Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Road To Aticama, Part 13, An Unexpected Trip To The Jungle Waterfalls


Good Morning Friends,

Well, there I was, goofing off in the innocent tranquil days of Life At The Hotel Delfin. Doing absolutely nothing except eating, drinking and thinking. Meals were cooked with care and delicious and spicy. Fish, eggs and tortillas. Coffee, fresh orange juice and gallons of Pacifico beer. And curious local people. Being the only tourist at the time in the hotel I became an attraction. Torrents of children in clean ragged clothing. Laughing shy young girls wanting to know if I was married. Old men wanting to know how many children I had and where were they? I don't remember even one person asking me for a handout. After a couple days of this bliss I was ready to venture forth to Aticama. So close yet I had not managed to break the spell of 'Manana' long enough to get there. Every day I saw it's lovely hills beckoning me from my room across Matanchen Bay. Every day another pleasant distraction. Finally, my resolve was firm and I found myself on the road, waiting for the local bus headed north. Like most things at the time, it was always late. No book to read. No fingernail clippers to pass the time. Suddenly Michelle was there behind me in an old, really old, beater Datsun with some locals. I was lured into the back seat with kisses and promises of a great day at a local jungle waterfalls! How could I resist?

El Cora waterfalls is actually a string of waterfalls coursing through a deep green jungle canyon in the mountains emptying into the southern part of the bay. As the crow flies it is not far. As the beater Datsun rolls it is a bumpy, dusty chaotic adventure winding through 4 or 5 little villages - the road getting worse and worse. Potholes the size of garbage cans. Ruts that guided your car without steering it. Jungle and children everywhere. Real burros loaded with jungle fruit led by real old men. Hard working men. No signs but no need as we had a guide. Finally we reached the end of the road and an hour walk followed. Down, Down, Down we trekked like a cast in a cheap Jules Vern movie. The Cora Indians had made the area a sacred place eons ago and it was easy to see why. Pristine. The sound of the waterfall came before the sight of the waterfall. Then, there it was. Amazing. Hundreds of feet tall. Clear water. Cold and clear.

I don't swim. Never have. Ridicule was heaped upon me for the millionth time by my group while I watched them dive in. I did not mind. There was something still eating away in the back of my mind, elusive like details in a good dream. This place was a comfort and I heard music in my mind. Hours passed and I did not talk much. Soon other people arrived with loud laughter and tons of food and children. We were invited to eat with them. Corn on the cob. Beans and tortillas and warm Pacifico beer that tasted cold to me. They were from Aticama and had lots to say about the village. Then, it was time to leave, not a good place to be after dark as the path up was very steep and a misstep could be bad. By the time we got to Santa Cruz and the camp I was tired so I took Michelle's advice and spent the night in her loving arms. I remembered I had left my hotel room door wide open but I was not worried. Aticama would wait for me. She was, after all, Mexican and rich in patience.

Salud

ps. the photos above are courtesy of Jim Vitale, a friend who owns an oceanside retreat in Miramar. Here is a link to his site and I encourage you to check it out.

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