One note to start: As I`m publishing this post, more is becoming known about the situation on the ground in Haiti, and the death count from the recent earthquake may be in the tens of thousands. Here`s a list of aid organizations working on the recovery effort; please take a few minutes to send some help their way.
I´m sitting at the computer terminal in my hostel in Zacatecas, listening to the rain patter on the dark, cobbled streets outside. I´ve traveled almost three thousand miles in the last week, from wintery Vermont to rainy central Mexico, by bus and train. I´m tired, and pretty dirty, and recovering from a cold, but I´m on such a huge traveler´s high that it doesn´t matter. But, before we go there, I´ve got some catching up to do. The story of the last leg of my roadtrip across Mexico with my housemates, Andy and Temoc, remains untold!
Beginning the last leg of our roadtrip across mexico, we ditched Oaxaca with heavy hearts, and decided to get some distance. We drove through the whole day, and part of the night, arriving at San Cristòbal de las Casas around 2am. The road was amazing, full of extreme bends and cliff-side views of an absolutely epic, mountainous landscape. We passed dirt hillsides forested with cacti, and vast plains shrouded by layer upon layer of blue-purple mountains on the horizon.
After three days in mountainous San Cristobal we launched ourselves into the jungles along the Guatemalan border, camping and driving our way across the Carreta Fronteriza, a road running 400k along the Mexican-Guatemalan border. Some claim the road was built solely to facilitate the Mexican military´s control over the region in their efforts to restrict the movements of the Zapatista rebels in the bordering Lacondon jungle. Either way, it was lush, green, wet, misty jungle throughout.
We camped one night in the Lagunas Montebellos national park, a collection of five placid, forested lakes just on the Mexican side of the border. Our little lakeside campsite was run by a large family, who also had a rustic restaurant on-site and ran tours of the region. We´d barely pulled our stuff out of the car before Carlos and Jonaton, two pint-sized cousins, ran over, arms flailing, to ask us where we were from, and what our names were. They helped us build a nice fire, and we spent the evening chatting, fixing them peanut butter and bimbo (i.e. wonder bread) sandwiches, and telling ghost stories. Heartwarming!
That night, I feasted on a spiny, mean-looking fish at the family´s restaurant; apparently, it was caught in the lake next to our campsite just a few hours earlier. Looked kinda like a pirhanna…I´m glad it was already dead by the time I dealt with it. Despite the outward appearence, it was tender.
The rest of our trip in Chiapas will be in an upcoming post.