On the way to Real de Catorce there is a Mezcal factory, and an old one too, there's been mezcal distilling going on in these buildings for over 400 years. We were made aware of its existence in Jalpan de Serra by our host and we had to argue a little sabout it first and only after we both promised to be friendly drunks we decided to pay the place which is named after the hamlet it's at 'Laguna Seca' or dry lagoon a visit.
By coincidence we were gifted $15 two days before with a message saying something like 'Go get yourself a beer' but being travelers on the ultra-cheap we quickly calculated that $50 pesos of mezcal would give us more punch than $50 pesos of Corona or whatever else is cold and available. So we skipped the beer and went straight for the real stuff.
We arrived at the factory at 11:30 in the morning and because it was saturday there was nobody working, so no tours. However we were told that we could have a look around anyway if we felt like it. The guy pointed at a door and left us to it.
After we showed ourselves around the catacomb resembling halls smelling of fermentation, looked at the equipment as shown in the gallery on the right we made it out to the office/liquorstore. If we wanted to try some, asked the same guy that didn't show us around. 'What, free alcoholic beverages!?' No really, we accepted politely and we shared the hollow cow-horn so we both just had a bit. It was an amber colored mezcal, whatever that means and Hannah asked if we could try some of the clear one. 'Sure, try all of them' was the answer, and the guy left us to it. Again.
We ended up buying a liter of the cheapest kind and left $70 pesos lighter and mildly intoxicated to get back on the road towards Real de Catorce for it was not our destination. Real de Catorce is a 'Pueblo Magico' which means that it is marked with a yellow background in my atlas. But my atlas also has a cartoon of a blindfolded, gringo tourist being led into a uncertain direction by the atlas. I'm still not sure what they were trying to achieve with that. Anyway, we have been extensively warned about Real de Catorce and there are some threats and dangers we take very serious, going from a nuisance to life threatening. A nuisance being that the village is built on top of a hill and the road there to is of the poorest quality imaginable. Second being the amount of foreign tourists visiting the town which leads to the deadly perril of high prices, on its own enough to scare us away for good.
So as planned, we did not arrive in Real de Catorce but stopped around 5:30 in Estacion Wadley, about 15 km south of the turnoff to Real. Both are mining towns, or at least used to be. In Wadley there is currently one active mine in which they dig for antimonium, used in batteries and arms-technology. For the rest there's not too much going on in Wadley and the population mostly seems to consist of an ancient creature called hippies. We didn't know that upon arrival though. We were mostly interested in our new found friend Mezcal and didn't waste time getting to know him intimately.
It was about at the time when Hannah said 'Funny, but I don't feel drunk at all' and I replied 'wait untill you get up' that our host presented himself to us. F. is twice my age and of an european origin. A shepherd, a hippy and a traveler too. Seen lots of the world. Anyway, he invited us to hang out at his place instead of the park so off we went. Turned out I was right: by the time we traveled the 200 meters to F's house the half liter of mezcal each of us had drunk made it's full entry. I'm a bit of a drinker or at least used to be, maybe that is why I wasn't as hammered as Hannah. F. showed us his work, wool products, socks, bags, etc and as Hannah rendered useless and couldn't bring out more than 'these puppies are sooooo cuuuuute' I set out to pitch the tent which was difficult for it was dark and I dead drunk. Fucking mezcal.
As soon as the tent was pitched Hannah went from useless to totally unconscious. I screamed joyfull rants at our patient host for another half hour before also deciding to spin my head of in the tent. The actual beating of the mezcal came of course the next morning. Hannah regained consciousness but was still useless as her body was trying in all ways to get rid of the poison. As I wrote this post she was having a nap in between F's potplants and we abandoned all hope to bike out that day.
click read more if you wanna see the video of us getting more and more inebriated.