Last year’s Easter week was in town during training and I kept myself occupied exploring the cultural side of the festivities in a very Catholic country. So, I didn’t feel the need to do that again, and I was hoping for a climbing trip. I was feeling frustrated that everyone seemed to have exciting plans and with myself for not just taking off for somewhere interesting, when my climbing trip finally came together. I went with friends down to the Parque El Chico in the state of Hidalgo. This was where I had my Volunteer Visit almost exactly a year ago, and I had been wanting to go back for climbing ever since. It is a beautiful area, ridiculously full of wonderful things to climb. However, the weather is not always cooperative. It rains a lot more there. Still, we got a beautiful climb in on Friday, one of the more famous multi-pitch climbs on or very near “Las Ventanas.” Saturday was off to a slower start because of some wine and salsa dancing the previous evening, but that didn’t turn out to be the main problem. Unfortunately, in the afternoon, we had a bit of a sprained ankle situation. It wasn’t me, but a friend. We were playing around in an area just waiting to be a new bouldering sector, when he landed wrong. He landed with both feet on the crashpad, but also landed with a twist, and the immediate swelling of his left ankle was impressive and disheartening. Luckily the car was 10 feet away, but there was to be no more climbing for him. Sunday turned out to be rainy anyway, but Sarah and I got a nice run in before the weather turned really gross. Still, it was a good to start getting to know the park for climbing, and I don’t think that my guy can get here soon enough to go back and really climb a bunch of stuff.

Although everything sounds cheery above, I have just a small rant. I’m getting really tired of this no driving thing. I have great friends here who are incredibly generous with their time and vehicles, but it is one of the most frustrating things to not be able to drive because of a Peace Corps rule. I understand the safety thing for Volunteers worldwide and that adding cars and insurance into the mix would add administrative difficulties (perhaps nightmares) – except that it hasn’t always been this way and motorcycles and cars used to be more the norm. However, I have never felt like less of an adult than when crammed in next to a car seat with a 3-year old, or having one eye on guard to the ride situation at parties. I have learned to take the first ride available, because it could be hours until the next person leaves, or I just skip things because I don’t want to feel like a dependent 15-year-old anymore. Also, the day of climbing never seems to really start before noon. Quite a change from the days of the 7:09am train down to Ticino. Anyway, I just needed to blow off some steam, because it is starting to feel like this is more of a hinderance to life here rather than a great way to culturally integrate or some other such nonsense. I don’t want a car for everyday driving. I have no problem taking the bus, and I like all the walking, but I don’t think that I’m going to shake this desire to not be so dependent on other people or at least a bit in control of my time.