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We are beginning a new life in a very rural, mountainous, and little known area of Veracruz, Mexico. We are the only Norte Americanos in our beautiful little adopted town of Teocelo...

Saturday, June 03, 2006


The road which takes us from Teocelo out to Rancho San Gabriel where we live in our travel trailer (caravana) is narrow and very winding and goes either very steeply uphill or very steeply downhill - nothing else. It is barely two lanes wide without any shoulder. Cliffs and gorges and dense dense trees and undergrowth (technically known as "cloud forest") practically swallow up the road and dwarf it to insignificance. While the road is "paved", the number of pot holes and bumps about equals the "smooth" parts. There are almost no places to pass but if you drive slow as we do you can count on many cars and busses giving it a go anyway. It is just three and half miles out to our place but it's an awesome three and a half miles and can only be described as one of the more spectacular stretches of road on our little planet through absolutely breathtaking landscape.

Yet, as we drive, we keep spotting tiny little single track roads going off into the forest from this "main" road which certainly by any standards would have to already be described as a "back road". We don't know what to call these roads, and they aren't on any maps we have been able to obtain. They beckon us on like the sirens of old, and it has been impossible for us not to turn off onto them to find out what world awaits us and who lives there.

The other day Mindy turned onto one such road which for once actually had a small sign at it's beginning. It read Xixtlan (not a Spanish name but Indian). Yes, we feel it safe for a woman to explore this land alone but that is the subject of another blog. The road was rough cobblestone, very narrow, and steep for awhile. Then an absolute treasure met her eye...

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There were no more than about 20 houses in the little community surrounding this exquisite little church. We later learned it is too small to be called a Colonia but rather a Rancharita. The chapel had its own beautiful Arco de Flores made to honor its patron saint, San Marcos.

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Mindy decided she wanted to go hiking from this point so she parked the truck at the church, donned her rucksack and signature white wester hat with a flower in it and headed out. As she walked down the street of this magical little place, she could see people peeking out from porches and from behind posts, trying to get a glimpse of what have much have seemed like an apparition, certainly nothing they had ever seen in their little town -- a gringa lady with lug soled boots, rucksack, and white hat hiking along by herself.

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From our personal standpoint, this place seems an idyllic and almost perfect place to live. The turkey was showing off for Mindy but by the time she dug the camera out of her pack, he decided she wasn't interested.

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She walked a couple of miles along a dirt road through pristine farm land.

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At one point she looked back and saw the church in the distance and realized the rugged and awesome setting of Xixlan.

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After awhile she was joined by an older man and a young fellow named Jose. Jose knew an amazing amount about the flora of the area, and Mindy was treated to an excellent lecture on the names of many of the trees and plants she did not know.

She was also being followed by others curious to meet the new stranger in their land.

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Oh, how we love these back roads. There will be more!

- jim and mindy


Brenda said...

What beautiful scenery and what a fantastic way to spend a day. She must have had some great conversations along the way. On "our side" of the country the back roads are trails of sand through the desert, surrounded by the desert scrub brush. The scrub is just high enough that you can't see where you are going or where you have been. Few fences, loose cattle, in one instance there was a fence and a cattle gate which the cows were all going around through a break in the fence. Have fun exploring your new home.

6:51 AM

Anonymous said...

YIKES! Those pictures are making me homesick mi amigo!Stop it! No not really - keep 'em coming.
Juan Calypso

9:35 AM


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