Mexico 45, 13th June 2004

Good morning, good morning I heard, from the police, then heard it again and again, from about 5 am. Eventually I could stand it no longer and drove about 30 yards down the road. That shut them up for a while. Then it started again, good morning good morning!

Someone wrote to me and asked, why do they need so many policemen to guard a park? I've no idea why it needs so many policemen to guard a park. But it turns out that the policemen calling "good morning" wanted a photo. That's me in the middle the rest are policemen.

I don't think they wanted to arrest me. They gave me a gun.

Luckily I have a computer printer with me so I was able to print a full letter size copy for them as souvenir. Unluckily I am running out of colour ink so one copy of each photo is all they got!

I took a stroll around the Valley of the raised stones.

I mentioned imposing gates to the park at the end of a 10 km dirt road.

I drove on a bit, it came on to rain, I downloaded emails, and parked up for the night.

I posted a letter in the morning. Well, I found the office of the postal service and showed my letter to a guy outside, we went in, he looked at it, held it up to the light, asked if I wanted it registered, then unlocked a drawer in a filing cabinet and placed my letter inside, all on it's own, locking it again afterwards. I think they maybe don't post too many letters in this town.

At Tulacingo I turned north to look for a pyramid. Didn't find it. I did see a sign pointing to balloons so I followed it. The Club Aerostatico Nacional, started some 20 years ago by Eduardo Cortes who died about 4 years ago but the club continues, as a passenger flying operation, run by his wife Nohemi from a huge old and beautiful Hacienda. They have balloons of course

All the balloons, baskets, and burners have been constructed here and look pretty good on the whole, the bits I could see anyway. Unfortunately my total lack of Spanish and Nohemi's lack of English made communication somewhat difficult to say the least so after being shown round the hacienda I reluctantly continued on my way.

Nohemi's brother in law Horst had been helping with some translating over the phone, told me he lived in a very pretty village, about 70 km from Nohemi that had just been awarded "Magic Village" status, and said if I went there to call by. It was on my route, so I called in, partly to explain why I had not stayed at Nohemi's.

Boy, what a welcome I received! I was invited to dinner, offered the use of Horst's Internet connection, plied with drinks, and therefore left no option but to park in his drive overnight! Horst is German although he left Germany getting on for 50 years ago, and before final retirement 4 years ago spent 25 years controlling the operations of the Nivea Company in Mexico. There were a couple of German girls staying on their last couple of weeks of a 6 month round the world tour, Veronica and Annika from Munster.

Here's Horst.

And here is a really awful photo of Horst's wife Cristina but it's all I've got..............

In the morning Cristina took me on a drive to see the local Canyon.

In the afternoon it rained of course, we all piled in Horst's car and visited a now disused gold mine.

We returned, my van battery was flat, I'd left something switched on, again, so I used my extension cord to connect to the house and hopefully charge the battery. It didn't so next morning by cunning use of jumper leads between my 2 batteries I got the engine started. I've got a switch to connect the 2 batteries but that seems to have given up too.

I fiddled around under the bonnet and found a busted fuse. That seemed to get the inbuilt battery charger running again. Of course, both batteries recharge when the engine is running, it was just the mains supplied battery charger that was down.

Next day I planned to leave but Horst arranged balloon flights for the 2 girls so I'll take them there, Horst and Cristina are otherwise occupied with a dinner party, I can maybe do something to help around the balloons. So the morning was a visit, a guided tour no less, by Cristine, to the waterfalls and Hacienda in the canyon. There are lots of basalt columns, partly seen in the next picture.

And the Hacienda..........

All the water here was used to process the gold containing ore from the gold mines in the mountains. The owner of the Hacienda, and several other local Haciendas, and who also owned all the land as far as they eye could see, was at one time reckoned to be the richest man in the world.

I took a trip to a national park and a mining village then returned, spotted a sign to the English cemetery, and visited, there must have been around 150 graves, with gravestones written in English. Many miners came here from Cornwall to work the mines and obviously they, their wives, and their children, died from time to time.

I got back to Horst's, collected the 2 girls, and arrived at Nohemi's (www.clubaerostaticonacional.com) in time for dinner. The deal seems to be, dinner, bed at the hacienda, flight, then breakfast, for 1,500 pesos per person. Seems a good price to me. ($150, or 75) Of course the girls are guests of Horst and Cristina and I'm not flying so we are all above these considerations!

It's now after midnight, early morning call is 5:30 for 6:00 departure, so I'll now say goodnight.

Best regards

David Barker

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