Sunday, May 14, 2000

The Happy Honeymooners

The ladies (Nancy, Gail, Kathleen, and Wanda) talked Margarita into packing us all a lunch - sandwiches and bananas. They all spoke Spanish and had traveled everywhere. I donít think you could name a place on Earth that at least one of them had not been. It made for some very interesting conversation.

The road to Batopilas was even more spectacular than the Copper Canyon train! But it was kind of scary, especially when we met vehicles coming from the other direction. Narrow, narrow, bumpy, curvy road. We almost ran head-on into a Corona truck near the bottom of the canyon. Memorials to the unsuccessful motorists were all along the road. The journey was 84 miles and took 5 hours. I repeat: 84 miles, 5 hours.

One of many memorials to unsuccessful motorists

The first two hours wound around above some of the smaller canyons, then suddenly we were at the rim of the huge Batopilas Canyon! At that point we were 5,904 feet above the bottom of the canyon. Compare that with the Grand Canyon which is 4,674 feet deep. Mario, the driver, pulled over several times so we could take photos.

Scary roads

The drive down this incredibly scary road to the bottom took about four hours, then we still had another hour to go. We stopped at a tiny old mining "town" called La Bufa when we finally reached the bottom. We scored some cerveza at the only tienda and drank them in the brutal heat while looking over the huge pile of mine tailings.

Batopilas is a long, narrow town along a single road. We found it to be less charming than we expected. The town is wired for electricity, but apparently they run a generator for only a couple of hours a night. Itís brutally hot, and thatís from a guy who loves hot weather. We stayed at Hotel Mary, which would have been a nice place if it werenít so damned hot! We both took 2 cold showers just to survive. The only beverages available in town were warm ones.

Mario drove us about four miles out of town to Satevo about 6:00 p.m. to visit the triple-domed mission church - very cool. It has been called the "Lost Cathedral," but thatís another (incorrect) story. The ladies didnít think it was as cool as we did - their loss. We climbed the rickety ladders into the tower, and I could not resist ringing the bell. We thought it was an amazing place, especially considering its location.

The mission at Satevo

On the mission grounds

The restaurant was closed at our hotel, so Mario arranged for us to eat elsewhere. Our travel book called it "Local Legend Doña Mica." We called it inadequate. Bizarre dinner of soup as an appetizer and soup for a main course, and not very much of it. We ate on this ladyís front porch as a baby screamed at the top of its lungs in the next room the entire time. Batopilas is supposed to be a "dry" town, but Mario found some warm Tecate wrapped in newspaper. Drinking laws in Mexico are strange, but fortunately they are also meaningless.

Continue to day 7.

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