February 12th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Women doing the laundry by the lake

Breakfasted lightly with Val in one of the rather smelly comedors, where we ran into Steve, the Welshman, + Robert, a Dutchman who’d been our neighbour in Palenque + Chichen Itza.  One certainly does tend to run into the same people again + again; mainly, I suppose, because there is a definite gringo trail, with certain variations of course, which nearly everyone follows.  The troubles here have tended to concentrate things if anything, since it isn’t wise to venture too far off the route.  The troubles were the main topic this morning as they have been for some time – rumours, news, speculation + only very little in the way of fact.  Val left us – back to the loom – + shortly afterwards we divided for different tasks.  I decided to take a walk down by the lake, an area I’d barely visited.  Went down the steep hill to one of the boat landings, + walking round the edge of the lake to the other, then back.  On the way, I enjoyed looking at the women washing clothes at the small nudist island – I even waded out to that to see if it was nice, but too hot + rocky – + I called in at the Restaurant Frances to order a meal for us for the evening, + to eat a deliciously normal salami sandwich.  Ran into Jeff, who told me where the best swimming place was, + I told him we’d visit them in the evening after our meal.

It was a fabulously hot day, so I went back to fetch my swimming knickers, then returned.  Swimming meant first scrambling round to a rocky point, to where the water was deeper + clearer.  Ran into Steve again, so spent some time chatting with him – I hadn’t liked him at first, but now I think he’s alright.  Didn’t swim much, just dived in, twice – beautiful.

Met Val back at the house, then a splendid evening, first at the restaurant, where the food took ages – not that that mattered , because we drank beer + chatted – but was worth every second, a magnificent boeuf bourguignon.  Then to Jeff + Diane’s for singing, talking, drinking wine, eating popcorn (which, when freshly cooked, is delicious.)  What a very splendid day.

Clearly feeling much better, and enjoying both life, food and company once again.  Also, I seem to be making a more determined effort to appreciate the advantages of staying somewhere quiet for a while.  And clearly the problemas of the time were having an impact upon all of us, despite there not being much evidence of that in the diary.

There has been no mention of Restaurant Frances yet, but in fact it had been lurking in our plans for several weeks, ever since hearing about it from a traveller, somewhere up in Mexico.  And it really was an excellent meal: creamy mashed potatoes, tender beef, served in a dish made from a thick length of bamboo, split in half.  And then, to socialise with our new friends – a splendid day indeed.  No contact since with Jeff and Diane; can’t remember if we exchanged addresses, or made tentative plans to meet later.  Sol they will have to remain just bit-players in our adventure (just as we were in theirs.)

  1. Pamela Blair

    Lovely commentary of your day! I love the aspect of travel, where one makes “immediate” friends, then they pass one way and you pass the other, and they’re forgotten, to be replaced by other new friends. Sometimes they do show up again, in the oddest places. I met some women traveling together in the youth hostel in Istanbul, then met them again somewhere in the wilds of Iraq, and met a guy who’d been on Thor Heyerdahl’s trip across the Atlantic in a papyrus reed boat, who was taking the same route as Marco Polo, 750 years later, first in eastern Turkey and then in Baghdad. (An Italian like Marco, he was much better suited up than I’m sure Marco was, with very expensive cameras and a warm down jacket. And he didn’t travel by camel!) I’m interested in how you dealt with the “troubles” that you were hearing about. I hope one of the next entries doesn’t find you and Val in trouble!

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