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Old 04-01-2008, 08:53 PM   #6
Trailblazer OP
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Oddometer: 251

Day 3. 44 miles San Buenaventura to Cuatro Ciénegas

Did some serious goofing off today before leaving San Buenaventura. Taking photos of bell towers and bicycles. Saw several trucks move through the plaza area with beautiful horses in the back, but I wasn't quick enough with the camera.

I went to the bank in San Buenaventura to change $100. It was fairly crowded, all the employees were helping customers. I caught the eye of one gentleman behind a desk and asked if I would be able to change money here. He asked if I was changing Euro's.

I don´t know why, but I took that as an extreme compliment. Don´t get me wrong, I´m proud to be American and I'm proud of my country (ahem) but I was really proud to be mistaken for European. I think what I'm trying to say is I'm not always proud of all Americans, if you understand me.
I guess I´m so far off the Gringo trail, only European travelers pass thru here.
And...... another pearl. The bank gave me a better exchange rate than the Casa de Cambio in Piedras Negras. I was surprised. I always thought you got better rates at the Casas, especially near the border. A fluke? Maybe.

The road was under construction, led through some arid mountain ranges.

Cuatro Ciénegas, about an hour away, is a fine little desert town,

upbeat, painted with bright colors, laid back.

And internet.

Poked around, got the lay of the land

There are all these pools, or pozas they call ´em here. In the middle of the desert, and there are lots of them, like oasises. Lonely Planet suggested one in particular for solitude, and that´s where I headed, about 10 miles out, after finding out where it was.

Poza Churince

There were several palm roofed palapas available, the place was deserted.

Spent the afternoon there next to the water, taking photos with my new gigantic big-bucks lens. (Hard to even hold the camera.) Took a swim. Saw a turtle, and a lone duck. Both disappeared under the water and I never saw them again.

Then out came the maps and calculator and it was time to plan the rest of my trip. After careful deliberation, I decided on a big push to Guadalajara, before coming home. Towards the end of the afternoon the wind started blowing fiercely. I toyed with the idea of heading out tonight, towards Torreon, but there is about a 100 mile stretch with no gas and my tank was less than half full.

Then a couple of "older" guys (like in their 60's?)(joke, son) show up in a pick-up truck and proceed to sit with me at the table under my palapa and share their lunch of tortillas, avocados, sandwiches, coffee and sweet rolls. One of them, Raul, was described by the other, Jose, as the owner of this land. Well, Raul said he owned 17,946 hectares of it. That's 44,326 acres! Desert acres, but I was still pretty impressed. It includes these pozas. He admitted it was a lot of land.

Raul, local desert owner

Raul & Jose, after sharing tortillas & sandwiches

With the wind out of control, late in the afternoon, I decide to be nice to myself and go back to Cuatro Ciénegas and spring for a room. Finally nailed a nice room! Woo Hoo! I'm so tickled.
Check it out at Plaza Hotel.

Plaza Hotel. At $47, what a deal

Saltillo tile floors and spacious bath. High, rustic ceiling. Thank you Lonely Planet. It reminds me vaguely of the Hotel Hacienda Santa Engracia... only better.

Trailblazer screwed with this post 04-01-2008 at 09:18 PM
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