Monday, February 9, 2015

Surreal Xilitla

The next morning we stopped at Cascades de Tamasopo on the way out of town and then headed through the mountains to Xilitla.

We passed through several small indigenous villages, where our waves were returned by the women walking along the road with their babies packed on their backs. The road conditions and traffic were a little hazardous requiring us to keep our speeds to a minimum.

No wonder there were oranges all over the road on the way to Xilitla!

At one point, we were climbing up a steep hill and a truck with dozens of unsecured boxes in his bed came careening around the corner up ahead of us. Roel successfully dodged one of the boxes that came flying out directly into his path, and “kindly” alerted the driver to his missing package with a continuous application of hand to horn.

We made it to Xilitla by early afternoon and marveled at Las Pozas of Edward James… a surrealist concrete sculpture garden, that was built on over 80 acres of sub-tropical rainforest. That very same rainforest is now re-claiming it. Edward James worked on this masterpiece for over 30 years, selling his surrealist artwork collection to fund this project.

I had mixed feelings while wandering around this garden after seeing the poverty all around this area... Here this artist came and unloaded hundreds of thousands of dollars on the creation of his vision… but ultimately, I settled on the fact that this Las Pozas is actually a gift James left to the town of Xilitla… During it’s construction, James employed around 150 local workers from Xilitla and now long after his departure, Las Pozas continues to bring tourists and their dollars to this small town in the mountains.  

We headed out of Xilitla, keen to make a few more kilometers in the direction of Mexico City and intent upon finding wild camping. The further we got on the road and the closer the sun got to the horizon, the more obvious it became that we would not be able to find a spot to wild camp. Even in the seeming middle of nowhere, all you had to do was stop alongside the road for a minute and a guy on a donkey would appear out of nowhere. There were several signs on the road for campgrounds, but we never found the actual places. And asking the locals about these mysterious signs proved useless.

So, just after dark, we made it to a larger city and began looking for cheap hotels with parking. (Go figure, this would be the only town in Mexico it seems that does not have a health economy of covert love affairs to support love hotels - there were none to be had.) There were only two hotels in town with parking. And they were not in our budget. While discussing our options on the street, a dual-sport rider came to chat and eventually a friend of his who spoke very good English, (having worked in construction in the US for 30 years) came over to chat as well. They eventually asked us where we were staying and we explained that we were just trying to work that out, but that we would have really preferred to camp somewhere and did they know of any place? The guy who had worked in the US told us he owned a lot next to a school just down the road that we could pitch our tent on. He used it to store materials there at one time, but currently it was empty and would be a perfectly safe place for us to pitch our tent for the night. We followed him out of town on the main road towards Mexico City and about 20 kilometers later, he dropped us off and bid us a good journey.

Wow. Thank you.

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