Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Trip up to the village
What a fun trip up here to the village! I think it takes somewhere around six hours to get up here, but it passed really quickly for me. I had my laptop along and the family I'm staying with had a converter so I could power it from the car battery. I watched a movie and played some games the whole trip. I didn't even start feeling queasy even though the roads are so windy.The principal and his wife from OCS came with us along with a couple of girls who had just finished high school. They had room in their Suburban so I rode with them and had the whole back seat to myself. Couldn't have asked for a better trip! My stomach did ache for the rest of the day after lunch; I'm reasonably sure it was because of a really hot (spicy) bite of food I had.
The place we stopped to eat was in a valley that was really hot. It was a typical little Mexican place. Mango trees growing nearby, a kitchen with clay ovens and two places to cook tortillas, several tasty Oaxaca dishes simmering on a stove, crates of pop stacked against one wall, a room with an inviting hammock hanging in it, and a TV playing the latest World Cup game. The next place we stopped was a few thousand feet up from the valley along a narrow, winding road. Surprisingly, the road out here to the village was paved the whole way (even if it was just cement, and not asphalt). Anyway, the place we stopped at was a cool lookout point over nearly the entire valley. It was pretty cool to be able to see so far down and realize that we had just come from down there. Twenty minutes later we began to leave the dry moutains around the valley and enter a lush forest. The temperature dropped around thirty minutes from the bottom of the valley to the lush, green forest!
As we were getting closer to the village we were going to we stopped at another village to let someone off that had gotten a ride with us. Like most small mountain villages, it had a small center sqaure bordered by the Catholic church, a government building, and a clinic.Going out from the center sqaure were several very narrow, very steep cement roads. It's a real hassle driving around on these 'streets' without driving right over the side. A pickup drove past us at one point and couldn't make a really tight turn just in front of us.Then, trying to back up and get a better angle at the corner, the back tires just kept spinning and the truck seemed to slide towards the edge. To get some weight in the back so the wheels could get some traction they asked us to all hop in the back while they backed up. They made it, but I have to admit that I was rather nervous when the truck kept going forward at first!
First pic: The truck that got stuck on the narrow street, which is also visible.
Second pic: The village we stopped in. It's quite a bit bigger than the village where the family I'm staying with works.
Third pic: On the drive up, a view off the mountainside down into the valley from where we just came. Part of the road is also visible, but it doesn't do the curves justice.