Well we can't live on a beach forever. It was time to give up our search for the perfect playa for a while and enjoy some mountains. We headed inland towards the city of Colima and the giant volcano that looms above it. At over 12,000 feet you can see the Volcán de Fuego from just about everywhere for miles around. And, as this was my first time seeing an active smoking volcano, it was hard at times to turn my eyes away from it and back towards the road.
There was a small coffee plantation where all the berries are hand picked and processed, and the beans are roasted on site. We stopped in and had some excellent espresso.
We deposited ourselves on the shore of the Laguna de la Maria north of the city and almost immediately had to put on our jackets. After the heat and humidity of the coast, the brisk mountain air was quite refreshing.
There were a few hiking trails in the area that led to views of the volcano. One of them had a series of low tunnels carved into the side of the mountain. Since they led to nothing but a sheer drop off, I'm not sure why they are there, but they were pretty cool none the less.
It turns out that the lake is a popular spot on the weekends. Local families gathered for barbecues during the day, and college kids as a late night drinking spot. There was one group of kids that seemed particularly interested in us, and eventually one of them mustered up the courage to come over and say "Hi". A couple of his friends followed but their English was about as good as our Spanish, so the conversation wasn't going so well. They started waving and shouting to one their friends who was hesitant to come over. They managed to persuade her, and though she seemed a little embarrassed at first, it turned out Ana spoke excellent English. With a designated interpreter for the evening the questions started flying back and forth. They wanted to know where we were from, where we were going, how we managed to save for and plan this trip. We found out that they were all students at the same art school. Some of them were getting ready to graduate. When we asked what kind of jobs they were hoping to get, they all started giggling. It turns out they have the same joke about art school that we have at home.....they said they would all work at restaurants until something better came along. We gave them our e-mail and Ana sent us this photo.
Because of the language barrier, it's not often that we really get to know anyone here. Our Spanish is slowly improving but we're constantly reminded of how far we have to go. It was wonderful though, to be able to catch a small glimpse of what life is like here for people, and to be reminded that, in many ways, it's not that different from home.