20 April, 2008

Finding peace and tranquility at Hierve el Agua

When I first picked up blogging again in anticipation of my Mexican adventure, I mentioned that I was planning to take a trip to Hierve el Agua--which depressingly there isn't all the much information to find on the net. Well, this past Saturday--or yesterday, whatevs--I made that trip finally, and only after being in Oaxaca three times prior!

We started the morning early, leaving the house around 9am to catch a camioneta to the site. You climb into the back of what's basically a converted truck bed with benches and a tarp over it and take an ungraded road through the mountains to the site.

Once we got there, the driver asked when we planned on coming back and I said "A las dos y mediâ" (At 2:30) and he wanted us to pay for a return trip but uh, no thanks, as I wasn't really sure he would even be there (y como me di cuenta más tarde, ¡tuve razón!). Since the day wasn't quite that hot yet we thought it would be best to do the hour-long hike that takes you around the site and past the cascades that are basically minerals that have built up over the years. It was a pretty cool hike--Meghan joked that even on my day off I'm hiking--and though scary in some places, slippery in others it was well worth it.

One of the cascades.

Another cascade, the big one that collects all the minerals from the springs themselves.

One really cute thing--the whole time we hiked this dog followed behind us, always at least 1-2ft behind and never let us touch it or approach it. But for whatever reason, it decided to keep on eye on us and take the hike with us, over rocks and slippery parts and everything.

Finally, hot and sweaty, we made our way back to the pools. We changed into swimsuits and slipped into the cool water. In my case, this was literal, as I fell right on my ass when I put just one foot in, not realizing how slippery the bottom of the pool was. But I got back up and, dignity somewhat intact, I swam around, enjoying the view and the setting.

We hung out at the main pool at first, but then this swarm of kids came shouting over to where we were so we got out and went to the pool that was right up to the edge of the cliffs. It was so gorgeous.

After a while the kids left and we had the place practically to ourselves, so we just talked, sat in the water, sunned ourselves on the rocks like the lizards do that live all over the place and just enjoyed the utter silence and peace. Around 1:30 or so we dressed and headed up to the comedores (basically lunch places) and sat down for beers and food--of course, when the girl mentioned they had tlayudas I had to get one.

Once finished with the food, we walked over to the gate, hoping against hope--of course--that there would be a camioneta back to Mitla. There wasn't one, so we sat down for what we hoped wouldn't be a long wait. One actually did come by but it was local to the site and the driver wasn't returning to Mitla. The gate person mentioned that our driver had left at 2pm already with the Germans we had rode up with. I chatted with him for a while, explaining that I had told the guy 2:30 and how glad I was that I hadn't paid for a return trip.

I guess the guy was amused by the way I kept saying a few Mexican swear words cause he decided to help us out. He told us that sometimes the people that drive up in their own cars give rides to tourists, sometimes for free. A white pick-up truck pulled up and he said that he would ask them if they could take us back to Mitla. The couple, with a child in the front seat and three in the truck bed, agreed to give us a ride for $20 pesos for the both of us, which was waaayyy cheaper than the camioneta. So we said sure and hopped in, riding in a bouncy truck bed through the mountains down an ungraded road. There were certainly times when I thought the truck wouldn't make it, as it kept making these "omigod I'm trying!" noises as it went up. We made it though, safe and sound and now with a great story to tell friends.

Funny enough...while we were being bounced around like licuados (basically mexican milkshakes) the kids in the back with us fell asleep.

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