Day Zero: I woke up around 30km from Colima. I was exhausted from the previous day's travel so falling asleep on the bus was no problem. I even had a short nap on the plane from Mexico City to Guadalajara.
When I finally woke up and felt rested the first thing Fernando pointed out to me was the Volcano. It was pretty hard to miss. At 4,000m elevation it is easily the tallest thing around. It is beautiful. Our conversation quickly turned from the hike to the arid nature of the region. It is vastly different from Mexico City's dry, high altitude feel and the humid, jungle vibes of Poza Rica and area. Cacti are common and the brush is not lush but dead and dry. I suppose that should have been expected given that it is winter here, technically.
His uncle and cousin picked us up from the bus station and took us to their home where I met his aunt. Their house is beautiful. It feels like a mini resort in a lot of ways and has given me inspiration for what our retirement plan should look like!
We spent the afternoon visiting with his family and eating amazing food. I missed Mexican food so much! They bought us Colima dessert after dinner, which was pretty much ice cream on a stick in popsicle shape. Absolutely delicious. And then beautiful, solid sleep....
Mexican time is something Fernando half jokes about, but this morning I was feeling it and driving myself crazy with anticipation. I don't know what I wanted to do, but I didn't want to miss a minute of adventuring and no one else was in a rush, so I tried to slow myself down. I woke up at 8am and re-organized my luggage, which had become a mess from the two days of travel. I definitely overpacked again. No surprise there. I cooked Fernando and I breakfast and we visited some more while everyone ate breakfast and made a plan for the day. Eventually we were ready, having had breakfast and packed the necessities for the day (camera and gym clothes). Fernando's aunt took us (Fernando, his mom, and me) to the town square and we went for a little stroll.
Even before getting to the town square there were noticeable differences between Colima and the other Mexican towns/cities we have visited. Colima is clean for one (relatively), and a lot of the development is fairly new so the houses and business are more modern. There is a transition zone where you find the old town, founded 500 years ago. All of a sidden the streets are narrower, the houses are smaller, and the buildings are more rustic. My kind of Mexico. I love the aesthetic of the old buildings and the stark contrast between the grungy, worn feel of the old buildings and the clean, modern lines of the new construction.
We parked and walked a short distance to the square. There were the usual types of stores around but Colima is different than Papantla or Poza Rica. There were almost no street vendors in the square. I don't know if that is normal, but there was a side street with a mini market. We checked out the church where there were tributes to those who had passed on one of the doors. It was the first time I had seen anything like that. Over to the mini market; one of the vendors was an artist who would paint portraits and I wanted so badly for Fernando to get his portrait painted so I could photograph it. His mom and aunt were waiting for us though so we carried on.
Fernando has told me about the people in Mexico who go missing as a result of the Cartel, and obviously I am not naive enough to believe it doesn't happen, but there were signs up around the square and painted on walls highlighting missing people. It made it a little more real for me, but also, I choose to believe in the good of people and that no one will kidnap me. From the square we went to check out a local park that is based around a meteorite. The meteorite is smooth and Fernando's aunt said that if you slide down it it will bring you good luck if you visit Colima again in the future. Fernando and I ventured over to the rock and slid down it. It was not as hot as we figured it would be given that it is black and it was 35 degrees today! Now we have to come back to Colima in the future for our good luck.
From there we had a relaxing evening. We found a gym and had great workouts. We are delicious tortas and some Chinese food, and then walked back to the house and enjoyed some time with his family. I opted to edit and then when I was trying to decide what to post, I decided a blog post would be best so I didn't have to choose the images to share! :)