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Tacos and Chilli Sauce.

Funny the things that will stick with you after a holiday abroad, we normally have January off but this year we nipped over to Mexico for a change of scene. Two weeks of 10 -12,000ft cloud bases, views of Volcanoes, big evening restitution and 50/60k cross country flights. Just to make it even better we were in Mexico, home of tacos, Fajitas and Chilli Sauce for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What more could you want for...broccoli on a menu apparently...

06th February 2008

Tacos and Chilli sauce….

 

 

 

Tapalpa itself is a very pretty village of not very many people, those of you that have been to Algodonales  will see an obvious correlation. It has a beautiful square, surrounded with lovely broad wooden verandas, Very natty shops plying the usual trade of everything, but look closer and everything is culturally subtly different in some small or glaring detail.

 

 By the end of the first week we would saunter around the various juice  & tacos bars around the cobbled streets of Tapalpa for breakfast before loading up our eleven seater  American V8 and head off to whatever launch looked most promising.

The area around Tapalpa is a mixture of big mountain ranges separated either by massive lakes or old redundant salt lake beds that extend for thirty kilometres. Launch was around 7,000 ft AMSL and once above launch you could look south to the silhouetted volcanoes of Colima. Mexico seemed to be a constant meld of  breathtaking views and a simple agricultural life punctuated by occasional arterial roads with massive American lorries and workers hanging out the back of pickups. The landing field at Tapalpa was right in the midst of a broccoli farm, all grown for the neighbouring U.S.

Susan, having thermalled far better than the rest of us on the first flight of the day was last down to the field and missed the retrieve and spent the next two hours talking to the local pickers about broccoli, quite the authority on Broccoli was Susan for the rest of the trip.

Most days followed the same pattern, early morning flight to taste the air and work the light lift and then a stronger flight around lunchtime for some better altitude after the valley inversion had broken down. Early on the first week we flew San Marcos, an excellent site that faced west across a massive salt lake and gave incredible restitution flights late into the evening, Lee flew for four hours one day with great altitude gains of around 4,000ft, first up and last down as always.

We spent one day over in Colima which is about 90 k to the south west. It’s not a particulary big ridge but boasts an old imposing church and statue above launch and regularly takes a South westerly and offers some great thermal flying. Having got there late one afternoon, Rob had an inspired idea, to head to the beach forty minutes away for a swim and sunset beers on the beach. Sure as mustard, a wicked drive through coconut forests to the edge of the pacific and we were stripping of for a warm swim in an incredibly strong current that had me heading back to the beach for Coronas and a tapa of raw fish marinated in lime…better than it sounds, honest . Revitalised by a trip to the beach we had a great flight in Colima, a chat with some local pilots and a return to Tapalpa where we spent the entire time of the second week thermalling to cloudbase.

Everyone had some great flying, some late cheeky low saves big altitude gains and some first tentative Xc flights. Stuart said that he will never forget the sight of the massive toravana dustdevils slowly winding towards him on the plateaux  while he was flying at cloudbase. We started the fortnight with a 30 k xc flight and finished with half the group making a 50/60k declared goal flight to San Marcos the day before we left. The last night we were invited to a bbq at the brilliant bar that has been built on top of launch at Tapalpa. Tapalpa is a very sweet village and incredibly friendly, the area was just stunning for flying and I am sure all would return again.

We find out on our return, Algodonales had been  flyable every day bar the day we left,  but any chilli sauce…I don’t think so