Monday, January 5, 2009

Our Trip to Huetamo

We left for Huetamo early New Years Eve day and made it there in about five hours. I never managed to get the camera out, so here's what you missed: four hours of constant curves, three stops so I could throw up on the side of the mountain, one large herd of random cows blocking the road (on a curve, no less), several possible bandidos that Ibis was convinced were going to try to rob us, and 33 burros on the side of the road. I only counted the ones that were loose and actually on the road, not the ones behind fences or tied to a tree or bush. Let's just say there were a lot of burros. And chipmunks.

Once we arrived, we pulled out the camera. This first picture is a building up the street from Ibis' grandmother's home. Unfortunately the entire family was in Morelia for the holiday so we were only able to track down a cousin. We spent the rest of our visit with his brother and his family (they have different fathers and therefore different families).


A cool bridge on the main road.


One street near the market. Cars still drive through these narrow passages but the sheets protect the vendors from the sun. We returned the following morning for breakfast and got to see them hang the sheets before it got too hot. Ibis also bought ten pounds of food that he's been dreaming about for years.


The road above the market leads to the church, which overlooks the entire area.


There are gates on all four sides of the church plaza. This is just one of them. The flowers and trees were beautiful.


We returned to the church with his brother's family later in the evening. I'm not Catholic but it was impressive to see how many people gathered to be blessed before the new year.


The plaza in the center of town. We stayed in a hotel on the plaza, thinking we'd be downtown for all the new year's festivities, but it was deserted. We went to bed before midnight and waited for the sound of gunshots to wish each other a happy new year. :)


This was on the drive back. Because our drive there was so awful, his brother recommended a different road that would eventually meet up with the toll road from Morelia. It wouldn't necessarily be faster, but he promised less curves. We didn't have a map but Ibis had a good idea where we were headed, plus he's not afraid to ask for directions along the way.

We saw a lot of animals on the road but I was only able to catch a couple of them. These horses were being led, unlike the cows we saw on the way to Huetamo.


My camera was too slow! There were about twenty large cattle, but I only caught the last one and the guys moving them along.


A burro running alongside the rode. We usually honk so they know we're there but they're pretty good about staying on the side. We saw dogs in a few places that did NOT want to get up from the middle of the street - how dare we disturb they're rest!


More cows.


A melon farm. Yes, Ibis went up to them and bought four melons. We've been eating food from Huetamo and melons for the past four days.


And now for the fun part of the trip. What Ibis' brother neglected to mention was that the road connecting us to the toll road was - oh... how do I say this - not finished. The pavement turned to gravel, which turned to dirt, and we chose a dirt lane along the side instead of the bumpy gravel, but they eventually merged back together.


We did stop a passing car to make sure we were headed in the right direction (there was NOTHING out there) and he assured us that we'd hit the toll road in another hour. That was after we'd already been on this road for an hour. We kept thinking it was strange that his brother didn't mention the dirt road, but we were too far along to do anything about it then. The stretch of road leading up to that point was brand new and beautiful, so we figured it all balanced out.


Our car after two hours of dirt roads.


The toll road! I took this picture to show how people travel here. There are several kids in the back of the truck that you can't see in this picture, and not only am I constantly bothered by how unsafe this is, they were also throwing all their garbage out the side.


Agave plants (that's what they make tequila with).


Lakes along the drive. They always make the long drive more enjoyable.


The mountain that saved us. Somewhere in hour two on the dirt road, Ibis said that he recognized this mountain. We've commented on past trips from Morelia that it looks like a face (lying down) and sure enough, we could see it from the middle of nowhere. It gave us hope that we were going the right way and would eventually make it there.


The shortcut recommended by his brother took five and a half hours, but at least I didn't get sick. We checked the map when we got home and we drove all over two states, and the dirt road we were on isn't even shown. In all it was a good trip, although disappointing that we didn't get to see his family. I'm glad I got to see where he was born and I have the urge for a roadtrip out of my system for a couple more months.

25 comments:

Pink Ink said...

Gosh, Melanie. Who needs one of those car DVD players where you're at?? :-)

Great pics.

*Ibis also bought ten pounds of food that he's been dreaming about for years.* I can totally relate. And I miss open-air markets!

Janna Qualman said...

Wow! Wow! I wish I could have tagged along, even through the bad parts. The sheets over the markets are neat, the church is beautiful, and the drive home sounds so boring and serene and so many other things. Glad you didn't get lost!

Melanie Avila said...

Pink, that's funny you mentioned that because we have one, but it's not working. Ibis wanted to bring it just in case, but I overruled. :)

We're still eating tamales...

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, it was a cool trip, even though we didn't get to see his family. And the drive home wasn't too boring since we were stressed for about two hours wondering if we were going the right way. He had to work when we got back and was SO late!

Allen said...

Sounds like you had a great time. I like the old roads and the backwoods. I wish I could travel out to the bush again. Happy New Year.

Allen

WendyCinNYC said...

Great pictures, Melanie. I feel warmer already.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Allen, happy new year to you too.

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, our vacations were complete opposites!

Amy Nathan said...

What an adventure! You are living an amazing lifetime experience...

spyscribbler said...

I didn't know that! I use agave syrup instead of sugar sometimes. I love these posts. I love your pictures!

Turkey Lurkey said...

Great post! The scenery reminds me of Southern California. Lots of sage and lots of brown. I also remember in the 70s riding in the back of my dad's truck. Now I can't imagine doing something that dangerous!

Nadine said...

I love the pictures! Beautiful church!

Kids ride in the back of pickups here too - it makes me so nervous!!

And I can totally relate on the food part - I crave certain foods and when I have access to them, I stock up!

Jenna said...

Very cool trip and great pics...thanks for sharing!

Melanie Avila said...

Amy, I keep trying to remind myself that...

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, do you get a little loopy after using the agave syrup? :P

Melanie Avila said...

Turkey, I know I've ridden in the back of pickups as a kid, and also once in my 20s, but we weren't on a main road. It really scares me when they're standing up and holding the roll bar - on the highway. Or sitting on the sides.

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, that reminds me - they recently started carrying Reece's Peanut Butter cups here and the first time I saw I gasped loud enough to draw attention, then shoved tons of them in my cart. They're a little different than back home, but oh so yummy.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Jenna. :)

Robin said...

Those are the most awesome pictures! I loved them! That bridge picture could be framed. (Oh, man, I sound like my mom.)

I love how Ibis thinks about food all the time. He reminds me of Adam. Adam is on a strict diet right now, and he reads cooking magazines as though they're porn. He went to sleep reading about "how to make the perfect peach cobbler". He'd go bananas at that market.

Lauren said...

Those are some very awesome pics! Thanks for sharing them.

I use agave syrup too. I didn't know that is what tequila came from. No wonder I like it so much :)

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, OMG you crack me up. I showed your comment to Ibis. He's a wonderful cook and while I wouldn't say he has QUITE the same experience looking at cookbooks, he does enjoy them. ;) The peach cobbler comment reminded me of when he bought a pancakes and crepes cookbook. Yum!

Melanie Avila said...

Lauren, that's so strange because I've never even heard of agave syrup before now. At least now you know why you like it.

aaroncrocco said...

Wow that is quite the trip! You are brave to take on such an adventure. Sorry you got sick. I know what that's like.

Michaeleen said...

Huetamo looks very familiar (the church and central plaza) - is that one of the locations that The Amazing Race shot in last season?

Melanie Avila said...

Hmm... I have no idea. It's possible, but most of the plazas & churches in Mexico start to look alike after awhile.