Tarantulas and stunning scenery
Our church group drove to southern Mexico one summer, and we arrived in our village at night. In the headlights we could see large black spots all over the road, and were told they were tarantulas. Shortly thereafter we pulled up at a church building and were told to get out of the van and wait next to it! In the dark!
Of course we were fine. Tarantulas are normally passive animals and we had nothing to fear.
In the morning we got to actually see where we were… between two ridgelines draped with semi-tropical vegetation and large orange groves dotted the steep hillsides. The mist was so thick you could practically drink it, and for most of the week it was so hot that even our hands were continually dripping sweat.
During our free time, I visited the village library to read some of their poets’ works, but I couldn’t keep my hands dry enough to handle the pages, not to mention the droplets falling from my forehead, so after 15 minutes or so, I thanked them for letting me use their library, and went outside to spend my siesta wading in the nearby creek. Even the water was pretty warm.
We attended church at the top of a nearby "monte", after a very steep climb. There were benches placed outdoors in rows, and a very loud sound system run by a generator, to amplify the songs so the whole valley could hear. First we were served dinner by the church women, and were told not to drink the koolaid because the water hadn’t been boiled. Sadly, the food, though delicious, was so spicy we could barely eat it. I felt very bad, because they had put so much of their resources and heart into this meal.
Then the worship service started, and we followed their example, jumping up and down to the music, clapping our hands and praising God… I’ve never in my life had so much fun in church as I did there! After maybe an hour or so there was an energetic sermon and a prayer time, and the whole thing was over about 1:00 am. Then came the hike back down the monte. In the village, the time-and-temperature clock said it had finally cooled down to 104 degrees.
All in all, this was an unforgettable trip. The tarantulas, the wild worship, the best roasted chicken-and-onions I have ever tasted, the shortest people I have ever seen (!), and the calm kindness and generosity of the women I met and talked with, are experiences that I will always carry with me.