Fabien, the French backpacker, standing there more than three years after I had last seen him here just before his departure for France. He is on the road again and has been so for some time. On the following Friday we spent all day together talking, catching up. The beautiful and brilliant Magaly joined us for a time. She was in town, also, from Cancún. She is a talented painter and sculptor. These two hold a special place in my heart.
Apparently, Fabien still travels under the auspices of that organization that is studying sustainable agricultural methods in different parts of the world. I must say, though, that I have never seen him do anything that we might call “work” for the benefit of that organization. The three of us undertook several adventures together. The most memorable, however, was the road trip to Real de Catorce, the famous, mostly abandoned Spanish mining town high up in the mountains in the next state to the north.
We first camped for two nights in a vast stretch of scrub below the mountains called Valle del Salado on the map. At night around the campfire we stuffed ourselves with peyote that we had harvested during the day. Rather, Maga did the harvesting because she was the only one who could spot that elusive plant and carefully harvest the head without destroying the roots.
We then ascended the mountain to Real de Catorce the back way. I emphasize the back way because that was the most harrowing drive that I have ever successfully completed. There were a couple of harrowing drives in my youth that I did not complete successfully. A narrow little road with sheer drops along the side all the way. While staying in Real de Catorce at the Hotel San Fancisco at night, during the day we hiked up the mountain of Quemado, sacred mountain of the Huichol. An indigenous people, Huichol from all over gather on the top of that mountain once a year and stuff themselves with peyote. We picnicked up there while looking down over the Valle del Salado where we had just camped.
We were stopped by a policeman in the evening on the way home going through the city of San Luis Potosí. Maga negotiated our way through that. That was the only time that I have ever experienced a completely silent Fabien. The policeman was simply curious because the truck was so thoroughly covered in dust at that point.
I concede that we were a strange trio. They were a couple, and I am twice their age. Certainly, it was their idea to go to Real de Catorce, and they needed a vehicle and a driver. I never felt like a third wheel, however. Never once. We enjoyed the best of times together and never ceased laughing.
Magaly is now back in Cancún; Fabien is now safely in Columbia doing something. So it is that I have composed a blog entry here today that resembles a blog entry from those old days. Too much text, and too many tiny pictures. You can of course click on any picture, but they will still be tiny.