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Hitchhiking to Hot Rivers—Travels with Leanne

Hitchhiking to Hot Rivers—Travels with Leanne

We run tours in Mexico, but only with neat people who want to do fun and interesting things!  Leanne sure fit the bill.

December 3, 2007

Dan at the boiling waterfall in the Primavera Forest

Dan at the boiling waterfall in the Primavera Forest

One of the best parts about living in Mexico is that we often get to show nice people around.  Leanne from Australia wrote one day, looking for adventure.  She came to the right spot.  Leanne is a great traveler—adventurous, flexible, and eager for new experiences.  Plus she has a wonderful sense of humor.  She wanted to go to the boiling river in the Primavera.

Omar needed the car for the day, so Leanne and I set out by bus and foot, and even hitchhiked a ways, to get deep into the Primavera forest.  I’m sure it was a bit different from Leanne’s day-to-day life in Australia, but she never complained, even when we ended up hiking several miles and got sunburned.

We had a good laugh because Leanne had written her husband back home that she was in Mexico going swimming in a hot river with a young man she met on Internet.  He almost came through the wire, until Leanne explained that I’m taken and we are just friends and I’m acting as a tour guide.

It was a little weird, tramping through the forest with a woman I had met two hours before, but hey—we’re both adults.  It was fine, even when we decided to swim in a hot pool.  Leanne wore suitable swimwear under her shorts.  “I bet you think I have on a Speedo!” I joked with her.  “But no.  I have on a pair of those long surfer shorts!  See?”

With that I dropped my drawers.

Now, I swear I meant to put on those shorts, but somehow I forgot.  Thank goodness it was one of the rare days I wore skivvies.  Leanne looked at me like “Right.  You just happened to forget your bathing suit.  Whatever.”  But being worldly, she just said “OK, so now I’ve seen your tighty-whities.  Get in the water.”

We spent two days exploring Guadalajara, and had a blast.  Leanne was a fearless eater (she chows down on Vegemite, after all) and tried everything.  We are hoping she and husband Grum can come and visit us in Mexico again next year.

Here’s what Leanne has to say in her travel log (the photos are her’s too).

“Though I am a new ‘travel pod’ member, for the purpose of writing this journal I check the ’who’s near you now’ link from time to time – “oh, hello .. There’s someone else in Guadalajara!” At the time I was still intent on trying to make my way to Los Mochis to do the Copper Canyon train journey so I emailed the link for more information on what to do where I was and more importantly how to get to Los Mochis or Chihuahua. The email back (in very good English) was enough information for me to replan my time and maybe think about me for a week.  Dan offered to be my guide and I couldn’t email back quick enough! I was met in my hotel by a very tall (by Mexican standards, and mine) and bald gringo with an American accent.  After a casual coffee and chat about what I wanted to do – did I tell Dan I had decidiphobia or did it show?—we decided to go to the boiling river in the Primavera Forest.

“Dan took me on the local bus, got off on the side of the highway on the way to Tequila and walked into a village to wait for a bus, they come along every 15 minutes (yeah what ever, this is Mexican time… maybe 30 mins. but what do I care, where else am I going today?) to take us to Primavera and then to Rio Caliente or Boiling River (funny how when I asked the hotel staff, they had no idea where I was going).  Right on Mexican time, the bus arrived and we wove our way through cobbled streets, past local shops – mostly just a trestle tables set up underneath a tarp, locals getting on and off, the bus scattering chickens and children as we passed.

“Arriving in Primavera, there is no more public transport so we walked and then thumbed a ride – the guys who picked us up worked at the nearby spa complex and could only take us a few k’s up the road – the country here is really dry with pines and acacias growing from typically volcanic earth – pumice, scoria and lots of obsidian. Dan said he has found orchids here after the wet season.

“The river bubbled and gushed from the hills – in some areas, the water was really hot and steaming as it fell down little waterfalls – my analogy was … ‘too hot to do the dishes – watch tv for ½ hour and come back to them – hot’. Algae actually grows in the hot water and is a really intense shade of greeny/blue. In the cooler waters (maybe 45 to 60 C) there is an abundance of aquatic life – minnows, maybe mosquito larvae and lots of other little water creatures. We wallowed in a rock-pool for a while (Dan did mention that he’d forgotten his ‘bathers’ – was it my lucky day that he’d forgotten his ‘budgie smuglers’?), I’m on holidays and don’t give a damn what I wear, so take note! The water is viscous with a silky feel, it’s really nice to be in a hot tub in the open, so we wallowed for a while surrounded by bush. We wandered upstream for a while, there were a couple of other groups of people here, apparently it gets quite busy on the weekends or holiday times. There is a quite flash spa complex nearby, where the drivers go to Guadalajara airport to pick up guests.

Rio Caliente, the hot river outside Guadalajara

Rio Caliente, the hot river outside Guadalajara

“On the way home we walked and walked and walked. Up hills and up hills and the only cars that passed us were … full (where are those donkeys in the really bad Mexican movies when you need two?) We finally staggered into Primavera and collapsed under the shade of the only veggie stall and refreshed with mineral water and plums (better than our plums and nothing like them!) and found our way to a local bus back to Guadalajara.

Did I mention that it was about at least 35c and scorching (any sunscreen I started out with was gone and Dan had left his hat on one of the buses). I fell into the hotel pool to refresh and then went to La Chata for some Pollo Con Mole (Chicken with Chili and Chocolate) and then bed, exhausted, sun burnt and alive!

Fruit stand in La Primavera

Fruit stand in La Primavera

Gals cooking at La Chata, Guadalajara

Gals cooking at La Chata, Guadalajara

“I must have been sun-struck because I invited Dan to come and play again! He took me on the tourist bus to Tlaquepaque, a nearby village full of arty farty places and it seemed to be just waking up when we arrived. This has a lovely ‘villagey’ feel with cobbled malls and lots of galleries filled with art, furniture, light fittings, water features, pottery, local craft, antiques, stoneware and even church altars, we even saw the chair that the Pope used during his visit to Guadalajara in 2005. I looked at a really cool roulette wheel in an antiques store from the 1800’s, the ticket said POA, and I know that was not in Spanish!

“Dan took me for ice-cream (think he was worried about dehydration after yesterday!) – wow what a selection to choose from – I had Cajeta, burnt goat’s milk and Mamey, sort of melony but with more depth of flavour, with a wafer.

“More shops and galleries and still I bought nothing (I’m sure Dan thought he had failed me, I’m not really a shopper, more a looker!) and then lunch in a seafood restaurant, enchilada’s with smoked marlin and ceviche fish and then seafood cocktail, no shredded lettuce here – it contained shrimp, octopus and scallops in a broth with fresh coriander and diced onions and topped with a spicy tomato sauce that I mixed through .. Just so good!… According to Dan the ‘Men’s’ was worth a sneak preview – the urinal was filled with ice and cut limes – forget the bad smelling toilet blocks in Mexico when limes are this cheap!  He dared me to sneak a peek, I almost made it in before I was directed to the ‘damas’!

Dan eating again, in Pescados Rojas, Tlaquepaque

Dan eating again, in Pescados Rojas, Tlaquepaque

“We then caught a bus back to centro and wandered thought town squares and streets, caught the electric tram and ate street bought cactus fruits and found a wonderful double expresso iced latte. Dan’s friend Omar met us back at La Chata for dinner and to say goodbye to my most wonderful guide and new friend Dan. A couple of beers and tequilas later and it was time to pack and prepare for the long haul back to Australia and reality.”

If you’d like to see Mexico in-depth and off the beaten path, write us at e365mexico@yahoo.com!

Dan and Omar

Leanne and the Limes

December 5, 2007

If you’ve read about our adventures with Australian Leanne, you know she mentioned some limes in the men’s room.  It’s a good story, so I thought I’d expand on it.

After a hard day hiking and another one shopping it off, Leanne and I went to Rojas for fish.  It is a great, airy restaurant in Tlaquepaque with wonderful seafood.

We ordered tostadas de marlin and de ceviche, and incredible seafood cocktails with shrimp, octopus, and scallops.  We washed it all down with limeades made from mineral water.

As wonderful as the food was, Leanne was fixated on a plain little dish of sliced limes.

“Those are limes.”  Her eyes looked funny.

“Yep.  We squeeze them on everything.”

“They are $20 a pound in Australia!  We can’t buy them!”

“Well, they are 40 cents a kilo here.  Would you like me to request another bowl?”

“There must be five limes there.”

“Oh, at least.”  Leanne squeezed one reverently over her tostada.

Shortly afterward I found the need to visit the men’s room, and went back to our table with a huge grin.

“Uh, Leanne…  You just HAVE to see the men’s room.”

It says a lot for Leanne that she didn’t think I was insane.  “Oh yah?  Why?”

“Because they fill the urinals with ice, and arrange sliced limes in designs on top.”

“WHY?”

“So you can pee on the limes and it smells nice.”

“You’ve got to be…. I’ve got to see this!”

So up she pops and walks nonchalantly to the little boy’s room.  She might have made it too if she hadn’t looked around suspiciously in the last few feet.

“No No No Señora!  Caballeros!”  The entire wait staff stopped whatever they were doing to point to the door with a lady doing the Mexican Hat Dance on it.  Leanne smiled sheepishly and disappeared into the girl’s room.  When she finally came back she was a little put out—there were no limes as deodorant in the woman’s loo.

Traveling is to have new experiences.  You have to be open to them and adventurous if you are going to learn and have good stories when you get back home!

Dan and Omar

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Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.