Climbing out of the Atitlàn caldera

Started out from Lago Atitlàn catching the 08:00 am boat of over to Panajachel to pick up an overland bus. The transfer was to cover 190 klm. to Lanquin in ten hours. The bus climbed slowly out of the huge Atitlàn caldera and on to the agriculturally productive ravine riven foothills of Xeabej. The weather was overcast & C20.Got to Chichicastenango at around 09:35 after lots of hairpin bends got into heavily forested area of Beech and Fir trees. Got into Santa Cruz del Quish at 10:00am. About 2 miles out of town saw a guy pulling a two wheeled pallet truck transporting a fridge  accompanied by a pack of docks, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. The road began to degenerate markedly from here into little more than a pitted track, girded by huge palm fronds and forests. Passed through myriad small villages clinging to mountain sides as the vehicle negotiated and threaded its way along its tortuous track NW.

Now making fairly slow progress as the vehicle picks its way along the mountain tracks avoiding rock falls and washed out sections of the “road.”

One of those moments when one hopes that the driver’s wife hasn’t left him, taking the kids with her. Telling him that she hates him and never wants to see him again. Leaving him, feeling suicidal and wanting to end it all !!!

Perplexing,  how these hill communities survive. Were it not for the traffic picking its way along these ravines, ridges and rough tracks, supplies of basic commodities would be problematic. 

   Gradually the track started a tortuous descent down to the Lanquin river and a welcome forthcoming respite from the stomach churning track. The following morning, one woke to a fine day bathed in the soft morning glow of the rising sun. The river glistened and bubbled along and a group of ducks waddled up to investigate what was happening onshore.

Lanquin high street. Traffic calming measures tend towards being superfluous to requirements, at present.
Rio Lanquin
The jetty landing at The Sun Dog Cafe where one picks up a water taxi. 

There is something magical about a free flowing natural river environment. The air around vibrant, as it sizzles the accumulated night time dew in early morning sunshine. When one breathes it in, it’s like champagne corks going off in ones head. It is fresh and invigorating. Its microclimate is cool & refreshing. The trees provide nature’s perfume. Bird life is prolific and in abundance. At night the sounds are so haunting, disconcerting and just a little threatening, for some of those of an urban persuasion.

Sunday 30.09.18 Left Laquin at 08:30 for a five hour transfer on the “bum bouncer” to The Sun Dog Cafe at the eastern shoreline of Lago Izabal. Hopefully, to be picked up by water taxi for a short 15 minute transfer to Hotel Casa Perico is perched in a mangrove coppice. Our host Jonathan, greeted us and took us along fifty metres of duck boardwalk to show us the room. This was a good size with a large mosquito grilled window which gave out onto the forest beyond. Later I met Paul, a Swiss guy that had built the whole place from scratch, beginning when he had arrived in the area some seventeen years earlier. Having booked two nights, one contemplated perhaps staying longer. However, the arrival of a young family, who were domiciled in the adjacent room swiftly dissuaded us. Noise, travels really well through timber,…..and kids make a lot of noise. 

Hotel on the water

Duck board “highway” to the room
A Loo with a view

A Cruise up El Golfete to Livingston on the Caribbean coast

Monday 01.09.18. Taking advantage of the good weather, decided to take a cruise with the boat that shuttles along El Golfete, calling at various privately owned villas and small hotels along the way to Livingston, on the Caribbean coast. Life on the water is altogether much more languid and denuded of  shore based pressures. 

Tuesday 02.10.18  Lazy start today as the water taxi pick up wasn’t due until 14:00pm. Made it over the water and picked up the overland transport just before a huge deluge, which remained with us for a good portion of the three & a half hour trip north to Casa de Grethel, in Florez. On the outskirts of Florez, was unexpectedly met by a minivan that apparently was a transfer downtown. However, it quickly became evident that this was a choreographed opportunity for a “hard sell” for trips to the Mayan temple complex at Tikal & other “bargain basement priced trips.”!! Once it became clear to the enterprising opportunists that we were not interested. We were quickly marginalised, dismissed and even given a “bum steer” as to where the ferry over to our island accommodation in Lago Peten Itza lay. Self evidently we had returned to the world of, “Cynical Opportunism.” However, after having said all that, I am pleased to say that most Guatemalans are not hewn from the same medium as these chaps. They are by and large helpful, good humoured and a little shy.

Island life, Florez

👋

Hopefully, the next three days will be spent in quiet enjoyment of the lake, its environs & pleasant meals with views from the neo colonial style balcony over the straits, whilst contemplating a trip east to Belize. Now, where did I put that Panama chapeau?

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The sound of Bob Marley and “We’re Jammin’ ” came drifting through the open door along with the morning sun. The previous night had been punctuated by the bangs & whooshes of fire-crackers and rockets exploding into the late evening air, as the village prepared for Independence Day celebrations over the impending weekend. The rain clouds that seemed to have had a propensity to roll in as afternoon marched on, have thankfully, fallen away to leave the lake bathed in a balmy golden glow.

Lago Atitlán

Lake Atitlán is situated in southern Guatemala Central America with a maximum depth of about 340 metres (1,120 ft)[1] with an average depth of 220 metres (720 ft).[4] Its surface area is 130.1 km2 (50.2 sq mi).[1] It is approximately 18 by 8 km with around 20 km3 of water. Atitlán is technically an endorheic lake, feeding into two nearby rivers rather than draining into the ocean. It is shaped by deep surrounding escarpments and three volcanoes on its southern flank. The lake basin is volcanic in origin, filling an enormous caldera formed by an eruption 84,000 years ago. The culture of the towns and villages surrounding Lake Atitlán is influenced by the Maya people. The lake is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) west-northwest of Antigua.

Night Sky Phenomenon

Appeared from nowhere….and then, just disappeared!

Several nights ago, though still cloudy, the matt and star studded backcloth of the night sky, viewed in my indolent gaze, was interrupted by something, quite…well… astounding. I saw a UFO!…High in the night sky, it had suddenly appeared, and hovered. It was most definitely not a helicopter or a drone. Circular in shape and studded around its edge with orange lights. It remained for about ten minutes, and then, as suddenly as it appeared, it disappeared. It left me bewildered and somewhat stunned.

Passing Ships

Something that granted, I had not been unaware of in the past, but nevertheless has been very noticeable here at Casa Mdera Hostel is, the sheer number and diversity of people that pass through, pass by, and linger. It is perhaps, a function of the length of time one stays in a place that dulls that awareness. However, Canadians, Israelis, Americans, Mexicans, Spanish, Germans, English and of course Guatemalans, all alight here at some time. Here of course, and in this environment, it tends to be people of a more youthful vintage, availing themselves of the bohemian lifestyle, music, artisanat produce, therapeutic offerings and a meditative environment. The conversation inevitably revolves around where one has been, where one is going and recommendations for this hostel or that food etcetera. Not dissimilar to Ubud in Fiji in many ways. A recommendation to try a “Real Ale” bar in Panajachel (about 10klms along the lago/crater rim) brought me into conversation with a retired German surgeon who, after a divorce in his homeland, came out here seven years ago to start a new life. He acquired some land, a new partner, and built himself a property in Jaibalito (a small township along the coast from San Marcos. I spent a delightful couple of hours talking with him over a range of subjects, from life here in Atitlàn, to politics back in Germany and western europe.

Jaibalito, Lago Atitlan

Local Colour

Once joy at discovery of a small, beguiling local environment embeds itself into consciousness, it tends to leech its caché, pretty though it may be. I suppose it is a function of the heat, pace of life and finding interesting things to do, that are much closer at hand. One thinks of a hammock or a nice easy chair, where one can lie/sit back, and ease into a state of torpor and ultimately drift off to sleep. However, today (monday 17.09.18) will be different. Decided to take the ferry over to Panajachel to take a look round. The transfer took 40 minutes and cost 25 Qts (£2.50).

Around Lago Atitlàn perimeter

The volcano perches on the southern rim of the Atitlán caldera, which contains Lake Atitlán. Since the major caldera-forming eruption 85 thousand years ago (ka), three stratovolcanoes—San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán—have formed in and around the caldera. Atitlán is the youngest and most active of the three volcanoes.

Tomorrow, Thursday (20.09.18) will be changing domicile from here at Casa Mdera, San Marcos over the water to Posada Man, San Juan La Laguna.



Dire Straits ’79

👋

Saturday 25.08.18  

Left Cancun at 11:00 & got into Aurora airport Guatemala at 11:52 local time, (there’s an hour time disparity twixt Cancun & Guatemala city). Lynn left from Cancun in the afternoon back to the UK to support a friend who is quite ill at the moment. After clearing immigration, Customs & getting some cash (Quetzal,£1=10qtzl) grabbed a “Collectivo” for the 1 hours transfer to Antigua (80qtzl). Got to Colonia el Manchen locality of Antigua and was met by my host Adam at El Mirador Apartment. Adam is Polish and he came over from Cambodia about 7 months previously following his girlfriend Anna, to start life here in Guatemala.

Fuego killed 62 people on June 5th 2018. Pyroclastic flows travelling down the slopes and into the town completely outran them.

Antigua, is a small town, lies in the shadow of three huge volcanoes.  Volcan d’Agua, Fuego & Acatenango are all around the 2550m (8300ft) in height. Two of them are considered active whilst Volcan d’Agua has been dormant for some time.

Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua, Guatemala, sits in the shadow of Volcan de Agua.

The town of Antigua is delightful. A tad ramshackled with numerous shops, artisanat establishments and lots of restaurants ranging from local cuisines to Japanese & Lebanese establishments. The streets are for the most part cobbled which actually does a fine job in holding down the speed of vehicles that traverse the town. However, the longevity of vehicles is somewhat circumscribed by the pounding they take over the time of their utility. The market is a thriving “hotch potch” of clothing stalls, food stalls, vegetable, meat & fish stalls all cheek by jowel in a seemingly chaotic cacophony of confusion. However, it functions as the heartbeat of the town.

6.09.18 Sunday: Just sneezed, and a crown has popped out. Guess that I’m going in search of a dentist tomorrow. Earlier went down town and watched a bit of the sunday service and then spent the rest of the afternoon just mooching around in the balmy afternoon heat. Showers rolled in later though.

On Monday 10.09.18, will be headed out to the Lake Atitlan area. The first accommodation will be at San Juan Laguna for three days. Followed by a two day stay at Casa Madera Atitlan by the lake.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1pKm2siUIsM3zTs8YOLPwrYVmAanT24ke&usp=sharing

 

 

Travelling by “Collectivo” (basically a van with bench seating),  north for an hour, for a  9 day stay in Puerto Morelos. I know very little about the place, other than the beaches are supposedly, nice. Our hostesses, Isabelle & Kelly are delightful, charming and very welcoming. One is a Phd student and the other a Marine Biologist with particular focus on Coral Reef atrophy.

18.08.18 Went down to the beach and was surprised and a little disappointed to see that though, the beach was pristine, huge quantities of seaweed are piled all along the beachfront. This phenomenon has been apparent for a year or two now and has impacted tourist numbers. The incidence of “sargasso” is also exacerbated by large quantities being pushed further north by outflow from the Amazon river further south.

The Collectivo back from town today had to be the worst ride yet. I counted 22 people squeezed into a vehicle akin to a Toyota Commuter with bench seats. “Up close & personal,” outside ambient temperature was in the C30’s, however inside had to be closer to C40. Faces, misshaped, distorted, were driven up against bulkheads, arms and legs squeezed into all kinds of weird shapes and perspiration dripped from everywhere. However, everyone, good natured & polite, with “long suffering” smiles.

Sad news from the UK. A friend is quite ill. Shocked and disconcerted. Lynn has altered her existing flight back to Blighty on the 20.11.18 to 23.08.18 in order to be close to Do at her challenging time. I’ll carry on to Guatemala and wait for her there in Antigua, a suburb in Guatemala city.

23.08.18 01:30 am Mexican time (10.30 22.08.18 UK time) sad news. Our friend Do has died.

Arrived Antigua (suburb of Guatemala City) after an hour & ten minute flight down from Cancun & an hour transfer from the airport. First impression are very positive. The highways are well maintained. The topography is amazing and bowling up at El Mirador accommodation with vues out on a volcanic landscape with El Fuego and Volcàn de Agua in the distance is, nothing short of sensational! My AirBnB host is called Adam. He’s a Polish guy that came over from a stint in Cambodia following his girlfriend Anna, and is now managing this business with her, for a period of seven months.

Fuego killed 62 people on June 5th 2018. Pyroclastic flows travelling down the slopes and into the town completely outran them.

Today (Friday) I have been catching up on emails & sorting out paperwork. It has been cloudy most of the morning but warm, with the sun making an appearance late in the day. The volcanoes are swathed in cloud. There is noise of festivities filtering out from the San Jose Cathedral,so I’m guessing it’s some Saint’s day celebration or other.Went down to town late afternoon to orientate myself a little more. Saw a couple of churches devastated by either earthquake or volcanic activity. The central square (Plaça Mayor) is delightful, full of tree giving shade, the Mayors offices and administration buildings, a church, and artisan shops and cafés surrounding the gardens under a wooden canopied promenade giving shade to pedestrians.

 

Friday the 13th has, up to now, conspired to validate its malevolent auguries . Water has ceased to flow to the toilet, sink & shower. Dogs howling at night & our host (Roberto) unable to attend to the problems until later in the day! So your ablution deficient host will attempt some descriptive prose in spite of these handicaps.

Finally, good news. The water is back on. It appears that the gardener had inadvertently switched off the supply, and subsequently the pump tripped out on the resurgent current. Ah well, it’s resolved.

At least one can rest easy.

Monday 16.07.18 will be headed east over the Yucatan Peninsula to Playa del Carmen. It’s a four and a half hour road trip, so not so bad.

16:40 Arrived after a fairly boring, though comfortable trip. The bus was a relatively new Swedish Scania, so all “Ship shape & Bristol Fashion.” Checked in with host Julio & wife. Although, she wasn’t there, having left for Europe on a research sabbatical.

30.07.18 Monday  Visit to the local Doctors surgery today. My GP back in the UK is restricting my prescription tablets as a precursor to an examination ( which I am of course unable to attend due to travelling.) However, if I can provide satisfactory blood tests, liver & kidney function test results locally, he will enable the proscription. So now engaged in a search for a local clinic and blood test facilities in order to provide the necessary information. Tedious, but thankfully do-able, which would obviate an early return back to the UK.

The weather here has turned a tad changeable this past couple of days with cloudy skies and occasional rain. It has a propensity to flatten ones mood and put a less than rosey veil of grey over the environment. The political diaspora back in Blighty is no less grey and foreboding as May & Parliament break for Recess. Why on earth they would take a holiday during the course of crucial Brexit negotiations and the still ill defined British position is astounding.

Notional route around the Yucatan.

A couple of other things, in the form of random observations about day to day life in Mexico follows a slightly more critical path. For instance, the plumbing. The flushing process in Mexican toilet bowls are by and large abysmal, even in newer properties. It is a completely hit and miss, a “cliff hanger” as to whether everything is discharged from the bowl, leading to embarrassing extra time hanging around waiting for the cistern to refill at an extraordinary slow rate as the pressure is so low. The second imponderable, are addresses. I mean proper meaningfully exact addresses. The existence of road names, house numbers appear to be a complete mystery wrapped in an enigma . Sometimes they are apparent, and often times not. When one is completely bereft of hope, along totters someone with local knowledge to “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat,” by saying “Oh, it’s over there.” The third thing is “sleeping policeman.” It’s like a politician had gone on holiday somewhere, saw some examples of the said “sleeping policemen,” returned home and stuck them,….. everywhere. They are, for all practical purposes, everywhere; Motorways, A roads, B roads….you name it..and there’s an infernal “sleeping policeman.”  Finally, pavements…….there is absolutely no conformity or consistency. One definitely needs to keep one’s eyes on where one is stepping or suffer a broken ankle.

Tomorrow (Thursday 09.08.18) headed north for a weeklong stay in Puerto Morelos.

Arrived Campeche 10:30 am, fairly bedraggled, after what turned out to be a 15 hour road trip from San Cristobal de las Casas. From the coach terminal took a cab, who’s driver turned a tad tetchy, when we paid him that which was agreed at the terminal, to which he showed “open mouthed” amazement when he got said amount, and no more! Bizarre.

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“Why so serious?….just give me the fare.”

 

I have long since developed a thick skin with respect to taxi drivers. They are masters at “sweating their transient asset.”

Hit the hay at two in the afternoon.

Next thing I knew it was Tuesday morning, bright sunshine, blue skies. Having had a damn good sleep, headed off out to investigate the town. Ambled along to the centre to where the church and public square was to be found, encompassing covered seating area/snack bar, and just watched life pass by for a while. The buildings around the centre are colourfully painted and well maintained.img_6686img_6683

The waterfront is a fairly anodyne affair. True, it had a concrete promenade. However, there is no seating to take in the view or relax. No trees or parasols for shade and nothing to engage ones interest.

However, this brief period of calm provides an opportunity for Lynn to engage with her recently acquired proclivity for gathering stones of varying size & shape, and painting them in vividly coloured acrylic. I met this newly acquired passion with a certain amount of trepidation as I suspected that we would be dragging these stones (extra weight)  around the country in our luggage!!

 

It seems that the UK Cabinet are due to meet this Friday (06.07.18) for yet another crucial meeting over the terms of our Brexit departure. Apparently May is going to try to sell them some kind of fudge concocted by Olly Robbins et al, that will leave us tied, in some Machiavellian way to the EU.

The next planned port of call will be MeridaMérida, the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán, has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage. The city’s focal point is Plaza de la Independencia, bordered by the fortresslike Mérida Cathedral and white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, both colonial-era churches built using relics from ancient Mayan temples. The Casa de Montejo, a 16th-century mansion, is a landmark of colonial plateresque architecture.It also has a population of 770,000, so should be interesting to visit.

Thursday 21.06.18 Arrived at 07:15 this morning after a 10 hour overland from Oaxaca. Managed to catch some snatches of sleep. However, still zonked most of Thursday. Stopping at  Hub guesthouse with our host James, a Liverpudlian guy that came out to Mexico & this area in 2016 and decided to stay.

“You wanna get there!…Well I sure wouldn’t start from here.”

San Cristobal has a strange kind of existence. I guess that it has, over the years, developed slowly from a mountain township that has supported, since the ’60’s  fragmented & variegated waves of dropouts, bohemians, artists, chancers & charlatans. One saunters by them, sat on the sidewalks on the main tourist thoroughfares beating out rhythms on bongos, weaving intricate stringed beads, strumming guitars and just chillin’ out & getting by in good natured indolence.img_6613 I’ve been frequenting El Cipres restaurant fairly regularly & got familiar with the owner Hernandez. He used to work in the US as a Chef however, after a marriage failure and a couple of other problems he came back south. Another Xpat called Tim from Canada, wound up here after he rejected “normal” life in Vancouver and came down south, married and settled down. Met a lady who had sold her trailer in California because the cost of living had become so burdensome that she had decided to move down to Mexico, where she could get by on a smaller budget.

The weather patterns experienced here in the mountains are curious, in that mornings tend to be clear blue skies, sunny & warm. However, as the afternoon comes around, the clouds roll in and squalls of rain take over, sometimes accompanied by thunder storms. However,  in the afternoon, it settles again through until later in the evening. During the night, showers come in again. Then the cycle is repeated.

The foothills around the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Will be leaving San Cristobal Sunday  01.07.18 19:00. It’s going to be a 12 hour road trip. First north to Villahermosa and then east to Palenque and again north, getting into Campeche on the Gulf of Mexico coast at 09:00 am Monday morning. Will not be seeing much in the way of vistas or landscapes as the night trip precludes that. Our ever sardonic & black humoured Liverpudlian host kindly related a couple of anecdotes describing how in recent months, an overland bus had been stopped by armed bandits and the people on board relieved of the contents of their wallets, passports & luggage; also a couple of Swiss cyclists touring the mountains had been run off the road. One killed outright and the other severely injured, which I thought a tad unhelpful of him to relate.

 

 

Tonight (Sunday20.05.18) will be the last in Acapulco. Have quite mixed feelings. The three locations that we stayed at were very different. From an initial domicile at the Nilo Hotel, being central, well maintained and in the last two days rather opulent. To fairly challenged accommodation at Pie de la Cuesta, but lovely attitude of our hostess. To a final domicile,  relatively close to Diamante Beach which was an environment, one would say was a little “controlled”, in that we were not give a key to the front gate & some limitations in the use of the air con were in efficacy. The expectation was also that we left the property during the day. One thing was for sure. We spent far too long in Acapulco. One week would have been fine.

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Twin en suite at Casa de Pemaroche run by Marina & Roman a Swiss couple who with their respective partners have engaged with a new project…….in the sun!

Got on the road to Puerto Escondido at 22:00pm. Arrived at 06:00am the following day Monday 22.05.18. The bus termini, are largely well maintained and orderly. Took a taxi out to our Airbnb accommodation at Casa de Pemaroche in Brisas de Zicatela run by a Swiss couple, Marina & partner Peter. Marina & her brother (Roman back in Switzerland) had decided to purchase and refurbish the property along with their respective partners. The accommodation here is so peaceful & the owners, so welcoming that we’re extending another week. The well maintained swimming pool is also a huge “pull” as are the loungers in this sun soaked part of the country.

On UK news, I have become increasingly more pessimistic of us ever divesting ourselves of the infernal EU & its unelected arrogant apparatchiks. May & Hammond continue to disappoint. The “shadowy” Olly Robbins also does not inspire confidence, and of course all three of those aforementioned individuals are “dyed in the wool” Remainers. The Civil Service appears to be patently “underperforming” and engaged in “foot dragging” like recalcitrant “Sir Humphrey’s.”

Always smiling, always happy.

Lying by the pool yesterday, a lizard about a foot and a half long fell from the roof gutter of the property at Pemaroche with a thump. Obviously, had dozed off,  rolled out, and plummeted 15 feet to the pathway below. It got up, looking a little dazed & bewildered, then just ambled off. Meanwhile, our “Mr. Happy,” eternally good natured & enigmatic pool ball, floats around, a slave to the capricious whims of the surface breeze.

“Casa de Pemaroche” in Puerto Escondido. Pool, Shade, Shower, Mr Happy Pool ball & a couple of Garden Lizards that visit occasionally.

Have now extended a further week here, which is indicative of how comfortable we deem the accommodation & our hosts to be. The Brisas de Zicatela coastline & beaches are simply wonderful though bathing in the sea can be challenging along this section as the waves are “heavy.”

We’ve kind of made a prospective idealised route from Mexico through to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua which we may / may not stick to. I guess we will be guided by what opportunities present themselves.

Proposed route down through central America.

Sadly we were only issued with a 90 day visa at the immigration counter in Mexico City, (although the immigration officer did scrawl 120 days on the card.) It’s doubtful whether that would hold up to scrutiny should immigration choose to become pernickety. Unless we extend, we need to be out of Mexico and into Belize by the 09.07.18.

We were fairly ambivalent about visiting the Yucatan peninsula as that would imply going through Cancun, which holds no attraction. Oaxaca  lies inland, and promises to be a culturally satisfying experience. Disconcertingly, a volcano in Guatemala called Fuego exploded into fiery action a couple of days ago. Sadly 62 have lost their lives in the pyroclastic flow that engulfed them.

 

20.04.18  Monday will be headed out of  town north for a change of domicile tomorrow. The Nilo Hotel, here in Acapulco has been an excellent place to relax since coming down from Mexico City. Roof top pool and bar, huge bed (8’x8′).

22.04.18 Surprise…Surprise….for my birthday! Lynn has arranged an upgrade to the Penthouse Apartment in Nilo Hotel.

Private elevator for ones exclusive use, with views over the rooftop pool and the city beyond. My oh my….enormous bed, self contained kitchen and dining room with vistas through a convex shaped plate glass window over to the other side of the city & a couple of bottles of Argentinian Merlot to be imbibed, at leisure. Later will be going out to a favourite restaurant, “Questa Pasta.”

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Questa Pasta….mmmmm.

22.04.18 Sunday: The elevator to our room made a mechanical click as it came to rest at 09:00am this morning. The maid came out apologising profusely as she had woken us both up from deep slumber with a Moet Chandon Champaign Breakfast tray and a mixture of cakes, cheeses, grapes & biscuits!

Late afternoon, took a taxi to Mondo Imperial Hotel about half an hour down the coast for afternoon Brunch. The Bucks Fizz kept flowing and the steaks were enormous rib eye specials. Came back stuffed and spent the rest of the evening in the roof top pool.

 

23.04.18 Will be headed north west of the city about 25 klm for a week Air BnB stay at Pie de la Cuesta on Monday. Then, subsequently headed south to a little town called Puerto Escondido.

25.04.18 This evening will be going to see the Cliff Divers at La Quebrada Acapulco. Their fame & notoriety spread worldwide following the 1963 Elvis Presley film Fun in Acapulco. However, it was in 1934 that Raoul Garcia, brought the phenomenon to local public attention. Apparently as evening draws in they take to diving with lit torches!

 

Zonked for  24 hours, to recover from “Jet Lag”  The usual headache, and lethargy, plus stuffed up nose and sore throat. So did absolutely nothing today. However,  managed to drag myself out of bed on Wednesday for a “mooch” around downtown Mexico City. First impressions were generally positive with a good “vibe” around the old city centre, squares and thoroughfares.

 

Mexicans tend to smile easily and are helpful. There seems to be a huge prevalence of small shops and artisanal establishments conducting their business in a frenzied cadence of business activity. The “Mall” type shopping environment does not appear to have made its presence felt, as yet.However, one does notice a huge Police and uniformed Security presence in  “downtown” areas, perhaps indicative of a thriving subculture. Mexico has a population of 120 million people, of which around 9 million live in Mexico City.

12.04.18 Travelled NE of Mexico City to an ancient pyramid complex Teotihuacan. The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest building in the Teotihuacan complex, which is believed to have been constructed about 200 BC, and one of the largest in Mesoamerica. I subsequently read that weirdly, the Sun Pyramid is aligned perfectly along a line of axis of 33 degrees with the Pyramid at Giza in Egypt to the horizontal plane! Furthermore, that the Great Pyramid at Giza  aligned with the three brightest stars in Orion’s Belt eighteen days before 12.21.12. People were predicting all kinds of cataclysms,….but nothing happened. So all nonsense, I guess.

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Perseus slaying of Medusa (Dali).

Visited a Salvador Dali static al fresco exhibition. The classic Melting Watch was in evidence, as was the Slaying of Medusa. Both beautifully executed and delightful to see.

14.04.18 Meandered down town and came across a bijou Sushi restaurant called Ah Un in Calle Motolinia, Centro Historico. Apparently they do great cocktails, however, I stuck to a house red Merlot and Sushi.

Headed down to Acapulco tomorrow. Should get there mid afternoon.

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Acapulco Bay hotels.

15.04.18 Mexico City lies on a high central plateau, altitude 7249ft above sea level. One is really unaware of the altitude until one makes the 6 hours trip by road to the coast. It is a constant descent through scrubland, deep red rift valley redzina and hair pin bends. Got into Acapulco at 14:00 pm. Checked in at the Nilo Hotel.

17.04.18 Spent the day sunbathing around the rooftop pool in C30 temperatures, and the tan is deepening.

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NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert”. - J Robert Oppenheimer.

Tim Harford

The Undercover Economist

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