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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

(from Levon who is listening to reggaeton in a Mexican coffee shop)

I am tempted, and have the material, to turn this blog into a travel journal- but I won’t.  If I could tell you a couple truths about our first week in Mexico, first I would say that any adventure is made by the people you meet along the way.  Secondly, I love Mexico and am proud to have the country as a neighbor.

we have drank the Mayan Pozol, chocolate with corn on the bottom.  If you drink it, you can't leave Chiapas.  If you leave, you must come back

We drank the Mayan Pozol, which is cocoa and corn meal. If you drink it, you can't leave Chiapas.

Having said that, I can’t help but to make this a travel journal anyway.  Probably very turbulently, as I feel like a little kid in school with his hand raised, one foot in the seat, bouncing with eagerness.

I took 800 pictures of Mexico, all through this smeary window

First, we learned it takes 30 hours to cross Mexico by bus and that, on the ADO line, you can get off twice.  You should make the stops count, and next time we’ll stop longer than 2 hours in Vera Cruz.  We could have got off more than twice, but we couldn’t speak Spanish and didn’t want to get left in the middle of the night.  They made us get off twice.

Tuxtla Gutierrez

Day 2, Edwin (a doctor and our host) took us to a medical clinic in an indigenous village two hours into the mountains.  He lives here during the weeks but had to come in for an extra day to help specialists from Tobasco do special operations like cleft lip and female procedures.

There are never foreigners there and we were so uncomfortable that we could only leave Edwin’s small quarters to walk a few blocks at a time.  Typically we are asked to buy things, but there we were only wondered at with silent confusion.  In the village center was a tree believed to be the life of the village.  The tree was so big there were other trees growing in the palm of its branches, along with what sounded like a million parrots.

Edwin asked an ambulance driver to chauffeur us to the next village, Semijovel, which is famous for mining amber.  The driver’s name was Emilio and he spoke both Spanish and a Mayan dialect.  I only took pictures from inside the car.

Emilio agreed to give us an hour, twenty minutes each way with twenty minutes to stop.  We bought an amber pendant and a piece of pure raw amber as people looked at us like they had seen a myth.  As we wove back towards the other village, men with machetes were chopping the jungle foliage on each side of the road.  More men stopped us by pulling a rope tight across the road, dangled with red rags.  Emilio tried in vain to speed through and I hoped he could get us out of this or we would be robbed.  They wanted money for clearing the roads; Edwin said this was common.

When we returned to Bosque (the village where Edwin works) there was trumpet music coming from the only church and the door was surrounded by white flowers and balloons.  A bride and groom exited the church and walked down the steps as fireworks were shot which immediately rained back down on the village.  The traditional mexican band paraded down the street and Ashley I sat in wonderment, eating carrots the size of plantains that we bought at the market and boiled in Edwin’s studio.  Kids were running or hiding to look at us, and firework ashes were snowing in the fog.

Once Edwin finished, we wound back down the mountain road and stopped to look out across Tuxtla.  I had tried to take pictures of the sunrise all along the way at 5:30 that morning but couldn’t capture anything with the low light, the fog, and Edwin’s crazy driving.  We later passed a ruined Mayan temple in the center of a roundabout.  I asked Edwin if it was real and he laughed.

The two days since have been no less exciting, but we have to keep buying coffee to stay here for the internet.  Ashley thought she’d try a hair salon just now and got back with a very Mexican look because she couldn’t tell the stylist what she wanted.  The listening choice is currently Michael Jackson “Beat it” which I guess the cafe wanted to mix in for a little variety.  When the travel journal continues, I will tell about the road trip and people who live in the “Mouth of Heaven.”

Boca del Cielo, an island on the Pacific

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