While my wife and I were cruising the back roads of a seemingly forgotten area of Veracruz, Mexico to the Eco-resort of Nanciyaga, I marveled at the untouched landscape. Roads, although paved, were filled with blemishes inviting the tires to explode; however, this was an afterthought as many treacherous single lane roads curve around steep drop-offs. We stopped countless times to take in the picturesque views, until finally my camera’s battery ran out of juice.
We were in a race against the setting sun, wanting to stop and stare after every few bends in the road, opening itself up to a new view, a new thought, a new adventure. Fruit orchards were massive, placed sporadically in the distance also near enough to reach out from the window to pluck a perfectly grown orange, among other fruits. Sugarcane was being hauled to the nearest city by a fleet of large trucks; it was obvious they had driven this path a time or two. Worried for an instant the truck drivers would be careless on the curvy narrow path, we cringed as the first few passed, however, there was no reason to worry, they were skilled from driving every day. Once the initial worry was over we noticed the sweet smell of sugarcane permeating the air for miles and miles, we wanted some, but sadly there was no time left to stop.
Losing the race with the sun, we arrived at our destination, Nanciyaga. Finding the place was rather easy, even though we were navigating blindly, we had a map but lost it somewhere along the way. Relying on locals, and wagering multiple directions, we arrived late, however still in timely fashion.
The light was gone and the moon was blocked by clouds or the jungles natural canopy. While moving through the entrance, we couldn’t see where the footpaths began or if any existed, nonetheless we continued and found our way. We were greeted by the grounds keeper, not sure who startled the other more, him or us? We never found out his name, just friendly help and guidance to our cozy cabin built over Lake Catemaco. He gave us our battery powered light bulb, and a key, that was all we needed.
When departing he informed us, we were the only people staying in Nanciyaga that night, and he was leaving for home, at first we were excited to have the place to ourselves, but after he left there was an eerie calm and quiet. After cleaning up and a change of clothes my wife and I snuggled up in the hammock on the deck. By this time the night sky had opened up, the moon and stars were more beautiful than I had ever seen them. We popped the cap off a few beers and lay talking in the hammock for an hour or two. Exhaustion hit us both in the face like a gust of wind, time for bed.
I had turned on my iPod so we could go to sleep with music; little did we know the wildlife we were among began to react. SPLASH!!! We thought a fish had leaped out of the water, but then we heard footsteps on the deck, and clanging from the curtain of snail shells put in place to keep our privacy. We heard thumping on the roof next to the door, and cannon balls into the water, obviously not fish. MONKEYS, monkeys were surrounding our cabin, frightening, yet amazing. Moments later they had calmed themselves, and we thought the experience over. Shortly after, we began hearing very light drums, we weren’t sure if we were imagining them at first or not, but it continued, tribal drums, they began faintly and slowly becoming louder as if they were coming closer, and the monkeys were acting out to the sound of the drums. Everything stopped abruptly; the whole experience lasted for over an hour. We fell asleep in amazement.