But before we get to that, what a great day we had yesterday!!
When the day starts with a sunrise like this, you know it's going to be a good day!
I don't know what it is, but we get the most beautiful sunrises (amanecer) here at Hacienda Contreras. We get the odd good sunset (anochecer) but almost every sunrise is worth watching. Thinking about it, maybe it's because the sun rises in the direction of Mexico City and the smog has something to do with reflecting the colors. Who knows.
We had a hike planned for yesterday morning and we had arranged a time of 9:00am to set off. All of the campers were invited, but only three others were ambitious enough to join us.
The road out front isn't the best for walking on, so we actually drove about a kilometer down the road and parked at the side of a dirt road. We had been down this road once before for a wedding, and had found out that we should be able to walk quite a distance. We set off walking, and after a short distance we came to a fork in the road. We thought the left one would take us the furthest, but it was just a guess.
Soon, we found ourselves surrounded by milk cows!
Ruth, Barbara, and Don.
What are you lookin' at?
We continued on up the road and we came to a couple of pickup trucks and could see some people inside a hut. We figured they were milking the cows, so Ruth and I wandered over to see what was going on and to say good morning. After asking if we could watch, we waved over the others. As is usually the case when we meet the locals, they invited us in to show us how they did things.
Milking the cows, four at a time.
There was another fellow there, Pancho, who asked us if we wanted to try a drink. Well of course we do! We watched him make it...a spoonful of some kind of chocolate powder, a bit of sugar, a shot of some kind of alcohol from a clear plastic bottle, and then he brought the cup over to the cow and filled the glass with fresh, frothy milk! We thought we were going to share the glass between the five of us, but he insisted on making four more so that we had a full glass each!
Ruth and our friend Peter enjoying a glass of pajarete.
Turns out that this drink is called pajarete (paha-raytay). It's a very common drink in this area that many of the local farmers have handy for when they're milking the cows on a cold morning. It's delicious, and it sure warms you up!
(We told Barb and Sal about our experience when we returned, and Barb said that one of the reasons they add alcohol is to help kill any bacteria that may be in the fresh milk. She also said we might experience a funny tummy, but so far we have had no ill effects!).
We asked Pancho how far the road goes, but he said not far and that we were better off going back and taking the other fork in the road. We thanked them for their hospitality and continued (somewhat more merrily) on our way!
Continuing down the road.
And into the hills.
We came to the village of El Manzanillo and spoke to a man who was sitting watching the world go by. We like trying out our Spanish, but once again they speak too fast and we have to ask them to slow down! His wife came out and said hello as well. We asked for directions again, and continued on.
Ruth, petting one of the young calves.
This little one came out to say hello as well.
From the village, we knew that the road continued back to the gas station in Valle de Juarez so we decided to go that way instead of backtracking to where we had parked the cars. Ended up walking all the way back to the campground where we got Sal to drive us back to pick up the cars. Figured out that we had done 8.2 kms (5.1 miles). What a great hike!
We pretty much relaxed for the afternoon, although I puttered around on the little blue car. Speaking of which, did you notice that we're still calling it "the little blue car"?
That's because more than 60% of people who voted think that's the way it should be. To be perfectly honest, I was quite happy with that!
We went into Valle de Juarez for dinner. One of the campers had a birthday, so eleven of us headed in to town to celebrate. To give you an idea, with dinner, drinks, and desserts, the bill for eleven people was 1,565 pesos ($125).
What a great day...no wonder we love Mexico!