Monday, April 13, 2015

A Spontaneous Spring Break

Last Monday was our first day of spring break. A family in our church had just bought a beautiful new *unnamed make and model* car and were wanting to take it out on the road. They invited us to "estrenar" (debut/break in) the new car and go with them to see the Rio Altotonga a few hours from Puebla. We agreed so Monday morning we loaded up and headed out. 

We stopped once to stretch our legs and eat ice cream

Through a bit of misunderstanding, I had creating an image of a mighty raging river. On the way there I started getting a little anxious thinking about undercurrents. I figured I'd might as well write out my will and testament - so  I did. If I's in the notes of my phone.

While I would not put this river into the category of "rushing, mighty"[see Acts 2:2] - it was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! The water was clear, smelled good (lol - a good thing, anywhere in the world) and was surrounded by vibrant, lush vegetation. 

There was a trail that followed the river all the way up to the base - a waterfall. 

We'd all planned on playing in the water but it turned out to be so cold and there were so many people, Austin was the only one that ended up getting in. We concluded he has the skin of an extraterrestrial creature and cannot feel extreme temperature changes. 

Austin pretending to be a male mermaid version of Tarzan 

Nicole found her new favorite snack - "piƱas locas" (crazy pineapples) - slices of pineapple drizzled in salsa.
(Yeah, it takes a special person with special taste buds....)

The special person 

After walking up the mountain beside the river, we came back down to find this - a cold, misty fog had set down in the middle of our camp. Burrrr! 

This is how they sell mangoes here - one of my favorite snacks! (Without salsa, please). 

We got back to our little campsite and Bro. Amado and Sis. Siria got busy making lunch. We were definitely good and hungry after such a long drive (about 4 hours). Bro. Amado looked around for some rocks to set the grill up on and some sticks to start a fire. Sis. Siria got onions and started prepping the meat to be cooked. 
Our delicious lunch - you wouldn't believe the glorious smell these things were putting out. 

The enthusiastic carnivores 

For those of you wanting a closer look....heh heh :) 

Enjoying my taco immensely - if you can't tell

There were vendors walking around selling fruit, chips, snacks, etc. This guy was selling something we call "Jicaletas". I looked up "Jicama" in the Spanish dictionary and it says "Mexican edible tuber" (I have no idea). So these are sliced Jicamas made to look like little popsicles! 

You can choose what flavors of sprinkles you want on yours - they each have their own fruit flavor, with a little kick of spice and tangy lime. They are pretty good and so adorable! 
While we sat around talking, relaxing, and chatting the subject of Veracruz was brought up. We had planned on heading home after hanging out at the river, but a spontaneous decision was made. We were going to drive the next few hours to see the beach in Veracruz, Mexico! 

So Bro. Amado put out our little fire and we packed up all of our stuff.  

The next few hours consisted of a lot of this....




....and this. Unbeknownst to us, we each took plenty of pictures of the other one sleeping. Thankfullyyyy I sleep with my mouth shut :) 
I tried to shut Nicole's mouth several times, but she was sleeping so deeply, it'd only flop right back open - LOL. It's a good thing we weren't driving with the windows open - she definitely would've caught a few critters. 

We finally *finally* arrived at our destination - Chachalaca, Veracruz. I was surprised my legs still worked after so much driving. AUGH. But boy was it ever worth it!!!! We climbed out of the car and walked the very very long stretch to the shore of the ocean. It was completely pitch black - you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. A couple people pulled out their phone flashlights, but it didn't light the darkness. This is me, looking out to the sound of the ocean - 
Nice, huh!
We stood at the shore feeling the water on our feet for about ten minutes. The air was warm and slightly humid, but the water was perfectly cool. A perfect combination. 
 Before making our reservations at the hotel, Bro. Amado warned us. "This isn't a resort town, tourists go other places. This hotel won't be the Hilton." We all understood and agreed that as long as it was clean and had showering capabilities, we'd be happy! 

It was a tiny little hotel - it had maybe 8 rooms in total. 
Me and Nicole's room

Is this TMI? Well I'm including it to show what a traditional bathroom looks like here (in homes and many hotels) - no shower curtain and no toilet seat. Wide open spaces - haha! I cannot complain, for everything was very clean and smelled nice. (Still wore flip flops in the shower though, hehe. Better safe than sorry.) 

After walking down to the beach (hence the wet skirt) we walked across the street to this restaurant. 
 The neatest part of our dinner is that I got everyone to sit outside so we could dig our toes in the sand while we ate. It was delightful! 
Mom, Dad, and our lovely tour guides

"Vuelve a la Vida" (Return to Life) - the name of the shrimp cocktail Sis. Siria ordered for dinner. 

Dad's breaded shrimp

My camaron al mojo de ajo (garlicky shwimp - AAAAMEN! My mouth is watering.)

They were so cute - they still had their eyes and everything! 

The view from our hotel - if you zoom way in, you can see the shore. There are thatch-roofed little shacks - that is where we ate breakfast the next morning. 
Looking down the road from our hotel - it wasn't touristy, but I was fine with that. It just felt like down-home Mexico. It was still beautiful. 

We woke up the next morning and headed to the beach - it was around 8:45. It was nice to finally see the sand we were walking on and see the beautiful ocean! 
Besides our waiter, we were the only ones on the beach. 

Empty beach - just the way I like it! 

Austin and I jumped right into the water - it started out being overcast, but after about an hour the sun finally peeked through the clouds. 

Me and Austin's heads poking out above the water

Our view from the ocean - this is where we ate breakfast

Since it was Tuesday, we had to get home for prayer meeting. We were able to swim and enjoy the sunshine for a few hours before heading back to the hotel, showering and packing our things. We loved Veracruz and I am hoping we get to go back sometime - maybe this summer.

We had a six hour drive ahead of us, and from what Nicole and I gathered about four hours into the drive - we were going to do it in one long stretch. We got to laughing so hard in the back seat. We were ying-day of unger-hay, but not the ones in charge of the shabang. Not wanting to be under-ay ood-stay, we came up with the saying "Why are we not doing the thing we usually do at this time of the day??" (1:00 - UNCH-LAY). Auuuugh. Between car sickness and not doing "that thing we usually do at this time of day", we were pretttttyyyy restless. (Aka - hangry).

Bless the good Lord, we finally *finally* finally pulled to the side and found a taco shop...and WHAT DO YOU was *THIS* place (click link) that I found to be oh-so-charming from a few years before. NO KIDDING!!!!!! I must say, eating here when totally starving really aided in the experience. I have no complaint on the meat this time, except for they cheated us on the price.

The saaaaame adorable little dogs came around, begging for food, and again, I couldn't resist. We were probably hitting around the same level of hunger. It's called compassion. 

So humble and undemanding 

So hungry, so despairing. I can see it in his eyes! 

Well, folks. I do believe this is the longest post I've done in a very long time. I make no apologies! This is for my memory's sake as much as yours :)

We very much enjoyed our two days of traveling around Mexico - I hope you've enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed remembering! But wait - our spring break memories aren't over yet. I'll be posting on Wednesday the next installment of our week's adventures!



Jennifer Connell said...

Your pictures make me want to go on another adventure! lol I can so relate to the non-seat toilets.. (Peru) Luckily yours was clean! haha.. Miss ya!

The Wakefields: Missionaries to Mexico said...

Jen! Come on down and we will take you for an adventure! :)
Rule #1: Never travel around Mexico without TP, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial/baby wipes. You neverrrr know when you'll need them - HA!! Sounds like the rule would apply in Peru :P


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