[ El Palmito, Sinaloa, Mexico ]
From sea level to two thousand meters in three days of riding, and what a difference! Instead of “Feels like 103°F with heat index,” my weather app says “Feels like 48°F with wind chill.” I have taken refuge in El Palmito’s non-operational Hotel Rancho Bonito for the past forty-eight hours, waiting out a non-stop deluge. The proprietor Irene, two stranded motorists from the lowlands, and I spent thirty-six of those hours without electricity, discussing everything from indigenous metaphysics, to US politics, Mexican cuisine, Catholic iconography, and yes—because there’s no avoiding it—COVID-19.
I call Rancho Bonito “non-operational” because Irene’s Hotel-Restaurant complex is fenced in and locked up; when I arrived Saturday afternoon, it looked deserted. After a quick dinner at one of the many open-air restaurants I asked around for an available room and a kind local walked me over and introduced me to Irene. Turns out she welcomes guests on a case-by-case basis.
Very lucky me.
And by “lucky” I mean I find myself living in a typical small-town Mexican home, immersed in the sundries of local life, gathered around a communal table, conversing, drinking tea and coffee, and eating Irene’s incredible home-cooked meals. Add to this the pouring rain, the air’s frosty bite, the warmth of the wood-burning stove, and all the smells—pine needles, peppers, mountain air—and you’ve got a perfect example of why I keep choosing this way of life.
As I’m writing this, the power has been restored and seems likely to remain on; the rain has slowed to a drizzle—almost indistinguishable from the suspended droplets of the dense fog; most impediments to my departure have disappeared and yet I’m considering, strongly, remaining one more day. It’s just that good.
Whenever I choose to depart, the next stops along the way will be La Ciudad, El Salto, and Durango. For those following along and/or brushing up <cough> on their Mexican geography: stay with me!