I had a map in my guide book and was looking for Casa Margarita which was described as a "bustling backpackers scene". It sounded like my kind of place. However, after a couple of ventures into the area where it was supposed to be located I gave up. I was tired, it was dark, and I was losing hope. This was not a sleepy little logging town anymore.
So I found the Hotel del Centro. Simple enough, it was off the main street, had parking for the bike, and looked clean. I had to go around the corner and ask in the grocery store about a room. They asked 350 pesos, I told them I would pay 300 peso, they agreed. Score!
Only one problem, the two handles in the shower were Cold and Not Quite As Cold. It made for a very refreshing shower. And a very quick one. I went out on the street for a while but it was too hectic and I was too tried. Off to bed.
In the morning I had breakfast at the Cafe Veronica and walked through town to get my bearings. My impression was much more positive in the daylight. Much more colorful and much less touristy than I thought.
NEW RULE: When entering a new town, park the bike and walk through the town. It's the only way to see and learn anything.
I found Casa Margarita right where it was supposed to be. I had missed it in the dark the night before due to the lack of any prominent sign. I went in and found that it had gone upscale since the guide book had been written. Still, it was a destination I'd been looking for and it had a hot shower. I took it for the night. This gave me two rooms but I didn't have to move the bike or my gear so I chalked it up to experience.
The day was a rest day to relax and explore. I took my time wandering around and found an internet cafe to catch up on my email and post a couple of pictures.
The train station is off the plaza and runs once a day in each direction. It's the famed El Chepe that runs along the canyon rim providing spectacular views.
|Stolen from the internet|
At the post office I made a bit of a fool of myself. I walked up to the door and pulled on the handle to open it. It seemed locked and didn't budge. I looked at the schedule posted and it should have been open. I stood there for a few moments wondering what to do when the Postmaster came and opened the door for me. I should have pushed rather than pulled. We both laughed and shrugged it off. I got my stamps and beat an embarassed retreat. Oh well, I've done dumber things ...
Dinner was included in the price of my room at Margarita's so I went there to eat. Curiously, nobody asked if I was supposed to be there. It was a fixed menu and when I sat down they brought me food. It was a different staff so they didn't know me from when I rented the room, they just trusted that I should be there. Try to find that north of the border.
The evening traffic seemed much less frenetic than the previous evening and I went to bed early. Tomorrow, the canyons.
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