Adventures in Mexico by RV - Day Break in San Antonio Tlayacapan
By Malcolm Callister
It is 6:25 a.m. mid-November, below me in the valley, the church bells of San Antonio Tlayacapan summon worshippers with the distinctive call to Mass. It is still dark, but by 7:00 a.m. it will be light. The rotation of the earth, the daily cycle of life, brings light to the dark mountain valley, animals and birds start to move about. Roosters start to crow, street dogs stretch and bark, announcing their claim on a section of the cobblestone street. In the farms, donkeys start braying, and the sheep bleat as they move from the safety of their overnight shelters to the fields made safe now by the light of the sun. I am up early to photograph the sunrise. Standing outside on the tiled patio, with my coffee mug and camera.
To my right, is Mount Garcia. I watch silently as this giant monolith slowly materializes out of the night on the south side of Lake Chapala. An extinct volcano, Mount Garcia watches over all that happens on this lake.
In the village at the foot of Mount, Garcia, darkness is broken. Lights are turned on in the homes, people on their way to Mass or to work. Electricity is expensive, lights are turned off as soon as the sky starts to turn from black to blue. Just long enough to dress and get firewood burning in the outside ovens, and see the faithful off to Mass. It will be full daylight soon here in the tropics.
In the villages that surround Lake Chapala, the workday is controlled by sunlight. In the pre-dawn, the colors of the sky start to change. In the village of San Antonio Tlayacapan, the sound of church bells drifts up the hillside, heralding a new day.
Touch and Smell
I stand on our patio, the warm vapor rising from the mug cupped in two hands brings the aroma of coffee. There is no breeze this morning, the grass is wet underfoot from the overnight dew. My rubber-soled shoes are wet from walking on the grass, I slide on the smooth patio tiles as I step off the grass causing me to grab the camera for safety, spilling some coffee. That early morning smell is in the air, a mixture of vegetation decay and the rich wild blossoms from the mountain forest, now blending together with the faint smell of wood smoke from the village cooking fires. It fills my nostrils, the joy of camping.
A totally satisfying experience yet final disappointment
It has been a totally satisfying experience just being here, watching, listening, feeling and smelling the changes as night turns to day.
My camera hung around my neck, waiting for sunrise, in anticipation of the right photographic moment. As I watch, a cloud bank forms in the east, I will have to wait for another day to get the right photographic moment of sunrise.
L&M Tip for the week.
Tires, always good tires and check the air pressure constantly. You only have to count the incredible number of tire repair shops at the side of the road to understand the enormous need due to bad roads.