September 3rd - I am back from the little 'couple' vacation that Alan and I took. We ended up going to a place called Valle de Bravo. It is really beautiful, on a lake with tons to do. So much, actually, that we couldn't cover anything close to all of it. We arrived on Tuesday and scouted out a few Cabanas to rent. They are like small cabins with a kitchen and fireplace. We ended up happily choosing a place that wasn't a Cabana actually, just rooms next to a roaring river with really nice big jacuzzis, but this place was completely empty and the owner was allowing us complete use of the restaurant kitchen she had. She lived in another building down road, so we had the whole place to ourselves, and Alan was able to bargain and get 3 nights for 1,400 pesos total!! We cooked the first night with some supplies we had brought from Alan's house, but we bought every other breakfast and dinner at the restaurant. She would come over in the mornings and evenings to cook for us and WOW was it amazing!! She raised chickens on the property so our Huevos Rancheros were super fresh and all the sauces were prepared a la minute! Seriously the best I've had yet! Since it is near the lake, they catch trout and we also had that prepared for us for a dinner :D
Enough about the food though. The morning after we arrived, Weds, we departed around 1.30 for a loooong hike. Valle de Bravo has really wonderful hiking and things like that. First we just went to check out some falls, then we went to an osterich farm, pictures to come soon. We ended up picking up some meat on our way home on Friday...a kilo of meat for $13. We continued our hike off of the highway and onto the mountain trails where we met a man who was picking mushrooms. We bought a rather hefty amount off of him that day, which we ate sauteed with butter, garlic salt, and onions prepared with love by our hotel owner the next day. Then, continuing the hike, we went to where the paragliders jump off the top of a mountain. Really cool, thoguh none were there when we went. At this point a crazy strom broke out and we were inside of one of the clouds that was producing lightning! So scary, so loud, so wet, and cold!! What an adventure. We scurried, or shivered, down the mountain. On our way, while hiking the main road, we encountered 3 trees that had fallen on powerlines! The police were there as were small crowds of locals discussing the situation. We luckilly didn't drive up because no cars were getting through that night! Night fell, and our hike turned into a cold desperate scramble to get back to the warmth of our rustic hotel with a hot shower and warm meal. I don't think Hot Chocolate ever tasted so good...seriously, it was mexican and well deserved. We passed out as soon as dinner was in our bellies.
Thursday was bright and sunny allowing us to dry some of our stuff. After the crazy hike, the american camper in me craved pancakes, so I had an order with hot cocoa again :D I need to bring some of this stuff back for you all to try. We actually were early enough that day to eat breakfast with her husband and daughter. All as positive and caring as she. We got some advice on where to find cheap fishing gear and headed out with full intentions of bringing home dinner. After a few failed searches, Alan asked a random rough looking fisherman if he had any rod we could use and he did! He pulled out a looooong bamboo stick, some fishing line with a hook, a mangled peice of styrafoam, and a small peice fo lead. Then he dug around in the dirt for a bit and filled a cup with worms. $2. We went to a spot suggested by the hotel owner's husband, near the paraglider's landing zone. There we found a few others with similar rods trying to fish with little luck. We asked one if we could fish by him, since room was limited, and he ended up helping us out with hooking the worm the right way etc. He was catching one fish after another, while nobody else was. Alan caught one too, and I had a couple bites, but didn't jerk it in time, alas. The rains were coming in again, as they seem to do every afternoon, so we gave the fish to our mentor (it was a bit too small for us to bring back for a meal and he seemed to be collecting a bunch of similar sized ones). The next plan was to find a SPA and have a couples massage or some kind of treatment, but the options were limited and pricey, so we found a wonderful cafe were we read our books, sipped cappucinos, and enjoyed some pasteles (cakes).
It was here that I got the E-mail about Sophie's being put to sleep, our beloved dog of 18 years. I was so sad and was crying right there in the cafe. Alan held my hand and comforted me. Mommy later told me how she went, and I am glad that Khaled and daddy, you guys were with her at home. I'm also glad I will be able to see her ashes and hopefully help spread them or bury them. We had a glass of red wine, which just made me cry harder of course. She had been with us for many years and was very smart and loving. I will always remember and love her very much. Alan is right when he says that she did live a very good life and was a very happy dog.
We decided it was most appropriate to drive home at this point and leave the night to end calmly. We enjoyed the mushrooms from the previous days adventures and some quesadillas with cheese and chorizo. A simple dinner. The owner allowed us to make a small campfire inside where we roasted some marshmallows we had brought with us with Lindt 70% dark chocolate. We also finished off the red wine and then fell asleep. And in the morning we said our goodbyes, paid our bill with ended up being only $30 for all the meals and drinks we had throughout our stay, plus about $110 total for the 3 nights, and drove home.