El Fuerte - The birthplace of Zorro

Trip Start Apr 05, 2008
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Trip End Mar 20, 2009


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Flag of Mexico  ,
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The trip getting to El Fuerte was a bit of a mission, we arrived at the ferry terminal at 6am for the 8am ferry expecting to be able to buy tickets there however this was not the case. When we could not find a ticket office and asked where it was, a ferry worker gestured to follow him. As Alanna spoke more Spanish than me she went with him to the ticket office (about 3km away) while I stayed back to look after the bags. After about 1 hours, there was still no sign of Alanna and I beginning to think we would have to take the ferry tomorrow. I was speaking to an American who was worried where his mate was as he too had headed off to get tickets over an hour ago when he suddenly appeared. I asked him if he had seen a blonde chick which he advised he had and that she should be about 30mins behind him. Alanna eventually turned up 10mins before official departure with tickets in hand. Given that we are in Mexico we in fact had plenty of time, the ferry left 2 hrs later than scheduled. We got on board to find that Alanna had purchased tickets for a cabin which I guess doesn't really fit the backpacking mold, but for an extra $50 it was worth it. The cabin had 2 beds and a shower & loo. Once we got to Topolobampo, we got a taxi to the Los Mochis airport as we had been advised that we would be picked up there and transferred to our hotel in El Fuerte, the Rio Vista. After waiting 30 minutes for someone to show up we then rang the tour company that had organized our Copper Canyon trip. It appeared that they were waiting for payment (would have been nice for them to ask us for this prior). After 2 hours at the airport we managed to sort it out and we were on our way to El Fuerte.
On arrival at the Rio Vista we were welcomed with a beer and a margarita for Alanna and enjoyed finally having made it to the start of our tour.
(Gareth lost interest in continuing so I'm finishing this one off) The next morning we set out on a river cruise and hike. The boats can only be described as 'Mexican ingenuity' with a simple row boat with plastic bbq chairs having been screwed into the boat. We set out and it feels like we are cruising our way down the Waikato river in New Zealand. It's peaceful and there's loads of birdlife that Phillipe our guide is pointing out along the way. Bird watching is not really our thing but we find it surprisingly interesting. We moor up at a point along the river and set out on a hike to see the petroglyphs, ancient rock carvings. These carvings are apparently about 800 years old and depict stories from the local Indian tribes who lived here then. It's incredibly hot here even early in the morning, I think by lunchtime it will be well into the 40s. We head back in the boat in time for a shower to cool off and then lunch with a welcomed siesta. Let's face it, when it's this hot it's the best thing to do. Around 5.30pm when it's cooled off (I.e. it's dropped maybe two degrees) we head off for our city tour. We start at the museum and learn about the revolution and their hero Pancho Villa before getting into our city coach. It's hard to describe and I'm in fits of laughter when I see it. It's literally a trailer pulled behind a truck with bench seats screwed into the floor and a covered over the top to provide some shade. It's obviously high tech as we have speakers somewhere on the trailer blasting out Mexican country and western renditions which we're told is what's hip at the moment, cowboys are back in fashion. We head off round town and I'm soon in hysterics again. It's like being back on the farm with Dad whistling instructions to the dogs, this is literally what is happening. Our guide (who is also obviously a big kahuna round town) has different whistles for the driver depending on whether we're going left, right or stopping. I'm feeling like a dancing bear in a circus and I think we are definitely providing great entertainment and amusement for all the locals as we are driven round. We are shown the El Fuerte hotel and city hall which are both impressive. We also see the real side of El Fuerte where the locals live and it's a very different scene. Roads are not paved this side and houses are very simple. Our host is very well connected with the governor and it's interesting watching the different reactions to him as he waves out to the locals or greets them with one of his many whistles. Heading back it's definitely time for another cold shower followed by some cold beers (yes I'm drinking beer as it's definitely safer than braving the wine and sometimes kinder than the margaritas).
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