Another Adventure into the Wilds of Mexico

Fishermen at Barra de Potosi
The Senor in the pasajara

Well not exactly the wilds, but out into the countryside.

Sights along the way

We had won on a raffle tickets to “El Refugio de Potosi”, the  wildlife eco park. We decided Friday would be a good time to go, it had sprinkled the night before and was very cloudy with sprinkles predicted for the day. And we thought that it would have been better for viewing the wildlife when it’s cooler and they are more active.  We had the brochure, so we knew the hours and days of operation and once again we plan to take the bus. We have been there before and we know the name of our bus stop, Los Achotes, as you pay by your destination when you get off. We knew it would cost each of us 13 pesos or about a dollar each way for the 10 mile ride.  This bus stops at every cross roads or when anyone waves it down.  After getting off at Los Achotes, we then catch the” passajara” which is a big pickup truck with benches on the sides and a tarp canopy over the top for the next 5 miles to the Refugio.  It has no schedule, it just leaves when the driver feels he has enough passengers, we are the first to climb on and eventually we are joined by 6 other Mexican passengers and off we go.  It stops long enough at the entrance to the Refugio for to get off and it goes another 3-4 miles to Barre de Potosi village and lagoon where there are many ocean side restaurants, outside palapa type are located.

As we approached the entrance we see the gate to the parking lot is shut, and a sign is posted on the gate that very clearly says in spanish, new hours of operation only open Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.  Even I can read it with my limited language skills. Now we are literally 3 – 4 miles from anywhere and no clue as to when a “passajara” will pass by again.  We decide we will go on to Barra de Potosi for lunch rather than just return back to Zihuatanejo.  At this time we didn’t  know quite how far it was to Barra de Potosi and rather than stand around waiting we decided we would walk and if we got tired we’d flag down what ever passed by first, passajara or taxi.  We hadn’t gone far when a taxi came by and we climb in and rode the rest of the way and glad we did as it was a good 3-4 miles.

I’ve only been to Barre de Potosi a couple of times and there are these very large eating establishments, many, many picnic tables on the sand and covered from the weather with tarps and no one there. I think they get quite busy on weekends with mexican families and large groups.  We picked one at random, ordered our drinks, asked the waiter how many oysters were in an order he said 12 so we decided to share an order of oysters. My spanish is limited to nouns and verbs and simple phrases and I do ok in restaurants and stores reading menus and asking simple questions.  We had read the menu it listed several types of fish and how they were cooked, but the oysters were just listed as “ostiones” (sp?) and sure enough we were brought 12 raw oysters on the half shell. Now one or two raw oysters I can do but not a whole plate of them, I finally was able to convince him that we wanted them cooked, cocido was as close as I could remember and yes he brought them back beautifully cooked and we had a great lunch before returning to Zihuatanejo.

A siesta, dinner by candle light on our balcony, then Senor opted to stay in and watch TV while I went out to watch our “local boys” play at Pacalos.  Just another interesting day in paradise.  signing off KO

Trip to the waterfalls and a small village

It was a great day, our guide Wil of “” picked us up at 10 as promised and we climbed into his late-model PU and headed into the back country going up into the mountains.  We traveled about 60 KM out of Zihuatanejo up into the mountains on a windy switch back road.  Only the last few miles were on a dirt road. We stopped at a lovely place where the owner is beginning his plans of having a small out-door restaurant for visitors and began our walk to a series of falls and pools.  Along the way we learned about the termite nests in the trees that do not harm the trees and the termites are considered a good thing as they rid the forest floor of decaying wood.  The  termite nests also provide a place for wild parrots to nest inside.  These are huge burl like looking masses high in the trees and the eggs are kept warm inside.  We saw philadendroms growing wild. many ferns and pine trees.  The huge parotta tree was especially beautiful and most had wild orchids or other types of flowers and plants growing on them with neither being a problem to the other.  Of course our guide knew the names of all of them and of course I can’t remember any of them.  I have pictures but they don’t show up well in this format. Wil seems to have 2 assistants from the village, Reynaldo 13, and Carlos Juan 10.  They are 2 of 8 siblings.  I called them our “Sherpas” as they carried our beach bags with our towels and water in them. Along the way we see many butterflys, including the blue morpho with a lot of blue color on their wing and the vivid Juliana that could be mistaken for a flying gold fish. We stopped at the first waterfall, the high falls and young Reynaldo shows us how he jumps into the pool below the water fall from the rocks about 30 ft above the pool, then scrambles up the rock wall with the help of a rope the kids have hung there to do it all over again.  The pool is bout 30 feet deep in places and the village kids all know exactly where to jump to.  This pool can only be entered by jumping from on high so we pass.  The next fall is medium high with 2 sets of falls and Doyle opts to try this one the rock he jumps from is about 15 ft above the pool, he then swims down to the second falls and leaps off it. To get to the next set of falls we have a couple of suspension bridges to cross.  That made me a little nervous at first, but it was really fun. Then we are at the 3rd falls and this is the one the kids slide on.  It must be a 40 foot top to bottom rock slide with many right and then left turns.  I opted to watch our “sherpa” Renaldo demonstrate.  Of course it took almost no encouragement for him to do so.  This is the best pool to swim in as you can enter it from a sandy area.  Both Doyle and I and Will took a cooling dip.  And boy was it cooling.  Kinda took your breath away at first, but then you get used to it and it felt good.  After our swim we climbed up a set of stairs made for giants, or at least it felt that way to get us back to where we started from for our lunch. Lunch was prepared for us by one of the village ladies, we had tortillas that were hand-made from corn ground that morning, a ground beef and sauce dish, steamed (rancho) beans and a wonderful cheese made in the village.  Quite the experience, it was very, very good. Every one enjoyed the meal.  After lunch we strolled up to the village of about 80 people which is probably only 6-10 families as the families are quite large.  Their dwellings are small by our standards and quite poor in consumer items, but there was nothing there that said poor in spirit, the kids were happy, a bit dusty, no fancy name brand clothing, they have their own school, and a real sense of family and community.  Their homes have what I call “subsistence” gardens, where they plant every thing and anything that they can grow and eat later including chickens, turkeys, many variety of trees and plants and you can be sure it’s all organic and “green”.  Here burros are still one of the main type of transportation, but fortunately not the only type because as we were leaving we noticed a pickup truck actually speeding down the mountain road.  As we were to learn later the older sister of one of our Sherpas was bitten by a scorpion and they were rushing her to the next village where there was anti venom for her bite.  I’m not sure that’s the correct term, but I’m sure it gets my meaning across.  The houses in the village were adobe bricks, very open air, kind of made me think of not much more than back woods camp out shelters, but they do have electricity, running water gravity fed, and they can have satellite TV.  It isn’t nearly as expensive as it is here.  But there are no phones and I believe there is also no internet. I can feel no pity for them as they aren’t suffering, they are subsiding as folks have for eons and appear to have less worldly problems.  Life is different, but still good.  Wil’s tours will bring some money into the community, we bought hand work one of the women in the village who does beautiful needle work, we tipped the kids that so graciously helped and entertained us, We bought one of the best and most authentic lunches we have had in Mexico and hopefully brought a tad of prosperity to a charming village that gave us an insight into the lives of others who live differently from us. It was a great and educational  and fun day. signing off KO