On our way to Catemaco we saw a little road with a sign for a possible hostel...We ended up at La Cabana del Lago...another great find!! We decided to stay here for almost a week. Beautiful room overlooking the lake, jungle trails to explore, waterfalls, bamboo forest...and new friends. There were actually only two rooms at this hotel (which was a building next to the owners house and restaurant)...The owners are Everisto and his wife Lina.
On our first evening the restaurant was overrun by a group of men celebrating....Everisto joined them with his accordion, playing Mexican songs as they all sang along, pounded their fists on the table, and laughed together.
As we walk through the town everyone is very friendly and curious about us. Met a young man, Carlos, who spoke English, and has worked in the U.S. for an electric company...he wishes that the people here had an opportunity to see other places so they would be better educated about sanitation and protecting the environment. He invited us to dinner, saying his mother is an excellent cook and we're welcome anytime...as we walk back to our hotel we notice many plant nurseries in this small town selling tropical plants, trees, flowers, orchids and herbs.
On our first morning we decided to take a walk to a further part of town...The roads are made of ash rock. We wave and say "Buenos Dias" to everyone we meet...they smile and wave back. An older couple were pushing wheelbarrows with firewood for cooking. Bill offered to push the woman's wheelbarrow...the woman and myself followed behind the men and eventually led us to a more remote area where they lived...We decided to keep walking, following signs for a hostel Ven a Bahia Escondida...eventually ended up at the water's edge where there was a sign for the hostel leading down a path. I was exhausted and the weather was getting bad, so I waited while Bill continued on the trail to find the hostel....which he did. He said it was in a beautiful setting, but pretty remote. Rooms are a bit dark compared to where we're at. The owner, Sasha, is from Switzerland. The hostel has private or dorm rooms and kitchen...as well as a restaurant with very reasonable prices.
On our second day Everisto took Bill and I on a hike to the waterfall (Cascada). We took a small trail past cows (vacas), horses (cabillos), corn fields (elote)...Everisto is trying to teach me the Spanish words for things as we walk...an egret he calls (garza)...rocks (pierdra). We noticed that the calves have a piece of rope tied through their nose. Everisto explains the reason for this is to keep them from suckling the mother so she can dry out and get pregnant again... He showed us a carved Olmec head rock, just laying in the middle of a stream!! As we look at the ancient head we see an army of ants winding their way across the face...amazing that it's been left here for so long. We continued on the trail crossing the stream until we reached the waterfall...Breathtakingly beautiful!!
We went to the waterfall another day...Lina insisted that their grandson accompany us.... I think it's because we are walking near people's property and she wants to make sure we don't have any difficulties. So far, everyone has been extremely friendly though. Everisto's grandson was very sweet. He's about 13 years old, carries a machete, a walking stick and, like all teenagers, a cell phone...our guide for the day. After visiting the waterfall we continued on through the jungle to see the location of the village's water source, which is suitable for drinking. One of the few places we visited where you can drink the water. On the way back we saw an army of leaf cutter ants carrying pieces of leaves and everything in their path, making their own trail, back and forth along the path.
The Bamboo forest was so beautiful that Bill and I hiked there a couple times. We spotted blue/black butterflies and orange hibiscus flowers along the way, down a steep hill, then clusters of bamboo all around us with a pathway leading all the way to the water's edge...pretty cool! Part of the beach is black sand, large volcanic rocks, king fishers, egrets and grackles. We saw a big black bird, with large white eyes and a yellow beak. When he leaned forward you could see his yellow tail feathers...he made a really cool sound, like a dove, but many times over.
We spent one afternoon with Everisto's friend, Louise. Louise lives in Mexico City most of the time but also has a house here in La Victoria and a ranch outside of town. As we walked to his house, we met a couple who have a wonderful plant nursery. They let us walk through their property with beautiful, coleus, geraniums, ferns and orchids. They cut a huge flower blossom for me...not sure what it was, but you can see it in the picture above, and an angel of death blossom for Bill. Walked on to Louise's place. Louise was a great host and loves to have fun. He showed us his liqueur lazy susan (that's what I called it anyway) and offered us a drink. His place is right on the lake...really beautiful. He also has a glass enclosed "fun room" in the backyard complete with two pool tables, a ping pong table and hockey...Bill and I played ping pong and Louise and Danny played pool....really had a good time. Before leaving Louise explained some of his ideas for alternative energy that he 's working on...what an interesting guy!
Back to our hotel and Comida Corrida...which is the meal of the day at the restaurant...pretty tasty Pasta soup, chicken and rice. We'll be moving on tomorrow but will miss La Victoria and the people very much.