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Old 04-08-2007   #61 (permalink)
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I'm REALLY enjoying this trip report! Thank you SO much for taking the time to post it!
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Old 04-08-2007   #62 (permalink)
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wow, that looks like the alot like the San Marcos River just east of town where it's starts to lose some of it's crystal clarity and turns a wierd blue/green color......incredible pics and I always love stories of aggressive natives
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Old 04-08-2007   #63 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jesus
For example in San Juan Chamula, the offerings are soda (Coca cola mainly) and alcohol. And guess who manages the Coca cola distribution in town? the mayor of the town. The pilgrims would get drunk inside the church and get in communion with the Gods in that state of mind (much like hallucinogen fungus in Oaxaca). And also, beware of the kids in San Juan Chamula, they know lots of tricks to get you buying. First thing they do is to ask for your name and where are you from. If you donīt buy at that time but give a false promise to buy later, they will track you and next time they see you (normally when you return to your bus/car) they will tell your name and origin and that you made a promise to buy.
Ummm... Jesus? We're not done yet... Quit stealing our story!
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Old 04-08-2007   #64 (permalink)
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All I can say is WOW!!!!
Great pix!!!!!
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Old 04-08-2007   #65 (permalink)
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That water was beautiful, Susie. Probably even more beautiful in person, one would imagine. Thank You.
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Old 04-08-2007   #66 (permalink)
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Another thing I neglected to mention earlier is that, somewhere along this drive, we passed a sign that informed us that we had just entered Zapatista territory and if they didn't like the way we looked, we would be shot... or something like that. Okay, okay... it didn't say that last part but I was still a little nervous. We'd read or heard that picture taking is frowned upon, so I tried to hide the camera if I saw something interesting along the road and wanted a picture of it.

I think it was in this segment of the trip that our next experience with aggressive natives began. Having driven in Mexico plenty, we were familiar with the tactic of speed bumps being used as a sales tool in small towns. Folks will come up to your car with their goods to sell because you have no choice but to stop for the tope (TOE-pay = speed bump). A simple shake of the head normally turns them away, though some are more pushy than others, coming right to your window. Again, never a problem though. However... on this trip... we discovered a new gimmick.

In places that weren't even towns, people had created homemade topes in the roads with a huge mound of dirt or whatever other material they had. And no signs warning of them. And they weren't just waiting to sell you things and then back away if you weren't interested. They were on each side of the road and had a rope between them. When they saw you coming, they'd pull up the rope across the road in front of your car. And then they'd swarm the vehicle with goods in hand, refuse to put down the rope when you didn't buy, and get right up to all your windows, not taking no for an answer. Talk about aggressive natives! We started to get a little worried, until another car came up beside us, went around us, and blew right through the rope, giving them no choice but to let go. This happened a few times on the trip, but just in that one area, between Palenque and the next major city. Yikes! Unfortunately we didn't get a picture... maybe if we'd pulled out the camera, they would have backed off.

Before they got mean though, I did buy something from one of the "normal" tope saleswomen.



Another thing that bears mentioning is that we were pretty much flying by the seat of our pants after Palenque. We had a general idea of a few places we wanted to see and a general idea of where they were but beyond that, we had no plans, no reservations anywhere, no idea of when we'd return home, except that Sarah had guests arriving Saturday so we had to be back before that. We also had no idea of what to expect in terms of the terrain, or roads, or type of accomodations we might find. We barely had an accurate map! It was all up to chance and fate and in-the-moment decisions/guesses.

So we didn't really have any idea how far we were from our next stop. But thankfully, we got to Agua Azul before dark and in time to see its beautiful waterfalls. As we had come into town, we'd seen one sign that said "Posada" which is not really a hotel but a place to stay for the night, nonetheless. We were relieved to see that there was at least the one place. Ironically, the boy who "helped" us park our car (and this one we did give 2 pesos to "guard" it), immediately asked Rick if we needed a place to stay for the night. Since we did, we allowed him to lead us to a man who told us about it.

It wasn't within walking distance to see, so we told him we'd come back after we'd checked out the falls. At this point, we hadn't even seen the falls and had to ask the boy where they were. Once we saw them, that was kind of laughable, given the immensity and beauty of them... I mean, how could we miss them!















It was starting to get toward dusk so we thought we better find out about the room possibilities. We headed back to find the man we'd spoken with at his restaurant. We'd learned there were 2 beds and a bathroom earlier, which covered the basic necessities, so we got in our car to follow him to the posada. It was much farther away than we expected and it turned out to be the sign we'd seen earlier. We pulled up into his yard. Yes, the rooms were behind his house. We dodged the chickens and dogs. And we followed him back to the room. It was small. It had no AC. It had no screens in the windows. It did have a floor fan and the aforementioned beds and bath. $350 pesos... (there didn't appear to be any other choices in town and it was now even closer to dark...) Would he take $300p? Sold!





At least there was what appeared to be a church across the street... maybe that would keep the bad guys away.



We unloaded and drove back to the falls area to get some dinner. Apparently empanadas are big here and there were lots of places selling them. Found one that appeared to have fresh ones at 5 for 10 pesos (that's 20 cents a piece US) and decided to eat there. Sarah washed up at the baņo before dinner.



We had eaten some delightful Enchiladas Suizas on our Rio Lagartos trip so were happy to see that on the menu here. We ordered 2 plates of mixed empanadas to share (cheese, potato, chicken, beef) and each ordered the enchiladas. To say it was a disappointment is an understatement. The empanadas were fresh, but the filling was nearly non-existent... maybe a teaspoon in each. And the suizas weren't anywhere near what they are supposed to be - stuffed full with chicken, rich with cheese, and smothered in salsa verde. These were scantily filled chicken tacos, in a red ranchera sauce, no cheese at all, topped with lunch meat slivers - ugh. We ate them anyway and I didn't think they were horrible but Rick did and Sarah was somewhere between. Those two thought they had to make up for it with dessert. So I got a mango on a stick while they had these yummy-looking ice cream sandwiches.



Mango was tasty, but the stringiest one I'd ever had.



Sarah had previously seen phones available and since her cell service was out and it had been all of a couple hours since she'd talked to her sweetie she agreed to pay 25 pesos ($2.50US) for one minute of check-in.



We hung out, trying to find something exciting to do... we didn't.



So we took a few nice evening pictures of the water and headed back to the room.



Rick and Sarah had been on a mission to find beer before we turned in and it just didn't seem to be available anywhere. Thankfully, back in the room, I had brought a couple bottles of wine, so we aimed to get a little drunky to aid our sleep in this rustic room.







Rick even ventured out on foot (mind you, we were in just a neighborhood now and not a commercial area) to find some potato chips for me. Rick doesn't speak Spanish. He doesn't know how to say "potato chips" in Spanish. (Sheesh... I don't even think I do!) He couldn't find potato chips. But he amused the natives and came home with a bag of totopos (tortilla chips) which were yummy with our cheap wine, even if we didn't have guac or salsa to dip them in.

A funny note... we had 2 cameras (3 batteries total for those), a videocam, and 2 cell phones, all of which needed charged from time to time. In this and other rooms we stayed in, there was 1 outlet available and no way were we unplugging the fan! So, we kept ourselves up playing word games and laughing in the dark until the green light came on for one battery, then plugged in the next and started over again until the last one was plugged in.

It was an interesting night. The windows had to be open cuz it was hot and the fan was nice but not enough. So, Sarah was certain the grunting pigs would push their way through the bars at the window and the chickens were clucking and the dogs were barking and the bugs were buzzing and, eventually, Rick was snoring, but we all got a little sleep. Thankfully, I've perfected the fine art of sleeping with a pillow over my head so I barely heard a thing. Rick was way more annoying than the critters.

Even though this day is over, I'm going to go into the next before we get on the road, just to show what we woke up to the next morning.



And a close-up of a couple of the varmints who woke us up...



And here we went... on the road again...

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Last edited by Susie Q Roo; 04-08-2007 at 03:04 PM..
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Old 04-08-2007   #67 (permalink)
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Breathtaking scenery ...and what an adventure ....those chickens look just like the ones that wake me up every morning....

Really loving this...thanks!
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Old 04-08-2007   #68 (permalink)
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Yes
Sarah and I looked for beer
No luck
And Susie brought the wine
A Yellow Tail Chardonay (corked) and a nice Boone's Tropical (screw cap)
But....no cork screw
I did a fair job removing the cork with a knife without stabbing myself or shredding the cork
We killed both bottles and played games (kmf)

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Old 04-08-2007   #69 (permalink)
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WOW! I love it! I admire your sense of adventure....few people are able to leave their comfort zone & just go with it! Very cool!!
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Old 04-08-2007   #70 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babaloo
But....no cork screw
I did a fair job removing the cork with a knife without stabbing myself or shredding the cork
I've had this same dilemna.
The fix, push the cork all the way into the bottle, and drink the whole bottle.
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Old 04-08-2007   #71 (permalink)
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This is so much fun to read. You all are very adventurous. I admire that. Love the pictures of the falls.
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Old 04-08-2007   #72 (permalink)
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The title of the thread mentions Vertigo
It was all about the mountain roads
The mountains are spectacular with incredible vistas
The roads just go up and up, never seeming to get to the top
But, the higher you go...the farther you fall
The roads were extremely narrow in most places
Hardly room for a van and a tractor trailer meeting in a curve
The shoulders seem to be at the edge of the drop with no guardrails
There were hairpin turns one after another
People were walking in both lanes, cycling, or moving their livestock
There were landslides and washed out roads.
It was white knuckle driving. Very exhausting.
Sarah and Susie learned early on not to exclaim "Oooh...look at that view!!!"
But from what i did see when i wasn't freaking out....it was beautiful.

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Old 04-08-2007   #73 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babaloo
The title of the thread mentions Vertigo
It was all about the mountain roads
The mountains are spectacular with incredible vistas
The roads just go up and up, never seeming to get to the top
But, the higher you go...the farther you fall
The roads were extremely narrow in most places
Hardly room for a van and a tractor trailer meeting in a curve
The shoulders seem to be at the edge of the drop with no guardrails
There were hairpin turns one after another
People were walking in both lanes, cycling, or moving their livestock
There were landslides and washed out roads.
It was white knuckle driving. Very exhausting.
Sarah and Susie learned early on not to exclaim "Oooh...look at that view!!!"
But from what i did see when i wasn't freaking out....it was beautiful.
It was exhausting just being a passenger on these roads. Lots of holding on and covering my eyes! As I said in the beginning, Rick was a real sweetheart to do all the driving and I know by the end of each of those mountain days, he was pooped.

Cuffed, he doesn't have those big guns for nuthin!
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Old 04-08-2007   #74 (permalink)
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WOW! Great adventure. The color of that river is amazing.
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Old 04-08-2007   #75 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeW
I've had this same dilemna.
The fix, push the cork all the way into the bottle, and drink the whole bottle.
You mean you don't drink the whole bottle if you do have a corkscrew?
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