San Luis Potosi
Continuing the sprint, I left Chiapas the next day, flying back to Mexico City to meet up with Tania, who would accompany me for the last leg of my trip. Together, we got a 9:00 pm bus out of Mexico City headed for San Luis Potosi. This would be my first experience with an overnight bus. The idea, of course, is to sleep overnight on the bus, arriving the next morning refreshed and ready to explore. In reality, the drive took a scenic route (not that the scenery is actually visible at 2 AM), winding through constant curves, lurching over the endless speed bumps, and delaying an extra hour after a tire blew out (at least that part of the ride was smooth). On top of all that, despite the 50 degree temperatures outside, the bus still blasted its a/c throughout. So, it goes without saying that we didn’t get a whole lot of sleep that night. Arriving around 8:00 AM at our hotel, we scrambled to get ready for the 9:00 AM tour. The first day’s tour would involve rappelling down a sheer rock wall alongside a waterfall.
My friend Tania rappelling down like a champ:
Day two: White water rafting on the Tampaon River. Normally you’d want the raft to be full for the stability. Tania and I rode up front. In one of the first few rapids, the raft tipped at a 45 degree angle, dumping both of us into the drink. Tania tumbled through the rapids but was quickly saved by the guide, while I floated a ways downstream, eventually getting pulled aboard by Tania.
Day three: On the final day of our trip through San Luis, we took a tour to the Las Pozas, Edward James' Surrealist Garden in the Mexican Jungle. Edward James was an eccentric British writer and millionaire who loved surrealistic art. Salvador Dalí described him as "crazier than all the Surrealists together". After a visit to Xilitla in the Huaxteca of San Luis, James became enchanted with the area, deciding that it would be the site where he would design a sculpture garden that defies any architectural label and brings his love of surrealism to life. I finally found a place more bizarre than Guanajuato.
Later that night, we hiked through the forest to arrive at a massive sinkhole called "Sótano de las Golondrinas", which means "Basement of the Swallows". To give an idea of the size, it could fit two Statues of Liberty inside. The cave gets its name from the thousands of green parakeets and white-collared swifts that live along its walls. Each day the birds fly in concentric circles up the cave shaft before the flocks come spilling out of the hole into the jungle. Each night, the opposite occurs, as the birds circle overhead before groups of 50 or so at a time dive bomb down into the shaft, pulling in their wings to make themselves more aerodynamic.
Picture here are two survivors of rappelling and rafting, one of whom is standing on their tip-toes trying to appear taller ;)