A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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In Xico, we considered the rest of our trip. Would we continue past Xalapa up into the central high plains of Mexico and make our way north, or did we want to go back to the Veracruz coast and explore the Yucatan? It was the midpoint of our time; we still had about a month.

After comparing our thoughts and intuitions, the high plains won out. So the next morning we set out to brave Xalapa once again. We wanted to see the Anthropology Museum and then take the road up into the mountains to the west.

We were more confident in approaching Xalapa this time. People in Xico had explained how at the big intersection, we would stay to the left and that would put us on a main road that would go right near the museum. Both of us were good at reading maps, and Kelly had an excellent sense of direction. Although we had already been lost several times in Mexico, we almost never got lost at home.

But when we got to that intersection, there was a line of rocks across the road we were supposed to take, and a detour sign that pointed us right toward downtown. We did our best to find that main left road a little further away, but soon we were once again cruising the hilly neighborhoods of Xalapa. This was at least a very pretty area, but when Kelly plunged down a hill so steep that it again reminded me of San Francisco, I had a brief but intense moment of wishing the trip were over.

“Let’s find a taxi and hire the driver to lead us to the museum,” I suggested. Kelly thought that was a good idea, and almost immediately a taxi appeared. The driver agreed and led us through a maze of neighborhood streets, doing very well at keeping us with him. When he took us onto major streets, Kelly had to drive Mexican-style to keep too many other vehicles from coming between us.

I felt like there was an invisible tow line between the taxi and us. It was the first time I had truly enjoyed zipping through Mexican traffic. Kelly couldn’t believe it as I exclaimed “Wheeee!”

We paid the driver, and he proposed that we hire him to keep an eye on our motorhome while we toured the museum, and then he could guide us, as before, out of town and onto the highway we needed. Kelly thought we could find that highway pretty easily, so he wasn’t interested. As a result, the driver lowered the price until it was about half what he had suggested at first.

At that point, I thought I’d like to do it – he had done a very good job of guiding us, and I was less convinced than Kelly that getting out of town would be a piece of cake. Besides, we would be having brunch in Cando after seeing the museum, and I thought it would be fun to chat with a local. So a deal was struck.

Olmec head in Xalapa museum

Looked like a smile to me. Why not? Modern Mexicans usually have a smile going.

[Next: more in the Xalapa museum, and brunch with our taxi driver]

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