Hi from Mexico from Ing, Sean and Kate

Thursday 2 September 2010, Filed in: General

Hi Everyone! Hope you had a great holiday. We are all fine and almost in the tropics now!

We spent the run up to Christmas living like royalty in our friend’s Pat and Teri’s stunning La Puerta Roja Inn in the Colonial town of Alamos in the Sonoran mountains and Christmas itself relaxing at their beach house on the Sea of Cortez in an estuary filled with birds and a tame pod of dolphins who simply wouldn’t leave our kayaks alone.
We’ve been making our way South and just stumbled upon a gorgeous surf beach with an RV park with laundry, showers and wifi , a welcome break from camping at truckstops so taking a couple of days to catch up and go lilo surfing!

Here’s Kate to tell you more (putting it below as haven’t got word on this)

In Sedona we met up with Corrina and her family. Corrina and Mickey cycled with us for three days while Tyler and Kurt went on ahead in the RV and set up camp and made lovely meals. It was great fun. Me and Corrina fell asleep in a tree! On Thanksgiving we camped out in the woods and had a big fire and a feast. For once we did not have to worry about starting a fire because Kurt and Mickey are both fire fighters. We found a fairy tree. We wrote a letter for the faries and left food for them. Next morning there were two dream catchers and a wand made from things off the ground. We left another note and food to say thankyou.

Dad and me had a bet to see who could spot the first Saguaro cactus. They are the ones like in cartoons of the desert. They are as big as trees ans spiky with big arms which point up to the sky. I saw one first so Dad owes me $20. Then there were hundreds of them. We also saw the cholla cactuses. They are the furry ones which spit their prickles at you if you get too close. The yukka and prickly pear also got much bigger. Mum got a flat tyre from cycling over the spikes.

We stayed at our friends Pat and Teri’s flat in Tucson. It was so nice to have a real bed and a kitchen to cook proper meals in and to get a break from the long, dark, freezing nights. Grandma came over from Texas to stay with us which was lovely. I had my birthday there. I got a waterproof camera and a new outfit and my hair done at the hairdressers for the first time ever. Pat took us all out to a posh restaurant and I had lobster.

Lots of people have told us that crossing the border between the USA and Mexico can be dangerous. There is fighting between the drug cartels (people dealing drugs) and sometimes there have been shootings. Our friend Pat helped us by driving us across the border and to the first big town 50 miles south. There were lots of people with big guns but they all smiled at me and we didn’t have to duck! Pat came with us to get our tourist visas and got us a hotel in Santa Ana then we were on our own.

There aren’t many campsites in Mexico and hotel rooms are still too expensive. It is supposed to be safer to camp near buildings than just on the side of the road so we have camped in some very unusual (and noisy) places including filling stations, a scrap yard, a football pitch and a car wash.

There is no shoulder on the road here and lots of trucks but so far the drivers have slowed down and moved out for us. Driving through Hermosillo in rush hour was scary though. There is more than a million people. It was getting late and Mum and Dad thought they had spotted a cheap motel for 200 pesos(about 15 dollars) but when they asked for a room for the night the lady just laughed and said they could only have four hours…….so they camped by a scrap yard instead.

We have tried quite a few different things from food stands. We have had tacos or tortillas with friholes (beans), camerones (shrimp) and pescado (fish). Quesadillos are tortillas with cheese. Me and Mum like the tacos carne asada (roast meat) With your tacos you get guacamole (mashed avacado), salsa (like a hot tomato sauce) and chopped verduras (vegetables). The people from the car wash came and heated up their tamalis on our stove and shared them with us. Tamalis are made of a kind of mashed up corn pastry and these were filled with bebes (pork) from their dad’s ranch.

People have been very friendly and we have had lots of chance to practise our Spanish because almost nobody speaks any English. Here are some of the words I have learnt:

Hola Hello
Como Estas? How are you?
Muy Bien gracias Very well thankyou
Adios Goodbye
Yo me llamo Kate I’m called Kate
Buenas Noches Goodnight
Me gusta I like
No No Si Yes
Donde es el bano Where is the toilet
Mum can say quite a lot of things but doesn’t understand anything anyone says to her. She thinks it must be because the Mexicans don’t speak proper Spanish like she does!

At last it is warm and sunny and after six months we came to the seaside.We found a lovely beach near San Carlos and camped there and swam for ages and found lots of amazing shells. We watched pelicans dive bombing into the sea and I saw a pod of dolphins jumping and dancing. This part of Mexico is called Sonora. Some of it is desert but lots of it is ranches and farmland irrigated by canals. We saw lots of crops growing like corn,tomatoes, chile peppers, beans and chickpeas. There are lots of big poly tunnels too. We saw a lot of pig farms as well. Many of the farmers round up the animals on horseback.
There are big buzzards and mexican eagles everywhere. We saw lots of the pitaya cactus which is also known as the organ pipe. They are a bit like the saguara but have lots of branches pointing up like pipes. A lot of the cactus forest is getting chopped down to make room for more crops.

When we got to Alamos we stayed at Pat and Teri’s La Puerta Roja Inn (The Red Door). It really is the most beautiful hotel we have ever stayed in. The rooms are all filled with bright colours and art work with paintings and sculptures and cushions and ornaments and lovely furniture. There are things which are pretty and things which are funny. There is a lovely courtyard in the middle full of plants and flowers and a purple swimming pool. We had really exotic food there. I made friends with Tess and Avery who live up the road and are bilingual (they can speak Spanish and English). We played and had sleepovers.

Alamos is what is known as a colonial town. That means it was colonised (moved into) by the Spanish when they came over to the Americas in the 1600s. Many of the big old stone buildings are very grand looking, all painted white with big arches and pillars. The streets are narrow and cobbled and in the centre of town there is a plaza with an outside market where we bought churros (a bit like doughnuts) There is a lovely old cathedral there too.

In Mexico we have seen lots of shrines and big statues of the virgin Mary. There is a famous legend about a church near Alamos. Some miners saw the virgin Mary at the top of a saguara cactus.They piled up stones so they could climb up to her but when they got there she faded away like a ghost.When they got down they saw that they had uncovered a vein of silver. They followed where the arm of the cactus was pointing and it led them to the main silver! A mine was built and Alamos became rich. When they built a church there a saguara cactus grew out of the walls and pointed to the mine and it can still be seen today.

On Christmas Eve we cycled down to Pat and Teri’s beach house on the sea of cortez, It was 20 miles off the road along a dirt track through a giant cactus forest. After about ten miles the sand started to get very thick and it was too dark. We were carrying tons of food and kept falling off our bikes. There were lots of tracks and we started to worry that we might have gone wrong. I got a bit scared so we pretended that we were the 3 wise men following the star to Bethlehem. When we could go no further we stopped and camped and lit a fire and sang christmas carols.

Next morning (Christmas Day) there was a scorpion in the tent. Pat came and got us and took us to the beach house. It is on an estuary filled with thousands of birds. There are grey pelicans and flocks of white pelicans with bright yellow bills. There are grey herons and white herons and big frigate birds with forked tails. The dolphins are there by the shore nearly all the time. We went out in the kayaks and paddled around the mangrove islands and paddled with the dolphins which swam right up and played with our boats for ages.

In the afternoon I listened to my MP3 player wile the grown ups got drunk. Later we pained little reindeers silver and gold and decorated the room for dinner and present swopping. We had a lovely time at the beachhouse and it was sad to leave. We cycled for another week and camped by truckstops every night. We have just found a lovely RV park by the beach. There are some big waves so we are going to try lilo surfing tomorrow. It will be nice to listen to the sound of the sea at night instead of loud lorry engines!We are almost in the tropics now and it is already very hot.
Can you spot me in the picture ???

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