Day 7: Class 3 Rapids - Grande de Agua!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2009
Trip End Feb 14, 2009

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Where I stayed
Aventuras Sin Limite
What I did
whitewater kayaking
mole sauce lesson
salsa dancing

Flag of Mexico  , Veracruz-Llave,
Thursday, February 12, 2009

This morning I was feeling incredibly dizzy and nauseous so I decided to skip yoga in favor of more sleep. I went to breakfast and ate very lightly, I had yogurt, granola and a Diet Coke. Everyone else was having chilaquiles. Chilaquiles in a spicy mexican breakfast dish that consists of tortillas, onion, hot salsa, eggs, and cheese. While we were eating we could hear alot of commotion outside. A huge frog was hopping around outside and trying to get into the older woman's house who lived next door. We decided to take the frog to the river so he didn't get killed in town. Dani captured him and put him in a bucket on the trailer to take to the river.
After breakfast we got changed and went right to the river. We put in on the Antigua at the bridge in Apazapan and ran two rapids. We stopped at our same practice spot and worked on ferries and peel outs for quite awhile.

Once we were finished practicing ferries and peel outs we ran three more rapids. At the last rapid I decided to try my roll in current. I was feeling incredibly dizzy and the constant bobbing up and down on the waves in the river wasn't helping my stomach any. I wanted to see if my roll would work in the river so I decided to try anyway. I set up and flipped myself over and to my surprise and delight I rolled! I was so happy!
We paddled to the take out in Coetzala and had lunch under the bridge. We had ciabatta bread rolls, peanut butter and jelly, various lunch meats and cheese, tomato and lettuce to make sandwiches with. There was also fresh fruit and water. I was feeling very nauseous so I tried some peanut-butter on a roll and water.

When we finished eating we loaded back into the van and drove further up river toward Jalcomulco and put-in on the Lower Antigua Canyon. As soon as we got on the river Anna had us paddle up river and ferry to the other side of the river. She then had us get out of our kayaks and walk about 30 yards downstream to scout a big, congested class 3 rapid.
Using what we learned the previous day about reading water we were told to take a look at the rapid and pick a line to run. We discussed several lines and there really were only two options. The center was clogged with huge boulders that formed pour-overs and hydraulics. The right hand shore had rocks jutting out that you needed to keep away from. The left channel was incredibly shallow and covered in rocks. The two options were start out left of center and work your way to just right of center or work your way right through some shallow rocky spots and stay just right of center.
We divided into three groups, each following one instructor. I opted for the latter line. Looking at the rapid I was thinking that it looked a little bigger than a class 3 and that thought made me nervous. I was still feeling very dizzy and nauseous and not overly confident so I put my nose clips on incase I flipped over. I bounced my way over huge rocks and paddled hard through some nasty waves and hydraulics but my group went through the class 3 rapid fine. Some of the ladies who started out left of center ended up swimming. Once everyone was back in their kayaks we continued down river.
The rest of the afternoon we ran class 2-3 rapids, about 8 in all. We didn't practice anything we just had fun running rapids. This section of the Antigua reminded me of my home river the Lehigh, it really was alot like the Gorge section of the Lehigh. You would paddle through some lower water and rocky and areas and suddenly the river would constrict and you would go through a class 2-3 rapid with big waves and holes. Its always nice when you get a sense of the familiar when running a river you've never seen before, it calms the nerves some.
The Lower Antigua canyon was just beautiful, we found ourselves passing some sugar cane plantations on the side of the river and some lovely new resorts are being built as well. Everyday that we were on the Antigua we would see this same man on the river. He would be walking in the river just along the sides. He didn't have his pants on, they were wrapped around his head. We never knew what he was doing...we thought maybe he was setting fishing baskets but he never had any baskets with him. He never failed to provide us with a good laugh though!
Near the end of our river run Anna told us that Eileen was set up on river right and to really smile as we went past. Everyone really posed and hammed it up for the camera. We all pulled into a large eddy and we took several pictures of our group on the river.

I was really starting to feel better about my paddling for the first time. The fact that I was able to roll in the river when not feeling well and the fact that I really didn't come close to getting flipped in class 3 water when feeling so dizzy made me feel more confident in my skills.

We took out at the bridge in Apazapan, where we started this morning. We changed and had some beers and toasted a great day. Next we returned to Aventuras and showered before going to La Pizzeria.

Mario's mother, Jackie's mother-in-law, lives next door to La Pizzeria. She makes mole sauce and we were invited to watch her make this very different sauce. There are different types of mole sauces found in Mexico but the most popular is mole poblano, a sauce made from Mexican chocolate, atleast 26 types of ground chilies, seeds and fruits. Its a very complex sauce that is both sweet and savory. It is also very time consuming work for the woman making the sauce, each ingredient must be fried separately and then mixed together. We watched as Mario's mother made the sauce, we even got to try it. Its very hard to describe the taste but its good. Mario's mother makes some extra money by making huge batches of mole at once and selling it every week at the local market. We all bought some mole from her as well as some Mexican chocolate that her other daughter-in-law makes.
After the mole demonstration we went to Esprit for happy hour. Tonight we had Margarita's made from local sugar cane and we also had crackers and various local cheeses. We watched the videos and photos from the last few days. Since this was our last night in Jalcomulco we settled our tab with Esprit and put in our orders for photo and video dvds.

A little while later dinner was served. Tonight we had caprese salad, chicken with a mango salsa, rice and key lime pie. Everything was very tasty. We were supposed to have a salsa dance lesson with local men and a local band that Anna knows. Sadly Carlos' band got a high paying gig at a hotel so they went there instead.

We took the opportunity to do some tequila shots and take pictures. Anna and Milissa put on some latin music and demonstrated some salsa dance moves for us. We talked and drank and had fun.

Heather had the idea to play a flip cup drinking game so everyone did that for awhile. I wasn't feeling well so I went to the internet cafe to check my email before returning to Aventuras to pack. I talked to Anna about feeling sick and she thought it could have been the river water I swallowed. I was glad I took her recommendation to take pro-biotic supplements or she said I would be much worse. I laid in the hammocks and talked with some of the ladies before going to bed for the night. It was a long exhausting day and I was beat!

Things Learned on Day 7 in Mexico:

1. Chilaquiles in a spicy mexican breakfast dish that consists of tortillas, onion, hot salsa, eggs, and cheese.

2. Scouting refers to the act of getting out of your kayak above or near a rapid and studying it to pick the best possible line to run.

3. A Hydraulic is a river feature where water drops over a rock or ledge into deeper water on the downstream side. This causes the water on the surface to be drawn back toward the rock. This can be a potentially dangerous feature as they are sometimes hard to get out of.

4. A Pour Over is created when water goes over an obstacle like a rock. Large pour overs tend to have hydraulics behind them.

5. There are different types of mole sauces found in Mexico but the most popular is mole poblano, a sauce made from Mexican chocolate, atleast 26 types of ground chilies, seeds and fruits. Its a very complex sauce that is both sweet and savory.

6. Probiotics are a type of supplement that contain live micro-organisms that produce health benefits, specifically to the digestive system. It was recommended that we take probiotics because stress and changes in diet can cause a disturbance in your intestines and digestive system. Taking probiotics helps maintain normal intestinal flora, helping your system adjust to any changes in diet or foreign micro-organisms it encounters.
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