We met outside our RVs at 5 AM in order to take a bus to the train station and be on the Chepe train hen it left the station at 6! Everyone sang Happy Birthday to me and I was given a card that was signed by everyone – how nice!
We saw some pretty poor housing conditions along the way. Women swept the dirt off their dirt yards and wet them down while the men went off to work on the commercial farms nearby. We stopped in a few towns and more people got on at each station until the train got quite full. We had breakfast and lunch on the train in the dining car. Breakfast for me was scrambled eggs with some kind of meat in them, fried potatoes and a bit of refried beans. Lunch was chicken quesadillas which were quite good.
After a while we started going up hill into the mountains on bridges and through tunnels and around a couple of loops to be able to continue going up into the mountains. It never felt like we were going up any steep grades but we climbed about 8000 feet by day’s end! We had one stop where we could get out to get our first glimpse of the Copper Canyon but we had to be sure to get back on the train when the whistle blew because it was waiting for no man or woman! That was in Divisadero. The Tarahumara women and children were selling their handicrafts of baskets and beaded necklaces and pastries and such.
We got to Creel a little after 4 PM (over 10 hours on the train!), were shown to our rooms, and told that drinks and dinner would start at 6 PM. A few of us walked on the main street of the town and window shopped as well as listened to the small concert held in the town’s plaza.
We had no choice for dinner and after the pasta and carrot soup, the main course was a white, flaky, mild, breaded fish fillet with vegetables and some kind of egg concoction on top of a tomato slice. Once the dinner plates were taken away, the lights went real dim and two male singers entered the room. The older gentleman started walking over my way and looked at me in a way that made me uneasy. Mara at the table told me he was singing for me and then I recognized the song as a Spanish version of Happy Birthday! The lights came back on and the wait staff brought out a big sheet cake that had Happy Birthday Ginny written on it! I was flattered but also embarrassed. The man and his son played another song that was a cha-cha and Sue came over and asked me to dance! I sure didn’t want to but couldn’t get out of it, so I got up and everyone clapped! I tried very hard to get the other women up to dance but they weren’t having it. Finally, Sharon came out and did the cha-cha-cha and Sue sat down. I started following her lead and by the end of the song, my fannie was wiggling like she showed me to everyone’s delight! The cake was a pineapple cake that had been soaked in some kind of milk because the bottom layer was very wet! But it was good! (I also got a Mexican birthday present that kept me on the pot every hour of the night!)