Friday, November 09, 2007

Vacation Diary, Day 4

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yet another perfectly gorgeous day! I rose with the sun and girded my loins for adventure with an artistic tropical fruit platter prepared by my beloved Jesus from a colorful array of locally grown papayas, star fruits, and melons. He also brought me a pot of steaming hot te negro con leche, a freshly squeezed pineapple-mango cocktail, and some of his fresh baked banana macadamia nut bread made from, you guessed it, the local Uruapan harvest du jour. Is it too soon to ask him to marry me?

Eduardo Ruiz National Park is less than ten meters from the hotel's door, so that's where I headed next.

This insanely lush, brilliant emerald green, tropical rain forest feels more like Costa Rica, or Brazil, or my wildest mystical jungle fantasies, than Mexico. And it is a horticulturist's wet dream. Majestic white Angel Trumpets of wild Brugmansia drape over shady trails that meander through galloping herds of giant banana trees alongside the rushing Cupatizio River. Sixty foot tall houseplants on steroids tower over it all, while wild red Poinsettias grow to be the size of houses. Wild orchids hang in purple clusters from the trees; wild bedding Impatiens billow in clouds of rampant color along the river banks. I mean, seriously, isn't that an unsettling oxymoron, "wild bedding Impatiens"? Sort of like "fierce packs of feral poodles roam the tundra."

But enough with all the jungle prose; I'll just tell you this magical place was beautiful beyond words and let some photos do the talking:

Me with Park Naturalist

Ruiz National Park, Uruapan

Ruiz National Park, Uruapan

Ruiz National Park, Uruapan

Eduardo Ruiz National Park, Uruapan

Four Muchachas With Naturalist

Wild Brugmansia in Ruiz National Park

The afternoon's exciting adventure provided a striking contrast to the morning's dazzling tropical treasure chest. It entailed riding horseback from the Purepecha village of Angahuan, along a steep rugged trail in dry scrubby mountain terrain, to visit a former village that had been buried in lava from the 1943 eruption of Paracutin volcano. Black lava rock covered all but a few protruding remains of an old church.

(Note to self: MUST improve Spanish pronunciation. It's a truly sorry state of affairs when I try to say, "Help me! I am terrified of this crazy horse!" and it somehow comes out sounding like, "Hello, I am a world famous rodeo hotshot, please bring on the life threatening dangers.") Let me tell you, riding down the side of a steep rocky perpendicular cliff on Sr Caballo Loco was at times el trauma grande.

But in the end it was much more fun than scary, and the magnificent scenery was worth every moment of terror.

Me Pondering Paracutin

Caballeras

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Paracutin Damage

Paracutin

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Hiking In Volcanic Lava

Horseback Expedition to Paracutin


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