Published: June 4th 2012June 4th 2012
This has been such a fun weekend in Veracruz. Saturday morning, we arrived in Jalcomulco, Veracruz and dropped our luggage at the hotel, named Hotel Villa. Sarah, Leslie, and I shared a room. The town was very cute and lunch was awesome! For every meal, we ate in a little restaurant down the street, ran by one guy. He was very creative with the meals, which were all buffet (yay). Then, we left to go zip lining in the forest. We rode in the back of a pick up through the mountainous countryside, filled with mango trees. It was gorgeous. When we got to the base of the trail to the zip lining, we spent some time looking for perfect mangos, which have to be yellow, without openings, and cool to the touch. Leslie LOVES mangos and got super excited. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of leaving my sneakers at the residencias and only bringing the cheap tennis shoes that I bought from Walmart. They were so thin that if felt like I was barefoot. The zip lines were awesome, especially the one that went over the river. After, we hiked to a place near a small waterfall where we could swim in a little pool. The water was exactly the right temperature. There were these bold little fish that kept nibbling our feet. Since my feet are the driest and most crackled that they have ever been, I hoped that they would eat all the dead skin off (ew). Louis and I did a major photo shoot for a while, and we finally left for town.
After the walk back to town, which was about a 2 miles, we went to the temezcales. These are steam rooms used by the pre-Hispanic Mexicans and still popular in indigenous cultures today. They are concrete igloos with a spot in the middle for hot stones and herbs. You can close all the openings so that it is pitch black inside. I sweated SO much! But it felt amazing, almost like being in a hot tub except with good smells. After, one of the guides poured cool water on us, which felt even better. Super relaxed but very dirty, we walked back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. We realy wanted to go dancing, and Arturo agreed that we could. The guide, Ernesto, suggested that we go to a bar at 10 that would have live music. We walked around the town for a while, got borrachitos and ice cream, and finally met up again to go dancing.
The bar was called El Gecko and was very cool inside, with green laser lights and fun dance music—curiously all in English. The only problem is that only five other people were there. Ernesto said that was because it was still early. Arturo agreed that we could all have one drink, so I got a margarita. It was perfect! After a little while, Carol, Sarah, and Louis decided to dance. They pulled me up after a minute. There were some ladies nearby who were kind of dancing in their seats, so I pulled them up too. Soon, Leslie and Cesia were dancing too, and it was super fun. I requested Rack City, but the DJ (Paco) didn’t play it :[. After quite a while of dancing, including some poorly executed salsa on my part (poor Louis), we were all very tired and ready to sleep. I was happy to be in bed a little before midnight.
Sunday morning, we met in the hotel lobby at 7:30 to leave for breakfast and then white water rafting. I was SO hungry at breakfast! Probably because of all the hiking, walking, and dancing the day before. Also, I knew that I would need lots of energy for rafting. First, we stopped at two of the restaurants along the river owned by Louis’s family. Since his family is from Veracruz, there were lots of relatives to see. In all, they own seven restaurants along the river! His uncle serve us coffee, and it was definitely the best I’ve had while in Mexico.
Finally, it was time for rafting. I was soooo pumped and full of energy. I was on the raft with Cesia, Aly, Louis, and our guide, Fortino. Since it is the height of the dry season, the water level was very low. Fortino said that the rapids only get to a category three during this time, but can be fours and fives when the water is high. I sat in the front with Louis. Together, we worked very well as a team. The views along the river were gorgeous. Both sides were either dense forests of mango trees or steep, multicolored cliffs. Near the spot where the zip line crosses over the river, we had the chance to jump into the water from a high rock. I went first. Although the jump was not TOO high, it was a lot of fun. Leslie was so scared to jump, but she finally did. After almost three hours of rafting, it was time to head back to the town for lunch. I saved room for some more yummy ice cream. Sorry US, but Mexico definitely has you beat in the ice cream department. I had a huge cup with vanilla, cacahuate (peanut), and mango. Every day, the woman who owns the store makes all the ice creams by hand in a huge bowl, using fresh ingredients. AND my huge cup was only $1.50 (an the night before, I had some mango ice cream for about $0.70). Side note: I am 500 pesos ($35) ahead of my budget. OCS definitely gave me more money than I need.
All packed and ready, we left the hotel and Jalcomulco. However, Ernesto still had a few cool places to take us before we started back for Pachuca. For about a half hour, we visited a beautiful water fall that is actually used for some movie settings, like “Romancing the Stone.” Ernesto said that if we had more time, we could have hiked to a couple more, smaller falls. The weather was perfect for swimming and I was a little sad that we had to leave. Last, we went to a town known for its coffee. All the souvenirs were coffee: coffee bean jewelry, coffee honey, coffee bean purses... coffee everything. It was great. We went to a little shop with different brews of the local coffee and sampled some. Although I really liked a couple of them, I am plenty content with my instant Nescafe for the time being. As we walked through the town, we all bought and sampled each other’s sweets. Louis took us to a bakery jam packed with pastries and everyone went buck wild because they were so cheap. It was great to see Louis in the part of Mexico where he spent so much time as a kid, especially seeing his family. It really makes me want to see more of my family in Minnesota and Michigan. Also, I miss my family in Florida. Although being away at college has made me more immune to homesickness than when I went to Costa Rica in high school, I’m realizing that I talk about my family and home in Florida A LOT. I’m surprised no one has gotten irritated with all my comments: “Wow this tree grows in Florida too.” “Yeah, we have alligators in Florida.” “I like the weather here because it is just like Florida.” Blah Blah Blah.
Now, we’re driving back to Pachuca. The skies have been threatening rain on and off all weekend, and it is finally storming. We’re looking at about four more hours of driving, so I should be able to get some of my planning for class done on the way.