30. MEXICO, Santa Ana to Creel

We meant to stay at Ana & Edgar’s RV park for a night or two but eventually stayed for 6 days. Feeling like home mainly because of our loving hosts and our new friends Stephanie and Mario.

Mario and John became inseparable. As if they were joined by the hip they were walking across the RV park together checking our vehicle then theirs together,  they went shopping together, they enjoyed cool beers in the afternoon together. In the meantime Stephanie and I spent time playing cards and joking all day! (instead of doing domestic duties -those were pushed to do the following day. Then more cards…) Each days the boys, including the wonderful Edgar, went shopping for dinner. Always came home with some kind of meat. I made the side dish, Ana and Steph laid the table outside, lit some candles and the 6 of us enjoyed dinner together with wine, telling stories, joking, and enjoying the cooler temperature. These days were really fun and effortless and we gained knowledge about Central – South American travelling from our Swiss friends. They gave us very useful tips about camping along with satnav coordinates, about the roads and about the general Mexican “way”.

We all said goodbyes to Ana and Edgar. Mario and Stephanie headed north to the US border, and John and I moved on towards south. As the temperature was still rising (from 35C!) we couldn’t stand it anymore and made the final decision to head up to the mountains. As we got coordinates for camping and suggestions from Mario, John felt confident. As per me… I felt nervous.

We had a couple days full-day drive with one overnight stop by a lake, then another camp stop by a hot spring. Met a few very friendly locals and despite the lack of English or my lack of Spanish we had a good time “chatting”, they even invited us for the following morning for breakfast.

After yet another hot and humid night, in the morning we visited the local family for late breakfast (it was Sunday -Father’s Day and asked us to come over at 11AM) This was a little late for us as we knew we’ll have a long day drive ahead of us. We enjoyed an hour with the family then thanked their hospitality and moved on.

I felt uneasy. My head was echoing of the warnings and terrifying stories about Mexico and we were here. In fact we were heading exactly to the area where the epicentre of the drug stuff was. Having had Mario and Stephanie coming from the mountains and were saying, just a couple of days ago, that it is absolutely OK and they had a great time with no problem, was wearing out. I didn’t know what to believe and I didn’t know whether my fear was real or was created by others’. I started crying in the car. John stopped the car at a fork in the road, we had a break and got out to talk about it.

John had a strong belief that reality isn’t scary, isn’t terrifying, in fact it is safe for us, and our experience will indeed be rewarding. He was calm and confident but he gave me the choice. I had to reach deep within, touch-in with my essence to see what I really “hear”. After a few silent moments, I looked into John’s eyes and said “OK, let’s do it, let’s turn left”

Something smoothened in me. There was a 4-5 hours climbing ahead of us on a brand new, smooth road. I was sitting quietly (unusual) and started enjoying the view of the growing, spectacular mountains. In addition, pine trees (I love them) appeared. Their presence were suggesting cooler temperature. For our great joy we noticed that the temperature was gradually dropping from the blood-boiling 39C (102F) eventually to 29C (84F). What a relief!

It was after 7PM when we arrived to our suggested camp spot in Basaseachic National Park. A small park with pine trees, lush green grass, a great canyon and a lovely waterfall. It started raining (first rain for months), it smelled wonderful and the air felt fresh and cool. It was nice to feel a bit chilly. We parked up by the canyon with the view of the waterfall.

We stayed here for two nights. On our full day, we went for a long and steep hike, visiting the waterfall. It felt good. I felt good. We were discussing my feelings and talking about how my fear started to dissolve. Once we were back at our camp, John had a nap and I decided to progress our photos and do some writing -for our ever-behind blog. As I was working on the laptop, listening to the birds outside, a couple of pickup trucks arrived. A handful of guys with machine guns were dropped off. My heart stopped. The trucks left, the guys were outside about 50m from us, having some cigarettes, drinking coke and casually talking. I woke John whispering “hey Johnny, Johnny. There are men outside with machine guns. I’m not joking.”  Holding our breaths, we were peering out the window. They were busy talking and seemingly not at all interested in us. Then Johnny and I were quietly staring at each other for a few minutes. I think we both thought the same… This was the moment of truth…. A few minutes later we peered out again. They were gone. They didn’t care for us, they didn’t even look at us, they had their own business to mind and they left. It started raining lightly. Still enjoying the novelty of rain and the cool temperature we went for a short walk. We were discussing what happened earlier. I took it as an evidence for what we kept hearing; These guys not just do not care for tourists, especially If we mind our business, they mind theirs, it is in their interests to keep a low profile and keep the area trouble-free.

The walk was peaceful and quiet and we decided to stay for another night and leave tomorrow for the 3 hours drive to Creel.

Next, Creel and the Copper Canyon.