Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

We’ve arrived in Mexico

4th May 2011 by Helen

Another one of them veritable cascades of blogs about to follow (dated according to when they happened).  But just in case you don’t want to read them all – here’s the summary.

After a quiet couple of final days in Texas (blog titles: Heading out; Our final day in America) we crossed the border into Mexico on Easter Monday.  It was a bit of a dash away from the border, as this is where most of the ‘troubles’ are at present.

The last week has been a bit of a cultural week for us.  We spent a couple of days at Real de Catorce (blog titles: Arrival in Mexico; An old Mexican town; Chicken broth), a lovely old silver mining town but probably better known now as a tourist spot and its role as a film set.  Then we spent a day at San Miguel de Allende which was the seat of the uprising and independence movement in 1810.  After that we headed out to the pyramids just north east of Mexico City.  We spent a couple of days in this area because we discovered the local town Tecamac was just starting a week long celebration with lots of amazing displays of local dancing and music, street vendors selling food, and lots of other stuff going on.   More detail and photos in the blogs for those days.

The advice we have been given is to stick to the towns and main roads and not to travel at night.  We have largely heeded that advice.  But that has meant that wild camping has not really been possible and so we have reverted to the habit of Siberia and been camping among the trucks in the truck parks.  No-one seems to think it odd to see a little Land Rover with a tent on the roof in a truck park and it’s been an easy little routine.  The trucks around us make lots of noise with reversing alarms, air brakes, running engines, generators, coming and going generally.  Of course, as usual, I pretty much sleep through all this.  Paul has found the answer in ear plugs!!

I have also discovered an amazing (new to me) crisp flavour – chilli and lime – the lime flavour is really strong and yanks the saliva from your saliva glands ready to spray your burning tongue from the chilli.  Really works and very tasty.

We both suffered from the effects of some ingestion that disagreed with us.  Paul took delight in making me eat chicken broth in my recovery – a memory of childhood illness and subsequent torture he suffered.  I tell him it’s nothing compared to the dry toast and cornflour mixed in milk my mother inflicted on me as a child, to pleas of “do I have to eat any more?”!!  I think I had the worse deal.

Weekend in the forest

17th October 2010 by Helen
Camping in the forest

Camping in the forest

With our next priority to arrange Landy’s shipping to the US we set off for a final weekend camping in the forest.  To get here we have driven about 100 km back out of Vladivostok.  Where the road ended we followed a dirt track for another 6 km.  We have been surprised by the number of houses tucked in amongst the trees but now there are none.  We know that about half a kilometer further on is one more house.  So we feel it is quite deserted here.  Paul is looking forward to a couple of nights peace and quiet away from the hubbub of sleeping in lorry parks over the last week (ah – see blog Snuffles!!).

Over the weekend we have repacked some of our clothes into rucksacks, added a tent and our sleeping bags and some bits we can use for washing ourselves.  Despite slimming our packs down from the original packing they are still ridiculously heavy (well, Paul’s is, mine’s not big enough to get ridiculously heavy) – we might not be walking that much after all.  We’ve given Landy a wash inside, repacked the things off the roof so everything is now inside, so that sometime next week he can be ‘containerised’ ready for shipping to Seattle.  It’s taken us about four times longer to do than we anticipated!!  But that seems pretty par for the course really!!

The nights are dark and cold.  By moonlight the hunters are out – the human kind.

ice patterns in the sap

ice patterns in the sap

On Saturday morning we awoke to the sound of wind and rain, which lasted until lunchtime, so we stayed in the tent and listened to the sounds of nature.  Camping isn’t camping without the sound of rain on the tent.  Then we heard a ball of wind rustling the leaves a couple of hundred yards away.  We listened to it’s approach, getting nearer and nearer, the sounds of rustling becoming more insistent, until the wind hit the car and tent, rocking us for a few minutes, before passing by.

After a frostier night, on Sunday morning we were enchanted by the grasses, displaying crazy ice patterns where the sap had frozen during the night and burst out of the stem. 

As each day wore on we were amazed at the number of cars trundling back and forth along this otherwise apparently deserted track.  Locals were out cutting down trees – not sure if it’s for firewood or building – I suspect the latter as they are quite picky about which trees to cut and the ones they choose all seem to be the same size.

With some sadness, as this really marks the end of this leg of our trip, on Sunday night we headed back into Vladivostok.  No more the plush hotel but we are moving into a backpackers hostel.  But for tonight we are too late to be wanting to negotiate the last stretch of roadworks into town to get to the hostel and, having packed up the tent, we kip in the cab one last time during this leg of our trip.  Same spot we slept in on our first arrival in Vladivostok.

Snuffles

15th October 2010 by Paul

Every sinew of my body, every cell, every nerve ending, is trained on the sounds of the night.  It has been like this for 55 minutes.  Ever since the sound of voices stopped me from drifting off to sleep in our roof tent home.  In our pyjamas, in our roof tent, in the dark, deep in the forest, we are at one of our most vulnerable times, least able to defend ourselves, unable to escape this spot with any speed.

The voices were low, I had been unable to discern the words, but even if I had been able to hear them more clearly they would have been in Russian, a language I do not speak.  The voices stopped and then I heard the footsteps, slowly, crunching the fallen autumn leaves underfoot, approaching and circling the car before moving away again.

When the sound of footsteps returned, I felt for my knife by my side.  A dog barked, it sounded as if the dog was facing the car until the final bark as it turned away again.  Less than a minute passed before the sound of gunshot.  Then silence.  The gun was close, no more than 100 yards away.

I am now lying very still, maintaining absolute silence, training my ears to pick up every sound, from every direction.  I can hear movement outside, footsteps, but lighter, and I’m not sure whether they are human or animal.  The adrenaline is pumping in my veins, every nerve, every cell, every sinew in my body in a state of preparedness for action.

My hearing, acutely tuned as it is, picks up a new sound, a soft snuffling.  The shock of recognition hits me like another bullet.  I spin and turn, my response instantaneous.  I clamp my hand over my wife’s mouth.  How, how, oh how, while I am in such a state of high alert, could she have gone to sleep!

Campsite – deep in the Russian Forest