Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Road Trip Finale

Last Friday we left Angangueo to go to Cuernavaca. Husband was adamant that we avoid Mexico City so the route we selected was intentionally “round about” however our 4-6 hour drive turned into one of our worst navigational attempts. Suffice it to say we missed many turns, back tracked and were generally frustrated. My last word is avoid the "Yellow Roads." We left at 7:30am and arrived at 5:30pm. We did give the boys Dramamine so they did not get car sick and slept the 1st 4 hours.

Las Estacas
We went through Cuernavaca to Tlaltizapán to Las Estacas to camp and explore the balnearo (swimming park.) We finally got to use our pop-up camper that we had hauled all over Mexico! The irony is this was the most expensive place so far and we were camping!!

This balnearo is spectacular – really. There are 300 year old palm trees brought in from Madagascar, 1,000 year old local trees, a crystal clear river for all kinds of water activities, mini-golf, restaurant, hotel, camp ground, cappuccino bar, gift shop, horses, hotel, spa and on and on.

We decided to spend Saturday at Las Estacas. We did the following:
· Mini-golf
· Raft ride with guide telling history of the balnearo
· Oldest Son flying out on trapeze swing and dropping into river
· Both boys (and Mommy) riding on trees swings over river and sometimes dropping in
· Mommy and boys taking raft down river – mostly Mommy doing the “taking” with oars
· Jumping off diving platform into river
· Playing in large kids water area
· Oldest Son doing zip line trapeze into river
· Boys watching Finding Nemo (in Spanish) while Mommy & Husband had drink at bar
· Youngest Son and Mommy going to bonfire for singing and marshmallows (Oldest Son too tired)

This place clearly caters to Mexico’s upper end. Even the camping area had 40+ tents that were nicer than some homes I have seen in Mexico (like you would buy at REI.)

The boys were thrilled to camp for 2 nights and play in water all day. We did have a great time.

We left Las Estacas Sunday morning by 7:45am and headed south to Xochimilco, our last excursion. We had the usual logistical snafu. We missed the exit which was right at a toll booth. So we ended up paying 5 tolls versus 2 – all well. It was well worth the stop.
Xochimilco is the 4th most significant archeological site according to the guide we engaged. It had a sophisticated museum of Mayan artifacts and the site itself was impressive. We spent over 2 hours learning many historical facts and exploring.

Even among all this Pyramid splendor, the boys alternatively discovered Ant Lions and seemed just as interested in sticking small sticks in small holes to lure out the small creatures.

Journey Home
We stopped for the night in Ixtapa – what a zoo – ugh. After the Colonial villages, mountains and locals, Ixtapa was a shock back to American tourism.

Monday morning we left for our Pacific Coast Mexican Casa. The drive along coast line is very beautiful but very curvy. Youngest Son was car sick again – we did have the vomit bucket but obviously forgot the Dramamine. He is quite the little trooper and recovered quickly.

What’s Next …
We are home now. Atlanta friends arrive tomorrow. We are excited to see Atlanta Mom, Atlanta Dad, Atlanta Oldest Son (age 11), Atlanta Middle Son (age 8) and Atlanta Youngest Daughter (age 6).

We also have a dryer not working - hanging clothes to dry - very Mexican of us ...


Theresa in Mèrida said...

American mommy, it sounds like a wonderful adventure. Even the wrong turns and car sickness will make their way into the family history and become windier and wilder with each retelling (as they should).
Naw, you aren't Mexican enough until you have clothes hanging from hammock hooks in your sala. Wow, you have a garage! We have off street parking which is rare here but a garage! Que Lujo!

Bob Mrotek said...

Your husband should be considered a big hero for sticking to his guns and not let you talk him into going through Mexico City. You can't even imagine how problematical that could have been. An innocent American family with young children pulling a camper through Mexico City. Wow! What a target for the good guys and the bad guys alike. You could have become "The family who never returned" or at the very least the family who returned without their camper :)

Calypso said...

I really enjoyed your Chanukah reports - and your Blog in general - I added it to my links - as I should have a while back - sorry for that ;-(

Happy Holidays

American Mommy in Mexico said...

T - We did have a great time. We are VERY fortunate to have a garage. And Husband just got dryer to work - yipee - towels line dried are really stiff!

BM - Yes I know, I know - Husband IS right on this one. However, we will take the "round about route" that looks longer but is really shorter next time. We should have journeyed futrher south and then swung back up. But we also know in Mx no matter how well you plan - navigation will just be tough due to lack of signage and road conditions. We consider ourseves seasoned now!

Steve Cotton said...

AMM - Once again, you had me in joyful stitches. I truly enjoy sharing this trip with you. And theresa is so correct: this is going to be a very special memory in this very special year.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

C & S - We came to Mx for adventure (compared to our stereotypical life in USA) and new experiences of all kinds. I enjoy having them and sharing them. The experiences are sometimes grand and sometimes awful but always interesting to us ...

Husband's Sister said...

What a wonderful adventure! I know the boys will never forget it. My brothers and I had lots of fun with ant lions when we lived in the desert. Thanks for taking the time to share it all with us. Sons get the motion sickness from their father's side of the family!