Stories

 

Mexico - August to September 2010


From August 9th, to Septembre 27th, 2010

Our journey across the famous bridge crossing between the U.S. and Mexico went smoothly. We were just a little surprised by the 25 dollars per person to be paid for the acquisition of the visa. This amount is not requested when arriving by plane, but we learned that it is simply included in the flight ticket price. We needed time to realign ourselves with the Mexican territory. We got used to the American culture, which is in the end, not so different from ours, in Europe.

After spending the night on the bank of a river, we made it to the region of La Huasteca, an area we already visited four months ago. Unfortunately, due to the rainy season, the water level of the rivers was too high and the waterfalls were closed to the public. Our stay in La Laguna de la Media Luna revived good memories. The water was still as warm and crystal clear. The sunlight highlighting the turquoise water cave from the rooftop to the bottom, was amazing.

    

Back in San Luis Potosi, we were invited to spend a few days with Manuel and Rita, the couple from whom we bought our VW Combi a few months ago. After the 28,000 kilometers we drove since the beginning of this journey, it was time to fix a few mechanical things. Thanks to Jose, the mechanic who made some space in his schedule and spent a day taking the engine down, changing the clutch and changing a few spares on the engine. We were kindly invited to spend a family weekend at Manuel & Rita's ranch. Program: finishing the painting of a new building that will serve as housing for summer camps dedicated to children from the city, who want to discover farm animals. Their new kitchen is well equipped with a wood fire oven that we inaugurated with homemade pizza. There is still progress to be made on the heating technique ... Thanks again to Rita and Manuel for giving us the opportunity of resting for a week.

    

We headed to Guadalajara to visit my friend Colin and his wife Nicole. Do you have the feeling you already read this story? Not surprising, as we already visited them at the beginning of our trip, four months ago. Alejandra and Guillaume, friends of Aless were just settling in this big city. It was an opportunity to see them again for Aless and for me to meet them. We no longer had any scruples of inviting our self to our friends's place or even to stay with people we do not know. The only "rule" is that we make dinner at least once. Now that we are confortable with this, we experimented a new concept: we invite our self at friend's place and we invite other friends to join ... I must say that Colin, Nicole and her family are very open minded and they really opened their homes to us. Remember we visited Mary (Nicole's grand mother) in San Diego, Lisa & Gilbert (Nicole's aunt and uncle) in San Francisco and Jacky & Gabriel (Nicole's sister & brother in law) in Portland.

It took several visits to Mexico and a bit of emphasis from Alejandra to give us the impetus to go to the famous Degollado Theater. We watched a folkloric show, demonstrating songs and dances from many states of Mexico.

    

Beatrice, my mother was going to arrive at Cancun airport the following week, which meant that we no longer had time for sightseeing. We had to follow the shortest road to reach the airport on the D-Day. After some research, Aless found a friend he hadn't seen for nearly 10 years. It turned out that she was living in Morelia, a town located on our path, about 300 kilometers from Guadalajara. We therefore took this opportunity to visit her. We revived good memories and spent the night at her place.

The next day we followed the road through the mountains. We traveled about 30 miles along the curvy foggy road before being the first to reach the scene of a bad car accident. Four people were seriously injured. Aless left with the van to try to find some help. There was no mobile reception to call for emergency with a mobile and the nearest hospital was 30 kilometers on one side and 50 kilometers on the other side ... It was a mountain road with very little traffic, but finally a bus passed by and managed to reach the police. Among the injured people, a 13 year old girl had a very deep wound on her forehead and it was hard to keep her conscious. Her mother was trying to overcome her pain in order to be able to help her two children. The brother of the teenage girl was trapped in the car with two broken knees and a face covered in blood. The driver had a big scratch on his cheek and was sitting quietly, waiting to be rescued. After an hour in the cold on the road side, applying my first aid skills and keeping the girl conscious, the first ambulance finally arrived. It took another half hour to help the doctors until the ambulances left for the hospital.

We continued our journey in silence, the images of the drama playing in our minds. Despite the two hours of delay on our "schedule", we had to reach Carnavaca were our friend Sofia was expecting us at about 6 PM. The holes and the bumps in the road forced us to be prepared to stop at any time and required a lot of concentration. Six kilometers before arriving at our destination, at dusk, during descent, and in a curve, we lost the brakes on our car. Aless pulled the handbrake, a bus was coming from the opposite direction in the other lane, and the back of the van started to slip on the side! Aless released the handbrake, the van followed the road again. We finally stopped a kilometer down on the side of the road. Aless asked the neighborhood if by chance there was a mechanic in the area. It happened that one of them knew exactly the phenomenon we just experienced. Because we used the brakes a lot to avoid the holes and the bumps a few kilometers before, then went downhill for seven kilometers, the brakes heated the brake fluid which turned into steam. Suddenly, from one second to another, there were no brakes. The young man offered to help us by draining the fluid in order to enable us to make it to Cuarnavaca. We arrived at 9 PM, in the dark, in the rain, and Sofia was very worried. After a day like this, which seemed endless, it's been an incredible release to arrive in her safe and comfortable home. I couldn't keep my tears anymore. In order to allow us to spend a quiet night, Sofia gave us a very relaxing Reiki session.

After that crazy day, a break was needed. The most important thing was to find a garage in order to check and balance our brakes. In the afternoon, we decided to get some fresh air and visited Tepoztlan, a charming village in the mountains.

Over the next three days, we drove a lot and used the highway (toll), which we usually try to avoid.

    

After almost five months between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean without really being able to swim, we made it to Tulum, in the Caribbean. It feels like we are on holiday. It is a pleasure for me to share this little paradise with my mother, who joined us for three weeks. Cinzia and Stefane, friends that Aless met a few years ago, generously offered us a room in their new house. To make a long story short, our days started with a bath in their swimming pool, a fresh papaya covered with lemon juice for breakfast, then a quick drive to the beach were we swam in the warm turquoise water. We played with the dogs on the beach, went back to the village to have some lunch. If we still wanted more water, we could go for a swim in one of the fresh water cenote or lagoon. For extra activities, we went scuba diving around Cozumel island, shopping in Playa del Carmen. We visited the famous archaeological site of Chichen Itza in heavy rain, the archaeological site of Tulum dealing with temperatures and sun severe enough to give us heat stroke, and the archaeological site of Coba guided by the magical mist of the morning.

    

We fell for a small abandoned puppy, who we found hiding under our vehicle. Noticing a strange wound on the nose, a visit to the vet was needed. Unfortunately, it was already 7 PM, National Day's eve and the vet was closed for two days. In order not to risk contaminating Charolle, our hosts dog, we were not able to accommodate the puppy. So what to do ? After calling our friends Maria Luisa and Martha, we learned that the owner of the small shop where they were purchasing a bike, was willing to adopt our new friend, who he named Chepi (September in Mayan language ). We offered to bring the dog to the vet when they reopened and to take care of the fees. On D-Day, the little puppy had a grooming session and received a few anti parasite drugs. It was nothing serious, his wound was just the remnants of coagulation already healed, and he was just weakened by a lack of food. We visited him every day and saw him grow along with the children of his new family. We brought him for a walk on Tulum beach and gave him a swimming lesson. In order to reward him for his hard work, we arranged / gave him his last vaccination shot, and bought him a small necklace to hang his first medal :-) (Ready about Chepi's storry, 3 months later)

    

A few days before Beatrice's departure, Quimex the company for which we have previously worked, gave me a job offer for a period of three months in Geneva. After a day of reflection, the offer was accepted. A week later, we left our van with a friend in Cancun and took a flight, destination: Switzerland ...

Click here to read the story of the continuation of the trip after 3 months in Switzerland

See album "Mexico - August to September 2010"