A day (almost) of rest
Back at camp before dark for the first time all week a few grab naps while the rest of us try catching up on email and blog posts. As the sun begins to drop we head down the hill, still not early enough to see the streets of Guanajuato in daylight but at least getting to experience the town and enjoy our surroundings. Already four days into our stay and the first time we’ve seen anything but the campground, but well worth the wait. Our 10-15 minute walk to the restaurant takes us closer to an hour because moving our group is like herding cats and everyone cant stop getting distracted by the lively and energetic nightlife going on throughout town.
It’s saturday night and the locals and street performers are out in force eating and drinking at the carts and restaurants and gathering to sit in the squares and open spaces in nearly every block.
We finally make it to the restaurant where we are meeting Katie and find a small quaint hamburger shop in a pocket square barely big enough for the four tables we pull together for our group. We all relax and enjoy over food enjoying the company and the terrific meal.
We hop a cheap $3 taxi ride back up the hill to camp and walk in to see that a new couple of travelers have joined our ranks. Nate and Sarah and their dog Brady had pulled along the bus and were sleeping, but with the excitement (and not-quite-quiet) of our team they wake up and share a greeting cocktail with us.
Sunday we all wake up moving slow and enjoying the free morning but still head out as a team as Katie has invited us to head just out of town and further uphill to calderones. This is an amazing landscape just 30minutes or so out of GTO and overlooking the city and surrounding area.
We walk around, climb the hills and watch the dogs run wild in front of the expansive backdrop. After getting our fill of the view, we start back to the vehicles, enjoy a group picnic under a tree and then finally reload and return to town. Our first full day off since arriving, we all do mostly nothing for the afternoon other than enjoying each others company. I'm particularly groggy as i seem to have come down with "the maricio". In our time with the boys in Irapuato, one boy has been quite sick and had a fever most days we'e been there. He's clearly miserable, often just lays on the grass and sleeps in the middle of the day and is quite sniffly. Sadly, he also enjoys hugs and after consoling him a few days ago he seems to be drawn to me. Several times a day i will be working or sitting at lunch only to have Maricio start caressing my face with his hands, kissing me on the cheek or rubbing my pelon (bald head). I always hop up and wash/scrub shortly after...but it appears despite my efforts that i now have a case of "the maricio".
Just as the sun start setting and we are packing up to walk down to dinner 3 cars pull into camp. Clearly the beginning of the rally is drawing near. We great our new friends and head out in mass for dinner. It becomes clear this group is almost too large to coordinate and as we reach the centro it splits into 2or3 groups. Our group lands on one of the many rotisserie chicken restaurants we had seen the night before and dine on pollo and queso fundido. Terrific.
Back at camp Jen and i are in bed almost immediately. My energy has been depleted and the mauricio is taking over. Jen is startled awake after 1:30am as another team has arrived and a few others are trying to get them in the gates. They are banging loudly on the caretakers’ door as well as other doors in the area. Our campground is in the middle of a residential community and is run by a family who lives beside the gate, but this group goes on violently banging/pounding on doors for nearly 20 minutes without regard for other campers much less for the families sleeping behind the doors. Here we are in the middle of a country that everyone in the states warns us about traveling to, and while the people here have treated us all warmly as welcome guests- local women are children are now cowering behind their doors as angry americans pound on their doors. This...i recall, is why we travel alone and why we don’t argue when people assume we are canadian. By the time i have my clothes on to stop the events outside the other vehicle has arrived and they are all inside the gate.
We find out later that the same team (less than 20 minutes after arriving at the campground themselves) also told other campers who’ve been at the site for a few days that they aren’t welcome because of the rally group and need to leave. I have unspeakable disappointment and frustration for people who act like they own the world and expect a red carpet to be rolled out for them by locals when they barely attempt to treat the same locals with even a moderation of respect. I desperately hope that as additional teams arrive we see more events like most of the last week and less of those like last night...but as things stand this morning i’m tempted to let the rally group move on without us rather than risk being associated with a group that treats others the way i witnessed last night.
The people we have met and shared experiences with over the last 5 days are amazing and exactly the type of travelers we have hoped to run into (and the type we hoped are out representing our country to the rest of the world). We look forward to meeting the other vehicles/teams as they arrive today and hope that the rest are indeed cut from a similar thread.