Daily Archives: 31 December 2010


I left El Banito around 8am. In the towns along the way, people had already started to congregate out at the highway and I expect much of 85 would be one long block party for NYE.
I passed the turnoff for Hwy 120 because the way was blocked by trucks and venders, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was the road I wanted, and turned around after only a kilometer or two. Northbound, the turn was clearly marked, so I weaved my way through the traffic and soon found myself climbing. And climbing. And climbing. It is hard to tell if it is the cliff that hangs over the road as you venture up to Xilitla or the thick vegetation growing from it, but much of the time, I felt like I was driving through a green tunnel.
Then suddenly, hanging onto the mountain slope, is Xilitla. It is my favorite place in Mexico so far. The town sits at an elevation of 1151 meters in the Sierra Madre Oriental. Up high is the central plaza and everything else simply follows the green slopes downwards from there. The streets are narrow, made more for the Beetle, and they were packed with people and vehicles preparing for the festivities. Mexico obviously loves to party. The topes in the roads however, are like pyramids, which would not be kind to vertically challenged cars.
I had to escape the town center for my sanity, and tried to find the way to Las Pozas. Finally, I was rewarded with a road sign. The narrow street eventually turned into a rough, rock road. I asked three women separately, “Las Pozas?” and received three positive responses. In the end, it did take me to the dream of Edward James.
My plan was to rent a cabana on the grounds of Las Pozas, which I thought would be incredibly cool, and I had already met several tourists who were doing just that. Unfortunately, they made reservations, and I had not. The cabanas were booked solid. Miguel, one of the tour guides, had overheard my predicament and gave me directions to his mother’s place. Josephine had a small restaurant back up the road and she rented rooms that overlooked the Las Pozas valley.
The room was basic, but clean and a bargain. It had a bath, and a cold shower. And I do mean cold. Glacier cold.
I ate lunch in Josephine’s restaurant. The daughter, like Miguel speaks fluent English, which helped out tremendously. I can get by with my broken Spanglish, but I really should have taken more time to expand on my Spanish. At the next table, a little girl was sitting with her family, and the entire time she kept talking about ‘the gringo’. Her father leaned over to her with a grin on her face and his eyes on me and said, “Be careful, I think he understands a little.”
With everyone else here, I have become “El Americano”. I have heard it several times, and even heard it when I walked back up to the plaza. Sitting alongside the oddly cobblestoned road, I regret that The Rover is front & center. It has captivated everyone’s attention whether they pass by on foot, horse, car or bike. There isn’t much I can do about it, and I can not empty it either. I was told it would be fine, and the daughter had me park it under the families front window. It is obvious from the interaction here, that the family is respected. To be honest, I am betting on that.
The family at the next table get up to leave and the father tells me to enjoy my visit to Mexico.
I sure hope I will. I do know one thing… I won’t be sleeping much tonight.