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Hidden, Silver City

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Get_lost_with_someone_that_you_love_when_you get the chance.  Saddle up and ride someplace unfamiliar.  This place does not have to be a world away.  A different part of town could suffice, maybe one state over.  Keep in mind that this is not some New Age quest for self-knowledge.  It is about getting to know one another better, loosed from the constraints of familiarity and the status quo.  There’s the saying about character being who you are when nobody is looking.  I’d add that brotherhood is about who you are when you are all hopelessly lost in the dirt-and-rock mountain roads of Guerrero.

Nathan getting the job done in the hot Mexico sun.

A typical conversation from our Guerrero odyssey was as follows:

“Isaiah, where are we?”
“I don’t know, heading towards the sun?”
“How do we know we’re going the right way?”
“We don’t.  I can’t even read much less pronounce the road signs.  Tequesquipan?  Huitzoltepec?  Xochihuehuetlan?  Ahuehuetitla?”
“Isaiah, go ask that guy for directions.”
*minutes later*
“He said we are a long way from Taxco, much too far to ever ride by bicycle, and he couldn’t place us on a map.  He suggested turning left?”

I wish I had one of these. A truck to tow me uphill, a cow, or both.

We’ve been through a lot together as brothers, both before and during Bound South.  Wrong turns were a surprising first for us in the Mexican state of Guerrero.  Moving south of Valle de Bravo we had finally shaken off our serious bouts of illness.  We meant business. When mountain climbs can take upwards of three or four hours to complete, these mistakes can prove very costly.  On more than one occasion we found ourselves backtracking or getting navigationally creative in order to reach Taxco.  As the Bound South maxim goes, “When in doubt, choose adventure.”  What they don’t tell you about adventure is that the real deal is awfully stressful.  You quickly learn how important it is to guard yourself against your own anxieties and frustrations and exhaustion lest they spill over and affect your comrades.  It’s easy to take family for granted, especially when they are stuck with you on bicycles for a year.  Sorry, bro, no escape.

The silver city family gave us an apprenticeship in jewelry making.

We got lost but we found a little more about ourselves and each other in the end.  We made it to Taxco, the hidden silver city of Guerrero.  The Spanish came here for the silver centuries ago, and now that the mines have long since shuttered, the city thrives on tourism and the unparalleled artisan jewelers that have plied their trade here for decades.  We managed to meet a couple in a market; the husband a contractor and the woman a jewelry dealer.  Before we knew it we were camping in the shell of their unfinished garage on a hillside overlooking the city, and staying up way past our bedtime with a giant Mexican family and singing mariachi songs over a campfire.  Get lost and some magic might find you as well.

Climb a mountain side all day and move from one small world to another.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bill #

    What a gift to learn that when you are afraid and lost you need to be ready to be surprised. Glad you made it to Taxco. Will you head up to Mexico City or will you continue southward on the east side of Mexico? In 2007 in January I was with a group of young adults having conversations with families up in the mountains near the community of Tlapa which is south of Taxco. It was life changing. Blessings on you. You are being held in prayer.

    January 25, 2012
  2. halley279 #

    Same question here – are you stopping by Mexico City? I could host you and listen to your travel story🙂 (Not to mention the photos, they’re fabulous)
    Best luck,
    Häli

    January 25, 2012
    • Unfortunately Halley we are already on the road into Guatemala! Thank you for your kind offer.

      January 26, 2012
  3. krista #

    Getting lost is certainly an adventure, especially when not speaking the local language. Glad to hear you still made it all right.

    January 26, 2012
  4. Shiela Rabe #

    Hi Isaiah, Nathan and David,
    Already in Guatemala? Just wanted to let you know the story was well-received by TC Record Herald readers. I will do an update in mid February. Lots of snow here now – 8 inches yesterday. Do you miss it?
    Shiela

    January 28, 2012

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