Friday, 16 December 2016

Tepoztlan, Mexico – Days 89 to 93

An inquisitive coatie at the temple
Almost too chilled to write, though I do have to be careful where I sit, not in the corner of a sofa, only in the middle so I can have Maty on one side and Cookie on the other. This is also how I have to sleep, sheet pulled tight round me making any turning or movement almost impossible, pinned in with two 'hot water dogs' just as well it's not roasting hot!

Jackie has the dogs undivided attention whilst carving the chicken
Having thrown Louise out of her own house, and shouting rapido at the taxi driver before she'd even told him where she was going, a feat which is impossible anyway on the cobbled streets, we sat and waited with fingers crossed not to see her again! After a while I tried her mobile, not expecting an answer, so I wasn't disappointed, it was at the bottom of her bag apparently. We took the dogs out for our first experience of 'running the gauntlet' it all went remarkably quietly, but we have since discovered this was probably because it was Sunday, so more people at home, less woofing dogs. 

We tried but couldn't get all 3 dogs in the picture at once
We've not had any trouble so far at all, but the amount of woofing can vary quite a lot. We are pleased to report though that we have had full voluntary attendance so far despite being told Luna often wouldn't come, and Maty sometimes wouldn't come. It's only Cookie who is really keen.

We decided to go out to dinner and face the challenge of buying meat in the market where I can't prod, poke and compare prices, but have to point at huge chunks of meat hanging from skewers and know what I want, tomorrow.

Maty, Cookie, Jackie and Luna bouncing her ball
Despite being a busy little town, there is a huge influx of locals from Mexico City come in for the weekend, which is why our last 5km on the bus took over half an hour on Saturday and why Louise wanted to allow plenty of time going to the city on Sunday. It also explains why all the restaurants are buzzing Friday to Sunday, but all close up on Monday and Tuesday, maybe being open till the 3pm lunch, but not in the evening. We enjoyed our meals but have no idea what we ate, mine was a meat fest on a tortilla and Brian's was some very tasty but stringy vegetable with cheese in a tortilla covered in sauce. Trying to extract the tough stalks from this without getting it down your front was not easy! 

View of the evening sun on the mountains from the garden (around 6:00pm virtually all year round)
Moonrise, but not the 'super moon' they saw in England apparently
We weren't sure just what we had let ourselves in for after a second ridiculously noisy night, fireworks on the hour, every hour, all night, and various other times, and marching bands and music in the distance. Turns out it was the Day of the Virgin of Guadaloupe so not a regular weekend occurrence thank goodness.

Three sleeping dogs, just where is Brian going to sleep?
Monday was domestic, there is no washing machine here, so we walked to the laundrette, 15 mins away, explained to the lady we were friends of Maria Louisa, as she is known here, Louise earning her some very strange looks, what with it being a boys name. She was very excited to actually meet us as she doesn't often see Louise who rings a taxi to come get her washing, take it to the laundry, the lady then rings to tell her how much she owes and when it will be ready. Another taxi is then dispatched to collect and pay, before bringing the clean clothes back and being paid. We weren't brave enough for that! This is the second laundrette she has tried as the first rejected half her clothes because they were dirty!

Start of our walk to the temple. It's in this photo....
Start off easy in the market I decided, a chicken to roast, so that didn't take much stress. Will we have our bottle of wine with it, thoughtfully provided by the dogs as a thank you having read in the blog about the curry in Santiago leading to me missing out on my last bottle of Chilean red. Decided not, beer from round the corner is much cheaper, though we are contemplating a bottle of Christmas gin, but this will depend on B not baking, as we can't have breakfast, lunch, tea and cake and G&T and nibbles and dinner! 

Here it is
In an unsupervised moment in the 'supermarket' B managed to buy wholemeal flour, which actually wasn't too bad in the Victoria sponge, despite looking odd. It just has a bit more texture in gravy, and pie filling sauces! Wholemeal cookies, and then it'll just about be gone!

Tuesday very stressful day for both of us me waiting in for the binmen as it's better not to leave bags unattended on the street at the whim of the street dogs, and you have to pay the binman per bag. They were an hour and a half late, so imagine how many times I jumped up to look out of the window? Brian on a mission to get a haircut walked up and down where he thought he'd seen barbers to no avail before giving up and collecting the laundry. Stress all being relative obviously!

The path up to the temple
Wednesday, market day, so potter round the town, sampling various fruits, really glad I talked him out of just buying a cactus fruit after we tried one! Some very subtle passion fruit, and nisperos. We have heard tell of nispero crumble, but that involves making custard from scratch, and instructions from Elizabeth about whether we peel them and how to get the stones out without losing all the flesh!

Still going up, but this bit thankfully in the shade
Yesterday I could put him off no longer, the walk to the pyramid it was, keep walking out of the town and you get there, lots and lots of steps, some ladders at the end and away you go. Had read various reports on the web of expected timings, but were pleased with our 55 minutes from the house, though there was lots of puffing involved but I'm blaming the altitude for that! The views were good, and we were greeted by one coati, they can be a bit of a hazard up there, so there are lots of signs about not feeding them. This one came up, sniffed, realised I had nothing and went on its way allowing me a quick stroke in passing! The pyramid itself despite being a small temple to Tepoztecatl the Aztec god of the alcoholic beverage pulque was a bit of an anticlimax as it was half knocked down and filled in by the Spanish. By the end of six weeks though I expect B will be treating the walk as exercise as people we passed were doing, going up and down!

The final bit, up through a narrow gorge
Another animal experience yesterday was the small furry thing the dogs were frantically trying to get at in the tree last night. They can't climb trees so it was perfectly safe. With my head torch and the Internet the closest I can get was a ring tailed cat.

Talking of cats there is a black and white one opposite that likes a bit of fuss, and watching the dogs noses when I come back smelling of cat is very funny. The only wildlife I don't like is the spiders of which there are many, inside the house. There seem to be two common ones, both about the size of a golf ball, one Louise assured us were fine, the other look too much like Australian huntsmen spiders for my liking, and the idea of being jumped on by a spider is more than I can deal with. I am trying to be calm about them though, some can stay, some are encouraged to leave and some have to go (sorry Louise).

Arriving at the temple
Down to town now, to buy the ingredients for Delias authentic chilli, the beans have been soaking overnight, I've been quizzing the lady on the mole (Mexican flavouring paste as best as I can ascertain, all recipes passed down though the family) stand as best I can, with my Spanish and her no English and we have to buy meat! Only to find that chilli is in no way Mexican! 

And that inquisitive coatie

Up the steep steps to the temple
Nice view from the top. The house we are staying in must be in this photo....
We reckon its here, although Louise may disagree
The temple is not at the top!
Carvings in the temple
The arrow marks the temple as seen from the garden
'Don't do it Jackie'. Actually we both walked all the way round and saw at the end a notice saying 'No Entry'!
And the reason is that there's a big drop! You can see the narrow ledge we walked round
Relaxing on the temple
Here's a sequence of photos of a coatie as we lazed on the temple - climbing up the fence....
Up and over the fence....
Climbing down the other side...
Climbing up the 'coatie proof' bin
Just checking no-one is watching...'Oh, we are, well, never mind' he's inside in a flash..
And off with his picnic. Guess they're not so coatie proof after all!

Here's another one we saw
It's dark now and Jackie went into the garden to see what the dogs were barking at. She called me out telling me to bring the camera and said 'look up in the tree can you see something moving around?' 'No'. 'Up there right in the beam of my torch', so I pointed the camera up and took this photo but still couldn't see anything. It was only when I zoomed in that I found it. Can you really see anything looking at this photo? Well, here's a zoomed in version......
Now I can see it, dead centre
This is what she thought it was, a ring tailed cat. She saw much more of it than me, but from the photo above it could well be. They are native to these parts.


  1. Like the ring tailed cats! Looks like you are having lots of 'interesting' meals! X

  2. Trying to remember what you need to leave around the house to stop spiders coming in. Will research and get back to you xxxx