Nacho came down yesterday morning to make sure we were ready for our adventure and said we would meet at 1:00pm to leave. He told me, in English, "My friend Billy is coming with us." So I thought, "Umm...we don't know this guy Billy and although we like Nacho, I'm not too sure about getting in a car with some dude we don't know in a country I'm still getting used to." So, I did what any sensible (Read:irrationally crazy) person might do and I e-mailed our friend Rebecca to let her know that we were headed out of town...just so that someone here knew what was going on.
"Billy" turns out to be Pilly, short for Pilar.
She really looks like someone who would cause some serious bodily harm, right?!
The ironic thing is, if Nacho had told me about his friend in Spanish, I would have known she was a woman. Amiga=female friend. Doh! Anyway, obviously I had nothing to worry about. (I never really did, it would have been fine regardless...but I'm a worrier...it's what I do).
So we headed out. Pilar explained about all of the towns and villages along the way. Nacho drove...like a bat out of hell. I seriously felt like 5 years were shaved from my life after we got home last night...but I digress. She mentioned the small town that is full of Italian descendants. Apparently they have some amazing Italian restaurants, and according to Nacho, the whole town is filled with, "White people, just like you!" (He's what we would call "a pill" and that's putting it mildly). *Side note, I will be returning for good Italian food. I'll bring friends...or go by myself, either way, I'm going.
We arrived in Atlixco, which is an area known for it's ornamental plants. Seriously, you pull into town and you can feel that humidity has changed, there are greenhouses as far as the eye can see. We stopped at one of them where I got a lesson in colors in Spanish from Pilly. I didn't have the heart to tell her, until the end, that although I seem like a bumbling idiot with the Spanish language, I do know my colors. And how to tell her that ducks drink milk. *Thanks, Duolingo!
Pilly likes to take pictures...and she'll tell you where to stand and how to pose. (I obviously don't take direction well. Good thing that modeling thing never panned out-I kid, I kid).
As soon as we walked in to the greenhouse, it smelled like wet dirt...just like England. We loved it!
Nacho, aka Rico Suave.
Not sure what these are...but I love the picture that Andy took.
We just made a pit stop in Atlixco, but I really would like to go back for the day, or a weekend. According to Pilly there is a nice hotel in an old Hacienda. The town is small and charming, from what I could see from the van.
We drove up the hill from Atlixco and found this:
Andy is saying, "See Nina, I told you so!"
My artsy fartsy shot of graffiti on the Spaceship and Popo in the background.
At this point in the day, I literally had no idea what we were doing or where we were going next. This is a god thing for me...sometimes it's good to just go with the flow and not know what to expect.
We ended up at a fish farm. Random, I know. They had, I'm guestimating here, millions of fish. They were Truchas, Trout in English. It was nice that they took us there, as I felt like it was some odd sort of pride for Nacho and Pilly to show us this, and I think I hid my uneasiness about the whole thing pretty well. It's hard to describe, especially because I'm a carnivore and used to fish with my dad, but I felt like Sarah Palin in her helicopter with a machine gun getting ready to "hunt." Just lurking, waiting for these fish to be eaten.
Since most to the fish were dark, I took a picture of the albino trout so you can see...again, it was weird all and all.
Nacho and Pilly kept telling Andy, "you can pick a fish and take it home with you." I didn't believe him, but as we left Pilly asked what fish I wanted. I thought she was kidding, so I smart ass-ely answered, "The big albino one with the creepy eyes." She went to the counter and ordered what I can only imagine to be "the big albino one with the creepy eyes." Once I realized what I had done, I quickly told her that I was kidding, and that in fact, I did NOT want any fish. Phew...close call. *Note to self: don't be a smart ass when farm grown, creepy eyed fish are involved.
After our "tour" of the fish farm, we had a mojito (that would rival Mary Ayala's mojitos) at a little "tiki bar" by the restaurant near the fish farm. We ate at "Oasis" just below the fish farm in a small little pocket of paradise. It was lush green (we didn't get any pictures of the place, but we took some of lunch).
Again, I understand the irony that I will eat beef and be disturbed by the fish farm. (I'm a strange bird folks...shocker, I know).
Andy's lunch. Truchas with almonds. The almonds were sticking up in rows of the fish. (As Andy took this picture he said, "Take THAT Langdon!" I think the "Food Porn: International Competition" gauntlet has just been thrown down.)
We ate by a stream, of clean water from Popo. Andy and I realized that it's the first clean, fresh water we've seen since being here. Makes me miss, and have a new found appreciation, for the rivers of my childhood from Wyoming and Colorado.
After a lovely, slow lunch, we headed back home. But before we left, they wanted to show us the waterfall. We pulled into another small little valley, tucked into the base of Popo. There was a little "restaurant" a large tent and some tables and chairs and several stalls of people making drinks and food.
Nacho, Pilly, and me by the waterfall.
Then we hiked. And it was stunning. The iPad tried it's best to capture the beauty, and it did an alright job, but you just can't. But we tried. Here are our (Andy's) efforts.
The sun going down behind Popo.
The angle of the sun was pretty awesome.
The stream. (Not the one running uphill, that's for next time).
Another stream shot.
The fumarole coming out of Popo turned red as the sun went down. (It's not "lava red", it's "sunset red." No worries folks).
The final sunset shot. Breathtaking.