Friday, 12 December 2008

Sotano De Las Golondrinas a.k.a. Adventures of the Gringo

This has been one of the best experiences since I started my travels. I headed to Aquismon to arrange transport to head the 14km to Sotano De Las Golondrinas, a 300m vertical deep cave where approximately 10,000 swallows live and maybe 500 parakeets based on what I saw. People have also gone there to base jump!

There was no much sign on shared vans going up, so I started to walk the 14km, hoping that I would get picked up along the way. Although the walk was along a main road, it was beautiful. I eventually got picked up by this van, with all the hitcher hikers standing up in the back, it was a super bumpy thrilling ride up to my drop off point.

I got greeted by a young boy who took me to where I would be camping and where the big 300m pit was, we headed along this cobbled path,. Through someone’s back yard where they were drying coffee and up to the camp ground.

I saw some Parakeets slowly descend into the cave to there various holes in the wall, they descended by flying circular round the edge of the pit in about groups of 5 to 20. I did not see many swallows return, I was either too late or according to one lady, the day had been too cold for them to leave the cave. The swallows didn’t mess about, they just dived straight into the pit, I could barely see them, but could hear the swish as they dived past my head, was awesome.

The lady at the tourist office told me that I could probably get a blanket from the nearby town of La Union, as she said it was super friendly there. I mentioned this to the guy selling tickets at the pit, he told me I could stay with one of his friends in La Union, I didn’t fancy I cold night in a tent, so I accepted. When dusk came and the last of the birds had entered the pit, we made our way up the mountain. The night was lit by a full moon and we meandered up the mountain along a cobbled path, as we entered into the town, the church bells were ringing for the start of the religious festival of the Virgin de Guadalupe and I felt like this was going to be a fantastic experience, the hairs on the back of my neck went up.

The view at dusk from the village was awesome. We headed up to his friends house, and after a conversation with a young lad, where I heard him say Gringo (a person who speaks a strange language), we headed up to the church to find Philippe. A rather stoned looking Phillippe was dragged from the church and agreed to let me stay in his side room to his house. The room was locked and he had lost the key, so he lowered his screaming and giggling daughter through the window to let me in. I got settled and headed back up to the church, the church was tiny but beautiful, with colourful flowers on string hanging from the insides, the singing by the people was awesome, it was more like African music, with a few different people singing different sections. I got bored so headed off down to the local store where my friend from the pit was getting drunk wit his friends, I had a fews beers and watched a happy but slightly crazy guy play a home made harp, with flashing bike lights on it, he had a maraca tied to each knee and did a little jig while sitting down, inspirational!! The beer ran out so I got taken round the village, people seemed to find it funny there was gringo in town at night. Everyone was so good to me, and we find more beer!

This is why I travel, for moments like this.


birdsall said...

have you a video of the swallows?

Tim said...

Hey Charlie,

The latest adventures in Meheeeco sound amazing! The pics look cool too. Are you planning to continue working your way southwards? Hope you have a great time!


hdavidjohn11 said...

Still got the link Charlie: check it every week.