Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Day Trip to Mazamitla

Kevin arranged for several taxis to ferry us from our rv park to just outside the town of Mazamitla for lunch, and suggested that some of us might enjoy a hike down to some falls on the other side of the town.  The taxis arrived around 1020 and we all piled in for the ten minute ride down highway 414 to the Punta Marino Taco Del Mar outside of Mazamitla to enjoy shrimp tacos before our big hike down to the falls. It would be nice to try to eat at Punta Marino again; even though I couldn’t enjoy the shrimp, the accompaniments were delicious, especially the cole slaw. I asked for a mango ice cream and was served a scoop in a partially hollowed out half mango. Delicious.

After lunch, some of us walked towards the main part of town to the Centro and continued towards the falls, which were situated in a type of gated community. We paid the gate keeper twenty pesos each to walk down the cobblestone road towards the falls. The road was lined with nice vacation homes, a few of which were in various stages of completion. Larry and I stopped about two thirds of the way down at a sunken gardens area, and I waited while he toured the gardens. At that point we decided to head back up the steep slope towards town instead of tour the falls, and wait for everyone else in the Centro. Once we were all together, we caught taxis at a Pemex gas station a little ways off, and headed back to Valle de Juarez. It was getting late in the afternoon, and the hosts of the rv park were going to cook a Christmas Eve dinner for our group, so we needed enough time to ready ourselves.

One of nine cats I counted at the campground, someone feeds them everyday.

Our home until January 2.

Building on the grounds where we would have a nice meal on Christmas Eve.

Punta Marino Taco Del Mar

Beginning of long walk to the center of town.

I happened to take this picture as the policemen were walking through. In some towns we have seen conventionally dressed local policemen on their rounds, but more often we see military style security detail wearing bullet proof vests.

Parrroquia de San Cristobal

Popular spot for photos and the plaza was crowded. Garth took his photo from the reverse side and said he would reverse the image on his blog, a clever solution.

The trek out of town to the falls area. 

Very steep incline through town.

One of many houses we saw for rent.

Staircase down to the sunken gardens.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Etzatlán to Valle de Juarez

We left Delia’s RV Park in Etzatlán early Sunday morning to drive to Valle de Juarez where we plan to stay through the new year. The drive was around five hours over rough roads, so the going was slow. Upon arrival at Victoria’s RV Park outside of town, most of the group headed to the central part of town to take part in an Xmas celebration that a local church was putting on. Larry went with the group, but I stayed behind to sleep off the rigors of the drive. 

Monday morning, Larry and I got some laundry done and rode our bikes into town to take care of a few banking and cellular issues, as well as visit the grocery store. On our way out, we stopped at GM Tacos, an open air eatery along the main drag, not too far from the trailer park. I sat down at the counter next to a woman with a baby, who I turned to admire, saying, “Hello, little baby.” The woman answered me in English and it turned out that she and her husband and children were from Aurora, Illinois and were visiting area relatives over the holidays. In fact, many of the people around us in the crowded restaurant spoke English. We spent a pleasant hour chatting while we waited for our tacos and horchata. 

I bought some sugar, nuts and dried fruit at the grocers to try my hand at making a batch of palanqueta, a sort of Mexican peanut brittle. It didn’t turn out as planned, my version turned out more like pralines than peanut brittle, but I plan to try again. 

Valle de Juarez is one of the more prosperous communities we’ve visited. On our bike ride around town, we saw numerous building material stores and ferreterias. The town had a garbage truck (first time I’ve noticed one) playing loud music as it went about its rounds. The grocery store on the edge of town is newly built and well stocked. We look forward to riding around town again in the coming days. 

Today we plan to take a bus to Mazamitla to hike up to the nearby Cascada el Salto and visit a local restaurant for shrimp tacos and ice cream. The owners of the rv park are going to cook Christmas Eve dinner for us tonight, then we plan to have a potluck brunch on Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Another Lovely Day in Etzatlan

Today most of the group decided to hike up to one of the crosses that one sees very often at the top of hills overlooking towns.  I decided to stay behind and wash the camper. Later, Roy, Sue and I walked into town to meet the rest of the group for lunch and to look around the central part of Etzatlan that I had not yet seen.
I think the group enjoyed their walk, though they did comment that the walk down the hill into town was pretty steep.
After a delicious lunch at the Tacos Acapulcos restaurant in town, Larry and I walked around the central part of town to admire the crochet ceiling that had been installed down a street intersection. We bought a few staples like sweet empanadas and bread rolls at a local panaderia, and visited an atm machine in case the pipo truck (lp gas) visited the camp site as had been promised.
We also stopped over at a business that is affiliated with Walmart, Mi Bodega Aurrera Etzatlan, that had home goods like appliances and Walmart branded food products, but no produce at all, though it did have a small meat counter. By the time we walked home, we were both tired and ready for naps. 

View of Etzatlan

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Delia's RV Park Etzatlan

We took the cuota from Tepic to Etzatlan, a relatively light day of driving.  We arrived at another lovely rv park situated outside of Etzatlan, a small town of about 17,000 people in the central-western state of Jalisco. After settling in, Larry and I rode our bicycles around the village to look around.

That evening, it was decided that we would ride our bicycles to a local tequila distillery for a tour on Wednesday.  The tour turned out to be very interesting, and the distillery sold a fair amount of very reasonably priced tequila to members of the group!

Wasp nest Larry spied on his morning walk around the campsite.

Me using my small spinner while doing laundry.

Fantastic bike trail that stretches 35 km or possibly more, we rode part of it on our day trip to a tequila distillary.

Entrance to the Distiladora Agave Azul.

Just as we were getting ready for our tour, a truck filled with trimmed agave drove up.

Larry tried his hand at splitting an agave heart.

One of two ovens the agave are loaded into, this one is the newest and is heated with electricity.

The second oven was more traditionally built.

Kevin and Jim looking into the fermentation vats.

Agave mash.

After our tour of the distillery, the guide led us down a tunnel to an underground storage room that held many casks of aging tequila.

The bottling and labeling room.

The underground storage facility was under this field.

Another view of the bike trail.