Yesterday was the most exciting day I had during my journey so far. I woke up early at the Hotel San Francisco in Toluca. The Mexican Federal Police Force is currently using this hotel as their base and therefore my room came with an “El Chapo” feeling!
As I was about to leave the next morning, I accidentally reversed into a parked car. All sorts of thoughts raced through my mind: what do I do now, hit-and-run, go and look for the owner, is there a CCTV camera, how do I find the owner… luckily I did not have to think about it much longer because I realized that someone was watching me!
This “someone” was working for the owner of the car and was not amused since his boss wanted to leave early. Apparently, I had hit the car of the boss of the local police force and the guy I was talking to was one of his chief inspectors. When his boss arrived at the scene a little later, he briefly asked me if the car was insured and I timidly told him that it was a rental car. Luckily, he was satisfied with my answer and then quickly left with another inspector, in another car. The chief inspector and I stayed behind, waiting for the insurance company guy in the freezing cold lobby, surrounded by the heavily armed “Federales”.
If you ever have to have an accident in Mexico, this is the way to do it!
This little misfortune delayed my start in the day. As we finally finished the paperwork it was 10.30 am, the morning light had disappeared, my blood was full of adrenaline, I had smoked half a pack of cigarettes and run up a bill of, as it turned out later, of a 150 Dollars.
I left Toluca feeling puzzled and drove up the volcano….
Arriving at the national park of Nevado de Toluca, I realized that I was not alone. There was a traffic jam and so I had to park my car at the side of the road, way below the car park. There were literally thousands of people heading for the volcano. It was a spectacle: large Mexican families with grandmas and grandpas, little kids and dogs of all sizes. Some people actually carried their pet dogs in their arms, some girls looked like they came straight from 5th Avenue and some looked like they never walked anywhere before in their entire life. But we all had a common goal and that was to reach the edge of the crater at 4500 meters.
I joined the masses and we slowly climbed up Nevado de Toluca through the thin air. At high altitude, I needed to rest every now and then to regain my breath. Looking down, seeing all the people, I realized that this was a great photo opportunity with an interesting story. A girl caught my attention because she was wearing a pink Mickey Mouse hat and then, I couldn’t believe it, I saw Magomich walking behind her.
I had met Mich three days before at the “Espacio Escultórico” where he was flying his drone for the first time. Saying goodbye he said: “Let’s go for a coffee or a beer sometime,” and gave me his business card. Three days later and 150 kilometers from where we first met, we saw each other again heading up Nevado de Toluca. What a coincidence! And the best of all, I got to see a surprised magician!
It turned out to be a great day. I took some shots, he flew his drone and we discovered that we both write a blog. In case you’re interested to see an aerial view of the crater and my first appearance: https://youtu.be/5l2n12zObtc. Wind forward to the 7th minute.
Thinking back, writing this text I can’t help myself: I’m smiling!