Saturday, May 13, 2000
Chihuahua al Pacifico
The most scenic part of the Copper Canyon train is from El Fuerte to Divisadero. The first-class tickets were 270 pesos each, which we were able to buy on board. The big advantage of boarding at El Fuerte rather than Los Mochis is that you board at 8:30 a.m. rather than 6:00 a.m.
The scenery begins...
We occupied and successfully defended an open window between cars on the south side of the train - a much coveted position. This allowed us to look down the mountainsides at the occasional piece of previous trains that didnít quite reach its destination. Besides the wreckage, we also observed very pretty scenery and lots of tunnels (86 of them).
We arrived in Divisadero about 2:15 p.m., the only stop the train makes along the canyon rim itself. The train only stops for about ten minutes, so we decided (in advance) to stay for an hour at the overlook and wait for the 2nd class train to take us to Creel. Itís a beautiful view, but you just can't capture it in a photo.
At Creel, as expected, a local kid dragged us to the infamous Casa de Margaritaís, which is Backpacker Central. When we walked in we were greeted by an American employee, a girl in her mid-20s claiming to be named "Yolanda" who wouldnít say where she was from - we suspect Ohio from her accent. She likes to call the people of Creel "stupid mountain people." She said it was only safe to drink at Margaritaís, because the "stupid mountain people" might try to start trouble with us when they get to drinking. I took an immediate dislike to "Yolanda." Imagine that. Our room was tiny - had to go outside just to change our minds.
We went out to buy some tequila, but the cashier girl was apparently telling us they donít sell alcohol after 4:00 on Saturdays. She then went on to try to tell us something else in very fast Spanish that we didnít understand. We were all confused until she pointed at Janaís backpack. Jana handed her the backpack and she shoved the liquor in it. Creel rocks! This place also had home-brewed something or other that was waaay cloudy and had a piece of saran-wrap and a rubber-band on the top instead of a lid. We didnít try that stuff.
Went to Margaritaís "the sequel" (Margaritaís Plaza Mexicana, the nicer Margaritaís) down the street that evening to chase rumors of four ladies who wanted to go to Batopilas the next day. The ladies were Americans who all retired in Mexico and were just taking a short vacation. We all arranged to go down the canyon to Batopilas the next morning, spend the night, and come back the next day.