30.11.2012 - 05.12.2012
The bus out of Mexico City was spacious and comfortable. I don't think I have ever travelled in a country where the buses could be called anything resembling either of those two words, and that includes Britain and Ireland. The only hint that I was travelling in Mexico was the usual metal detector search on entering the bus and a new to me safety precaution, taking an individual picture of all the passengers. I can only assume that if one of the passengers were to decide to hold up the bus, just for the craic you understand, we would be able to identify the bandido, muy rapido. Maybe not. Answers on a postcard please.
My first stop was Tepoztlan, a small town surrounded by soaring jagged cliffs, just 80 kilometres south of the Capital. It's a fab spot with an ancient pyramid built in honour of an Actez God, a cracking Saturday market and a squad of New Agers who are apparently drawn to the energy of the area. I bagged myself a beautiful room in a family compound, whose wooden shutters opened out to give me a beautiful view of the mountains. In the heat of the afternoon I would lay on the bed and just ponder the scene, before dozing off for a few hours. In case you are feeling jealous I should add that the bed was harder than nails, that only one of the light bulbs worked, the shower only had cold water and the toilet flushed roughly every third time. That should make you feel a bit better. The guy who ran the place had worked in Ireland during the boom. He told me he worked in the service industry. All his coworkers were foreign and he rarely met an Irish person. Sad, but not surprising. Minutes after I arrived he came to my door with a Dahlia in a earthenware vase. What a dote.
The popular Saturday morning pursuit in Tepotzlan is to walk to the Piramide de Tepozteco. Its about 5 kilometres and while the last hour is a really stiff hike, the first section out of the town is a joy. The streets are lined with stalls selling junk, crafts, food and all sorts of exotic things to drink. Like many things in Mexico, there was a real atmosphere of fun, but of the gentle sort; people going about their day and enjoying themselves and making the most of what is going on. As the well healed of Mexico often descend on Tepotzlan for the weekend, the town posses a number of nice coffee shops, replete with cakes and buns and all sorts of nice things. I thought I'd stop at one of them for my breakfast before heading to the pyramid. Instead I got lured into one of the little hole in the wall spots, I'm not sure what they are called. I´m not sure if it was the blaring music, the bright colours of the vinyl table clothes or the tissue paper Christmas decorations hanging from the walls, but I needed to be in there. I pointed at one of the various tortilla based items on the hot plate, prayed that it wasn't made of offal and sat down. Whatever they served me up was delicious and was accompanied by coffee Mexico style, boiled and brewed with a hint of cinnamon and served in an earthenware cup. The light, the music, the colour, the stodgy food; Mexico sure was working it's magic on me.
And then it was time for Taxco. Taxco is a really pretty town; full of preserved colonial architecture, scattered down a precipitous hillside and yet again surrounded by dramatic mountains and cliffs. For most if it's existence, Taxco's fame and wealth has relied on it's silver mines. The boom of many years has now turned to bust and I think tourism is the main draw now. Although it is rather gorgeous, my main memory of Taxco is of falling down a step and spraining my ankle, while in full few of what seemed like a million people. Oh, and of sleeping on a rock hard bed in a room positioned between a major road and an all night disco. Enough said. Time for me to get out of town.