Hello from Cuernavaca – An excursion to Lake Tequesquitengo and a visit to the doctor

Today was my last day at the Ideal Language School. My teacher Estela and I had a very interesting conversation about Mexican culture, the church, and relationships between men and women. It appears Mexico is a culture in flux, where things are changing slowly but surely. The church has lost much of its grip on people and many things have become more liberal, but deep down it is still a religious and conservative country.

My instruction finished at 11 am and everyone went on break. The language school provided a little snack called “chilaquiles” (tortillas with salsa, cheese and sour cream) and a young student from Japan was celebrating her birthday. The school had gotten her a cake, the staff sang a Mexican birthday song and everyone wished her a happy birthday and kissed her – a nice touch.

The staff of the IDEAL language school, serving chilaquiles

Then I had another final chat with Hermilo, the school’s director and went off into the city. At 12:30 I met my friend Alberto, who is Vanessa’s cousin. He had a day off and volunteered to take me on an excursion. The first place we went to was the Salto de San Anton – a fairly high waterfall in one of the ravines of Cuernavaca. At one point you could walk behind the waterfall, but these walkways are now closed. With my inflamed ankle I was limping around on these stairs, but the view was definitely worth it.

We picked up his wife and little daughter and went to a local lake, about 45 km outside of Cuernavaca. The lake is called Lago Tequesquitengo, also referred to as the Mar de Morelos (the “Sea of Morelos”) and it is located among a group of medium to high hills.

From far away the lake looked very nice, but when you get closer you see that the villages around the lake are very run down. There is a ton of garbage everywhere, and lake access is extremely restricted and you basically have to pay anywhere to get access to the lake. It would be a perfect place for a nice village with some restaurants and shops, but all the villages around the lake appeared very neglected and garbage was strewn all over the place. One of the big attractions around Lake Tequesquitengo is its “disco boat” (the barco discoteque) which goes out on the lake on weekend evenings where revellers can dance the night away. the lake also offers all sorts of water-sports and ultra-light airplane excursions.

Lake Tequesquitengo

Then we drove back through the arid countryside to Cuernavaca through rather poor looking villages. One man was literally taking his horse for a stroll, sitting in his car, holding a leash, and the horse was taking a walk beside him on the embankment. A little later we saw a herd of cows being guided across the road. You don’t see that every day either.

Then, back in Cuernavaca, the three of us had a late lunch in a little Italian pizza place. I had a rather edible French onion soup and a salad in an effort to keep my caloric intake to a reasonable amount. There is so much tasty food on sale here, it is sometimes hard to resist buying snacks or food in the street.

A herd of cows crosses the street.

At 5:00 pm I had my physiotherapy appointment and the office was full with people. Last weekend I had walked too much through Mexico City and as a result I have been labouring with an inflamed ligament and an equally inflamed tendon in my left ankle and this has necessitated some physiotherapy. The electric current treatment was followed by a round of therapeutic ultrasound. Today’s “torture ” (the electrode treatment) was not as painful as yesterday’s although my foot seemed to be more painful again. Then I had to wait for quite a while for the orthopedic surgeon, a well-known specialist by the name of Dr. Chinchilla. He had a look at my leg and said “Amputate!” – No, he didn’t say that, I am just kidding! All I really need, he said, are orthopedic insoles to correct my badly pronating left foot.

Dr. Chinchilla himself is very well-known and a very friendly charming individual. In addition, he had a young doctor assisting him and the three of us joked around a bit (I am at a level where I can actually joke a bit in Spanish, quite astounding…). All the medical staff I have met so far have been very helpful and professional.

He gave me a prescription for the orthopedic inserts, gave me the address of the shop where they would be made, called the manufacturer and the inserts will be finished by tomorrow. The cost will be 300 pesos (about C$36) for the doctor and 250 pesos for the orthopedic inserts (roughly $30, compared to about $400 or $500 in Canada for a pair of corrective insoles here).

Then I flagged down a taxi and went to the place where they manufacture the orthopedic inserts I gave the prescription to the owner, Carlos, who was also very accommodating and promised they would be ready tomorrow. He had spent 16 years living in Texas and spoke perfect English.

The beautiful living room at RX Villa

With all my errands done, I hopped into another taxi to Roxanne’s B&B where I packed up my suitcases to relocate to “La Nuestra”, another B&B in Cuernavaca . I said goodbye to Roxana and thanked her for her wonderful hospitality. Another taxi ride later I met my next B&B host: Andy Grater, who originally hails from Brooklyn, and came to live in Cuernavaca via Atlanta and I had a chance to sit down for an interview with her.

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