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Travel To Maxico

El pueblo fantasma

The next day in the light of day we discover the city with another look. In the alleyways away from many ruined houses and flapping shutters still testify to the not-so-distant time when the city was a ghost town.

We go climbing a hill and again we meet buildings from another time.

First, an abandoned old mine whose rusty machines mark the entrance and then at the top an entire village of which all that remains are old stones and the church not yet completely collapsed. In places we go around huge square wells which we do not see the bottom. They lead directly to the heart of the old mines. Rocks are thrown to the bottom to probe the depth and we expect to wake the goblins who must live indoors in the dark.

Real de Catorze, a city of pilgrimage

Back to Real de Catorze we head towards the church which attracts thousands of pilgrims each year in the hope that Saint Francis of Assisi will answer their prayers. As elsewhere in Mexico, the churches are full of ugly kitschy statues painted with real wig hair and glass eyes.

To request the realization of a miracle to Saint Francis or thank you we hang a golden pin with the photo of a loved one on the support provided or we made a beautiful drawing accompanied by a beautiful letter of thanks. An entire wall is lined with these letters. Reading them, I learned that Saint-François is really very strong. He saves car accidents, gives birth to children, heals almost all diseases, etc.

Meet a funny shaman

While strolling we crossed a very smiling guy quietly sitting on a low wall that stopped us. The guy, a young man of no more than thirty, was almost as badly dressed as me, dressed in poncho and wore a guitar of the kind well customized and patched with big tape:
“Hi guys, you’re going to the desert not true ? Can I help you? ”

The guy tells us that when we talk to him it is under the effect of peyotes and it seems to make him really happy. He tells us that he is called “Gusano” (earth green), that he is a shaman, that he lives in the desert and comes back to Real de Catorze every weekend to earn a living by playing the game. guitar in the streets for tourists.

He guessed that we intended to go to the desert and certainly eat peyotes. So they propose to take us. It sounds interesting but it’s not exactly how we imagined our trip in the desert and we decided to leave without him. Not resentful, he teaches us a little more about the desert, the peyotes and how to go where we planned.

 

DISCOVERING THE DESERT AND THE CACTUS WITH MYSTIC POWERS, THE PEYOTE

The desert of San Luis Potosi is a magical world covered with cacti and thorn bushes on a yellow and arid land. I went there as much to discover this fantastic landscape as to eat the peyote, this mysterious cactus with mystical powers found only there.

THE DESERT WAY

First mysterious step

On the recommendations of the friends met on the way we head to a small town with the mysterious name “Real de Catorze”, “Royale de Fourteen” in French.

This city was a mining town (gold and silver mines) until the end of the 19th century. Little by little the city has turned into a ghost town with the abandonment of mines. What to thicken the mystery.

We arrive at night and the bus leaves us at the entrance of a tunnel too narrow to continue our route. It was dug more than 150 years ago, entirely built in old stones, and especially it is the only passage towards the city. I watch the lights get lost inside by raising an eyebrow! Are we going to have to walk the three kilometers that separates us on the other side?

A funny little bus almost the width of the tunnel then arrives and makes us cross. The passengers sit on a long bench that runs along the walls. Already there are two or three travelers with unusual style including a bearded fifty years with a felt hat, feathers at the end of the hair …

Real de Catorze the ghost town

On the other side of the tunnel we are in Real de Catorze. It is said that this name is a tribute to fourteen Spaniards who were killed by the natives during the construction of the city. The city is enclosed by arid hills covered with yellow soil on which cacti and thorn bushes grow. All houses are in large stones.

At first sight the city does not have much ghost anymore. It has repopulated as tourists attracted by the magical atmosphere of the place or on pilgrimage to St. Francis of Assisi have arrived more and more numerous.

At its peak tens of thousands of people lived there, today there are almost two miles who live entirely tourism directly or indirectly. At the turn of an alley, teenagers are dressed in traditional costumes or monsters and dance to the rhythm of the drums. We are given a hot fruit drink with a drop of mescal and tamales, rolls of corn pastry stuffed with meat. Welcoming !

IN TIMOR, LOST IN KUPANG AND ON ROTI ISLAND


The big island of Timor in Indonesia is absolutely not touristy, fortunately Berto a local guy makes me the visit of the capital of the island Kupang and I see real Indonesia without blinkers. Then I go solo to Roti island off Timor. A real gem!

In Kupang I am lost by myself, I do not know what to do. I drag a little in the city but there is not much to see. Along the beach at night, a whole street is covered with small street vendors. You can eat all the panoply of Indonesian dishes.

Surprisingly one of the homosexuals on the boat calls me to spend the evening. Ok I have nothing to do after all. He makes me visit a kind of funny fairground. It’s very poor, the maneges are from another time. Some turn with the force of a man, who jumps on the manege to give him elan. It’s like the turnstiles of the schoolyards more elaborate and bigger.

We find friends at his home. He lives in a tiny room with no window that smells of chicken. A huge insect mounts me on it. There are no windows, the walls are not thicker than paper, yet wood. This is the first time I have faced so much poverty. It’s much worse in the cities. Neighbors arrive, I discuss Indonesians as best as I can. Everyone is incredibly friendly and warm, even the owner arrives. We drink a few beers, I spend a good evening, the owner makes me promise to come back here when I return to Kupang.

The next day I go to Rote Island with an ultra fast boat. The island is amazing, it is a kind of African desert with buffaloes and wild horses. There are miles of beaches completely deserted. Families of wild pigs roam these abandoned beaches snouting in the sand. Real traditional villages are built on the sand, the houses are all bamboo with straw roofs.
The layers of sun on the sea are very beautiful. At nightfall the inhabitants light fires on the beach and discuss under the sky covered with millions of stars.

ARRIVAL IN EAST TIMOR

The island of Timor is divided in two. On the one side Indonesia, on the other, the most recent country in the world, Timor leste. Here on the Indonesian side there are already no tourists, no one speaks English, it’s complicated to travel here. I have to go to Timor Leste or go 4 tourists a day according to the statistics …

It’s been a week since I was in the Indonesian part of Timor. I feel really deep in Indonesia, I had no contact with other tourists (except Roti island). I am without information in a big city that I do not know, or hardly anyone speaks English and in a different culture. Fortunately I made an Indonesian friend, Berto.

At the moment it’s intense but not easy. So I hesitate to go to Timor-Leste, the country next door. It is the youngest country in the world, it exists only since 2004. It is said that only 4 tourists a day return there and that the country recently independent is not yet stable politically and can be still violent. It is also said that it is the poorest country in Asia but paradoxically life is very expensive. United Nations forces control the security of the country and people still speak a different language (tetum).

I am afraid to find myself in a truly total immersion, alone and able to communicate. But now that I have come so far I make the decision to go there despite everything.

Fun situation at the time of getting in my little bus on which is written the name of the place where I have to go the locals shout me not to go up. “Ok, ok, ok!” I finally understand that here the name on the front of the bus does not indicate the final destination but simply the general direction. The locals help me get on the right bus that takes me to the border that consists of a series of tole cabins in the middle of nature.

Here I am in Timor-Leste. Now the currency is not the rupee but the US dollar. But I arrived too late, there is no bus anymore. I’m stuck at the border is it’s night.

I use my best Indonesian to haggle with a guy. I would like him to take me to the capital Dili with his scooter. We agree for $ 20. At the time it seemed to me expensive but considering what awaits me I understand better later what the price implies.

The 3 hours of roads behind the scooter with my bag on the shoulders are rather difficult for my back and my little buttocks, but the arid landscape is a treat. The road meanders along the coast sometimes on the beach sometimes in the hills and soon with a view of a beautiful sunset over the sea.
In one of the villages we pass the first UN soldiers who greet us from the top. their tank.

Tired, I arrive at night in Dili directly at the Backpacker hotel and thank my driver.