Mexico 43, 7th June 2004

The drive to the local town, where I went to check emails, was superb, through around 10 miles of pine forest. The town was pleasant too.

It rained again during the night, it was not a great day for driving, so I decided to stay on. I decided this was the last day though, and fortunately the next morning, Saturday, set out clear, no rain in the night. I stopped at the gate and one man who I knew asked, hello Mr. David, when are you going? When I said "now" he talked for a while, said I must come back soon, and could he write to me, seemed sorry I was going.

Mexicans are lovely people. They are friendly, they are pleasant, they try to please, they are curious, what's my name, where am I from, they are keen to chat, even if they don't understand. So I was sad to leave Malintzi, both people and the place. I'm often sad to leave the places that I know, and the people I have met. But my need to explore is greater! So I drove down the road through the pine forest playing Ken Colyer loudly...........

"Goin' home
Goin' home
Yes I'm leaving
Leaving here today
Because if I don't leave now I won't be going nowhere..........."

I bought another 5 gallon container of drinking water, plastic this time, from a bread shop. I paid 10 pesos for the water and 5 pesos deposit on the container. Now when I bought water in the crystal glass jar I paid 120 pesos including deposit, he also quoted me 90 pesos total for the plastic. I do hope it is not the bread shop that has got the deposit wrong, they did not look like they could afford to lose 75 pesos. I queried the 5 pesos as much as my limited Spanish allows. I then wasted a lot of time on a slow internet connection trying to update my web site after I'd spotted another railway engine

and in the late afternoon it rained a bit and cloud descended. I reached Cuetzalan missing I am certain some spectacular scenery in the mist, but I have to go back that way, so no matter. I planned to park on the zocalo, the plaza, but turns out it's not just a pedestrian plaza but the only way to reach it is up huge flights of steps so I stopped on the street and wandered around. I saw a car park sign but on asking a bus driver there he said it was just buses. However he said, go knock on the door there. I did, a young lady said, yes, you can park over there. I finished up showing the van to 2 youngsters from the house and 2 men, I'm not really sure who they were!

There's a big market here Sundays so I checked it out. it was fun. I bought a machete. Not your standard huge used by everyone machete costing 30 pesos but a smaller one, only 12" blade, with better steel and a scabbard, for 100 pesos. I tried it on a coconut. Boy, these machetes do work well!

The 2 boys arrived when I returned to the van, Manuel age 12 and his brother Pepe age 9. I gave them soft drinks and they invited me into their house. They had a computer and a translation program! Their elder sister arrived, I'd spoken to her last night, and we all sort of conversed. I say sort of, these translation programs still have considerable room for improvement. But we managed, they fed me a delicious snack. How long is it since I remarked how lovely people Mexicans were? A couple of paragraphs? The family here just went on to prove that.

I then headed to the local ruin, Yohualichan. The buildings were built on earth based, stone faced pyramids, and the earth base shows. They have been hit by earthquakes too, that has helped the slipping..

There are niches in the pyramids on the stepped walls, on one pyramid niches within niches.

Can you see a couple top left of the picture? We later met, chatted briefly, and arranged to meet for dinner. They are from Indiana, been living in Mexico City, soon to be living in Texas. The next picture shows more how the terraces have slipped.

My next call was the local waterfalls, I went to just one of several.

The next picture is taken from exactly the same point as the one above but looking the other way.

It's pretty everywhere round here. There are superb views from the road, with steep drops down into valleys. You'll have to imagine the views. Luscious green valleys, with more green valleys, misty, in the distance, super to look at, but no good for photos! however, here is my route so far.

I met with Phil and Megan for dinner. Megan has been researching Mexican life styles for a year, they have just got married, and are on a 15 week honeymoon in Mexico until Phil starts work in Dallas.

I plan to visit caves in the morning.

Best regards

David Barker

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