable car (teleférico). Even more importantly, however, I’m counting on this trip giving me the opportunity (forcing me?) to practice and expand my Spanish-speaking skills.

It’s tempting to take photo-after-photo of the passing scenes – but  I simply sit back to enjoy The Train Experience…..

Six hours of beauty before my first exit at Baruchivo where I selected a shuttle for Hotel Pariaso del Oso – Paradise of the Bear. Excellent choice! Family-owned. Rustic elegance (isolated ~ amazing setting ~Mexican antiques ~ wood-burning stoves).  Only three of us staying here, although two weeks ago this was home base for Caballo Blanco, the 80-kilometer ultra-marathon run in sandals.

Paraiso del Oso has  nothing to do with actual bears – it’s named for the rock formation that looks like cartoon character Yogi Bear.

This afternoon included a rugged 25-kilometer drive on what I would call Oh My Gawd Road to Cerro del Gallo, the spectacular lookout over Urique, bottom-most village. The road, however, was even more incredible than the destination. Sheer drop-off. No hint of a guard rail. Driver Rafael made numerous photo stops, also conveniently doubling as his opportunity to pull out the portable generator to fill a pesky leaking tire.

Following dinner lit by hurricane lamps, my two fellow travelers and I shared popcorn, tequila shots and stories by the cozy rock fireplace.

Sky and stars enveloped me in silence as I returned to my room, where, bundled under wool blankets, I fell asleep to the sounds of a crackling stove and, later, spatters of rain on the tin roof….

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Day Two

Crisp morning. Breakfast with thin coffee ~ and off to view the village of Cerocahui.  Taking photos, I got separated from our three-person “tour.” Missed seeing the boarding school yet enjoyed an even more enticing experience while attempting my fractured Spanish with locals and subsequently being invited into Lucero’s home to see her kitchen and herb garden. I broadly hinted for a taste of the boiling frijoles. Alas, they weren’t ready.

Train ~ I observed much more interesting people boarding the Economica car than my Primero one….Next time.

Exited train an hour-and-a-half later at Areponápuchi (Posada Barrancas) ~ I’d pretty much decided to take the advice of Ana Maria, doña of Paraiso del Oso, and stay in Hotel Mansión Tarahumara.  A nice man loaded my suitcase into a pick-up truck (seemed promising). Then. I realized North American and European tourists were being herded toward the cattle-car-size La Mansión bus! From the corner of my eye I spotted a battered SUV with handpainted sign for Cabañas Diaz. Yes! Sr. Armando has a room. Retrieved my suitcase. Off for more adventure along with a nice-looking couple from Guadalahara.

I did not make this journey to hang with North Americans!

So instead of $1500 pesos/night, I’m paying $250. Adequate room. Hot water. Amazing home-cooked meals. Magnificent people.

Reserved two nights.

Uh-oh.

Fireplace, a drafty door, and five (!!!) wool blankets. Could this be indicative of the approaching night?

Laura, Armando’s daughter, served up delicious caldo de pollo, hand-made tortillas, and fresh salsa with mucho serranos as her children sat by the wood stove plucking off tortillas. Also sharing the meal was an American who looked 110 but was probably only 80, goes by name Mango and built a house here 25 years ago. He’s helping me acclimate to my surroundings, pointing me toward the best tienda to buy cervesa (although it seems they Gringo-ed me ~ 100 pesos for six Tecates!).

With the afternoon ahead of me, time to see the canyon. Armando pointed me toward the rim. We’re already at about 8,000 feet. Turn left at the family cemetery, take the steps built into the mountain up another kilometer or so, past Hotel Masiòn, around some narrow ledges….

I’d heard others rave about this area and read that this is one of the largest in the world and more vast than the Grand Canyon ~ 6000 versus 4500 feet deep and four times the volume, with seven major and over 20 minor canyons rather than vertical walls down to a single river like the Grand.

Nothing had prepared me for the magnitude and grandeur of Copper Canyon.

A great start to this Journey.

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Day Three

I now know the difference between a “wood stove” and a “fireplace.” A wood stove (Paraiso del Oso) heats the room. A fireplace (Cabañas Diaz) creates delightful ambiance and heats the chimney.

And don’t let anyone fool you with Good-Old-Days nostalgia about sleeping under wool blankets, awaking with a frozen nose.  ?Really?  But this trip is An Experience ~ right?

Mexico’s Copper Canyon dwarfs USA’s Grand Canyon, and photos don’t begin to do it justice. As I’m standing at the rim, 7,500 feet above the canyon floor (Well. Only about 900 directly below me) and surrounded by incredible views, a cute young man is adjusting my harness, checking my helmet, handing me gloves, giving last minute instructions…..

Lista? Ready?

!Zip-line!

As with every venture — the first step is the hardest.

And taking flight is exhilarating!

Hiking between the seven stations of the world’s fifth-longest zip line was equally heart-stopping. Narrow ridge trails. Abrupt drop-offs. What’s a handrail? And two incredibly long, blowin’-in-the-wind suspension bridges.

Line Four. Is that dot the landing station? OMG! Over a kilometer of cable, a spine-tingling drop of over 1500 meters, and speeds up to 100 km/hour. Hooked up, pushed off, and peacefully flying ~ I gazed in awe at panoramic views experienced no other way….

A sphincter-puckering adrenaline rush.

Danger. Views. Soaring. Joy.

I traveled somewhat unprepared for the altitude, so Armando loaned me his down jacket for this venture. When he retrieved me mid-afternoon, the sun was bright, and I took the opportunity for a hot shower before the chill of the evening. He was then kind enough to take me to nearby Divisadero to walk the shops. In my crude Spanish, I asked him to return in two hours. Gorging on chilis rellanos and blue-corn tortillas stuffed with chipotle-pollo cooked on 50-gallon barrels and walking by tienda after tienda of handcrafts took less than an hour. Hotel Divisadero Barrancas looked inviting. Yes! Enjoy the canyon beside a roaring fire, via a grand picture window ~ sipping a glass of vino tinto.

Life is grand.

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Day Four

Frost. It had been a nippy night.

There was just time to take in the Canyon via horseback before boarding the afternoon train. I had explained to Armando that I grew up on a farm, riding horses ~ yet propped against the shed was my Mighty Steed. Perhaps I should carry him? Yet, soon I mounted, and with grandson Alexandro as my guide, we trotted off. I never asked my horse’s name but called him “Tortuga.” We forged a nice synergy, however, as Tortuga would stop at every curve to pant – while I’d take photos. On the return back up, he stopped so often ~ and I was loathe to whip the doddering dear ~ that Alexandro asked if I’d like to switch horses for a while. Much more interesting. As we entered town, Alexandro desperately indicated we switch back ~ I briefly considered saying that No, I was fine or pleading No entendo ~ but I relinquished, allowing him dignity.

Rocky trails. Steep grades. Grandeur. So far, I’ve experienced the canyon by train, aging car, tram, zipline, foot, and now horseback. Barrancas del Cobre ~ magnificent. Each experience better than the last….

Adios to Sr. Armando, Laura, the grandkids, and Tortuga ~ time for the afternoon train to Creel.

I now understand what the guidebooks mean when they call Creel a “teeming city.” Tourism gone wild. Pick-up trucks. ATVs. Souvenir stores. And internet! Still low-profile and “very Mexico,” yet also Very Busy. Quite the change from the serene nature and lack of ambient lights in Baruchivo, Areponápuchi, and Divisadero.

A couple glasses vino tinto “downtown” and an early turn-in at Hotel Real del Chapultepec ~ 250 pesos/night with actual heat as well as the wood stove ~ and internet. Luxurious.

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Day Five

Efrin, a Tarahumara Indian, picked me up for a tour in his bedraggled Ford Focus which immediately needed gas. We weren’t, however, stopping every thirty minutes to air the tires….

The canyon is different here ~ gentle slopes, grand boulders and stories-tall waterfalls, much-frozen this time of year. We visit Elephant Rock (yep. Looks like an elephant) and Valley of Mushrooms (phallic?).

Tarahumara Indians live in these canyons and walk the streets of Creel in their brilliant dress, selling intricate baskets and crafts. As Efrin was born here, he knows everyone. The “standard tour” included Cascada de Basaseachi waterfalls, a school, San Ignacio Mission (over 300 years old) and the canyon itself. An ancient-appearing woman was sitting in the sun, sewing, beside her door ~ a splash of dazzling color amid the ashen landscape. Upon my request, Efrin asked permission to go inside. Nestled among gigantic boulders, her home too, was gray: constructed of mud bricks with tiny windows, wide-plank floors, wood stove-oven with frijoles and nopales/cactus aromatically simmering atop, shelf, small table, cloth and basket supplies. I saw neither bed nor hammock.

Simplicity personified ~ exuding an incredible sense of color and beauty, magnificence, peace….

Two words in Tarahumara: kuira (hello/hola) and matetereva (thank you/gracias).

Afternoon train with a six-hour ride to enjoy the sunset and Chihuahua City in a delightful boutique hotel, San Filipe Real, and a very short night before catching the early morning flight to Mexico City and Cancun, then the ADO bus home to Puerto Morelos….

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Postscript

How did I fare with my Spanish language skills?
Sigh.

Sadly lacking.

Yet there was no shortage of sharing

joy, smiles, laughter

stars, waterfalls, nature

silence

beauty

goodness

connection

~ oneness ~

Did I feel safe?

Always.

 Would I do this, or similar, again?

In a heartbeat.

 I am truly grateful.

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Reference

Lonely Planet guidebook chapter, Northern Mexico

www.Mexperience.com

The Train: Chepe Ferrocarril Mexicano,  http://www.chepe.com.mx/

Hotel Paraiso del Oso ~ Cerocahui, Chihuahua ~ www.mexicohorse.com ~ MX Cel 635.108.6301 ~ USA 800.648.8488

Cabañas Diaz ~ en la Sierrra Tarahumara ~ Areponápuchi, Chihuahua ~ Barrancasdelcobre_mexico@yahoo.com ~ MX 635.57.8.30.08

Hotel San Felipe Real ~ Hotel Botique~ Chihuahua City, Chihuahua ~ MX 614.437.20.37 ~ MX Cel 614.247.1684

Were I doing this trip again, I would start the trip in El Fuerte and enjoy at least a day there. I understand it is a charming Colonial City. Not to mention that the train arrives around 8:30 rather than the 6:00 am Los Mochis departure.





Piggin’ Out on Sausage ~ Salc-ccia

4 01 2012

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Comfortable Sigh.

After sleeping nearly 30 hours straight (ask daughter Jessica and hubby John who had to fend for themselves during my long siesta ~ however, I understand they didn’t seriously suffer ~ eating guac and sipping frosty cervezas with their toes in the sand), I’m finally settling back into my Puerto Morelos home and the routine of a non-routine.

Lotsa changes since I was here briefly in October, not least of which are new restaurants ~ including several in La Colonia. Thus ~ someone has to do it? After frequenting my standby faves such as Cantina Habenaro for vino tinto and papas fritos, La Oazis for Shrimp Sambuca, Papas y Café for potato casseroles and to-die-for mole sauce, the place with no name and red tables across from the hammock shop for chilaquiles, and the other place with no name and red tables in La Colonia for tinga tostados ~  the time was right to venture out.

Salc-ccia is a tidy, clean, and most unassuming place in an even more unlikely location: behind the gas pumps at the Pemex Station.

OMG!!!

Sausage ~ a choice of German Sausage, Argentinian Sausage, Yucatan Chorizo, Spanish Chistorra, Breakfast Sausage, Chicken Sausage, or Spicy Morrocan Beef Merguez. Sandwiches on freshly baked baguettes, “secret sauce,” grilled or Mexican-limon onions, dill pickles, with a plethora of additional sauce choices. Their refrescos and cervezas had to be the coldest ever, floating tiny shards of ice.

And, if fresh-baked bread and tasty real-meat sausage weren’t enough? The price for this nearly-foot-long taste sensation? Twenty pesos (about $1.50). Next time I may try the homemade corn tortillas. But today? German sausage and caramelized onions on a fresh baguette ~ mmmmm!

Salc-ccia, open only three weeks, is the first retail outlet of Embutidos del Camino, the sausage factory located on Cenote Road which supplies many of the resorts and restaurants along the Riviera Maya. In addition to sandwiches, Salc-ccia also sells meat by the kilo for grilling at home.

After today’s pig-out on sausage ~ perhaps tomorrow I’ll try the new vegan taco place where the hardware store used to be, or Govindas with its 58-peso organic lunch, or maybe La Luna Llena, or….





I’m sharing this?

1 09 2011

What the hell! on her little gecko face....

From my Only in Mexico department.

I wasn’t planning to share this on my blog. But we’re friends, right?

(One of my male acquaintances once used this line ~  I digress.)

And, I’ll preface with I love geckos! Yes, they leave little gecko droppings here-and-there. Yet they eat mosquitoes and other unsavory flying, biting things. So in my opinion, they’re fine housemates.

But….the other day, I’m sitting on the toilet. My mind’s wandering, thinking about Various Other Things. Certainly not thinking about geckos. As I absentmindedly reach for paper, a terrified gecko leaps out of the toilet paper roll, over my lap, onto the edge of the tub. Turns back to glare at me with a What the Hell? look on her little gecko face.

Needless to say (if I hadn’t already), I would have peed my pants!

And, for Inquiring Minds: No, I did not have my camera with me at the toilet. I found a Previous Gecko Photo to include for dramatic emphasis.