We tied the knot on our loop of Southeast Mexico after making it back to Mexico city from Oaxaca. Christmas and New Years was looming and Mexico city was a perfect place to settle down for a few nights to plan out our next roadie. Well, it would be perfect place, but you’re talking about five Aussies here, who literally either want to just party or watch Netflix. We did exactly that.
We’d already seen Mexico city when we arrived. So we weren't at a loss here, but three days and we accomplished very few things; three chick flicks watched and one hell of a night partying with our mates we’d made when we first came here. Haz, Pat and I met up with our mates and, well, didn't really get to sleep until 4-5 am so the next day was a bit of a ride-off.
And the day after that? Well we had to catch up to Lachie’s and Eleanor's netflix bender, so no planning of the sorts was accomplished. By the time we scrubbed our bodies, repacked and organised the car and had to leave the apartment (2hrs after checkout) we literally had no idea where we were going. Northeast sounded okay, so without a drop of research we rolled off for our next road trip.
Using i-overlander, we nabbed a pretty epic spot by a lake a few hundred k’s north of Mex City. It was by a town called El Oro, meaning the town of gold. We set up camp by a beautiful lake and watched the ducks paddle in the golden water as we played cards on the banks. Being Christmas eve, and being in Mexico, and having Mexicans in Mexico, and knowing that Mexicans love explosions and loud noises, we should have expected the spectacle we’d witness that night. Fireworks launching from the backyards of the locals as they let rip their stashes of fireworks all night. It was truly awesome, but after 20 minutes, it was rather annoying as we couldn't sleep. The fireworks didn’t really stop until early in the morning.
Awaking to spectacular view of the lake was a Christmas present i’ll never forget, and then Pat came into view and my day was already ruined. It was Christmas, and I was sure to remind everyone of that every 2-3 minutes.. ‘GUYS, IT’S CHHWWWISMAS!’. We explored the town of El Oro which we knew nothing about, we literally just stumbled across it because a campsite was listed on the map. It turned out to be awesome. An old spanish colonial town which was rather wealthy in the old days because of the mining in the area. It’s places like these that stick with you, because we had stumbled across it, we came in with absolutely no expectations, leaving only room to be impressed.
Some locals approached us as we were exploring the town. They seemed to be having a jolly time, and invited us back to theirs for some Christmas drinks. Not really picking up on this at first, but they were utterly smashed. I sort of noticed as they raced off on their motorbike a little wobbly, but realised the true extent of their morning bender when we arrived in their garage to see 6-7 happy blokes stumbling around with abnormally slurred Spanish. It was 10am. We spent two hours with these blokes, having to refuse the drinks they’d offer us every five minutes, and politely drink one every half an hour. We rode their bikes and witnessed some hilarity as we shared conversations of Spanish philosophy, and burnouts in their garage. Mexicans are great, but drunk Mexicans are great and fkn hilarious. Another great Christmas gift, and something i’ll never forget.
It was 12pm, and although we didn't have a schedule, if we did, we would’ve be extremely behind it. We tried so many times to leave the garage and finally succeeded. Wanting to drive another 300kms up north to another lake, we were ready for a long stint in the car. But, after all, it was Christmas, and who wants to work on Christmas? Well, apparently our Chevy Blazer adopted this philosophy, and came to a completely stop on the highway and completely shut down. Like, completely shut down, the engine, the brakes, power and even the bloody steering wheel. It was pretty funny trying to push it to the side of the road out of danger. Except, the side of the road wasn't really out of danger, because a small dry grass fire was happening and slowly creeping towards us. We probably had about an hour until in did.
Here we were, Christmas day, stuck on a busy highway in god knows where, with smoke blowing in our direction, the nearest town to seek help +10km away and a dead car. Brilliant. But, as we harp on about in this blog, the ‘we’ll see’ attitude stayed strong, and the essence of Christmas remained high. Just as we were about to begin plan ‘walk to town and see what happens’, the most charismatic Mexican man pulled up in his huge Dodge Ram service truck. Someone had seen us broken down and called the highway service patrol for us. My lordy lord, what timing. He discovered the problem with ease. Apparently our alternator was cooked, thus not charging the car and the battery slowly became completely drained. He charged it up enough to make a dash to a town 20km with a mechanic. In fact he charged it more than enough, as he stayed with us for 30-40 minutes chatting about his favourite places in Mexico, rigorously pulling out map after map with passion in his eyes and voice. Again, I won’t forget this man anytime soon. Another very unexpected, very beautiful Christmas gift.
We nervously made the dash, and arrived at a tiny village which had an incredible local vibe. It was Christmas, and the mechanics was obviously closed. So was everything else. The only hotel in the village was eventually opened up after the police went around town to find the owners. It felt abandoned. We had the whole hotel to ourselves and got cozy as we had no idea when or if the car could be fixed.
The village was a blessing in disguise. There was a big local market and we truly felt in the depths of Mexico, with every man wearing big broad brimmed hats and no sign of any western food or culture to be seen. The mechanic managed to fix our car by the end of the day but because the town was so beautiful we stayed another night anyway, and did our best to fit in with the local crowd with our ‘Pablo’ outfits.
Nothing went to plan, well, there was no plan. But everything seemed to go ‘wrong’ in the traditional sense. Yet we had the most memorable and beautiful Christmas. Everything happened just as it was meant to and the most important lesson to come out of this little stint was to not resist it. We got to meet some beautiful humans and experience the local life in the truest sense. A Christmas holiday for the books.
I then left to go see Maggie in Mexico city and party for New years eve, the others went hunting for a remote surf beach. Both were achieved.
More on that later.