I had a spur-of-the-moment chance to make a quick visit to the lovely state of Aguascalientes recently. I’ve been meaning to visit the Volunteer living up there, but scheduling these trips is tricky, unless you can just go with the flow and take the last-minute opportunity. This is now the most northerly part of Mexico we are allowed to travel to since the states of Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí are now off-limits. This is a huge shame since the SLP state is enormous and has some amazing parts that I was looking forward to seeing again (see these couple of posts). We have gained back the state of Oaxaca, where we formerly just had access to the city and the beaches. That helps, since Oaxaca is pretty amazing.

So, I ventured to the north for two very interesting days full of great food, nature and Spanish. The last two are always needed, but especially after almost exclusively English-filled, movie-going holiday weeks. Not that I’m complaining, those were great too.

I went on a tour of the state tree nursery with a great cactus garden and plenty of birds. Comida was at a nice seafood restaurant with a great view at sunset. There was some work to be done the second day, but I managed to get in another great comida before I hopped the bus home. Another way to judge how great a trip it was is by the number of quality photos to come from just a weekend. So, here we go.

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Pabellon-pano2

Happy cactuses after a few days of rare winter rain.

fantastic detail

and the whole view

Sweet butterfly

crazy protoflowers or something

more happy new cactus growth after a long drought

Love those spiral patterns.

great colors

Let's take another close look.

Oh, let's take another look at that awesome butterfly on the cactus.

Too bad all those wonderful plants are in cactus jail.

Firefighter communication tower. Like an inland lighthouse.

Not quite sure what this does...

Oooone is the loneliest pomegranate.

golden-fronted woodpecker (male)

vermillion flycatcher

vermillion flycatcher

Wilson's warbler

broad-billed hummingbird (male)

2 male broad-billed hummingbirds. The one on the branch did not seem very threatened or impressed.

Another shot of the 2 hummingbirds because having both in one frame is awesome.

Male broad-billed hummingbird where you can really see where the name comes from.

At first he seemed happy to pose for me.

Then he looked pissed. Probably a juvenile with those fluffy feathers and that bad attitude.

Then he left.

Lady broad-billed hummingbird making a nest.

And now for the stylized entertainment portion of the afternoon. It's a hard day's work playing for 100 pesos at a time.

Jokester playing the accordion.

Our Lady of the Mounted Deer looks down upon us with mercy at a fish restaurant.

Deer goddess of Knowledge does not understand how she came to be here, on the wall at a seafood restaurant.

Happy bird home

And of course, typical blooms for January... shall we go get some strawberries from the market next?

The Chiquihuite mountain - named for the typical tortilla basket.

Beautiful landscape