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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Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

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The Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa is known for its collection of Olmec heads and for the beauty of the building itself. We spent a delightful couple of hours roaming through the place. I particularly likedĀ  the Olmec heads which seemed to have a bit of a smile.

Olmec head in Xalapa Museum of Anthropology

The Negroid heads, of an ancient people, were nicely displayed in gardens as well as inside.

There was also a wonderful collection of early statues of women, mostly with snakes around their waists. Eventually Kelly left me going wild in the bookstore – once I discovered it took credit cards, as we were low on cash – and went out to start some brunch.

statue in museum of anthropology, Jalapa

The styles were varied.Seeing all the statues of women gave me a sense of the continuity of the Virgin of Guadalupe with the earlier female goddesses.

statue of woman with snake belt

Woman with snake belt

Museum display of skulls and pots

This combination of skulls and pots reflects a very Mexican view.

Our driver was talking with Kelly when I joined them. We asked him about his life. He had lived in Xalapa for some years, first working as a chauffeur and for the past few years as a taxi driver.

I asked what he earned. After he paid the owner of the taxi for its use, he made typically about $8 per day, working from 2AM to 3PM. His wife was an architect who was expecting their first child in about three months. She would go back to work after some time off, and they would share the child care. He could care for the baby in the afternoons.

“And what about sleep?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Just a little,” he said. Before I could compliment him on his advanced views, he explained apologetically that if he earned more, his wife could stay home, adding that she had been working when they met, so he couldn’t get her to stop.

A friendly taxi driver in Xalapa

This taxi driver guided us deftly through the busy city traffic.

He was curious about the United States, and I launched into one of the things I liked to try to explain to Mexicans, that even though we are richer materially, I think they are richer in enjoyment of life. He seemed skeptical. When I mentioned that there were people in the U.S. who said “There is no God,” his body shrank back with shock. He was a very sweet fellow, and the whole encounter was very pleasant. He gave us his phone number, in case we ever come back and he can show us more of his city.

He guided us to the edge of town, and so we said goodbye to Xalapa. The road wound up and up, gently. We commented to each other on the beauty of the lush green countryside.

It was a good thing we noticed it, because we crested a hill and that was the end of that ecosystem.

[Next: our search for a campsite after Xalapa leads to one of the scarier encounters of the trip.]

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