Saturday, January 21, 2012

Valle de Bravo, Mexico, Part I: From the (edited) Hand-Written Journal of Me

I did edit this excerpt so it can be used later for educational purposes, meaning I skipped some things and changed the order and wording where they made absolutely no sense.  I fixed spelling errors, too.  No idea why I am noting these changes here because who really cares about documentation integrity when it's my freaking journal posted on a freaking blog?  Okay, I care because if I am going to call it a journal, technically, I should not edit it.  Then why not not call it a journal?  Because journals are so much more interesting than travel narratives--at least, I think so.

January 6-10, 2012

What a difference a day makes!  When we pulled into the bus station in the old town of Valle de Bravo yesterday, all I could think is, “Get me off this damn bus!”  The young Mexican couple sitting in front of me had been kissing the entire two hours, which would have been fine because I couldn’t see them, but I could hear the kissy noises.  It was annoying, and after two hours of it, enough was enough!  Also, two issues at the bus station: I had to pay for toilet paper, and there were no toilet seats. I remember this from my 1994 trip, but it still strikes me as odd.  
Writing this, I am sitting on the porch at about 7:15 a.m.  The sun is rising over the mountains.  I awoke to the sounds of roosters and barking dogs.  People think roosters only crow at sunrise, but that is far from true.  Those crowed all night.  I figured that out when at 2 a.m. I awoke to their calls.

I am wearing a t-shirt, thermal top and a sweater with a light pair of pants, and I am comfortable, feeling the morning sun on my face.  I would be cold except that the air is still.  Last night, I bundled under a sheet, two wool blankets and a comforter because there is no heat in the house or where I am sleeping.  I thought I would never get warm, but I did, even though it was only about forty degrees.

Farms surround this property on a hill.  I can hear a few cars or small trucks echoing through the main road running through the valley.  From below the yard, the turkeys gobble every time something catches their attention, much like how dogs bark.  Yesterday, as we drove through the gate, past their yard, the driver beeped the car horn on purpose, sending the birds into a gobbling frenzy.  Walking the property later, we gobbled at them for the pure pleasure of hearing them gobble back.

Yesterday around dinner, I was feeling very lonely, not understanding much of the Spanish being spoken between my friends and our hostess.  It’s easy to forget I am in Mexico because I am with friends, except when I can’t understand what is being said or struggle with the money conversion.  An American dollar exchanges for about 13 pesos, and my math skills have never been very good.

This property also has another house on it.  The front yard is full of avocado trees, which are harvested and bring in money at the market.  There is a dog next door, an overweight beagle who begs for attention and food.  The fat thing wanders through the grove eating avocados!  There is also a Chihuahua, which our hostess is not fond of, especially because yesterday, he peed on her drying laundry outside! 

The cost of living here is higher for locals, but for us, a huge meal of soup, tacos al pastor and nopal con queso that fed three of us in Mexico City was a bargain at twelve American dollars.  Even the fancier buffet with my two friends’ alcoholic drinks at the city’s rooftop hotel restaurant only cost about twenty American dollars.  The cabs here are also cheaper.  For a couple of American dollars and a tip, we could go a few neighborhoods over, and the two-hour ride from Mexico City to Valle de Bravo only cost about ten dollars. 

For dinner last night, our hostess prepared lentil with nopal soup, and we put frijoles, sour cream, vegetarian chorizo and lettuce on crisp corn flour tortillas.  This morning, we are having mini enchiladas soaked in red sauce, topped with chorizo, grated cheese and onion, with frijoles on the side.  I am going to get spoiled here. 

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