Matahuala and Beyond

Friday, July 29, 2011

Before we begin our next leg of the trip, Mike wants to give you some history about the area. Matehuala is a stop on the way to visit the mountain village of Real de Catorce located at 9,000 feet and a winding mountain road containing a one-way tunnel. This village is the set for several movies, Mexican and American. Most noted “The Mexican” with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, and “Las Banditas” with Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz. You can read more about this village here: http://www.realdecatorce.net/homeng.  Mike is fascinated with this historical village.

Early rise on Friday morning after a great night’s sleep and load the “fanny pack” again for our last day toward Lake Chapala.

We have breakfast in the Las Palmas Restaurant, again with excellent service. Breakfast Americano: Fruit, eggs, bacon, toast, coffee and orange juice.

Heading out we take a little detour through town to get gas and see what Matehuala is like. Pretty town. Very clean and bright.

Now on down the road toward San Luis Potosi.

Long straight road through more desert palm forests.  A cuota, but more like the libre, not so wide and open. Simply a 2-lane road with many trucks. Speed limit varied from 60 km to 110 km.

 Now Mike has a tale to tell.

I was sitting dead on 110kmh about 30 minutes past San Luis Potosi when an oncoming black Federal Police vehicle turned its lights on and swung a U-turn, coming up behind us. One policeman got out, walked up to the car and told us in very broken English that the speed limit was 110kmh (about 65 mph) and I had been going 120kmh. In my VERY broken “Spanglish” I tried to explain that I had my cruise control on 110kmh (this Toyota Venza doesn’t lie). One officer must have been clairvoyant and the other telepathic because they had no visible radar on their car. Initially he told us that we must return to SLP and pay the fine. After a few minutes of back and forth trying to understand each other, wondering if he wanted us to follow him back to the police station in SLP, he finally came to the car window and told us we could settle right here. Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. Let see, do I want to return to SLP and argue with the commandant for an hour or pay the fine here?  Now 875 pesos ($75) lighter, I received no paper ticket or receipt. I could not help but notice that the form I signed did not come in triplicate or even duplicate. No, it was simply a single sheet of paper run on a very poor copy machine. So this was my first experience with mordida (the bite), or as we know it in America … a bribe. I will say this; he was polite, professional and very patient.

Kay did not take pictures of the nice policeman.

Moving on down the road we pass through several small villages, some with lots of trucks, one in particular called Ojuelos de Jalisco where there were many booths offering animals for sale, some alive, some dead … some hard to tell. It’s illegal to buy the animals (dead or alive) so we just kept on going. We also notice a lot of the truckers stopped at the many street food vendors.  We wondered where they got their meat.

On the way to Lagos de Moreno we could see where they were constructing the new cuota. We could see where it was marked on the map for future construction. However, we were not on that … to say the least.We also noticed that it didn’t seem to matter how pequeño or grande the village, they really loved their speed bumps. They aren’t humps like we have; they are HUGE buttons in double or triple rows across the road.

♫The wheels on the car go balump-balump-balump balump- balump-balump balump-balump-balump-balump balump-balump♫.

After we get past Lagos de Moreno we are back on a nice wide cuota and after stopping to pay the toll we decide to stop for los baños and a snack (bocadillo). We’d been told to always keep toilet paper in the car for use traveling through, so we get our TP and head to los baños. Surprisingly, these were extremely clean and stocked with plenty of TP. Mike got peanuts and a coca lite and Kay got coca lite, cookies and a Snickers bar. Great lunch, huh? We wanted to make up the time we lost talking to El señor policía.

There are beautiful green valleys as the road winds through here and you can see small farms, lakes and villages in the distance.

As we come into San Juan de los Lagos, we find that the directions differ again from the actual road.

We miss a turn but quickly discover our error and in short time have turned around and are back on the right path.

Very town has a Cinco de Mayo

San Juan de los Lagos is a very pretty city, and we didn’t mind wandering through it at all. Mike wanted to find a fruit stand to buy Kay some sandia con limón y sal, (watermelon with lime and salt) but we just didn’t see any readily available.

Onward now on the cuota toward Guadalajara which is wide and scenic and the last leg of the last leg.

Mike and Kays retirement to be continued …

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