Mystic Chants or are they Calling us for Dinner?
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
163Trip End May 10, 2011
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Hermano warned us the 10km up to Peribán de Ramos was steep. But he said after that, it would be up and down. So we pushed hard to get there, expecting time to recover on down the road. It was slow going. But we kept riding. Once we got to Peribán, the incline relented only briefly. Soon, we were burned out and walking while trying to recover our cycling legs. But the scenery was wonderful and we could see many camping opportunities in the avocado orchards. After almost five hours we had gone 14 miles and climbed 600 meters (2000 ft). We were bushed. After a number of false summits, we reached the plateau at the town of Nuevo Zirosto at 2000m (6500 ft). We were done and decided to get a hotel or camp.
With no hotel in town, we were happy to see a sign board for camping. It was a nice enough spot but it was not open for business. Dave saw a truck with Colorado plates and struck up a conversation with the driver. He was from here, but living permanently in Denver. He knew a guy who knew about the camping. By then, others had approached Michelle. They usually charge 350 pesos when open, so the guy thought that was a fair rate. Without access to the bathroom or showers, we said it was ridiculous and said that we would wild camp down the road. He was fine with that. After the others left, Mr. Colorado offered us a ride to the next town with a hotel 10km away. Sure, we would be delighted.
We packed up and drove a quick 10km. Mr Colorado then mentioned a fiesta was in town and the hotel was fully booked. BUT, he had a friend would give us a ride further on to Angahuan where we had planned to arrive the following day. We had mixed feelings about going further but it seemed he had already made arrangements. We said goodbye.
Aristeo Soto, our new ride, was already waiting for us at the entrance of Zacan. He is a native Indian of the Purépecha people. He was ready to go home to Angahuan and told us to throw our bikes in his truck. As we departed through Zacan, we passed a big fiesta in process including a bull fight. Aristeo said it would be a quick ride back later in the evening if we wanted to go. We said 'bueno'.... The scenery out the truck was spectacular. We regretted not being on the bikes. But, because we climbed another 400 meters to 7500 ft, we were happy to have the ride and a place to stay in Angahuan.
Aristeo gave us a drive around town before pulling up to a large steel gate. 'This is the hotel', he said. There was no sign or address on the buildings. We climbed the hill to a house on the property. It was spartan and rustic. Bathroom and shower in the back. Aristeo also said he could arrange a guide and horses for the trip to volcán Paricutín the next day. The first price seemed a bit high but when he dropped it to 600 pesos, we agreed. We thanked Aristeo then jumped in a taxi to go back to the fiesta in Zacan.
The taxi let us off near the bull ring and near a trailer with a big poster of a three breasted woman. Dave thought about taking a picture of the poster, but Michelle said if he really wants a picture of the lady, he would have to pay to go inside....eh,.,., maybe later...
We arrived at the drink stand and asked the guy to mix up a piña colada. We were a bit astonished when he unplugged his light cord, twisted the frayed wires on the end of the blender cord and plugged it in. Check out the video Michelle shot. Music in the background is from the live band.
We moved on to the food stalls where we sampled Atole, a cream corn and vegetable gruel, tiny tamales (not so good) and blue corn tortillas (our first). Here, they press tortillas by hand and they end up thicker than the machine pressed ones. Those got a big thumbs up.
As we chatted with a Purépecha family from Angahuan, who had also taxied to see the festival, the bull fight ended and people streamed out. We had missed it. Taxis were full during the sudden rush of the bullfight crowd but we were able to catch a bus that left us off on the highway near Angahuan. It was a bit dicey to find our unsigned hotel in the pitch dark. But, after a few wrong turns and help from some locals, we made it. What sounded like chanting, came though large loud speakers over the town. There were competing voices and loud speakers. It turned out to be announcements for where roving food stalls could be found. Being in the Purépecha language, the rhythmic announcements sounded mystical. This would go on until about 11 at night.