Mexico - Friday 26 November 1999
I arranged to meet Liz, Wolfgang, and Gert at 8:30 AM to have breakfast together. Gail knows of a "fantastic" breakfast restaurant in the city center. We walk right through the city. They're working hard on the roads here!
Café Selva indeed has good coffee. It's also a sort of mini-museum about coffee. They even have Max Havelaar coffee. I explain to the others who Max Havelaar was.
It's a luxurious place, with soft Jazzy-Funky-Cool music. They don't offer the standard American or continental breakfast. You can choose from various sandwiches. Three layers of delicious brown bread with your choice of cheese and/or various meats. We get the 'traditional' coffee for free.
Gail introduces me to a Dutch woman who is sorting and organizing Mrs. Blom's photo collection at the Na Bolóm hotel. I say hello, but I don't have much time. Hopefully, we'll be back on time this afternoon. I think it would be interesting to see what she's doing.
The four of us head to the 'canyons': Cañón del Sumidero, a rocky area along the Grijalva River. The hotel manager's brother is willing to take us there for 100 pesos per person. It's an hour and a half drive to the town of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, although it takes two hours in his car. On the way, we listen to the tapes I bought.
When we arrive, it's scorching in the blazing sun. The company offering tours through the valley tries to fit 12 to 14 people into a boat. We have to wait until more people arrive. The first boat has no sunshade or roof, and we prefer not to use that one. We'd rather wait. The next boat isn't full, so they ask for 66 pesos instead of 60. Fine, as long as we can depart. In the end, 12 people board, but of course, we won't get a refund.
It's cooler on the water, and it's even cloudy and cold between the mountains. The 'canyons' are quite beautiful if you don't expect the Grand Canyon. It's very impressive to see how steep it goes up. The mountains here are hundreds of meters high.
On the way, we see a caiman sleeping in the sun. There are many birds here too.
The most beautiful sight is a sort of waterfall coming down from a mountain. Moss has grown on the rocks underneath, making it look like an enormous Christmas tree from a distance.
The journey ends with a huge contrast: after the beautiful nature, we suddenly come across a hyper-modern dam, the Chicoasén Dam, with an almost communist-looking colossal statue.
Back at the hotel, we have some time to mess around before we meet up for dinner.
Gail knows a nice restaurant. It's diagonally opposite the San Francisco Church, right across from the many charming market stalls. I think it's a good choice: a restaurant mainly serving vegetarian dishes but also offering a few meat dishes. Most of it is truly local cuisine, although it's somewhat tailored to tourists. Unfortunately, it's very quiet here.
I find the food delicious. Maria falls sick afterward, thinking it's from the rice. I suspect it's from the salads. I still feel fine, and I didn't have any salad here.
Yesterday, nobody wanted to go out because we planned to do so today. Now, everyone is 'too tired.' We're all just not that enthusiastic; I'm not really either.