Heading out to the Highway

Our time at La Posada has finally come to an end although we tried to extend it as long as we could and we all probably would have been perfectly content to spend the year here and have our skin turn to sandpaper from all the chlorine in the pool. J doing one of the many flips he performed during our week at La Posada

In part, our inertia stems from indecision – we don’t know where to go next. We’ve been in Mexico for 6 days and we've already concluded there is too much to do in this country even if we had a year and we’ve only got four weeks – my in-laws arrive in Belize, which is about 2,358 kilometers (about 1,400 miles) from Monterrey if you go in a straight line, on October 2 and they would be disappointed, to say the least, if we weren’t there to meet them or didn’t show up within a day or two of their arrival.

Here I am with a map of Mexico and no clue which way to go

To give you some perspective, the land area of Mexico is as much as all of Europe, and we are in north central Mexico – so we’ve basically got the whole country below us. There are three roads leading south out of here and we don’t know which to choose – it’s like the Price Is Right but behind every door you’ve picked the grand prize.

The first road we can choose goes southwest and would take us to Zacatecas, where La Feria starts September 3. According to its own web page, La Feria is one of the three most important fairs in Mexico celebrating the country’s independence from Spain and it boasts the usual celebratory events like bullfights, cockfights, and drinking in public. Going this way would also put us in a direct line to Guadalajara, where we plan to meet Sergio, a boy we began sponsoring through Children’s International about a year ago. We told Sergio that we were going to come visit him and since we are probably the only Americans he knows, we want to keep our word so that he doesn’t think poorly of Americans other than Donald Trump. J is also kind of excited about this visit because Sergio has told us that he plays soccer.

A second road goes more or less straight south to the city of San Luis Potosi and beyond that to two of the colonial gems of Mexico – the cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende (SMA) – where there is lots of history, architecture, and drinking in public. We’ve got an offer of a place to stay in SMA from a friend of R’s, and we need to pass through there anyway to pick up our VA DMV package that contains the certificate of title with the correct VIN which our friend in Alexandria was able to secure free of charge today. (VA waived the fee to make up for their error of giving us a title with the wrong VIN in the first place). We are also more or less still in line with Guadalajara and that visit to Sergio, so this route makes the most sense. SMA is a big ex-pat community as well which we’ve read about for years and I’m sure that as soon as R sees it and talks to her friend about it, she’s going to want to move there.

A third road goes southeast to the State of San Potosi – land of turquoise rivers and swimming holes, canyoneering and waterfall jumping, and drinking in public. While this direction seems to hold the types of things our family is most into, we would essentially need to double back to get to SMA and Guadalajara, so, as much as we regret missing out on what looks like some beautiful natural areas and fun activities, realistically, we won’t be able to pull off going here, in addition to the other places, with the time that we have. I’m guessing this won’t be the only time this year when we have pass on something we want to do because a year isn’t going to be enough time to see and do all that we want to see and do so we may as well get used to it.

Here are Coconut and J sharing some quality time together and with a screen

One of the other reasons we stuck around La Posada for the entire week was that we wanted to climb in the Potrero Chico. We finally got to do this on Sunday morning and even though my toes are black and blue and I’m sore as a donkey, I’m sure the guide is probably just as sore because by my fourth climb she was basically pulling me up the rock as I took chances with my finger holds and toe holds that I knew I had no real chance of making, but I was so tired that I figured I would either fall and be done or she’d give me just enough help for me to hang on until a more reasonable hold developed. Coconut showed off her climbing skills acquired at Sport Rock in Alexandria, tying all the knots, making all the climbs, and even belaying J and me on one of our climbs.

Maya impressed our climbing guides with her rock know-how and belayed me as I climbed "snake hole". Most of these climbs are well clumb, so there is little danger that a snake actually still lives in the hole.

Poppy climbing

R climbing

Here I am descending from one of the climbs at El Portrero Chico

J climbing at Potrero Chico

ground view

Overall, it was well worth hanging around La Posada the extra time as well as the $100 we paid for four hours climb time, and we got to meet Rudy and Karla, the accomplished climbers and guides that work with La Posada. We would have gone climbing earlier in the week but Rudy and Karla were off somewhere climbing themselves until Friday – so we scheduled to climb with them on Saturday afternoon, but we cancelled because we were hanging out with a Mexican family who had arrived late on Friday night and tried to set up a tent for the first time in the dark. We were playing cards nearby and Coconut has become expert at tent-setting-up so she was able to help them and on Saturday they invited us to swim and BBQ with them and J played with their two boys.

About 150 people and 1600 cans of Tecate beer showed up on Friday night and everyone started drinking as soon as they woke up, though I managed to wait until noon, so by our scheduled climb time the party at La Posada was in full swing, Coconut was deep into her second book of the day, and R was circling me as I hung with the hombres - grilling meat and drinking Clamatos, a mix of beer and tomato juice and maybe clam juice as well that tastes as disgusting as it sounds but as an ambassador of America, I drank what was offered. It seemed like a bad idea to break up the party to go climb.

The same thing happened on Sunday – people partying and drinking all day – and then just before dark, everyone cracked their last Clamato, hopped in their cars, and drove home – apparently without a second thought. In this sense, Mexico does seem to be lawless, but not in the way our media portrays it. I mean, drinking and driving must be illegal, but there doesn’t seem to be any fear of enforcement, or any social stigma against getting blitzed and driving your family home. I saw one mother put her kids in the back seat, then crack a beer and hand it to her husband, who got in the driver’s seat, started the engine, lit a cigarette, and drove them away.

One of the road rules in Mexico is not to drive at night – mostly, we thought, because of the large speed bumps that turn up out of nowhere and the cows, goats, dogs, and people crossing the roads which you can’t see because there are hardly any streetlights. Now, I’m thinking it’s also a good idea to stay off the road at night because of all the drunk people taking their families out for a drive.