As we left Overlander Oasis Jacqui and I had nearly 4 months in Mexico under our belts this trip alone. The Guatemalan border is drawing close. The plan of a year long trip is showing itself to be ludicrous, if not impossible. That of course is assuming you'd like to see any of the two continents we'll be traveling from a vantage point other than behind the windshield.
Regardless, we left Overlander Oasis with our little Westy purring, and our positivity at an all time high. It was time to head to the coast in search of some wind and experience boon-docking with our newly fully-functional PennyWagon.
Jacqui, being the sole navigator, had some local plans for us before we'd close the gap on the Pacific Ocean. You see, Jacqui and I differ in one specific area. If the navigating were up to me, which is certainly a good thing that it is not, we'd not only be chronically lost but our route would be completely fixated on activities (hiking, snorkeling, kiteboarding, etc). But Jacqui is going to make sure that I absorb some culture, history, architecture, food and....rugs.
Yes I typed that correctly. Rugs. Apparently the town of Teotitlán del Valle is famous for their rug-making which has been passed down for generations. Leanne, from Overlander Oasis, had given us a tip on the best place to go for a tour of the process.
Before entering Jacqui and I had our pregame talk. We were absolutely NOT going to buy a rug. It wasn't in the budget, and we were holding out for the allure of Peruvian alpaca-goodness. We put on our game faces, and dedicated ourselves to a purchase-free rug-manufacturing tour.
Learning the painstaking, time consuming, labor intensive process that goes into making each of these rugs. Also discovering that I am far superior at spinning wool than Jacqui.
After seeing the painstaking, months long process that goes into making each and everyone of these rather inexpensive rugs, we're the proud owners of that little green guy you see above. We did our best at not buying anything. That's all I'll say about that.
We had two more stops planned before setting up camp for the night. First, and foremost, was a Mezcal tour.
Getting the tour of Mezcal manufacturing and receiving our free, awesome, hats!!
Finally it was time to make the PennyWagon climb a mountain to see the natural infinity-mineral pools at Hierve del Agua.
Our campsite at Hierve del Agua.
As the morning sun rose, we braved the frigid, thin air, snapped a few photos and headed straight for the coast. Salinas Cruz is said to be the windiest places in Mexico and one of the windiest in the world. This didn't mean a whole lot to me other than I might be able to pump up one of our smaller kites. Yay!!
As we rolled into town we were having trouble figuring out where our wind-search should begin. After failing to find a kite-school in town that Google insisted should exist, we figured we'd head to a beach that George from Traveling The Americas suggested. Having a vague clue of where it was, we figured we'd probably spot and ask a surfer. Instead, when I saw a guy on the side of the street lugging a giant surfboard with his thumb out, I figured he had the look of someone who knew where we we're going. Plus if he proved dangerous I figured I'd sic Jacqui on him, which is truly a punishment no criminal would be able to endure.
So...Jacqui and I introduce our first hitchhiker Pat. Pat is from Melbourne, Australia. He's been hitchhiking from Argentina for over a year. Windy-beach-discovering, two days of camping with our new friend, and an unbelievable number of no-see-um bites ensued.
Pat, Salinas Cruz and a windy beach!
After being stationary for so long and getting eaten alive by bugs, Jacqui and I couldn't bring ourselves to dedicate more than two days to the beach. Between the month we've spent in Patzcuaro and Oaxaca it was time to cover some ground. We bid our friend Pat farewell and hit the open road to get to San Cristobal de las Casas.
I can't stress how good it was for us and our PennyWagon to get everything squared away at Overland Oasis. The drive from the coast to San Cristobal is far more punishing than I ever could have imagined. 16 straight miles of hill climbing without a brake in the grade. Sea level to 7500ft all in one go. New and old cars alike lined the shoulder of the road broke down and steaming.
Obviously I don't wish mechanical problems on anybody, but it sure did feel good to just keep slowly creeping past broke down, "modern vehicles" at 25mph. The PennyWagon is finally acting like a happy girl.
Drive to San Cristobal, buying a huge bag of mangos for 20 pesos ($1.33) and seeing all the vehicles broke down on the side of the hill climb.
Finally we pulled into San Cristobal. After the morbid heat and tenacious insects of the coast, the cool air and healthy level on sunshine greeted us with open open arms. It was Semana Santa weekend and Jacqui and I decided we were going to go on a foodie extravaganza. It didn't last long, but we did manage to painfully stuff ourselves full of local goodies for inexplicably cheap. We were also elated to find that San Cristobal is a town full of coffee roasters. Time to stock up!!
That gross looking thing is a fried banana with a churro and covered in a sweet cream sauce. The cup is full of a pineapple bread pudding/juice. Many other food items were consumed. We ate too fast for photos. The last section is the chocolate museum tour.
Like so many other times on our voyage our plans were immediately thrown in the trash. We we're going to leave San Cristobal in a day or two. However, Jacqui got an email. She was needed immediately for a freelance design job. We knew we had access to all the supplies and internet she needed to complete the job, so our stay was immediately increased to over a weak.
Make dollars, spend pesos my friends. Jacqui has a decade of experience in the design world and is definitely leaving me a bit jealous with her connections and skills that allow her to work from anywhere in the world. Regardless, when the news came in, the Captain/Chief Engineer of the land yacht PennyWagon was reassigned to Housewife for a week. Such is life.
Jacqui carrying back supplies for model making and our extended week of exploration in San Cristobal.
Our campsite that was walking distance from downtown San Cristobal and the surfboard our neighbor sold us for 300pesos ($21USD).