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 1979, Kelly and I fitted out a Ford Econoline van, left our jobs for a while, and spent three months roaming Mexico, with one month in Guatemala. We spent a night in a hotel in the tourist district of Mexico City. We were going to spend another night there, but the air pollution was getting to us. We drove out of Mexico City in the evening rush hour and kept going till we found a lovely cliff-top campsite. We made friends with some local people, watched the full moon rise, and went to bed early.

We woke early too, the van jiggling as if a group of the kids were climbing on it. I raised our curtain — no kids there. Gradually we realized it had to have been an earthquake. We turned on the radio as we had our morning tea, and learned that there had been a quake in the Pacific, felt in the very tourist district of Mexico City where we had been. Damages had not been extensive, but some tourists had run screaming out of their hotels.

Very grateful that we had left the city before the quake, we drove that day looking for a tranquil retreat. Someone told us about a tiny village down in a valley, in the state of Michoacan. We drove down dirt roads and found the village, where we were welcomed warmly.

It was perfect. We parked on the edge of the simple plaza, in the deep shade of tall trees.I visited the very basic school and chatted with the teacher. A young girl brought us a gift of homemade tortillas from her mother. A woman who had the key took Kelly with his water colors to a ruined old hacienda, where he had a great time painting. Later, we took a walk and I saw a familiar plant beside the trail. A Mexican man was coming the other way, and I pointed to the plant and scratched my arm vigorously with a questioning look. He laughed and nodded. Poison ivy. We didn’t touch it.

We traveled with a simple tape recorder, and the next morning the kids gathered around and sang us a song called Caminos de Michoacan, or Roads of Michoacan. I kept the tape all these years, and now I’ve turned part of it into a short mp3 file. Clicking on the link should start it automatically, if you have an mp3 player on your computer. You may have to turn the volume up some.

When I listen to this, I am transported back in time to that simple little village, where the warmth of the villagers was such a gift. Those kids would be in their 30s now, close the ages we were on that trip. No doubt some are still there, and others are probably working in the US or living in big Mexican cities. We don’t know what the name of the village was, so I doubt we will ever find that little Shangri-La again.

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