San Jose Del Pacifico

San Jose Del Pacifico…cloud city

San Jose Del Pacifico is nestled in the mountains on Rt.175 that runs from the coast at Puerto Angel to Ciudad Oaxaca. Mushrooms are their specialty, and not just the psychoactive variety. They have everything mushroom-related here: keychains, Maria Sabina pictures, novelty door-stops, tea, soup, suspended in honey, posters, parkas and you can get mushrooms added to almost any dish you desire. Its elevation is at the cloud line; the air cool, clean and wet. Mushrooms thrive here in the high altitude and rich soil. As clouds move through the town it can seem like dusk at 2 in the afternoon. Our cabana is up high on the side of the mountain. The mountains in the distance fade from green to light blue as they move further towards the coast. If the clouds cooperate you can see the ocean, which, we have been told, is the reason behind the “Del Pacifico” added to the name of a town a long way from the Pacific Ocean.

On the way into town we came upon an older native woman with one eye and her grandson who was about 4 walking on the road. She was carrying a huge pack full of things to sell in town and was now dragging herself, the pack, and her grandson up the steep hillside road back home. We offered them a ride. Emily got in the back so the woman could ride in the front seat with the boy in her lap. The little boy immediately spotted our toy rubber chicken, which used to belong to Emily’s Great Grandmother Needham, hanging behind the driver’s seat. It’s a pretty gross trick, you squeeze this limp, rubber chicken and out of its butt pops a still-connected, yolky egg. That kid played with that chicken with a non-stop smile on his face for the entire drive home. We finally reached their spot and let them out. It was probably a good 2 miles up some really steep roads in the thin mountain air from where they had started walking. This lady does this walk everyday apparently, because we saw her in town with her pack everyday of our visit to San Jose Del Pacifico. There are some pretty tuff people up here.

We are staying at Cabanas el Cumbre, which is up the hill from town about 2 blocks up a very steep and narrow brick road. If you ask the people in town where to find Cabanas el Cumbre, they don’t know what you’re talking about. But, if you ask for Alfredo’s place, everyone knows in which direction to point you. Alfredo and his wife Catrin are pretty young, probably in there mid twenties. They have a couple of kids, a dog, some chickens, and the Cabanas. They are both really nice and don’t seem to mind all the crazy kids running around wanting mushrooms. The Cabanas are basically a collection of 6 habitation rooms, 1 bathroom and a long deck superimposed on the side of a mountain. We paid 100 pesos ($8 usd) per night for a room with a bed, a small table, 1 chair, 5 thick blankets, one window, and an incredible view. The bathroom was tricky as there was no toilet seat and no shower area. There was however, a bucket and a drain in the floor that served as the shower. The problem wasn’t the mechanics of the bucket-shower, it was the fact that it was freezing cold up in the mountains. You could always hear the gasps for breath of anyone attempting a shower in the early morning.

There were some giggly backpackers from Mexico City, Carlos and Mario, staying in the room a few doors down from us. They were very sociable and a bit frantic in a stoner-sort of way. A few people came and went during our stay. We met Americans, Argentines, Mexicans, Frenchies, and Germans. It wasn’t touristy; I would call it “traveled”.

A good place to eat, we found, was the Rellito Del Sol. It’s on the main road into town and is probably the biggest commercial building in San Jose. Rellito Del Sol is a restaurant, hotel, gift shop, and tourism guide all-in-one. The guy behind the bar spoke English and was very helpful answering any questions we had. The food was good and there were lots of things to look at inside.  There are only two internet cafés in town and one didn’t allow facebook access for some reason. Specifically facebook. Obviously these people had invested a lot of time and money into Myspace and weren’t going down without a fight. This really cramped Emily’s style for a bit, until we found the second internet spot.

Emily, Luna and myself spent our days relaxing in our room with the door and window open to admire the view. We went on a few hikes and did lots of writing and drawing as it was very creatively inspiring. The sky would change dramatically every hour or so. You could watch thick storms roll in and feel the air get considerably cooler. I’ve never spent so much time just watching the sky. Being that high up, you didn’t have to strain your neck, because you are on the same level as all the action. Yes, I am that lazy.

The last night we went outside and watched the night sky. Each star would draw your attention with its twinkle. We noticed that every time you fixed your attention on one star that had drawn you in, it would cease to sparkle. You had to sort of relax your focus in order to appreciate them all together as one entity instead of trying to view them each individually…sort of like Arcade Fire. A bat was feeding on the insects drawn in by the deck light. He would perform his acrobatics only a few feet away from where we were seated. I had way too much fun picking bugs off our window and throwing them into the air. Out of the darkness, the bat would swoop in and snatch them up before they could fly back to the safety of the deck’s overhang. I probably fed that bat for hours. The precision of their flying and accuracy of their sonar is amazing. Even the insects were honored to be part of the act, I’m sure of it.

We constantly moved in and out of our little room. After being outside for a while we would realize we were cold and go inside. Then, after a bit of candle lit room time, we would feel drawn out of doors again. We did this for a while and eventually settled into bed. I was tired and giddy, but not quite sleepy.  There was a moment of uncontrollable laughter I feared might not stop, and that is the last thing I remember. I woke up the next morning feeling good and very much needing to pee. It was a good night and a beautiful morning. The clouds are sparse today and I think I can see the ocean.

~ by pleasuredevice on 02/17/2011.

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