Despite sleeping both in Val’s sleeping bag, it was a very cold night, + I slept little. Val fared rather better, especially with her woolly tights on. I was very disappointed in Val’s bag – not only was there a gaping hole around the top above the zip, but the zip itself around two sides became icy cold. Rum ti tum.
When we emerged, were both shocked + unsurprised to discover ice on the tent – the coldest camping I’ve ever done. While we were taking down our tent, the farmer called us in to his house to warm our hands, and then gave us a cup of chocolate each – a very pleasant surprise. The house was really not much more than a 2-roomed shack, with an oil-can stove. Most notable were the large number of religious pictures + models on the wall. Said goodbye, giving him Uncle Joe’s hankies as a present, then walked back into town, only to discover we were very late for a meeting with Gerhardt. However, all was well.
The tours of local sites we wanted to go on were expensive – $US18 an hour – but we were able to arrange a two-hour tour. On reflection, it probably would have been better to have found our own way on foot, but nonetheless the tour was interesting, + the guide, Sr. Domingo, was able to drive us to a number of interesting local places, + was knowledgeable too, being a former teacher of Indians. Saw various small groups of Indians, a beautiful lake, some amazing natural rock formations in the shapes of various animals – best of all, a visit to a cave dwelling. Amazingly primitive, tho’ also with all sorts of modern junk lying around. And there was a big pot of corn mash boiling away to make liquor.
Back at lunch, where we just lazed around waiting for the afternoon train. Met a nice German couple – Franz + Anita. Train journey was uneventful + boring, especially as we were separated from the other 4. When we arrived at Chihuahua, Gerhardt left, + we 4 went for a meal – a rather strong + salty seafood soup. Then back to station – sat, then slept.
Spending rather more than we wanted on a tour, but it was interesting enough, and we have to remind ourselves that the purpose of the trip is not just to spend as little as possible for as long as possible.
For the first time in our trip, we have stumbled upon a tourist trail, leading down through Mexico, meaning that for the first time we are able to hook up with other travellers: good for company, good to share security, and information, especially when we are very much finding our feet.
Better warn you in advance that I seem to call Annette Anita (or call Anita Annette) quite a lot, using the names fairly randomly in my diary and photos, but it is just the one person.
But once again, we were treated with kindness and generosity by strangers, and ones who had a lot less than we did. Uncle Joe was an old friend of the family, that we might have visited, and my mum had given us a pack of fancy handkerchiefs as a present. Since we had not managed to fit him in to our trip around the US, the hankies were surplus to requirements, so made for a suitable present… even if our hosts did seem a little puzzled.