I was reading in the Church’s Mexican Camping book about a nice day-trip to El Quelite so that’s where we were headed. But trying to figure out how to get there from the north-west & toll highway rather than the directions from Mazatlan on the free highway was a challenge. Once we passed the Quelite River we saw an overpass of sorts (hahaha!) and took the sometimes-off-ramp to work our way over to El Quelite. After successfully crossing the overpass (there were thoughts as to whether it was actually solid) we bumped our way down roads we shared with old men on bicycles and young boys on horses and donkeys. We sheepishly asked, “camino to El Quelite?” and were motioned this way and that to the Libre (toll free highway). So few people were around on the country road, I asked Everette to pull over so I could go to the bathroom. I had just hopped out and dropped my pants when he surprisingly said, “There’s a bus coming!!” A bus? Out here? We figured a bus must mean some sort of settlement so I jumped back in and we followed him, laughing at the absurdity. We didn’t really know where we were, either by consulting our multiple maps nor our GPS. I felt somewhat responsible for getting us on this road-to-no-where but the kids were giggling, and repeatedly saying, “This is sooo cool” or “So beautifully green!” and “I love it!!” We embraced the moment, the experience. We entered towns where clusters of people gathered in front of their houses & storefronts, staring questioningly as our van squeaked past while we shouted greetings of “Buenos Dias” or “Hola” and confirming “Libre camino?” I’m sure I heard them chuckle as they waved us on probably wondering who these crazy North Americans were. Beautiful agricultural land…maize, tomatoes, peppers, who knows what else. We followed the bus into a village where Everette immediately commented “someones smoking pot” in the market square. That’s likely one of the crops. Reaching the highway we eeny-meeny-miney-mo turned left and soon discovered our destination just a few miles up the highway. Not at all disappointed. El Quelite is a clean, tidy ranching town set on the hills above the Quelite River. Women methodically sweep and wash their front porches and wet down the cobblestone road in front of their house/store to keep the dust down.
Sundays there may be a demonstration of the ball game handed down from their ancestors, Pre-Columbian Meso-Americans. They are preparing for Christmas just as back in Canada family, friends and stores alike are abuzz with preparations and/or frenzy. Here its still slow and steady, or at least it appears to be. People stand or sit and talk along the side walks, cuddling babies, chatting to neighbours, eating their breakfasts or mid-day snacks. Nobody seems in a rush to go anywhere nor get anything done. There’s always manana.
I’m wondering where we’ll be when Christmas Day arrives. Although we haven’t celebrated it traditionally (ie commercialism & all the typical trappings for about 10 yrs+) we enjoyed it last year just sharing the evening and meal with friends we met on the beach, particularly those we’d gotten to know over the previous couple of days. That’s what we look forward to again this year. Joining our hearts with newfound friends who are also away from family and friends, who are enjoying the simple things in life and sharing from their hearts. Turns out it was the highlight of our entire past year! Like churches throughout Mexico this El Quelite church is full of flowers from Festival Guadalupana last week.
We hiked up to the highest point where a little chapel sits with candles burning for their saint. We overlooked vast arrays of greens dotted with trees abloom in purples and pinks. And the occasional houses in oranges and other vibrant colours. This was a beautiful town we all loved, and I could imagine immersing ourselves in its local history and culture. VIEW FROM OUR KITCHEN: