La Posada

La Posada has been the perfect landing place for us to rest on our first days in Mexico and plan our next move. It’s in a great natural setting in El Potrero Chico recreation area, which is a world class rock climbing destination, and the gorgeous natural setting, proximity to a grocery and depositario – which is basically a store that sells only beer and chips – and low cost at twenty bucks a night, have all combined to ground us here until Sunday at least. I'm not usually very good at framing pictures, but I got this one good. The mural, the sign, the entire tree, and one of the mountains. Bienvenido a La Posada!

We give credit to the grounds of the compound for the laid back feel of the place, and the staff are basically working all day every day watering the grass, cutting the grass, and picking up the grass, to keep it in pristine condition – it almost seems like everywhere we decide to sit or play they are not far behind with the lawnmower and hose. Early this morning, a funny, periodic noise we could not place sounded to me like R breathing funny but she thought it was the night watchman spreading gravel, which is pretty ridiculous thinking about it now, but at the time it seemed a plausible explanation given the work ethic we’ve seen from the staff. It turned out to be the sound of the water hitting the palm leaves as the sprinkler made its rotation – this is before the sun came up. I don’t think the sprinkler ever gets turned off. The first night we pitched the tent, the sprinkler was actually moved so that the spray came up just inches short of hitting our tent and one night the hose was left turned on at the base of a tree and created a river that threatened to wash out our site. R had to argue with the guy to turn it off or move it. Remember, we are the only people camping on this large lot with lots of trees and grass in areas that we are not. Apart from the obsession with landscaping wherever we happen to be, they’ve been real nice.

Outside the whitewashed concrete walls of the compound is more representative of the Mexico that I expected – potholed, unlined streets; brown, rustling grasses; dog shit and trash. Though, Hidalgo, the town just a few kilometers below La Posada, is pretty clean – I even saw garbage cans out for trash collection. I took a walk up the road from La Posada this morning and the public access area is strewn with litter – David, the hotel manager, says every Sunday there is a beer party up there. It was so quiet though, that I could hear the wings flapping of a bird as it flew up the dry riverbed.

Entrance to the dumpy Potrero Chico recreation area - home of world class rock climbing, empty buildings, and a public pool. Word is that the beer party in the parking lot on Sunday is not to be missed.

Art in the park. Someone painted this pretty cool face on a rock on the park, and yes, that is what you think it is on the ground in front of it. Not mine!

Upon entering the La Posada compound the driveway empties into a gravel parking area bordered on the right side by a low structure housing the office and the staff quarters and on the left side by a row of one room habitaciones for rent. Just past the office is a restaurant (closed), communal kitchen, and an adjoining patio and some barbecues, and across from that are beautifully manicured and shaded grounds for camping stretching deep into the grounds of the compound. At the end of the parking lot are the pool, which is five-star hotel worthy, a shaded patio where we type and lounge, and bathroom and shower facilities for hombres (men) and mujeres (women). Given my fascination with the old west, which I documented in my blog post about the Alamo, you can just imagine how stoked I am to be referred to as an “hombre” and I’ve taken to wearing the top few buttons of my shirt undone to fit the profile.

We decided to pitch our tents in the middle of the field right next to the parking lot, which was a beautifully shaded spot when we got here in the late afternoon on Tuesday but is otherwise in the sun most of the morning and afternoon. This hasn’t been a problem since we are generally at the pool all day and it’s been a great spot for us especially since J is sleeping in the van and nobody else has been here but a few one-night guests and some day-trippers here just to use the pool, but David tells us it might get crazy on the patio of the communal kitchen on Saturday night so we might be right in the middle of the party which I don’t expect will bother me too much but R, Coconut, and J might not like it.

No one here at La Posada but us and giant, unidentified bugs

A closer look at whatever this guy is called

Hanging around at the pool

David, the hotel manager has been great. He’s fed us the Wifi password, let us play with his guinea pig, and on his one day off for the week, he took us into Monterrey, the big city. We had planned to take a taxi to the bus station in Hidalgo, the town a few kilometers below La Posada, to catch a bus to Monterrey and then metro to the city center, but David must have mentioned to the owner of La Posada that he planned to bring the guests to the city, so Luis, who had some business in town offered to drive us which was very nice. Little did we know that he drives a compact, so R, Coconut, J, and I had to squeeze into the back seat, which we didn’t fit into all that well so R had to scoot herself into the space between the front seats and hog all the air conditioning though some trickled around her to cool those of us riding in third class.

While Luis was gassing his ride, which he would not let me pay for, I thanked David for arranging the ride, especially since he had to chat it up with his boss in the front seat, which I remember from my prior life that is fading much more quickly than I thought it would, can be an awkward thing. David said that in Mexico it is common for employees to have a social relationship with the boss.

Monterrey wasn’t all that exciting though we did get to ride the subway which was much cleaner than the DC Metro – I guess no one reads the Express newspaper or drinks Starbucks coffee and leaves them behind on their way to work – and get to sample “dog” tacos from a street vendor for 10 pesos, which is about 50 cents each. A dog taco is what Nathan, our host in Austin, called tacos from a street vendor because who knows what they are made with. Coconut had the chicken variety and J had a bean version and they both liked them. We also went to a Mexican history museum. Most of the exhibits were explained in Spanish so we were able to breeze through two floors in about an hour. I learned that the different periods of Meso-American culture has many gods of corn. While we were in Monterrey we also got to FedEx the necessary paperwork to Virginia to assist our proxy to secure a Certificate of Title from VA DMV so that we can leave Mexico with Wesley when the time comes. We learned today that the paperwork was already delivered to our house in Virginia in less than 24 hours, which is pretty amazing when you consider that it took us over three weeks to get here.