Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tour of Mexico - Part 1

Hello there!  We're finally on our trip south, and I'm writing from way down in Iguala, Guerrero, at the Beckett's house.  We're already on day 7 of our trip (I didn't blog about today), and I had really wanted to update every couple days, but at least it's being done!  Here's a little about our trip so far:

Day 1:
We started off our trip Wednesday morning.  We had had 3 hours of sleep, since we were up so late packing the night before.  We had plans to leave by 6am, but by the time we got the van packed, everybody in and the doors of the house all locked up, it was actually a little after 8am.  Oh well, we weren't really in a big hurry, so it was nice not to be stressed out as we were leaving.  I slept like a log until Obregón (3 hrs).  We stopped for a bathroom break shortly afterward, and made it to Guasave, Sinaloa, mid-afternoon after a 6 hr drive.  We enjoyed a yummy lunch with Leonel, Iemy, Jari, Shyla and Iemy's mom, Doña Emanuela.  We had time for some good chats, and the kiddos were able to play for a while before we went to meeting.  It was nice to see the believers there again!





Stands selling dried shrimp


There was lots of flooding.
 Day 2:
We had to leave right after breakfast, as we needed to get to Santiago, Nayarit, in good time.  Because of known violence, we are making every effort on this trip to not be traveling at night.  We had a good day, and the six hour drive seemed to fly by.  We enjoyed seeing Jesse, Emily and Anaya, plus Jesse's sister, Tamara, and had a yummy supper with them.  Unfortunately, Anaya hadn't been feeling well, and the girls were disappointed they couldn't play with her.  We were all in bed early, which was nice!  About midnight we were wakened up by the craziest thunderstorm I have ever been in.  The lightning and thunder were so severe, and appeared to be right overhead.  We ended up with two little girls in our bed for part of the night! 

Cowboys on the bridge.







There's the ocean!  This is near Mazatlan.





Following Jesse in his truck to get to their house.  Most of the roads, except the main one, are cobblestone or dirt.
Nathaniel sitting on the Klein's four-wheeler
Day 3:
We left the Klein's house at 515am, and drove 13 hours through the states of Jalisco, Michoacan, and Mexico, before getting to Guerrero.


So pretty!



Evergreens!



We stopped at a gas station, and ended up eating lunch at a little taco place there.  While Tim was in ordering, a bunch of people drove up in pick up trucks and a couple vans.  They all had huge automatic weapons, and a few had hand guns.  Everyone looked happy, but they were all in civilian clothes, so I have no idea who they were or what they were doing.  They all gathered in a group, and then climbed in their vehicles and took off.  Made me a little nervous for a bit!  This was the view across the road from where we stopped.




A little store selling hammocks.

We just happened to stop beside this little church...

...and saw an iguana!  (Right in the middle of the picture!)






A pretty tree!


We saw this man with a herd of goats, all tied together.



This truck in front of us was full of chickens.  We wondered if they got car sick, too!

Entering Iguala!

Gwendalyn and Donovan
This day was so neat!  The landscape in Jalisco was especially beautiful, I thought.  Lots of windy roads, and mountains, and I was glad when that part was over, but we were at a high altitude, and it had been rainy, and there were clouds and lovely sights wherever you looked.  Then we got to Guerrero.  Similar to Jalisco as it was mountainous, with windy roads, but we were off the main highways, and got to see the individual towns, houses and people, and it's just so interesting!  Nata got sick about 45 min before we arrived here in Iguala, and I was a little worried I would be, too, but it ended up being okay.  We were so glad to get to Duncan and Anna's.  Donavan is just 10 days older than Gwendalyn, and is such a cutie!  Shad and Debi K, along with Joe were here, Andrea G, who has been commended from her assembly in Venezuela, was here, Anna's dad, Andy, flew in for the weekend, and Keren and Abisaito were here because Abisaí had broken his ankle and he and Carmen were at the hospital.  They came a little later, and it was so nice to see them again!  Mika, Joe and Andy all were enjoying playing some basketball.  Mika was pretty excited to have gotten some baskets!

I'll pause on our trip for just a bit to say that I LOVE to travel!  I love to see new places, people and things.  It amazes me to see God's handiwork, and His creativity.  I'm thankful for parents who enjoyed traveling, too, and dragged their kids along with them!  Here's hoping that some day our kids will appreciate it, too!  =)

Here are some of the neat and unique things we saw so far on our trip:
-several small groups of longhorned cattle, with a man, kind of like a shepherd, watching them, keeping them where they would have good grass to eat, but not get into the crops or onto the road.
-animals: cattle, donkeys, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, goats, turkeys, llamas, and a large iguana, beside dogs and cats.
-cowboys on horses crossing bridges
-beautiful, lush greenery along side of cacti.
-evergreen trees
-mountains
-small huts along the road, selling a variety of foods like dried shrimp, tamales and fruit juices, and then we saw Strawberries!  We stopped for some and got a large basket full, freshly picked, plus blackberries.  
-Giant grasshoppers that looked  like spiders, crossing the roads.
-Pretty butterflies, mostly yellow, but lots of monarchs and viceroys as well.
- a donkey carrying firewood
- wild turkeys
-beautiful mountain villages, with crops growing on the sides of the hills

Day 4:
Nobody in our room woke up until 730pm - we all had a good sleep!  After breakfast, I went swimming with the kiddos - the Becketts have a big, beautiful pool - then they played more basketball.  For lunch, we had spaghetti, and Carmen brought Keren over to play for the afternoon.  The littles all went down for a nap, and the older girls went swimming, while Debi and I watched and chatted.  Quick showers after that, and then we picked up Andrea,  and went out to a torta and taco place.  It was so yummy!  Then we went downtown, which was pretty crazy with traffic, but neat to see.  We met John D down there, who had just arrived.  We were then treated to delicious churros!  Mika and Shaelyn slept over at Keren's that night.

Kyla, pretending to be Max - a Bull Mastiff

This is Mika, Andy and Joe - I actually caught Mika making a basket!



Alisa and Anna





Donovan watching the kids swim







I would be interested in knowing what grade this hill is on - it looks impossible for all these houses to be there!
At the torta and tortilla restaurant



Day 5:  
It was the first breaking of bread meeting in Iguala, and we felt very privileged to be there.  Meeting began at 930am.  There were 15 local believers, plus a couple from Puerta Vallarta, plus the missionaries.  It was a pretty full house.  It was an especially touching meeting.  There was a 30 min break, then Tim and Shad spoke spoke for 45 min each.  After that there was a delicious meal, put on by the believers.  We enjoyed getting to know many new people.  There was a lovely cake afterward that Carmen had decorated, plus another smaller cake, made for Andrea's birthday, which was that day, also.  We went home for naps, and then back for gospel meeting at 6pm.  John, plus Andrea, Abisai and Carmen came back for a yummy pizza supper after meeting.



Carmen decorated this cake

It was also Andrea's birthday!



I love how you can see Gwennie's arms grabbing Nata here.


Joe, Shaelyn and John playing basketball.



Right after this picture was taken, Donovan sat right on Gwennie - it was funny, and she didn't seem to mind!
Day 6:
Andy had to leave to go home around 830am.  We were all sad to see him go.  Before breakfast even started there was a rousing game of field hockey by Tim, Joe and our girls.  That game continued after breakfast, until everyone was hot and sweaty, and then jumped in the pool!  They had a super time, even jumping off the roof for some extra adrenaline charges!  I got some laundry done, the room tidied and swept out, as well as the van organized, so I was thankful to be able to get all that done.  I don't always feel like I have accomplished much when we're away from home, but today I did!  Everyone but Mika napped in the afternoon, and then it was time for the first of four nights of ministry meetings with John D.   He's speaking about wisdom.  It was pretty well attended.  John came back to the house for supper and some delicious carrot cake that Debi made.





Mika


Shaelyn

Mika and Tim


Kyla and Tim


Gwendalyn`s first time in a pool



Sweet Donovan

Duncan with Donovan, Tim with Gwendalyn - and Nathaniel photo-bombing!
It has been a wonderful past few days!  Will try to update again, soon!  We leave Thursday mid-day to head to Pachuca.