7th March Mexico 4

First, these trip updates are rather large because I am including photos. If you have limited access, or find it hard to handle these huge emails, tell me and I'll put you on a special list without the photos and send you MINUTE files! Sorry if you had a problem with this one.

I didn't make it to my chosen parking spot near San Miguel de Allende. There was a bit of a traffic jam so I followed a bus, I guessed he wouldn't get stuck in a narrow street. He didn't but he went the wrong way (for me) so I pulled off in the first space I could find. Turned out there was a rather fine view over the town, the famous view over the town, there were twinkly lights everywhere. Here it is in the morning. The dark is shadow, it was EARLY morning!


There were lots more dancers in the town square, celebrating "Our Lord of the Conquest". Whoever he was. But it seemed they had come a little distance. At a guess there were 8 troupes with around 40 dancers and 2 drummers each, my were those drums loud! And some of the dancers danced for 3 or 4 hours.

I debated whether to go to a jazz concert but with sax plus piano it sounded way too smooth for me. I headed off and found a small quarry facing away from the road for the night. Just a bit to the right of the photo was a superb vista with, as I write this, lots of twinkling lights.

One snag. The van was not exactly level. When I was cooking the cooking pots had a tendency to slide off the gas ring.

I'll mention here that prices are quite low in Mexico. I made 4
photocopies today. 5 cents each. I bought potatoes in the market. 20
cents a lb. Strawberries 50c lb. That's cents as in US cents. Very roughly 5 US cents is 4 Euro cents or 3p. Work it out.

There are almost exactly 20 pesetas to the £sterling. that makes 1 peseta = 1 shilling. Easy for those of us who can remember shillings.

Gas stations don't usually take credit cards.

I'm told there are 3 distinct cheating methods in the gas stations

1 They don't zero after the last customer and pocket the extra
2. They short change
3. Quickly zero after filling and demand inflated monies.

As I moved toward the Monarch balloon sanctuary I drove through beautiful countryside. Mountains, trees, and green. Eventually after a 12km rough road which climbed and climbed and climbed (There were no other RV's in the car park!) I reached the entrance to the Monarch butterfly sanctuary. What an amazing sight. What amazing butterflies. They mate here, then head north at the end of March, towards the great lakes, or California. The next generation will mate again on the way. Eventually, the 5th or 6th generation will return here in November. No single butterfly makes the round trip. There were about 100 million of them. A storm in 2002 wiped out 80%, but they seem to have survived this. In Mexico they are all in quite a small area, maybe 50 sq. miles. They will all fly about 3000 km, at the rate of about 120 km per day, using wind currents, and preferring to fly in valleys. Not all their destinations, in the North or in the South, have been discovered. There seemed to be nearly as many people coming to see the butterflies as there were butterflies!

Here's a sky full of Monarchs.

Here's a tree full of Monarchs.

Here's what happens to the males after they mate.

They die. Really, they are as thick as that on the ground. Good job it doesn't happen to us, hey fellas!

Here's a Monarch on a shoulder.

On my continued way I noticed this bit of road. It sort of stops. Somewhat abruptly.

I found a nice spot for the night, down a track, then noticed a shadowy figure outside. I jumped out to say hello, offered him a beer, it seemed he didn't drink, so I gave him a Dr Pepper which he shoved in his pocket and said thank you. We then had a discussion. Hard, since he doesn't understand English and I don't understand Mexican. It was a long discussion, very friendly but obvious he didn't like me being where I was. I said I would move but he didn't understand. Eventually he understood I was only wanting to stay the night. I think he thought I had ideas to stay there for ever. When he understood I was leaving in the morning he said non comprendo, thank you very much, and disappeared into the night.

I'd already made a note to buy an English/Spanish dictionary.

Best regards

David Barker

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