Monthly Report; November 2016:
As 2016 comes to a close we are thinking about 2017. We’ve pretty much decided to focus on North America next year. Alaska to Baja, or something like that. So, after spending Christmas in Chihuahua Mexico we’ll be heading back to Seattle to gear up for 2017 most likely buying a pickup truck and travel trailer to “camp” our way from north to south until – well, until we get tired of doing that.
November was all about Mexico. We spent the first ten days in Mexico City while Sonia recovered from a nasty head cold. We’ve always liked Mexico City – both hip and rough, great museums and restaurants. From Mexico City we took the bus to another place we’ve always liked, Oaxaca, where we explored outlying towns like San Ausgustin Etla and Soledad where the women were celebrating the day of the dead, but for women only (“muerteada”, a parade of the dead women). From the city of Oaxaca it was on to the Oaxacan coast on the Pacific and the hippy hangout of Zipolite, super chilled out, then to Huatulco, the Cancun of Oaxaca. We escaped the tourist crowds of Huatulco finding quiet, beautiful beaches where coral reefs grew right up to the shoreline and I followed sea turtle tracks to their nests in the sand.
After Oaxaca we bussed it on to the far southern state of Chiapas and its capital, Tuxtla Gutierrez. There we took a tour through the impressive canyon of the Sumidero. After Tuxtla we took the hour-long van ride to the cool, high mountain town of San Cristobal de Las Casas, one of our favorite places in all Mexico. 7,000 feet up in the pine-covered mountains; it’s a lively place with tons of European tourists mixing with local indigenous Tzotzil people. It is surrounded by the tropical mountains of the Lacandon Jungle and we took a tour to Guacamayas, a jungle camp, where we say lots of guacamayas (scarlet macaws – a very large, brightly colored parrot) along with spider and howler monkeys, crocodiles, gigantic old-growth ceiba trees and lots of tropical birds while we followed fresh jaguar tracks in the muddy paths that we hiked.
From here we are moving on to the Caribbean coast to snorkel the off-shore reefs of the Chinchorro Banks and explore the jungle along the border between Mexico and Belize; but that’s December’s report.
Our five-months of traveling with just our backpacks has taught us a lot. There were days we celebrated our free-style travel, and days we hated it. Days we loved the simplicity of our travel-life and days we missed a home and all the things we sold or gave away. South America was great, but we discovered there is nowhere like North America and we missed it. We discovered we are mid-range travelers, not backpackers, not even budget travelers, but mid-range. And we found we made it together; it’s not an easy thing to be in small airbnb apartments or hotel rooms together for 24-hours per day. And, we discovered there is nothing like travel to give you a perspective on the world and its people. As Mark Twain said, travel is fatal to small-mindedness and bigotry.