At mid-morning, the pueblo, since 2018, Magical de Aquismón lives the lively day-to-day life that contributed to his distinction.
Residents mayores they catch up on the conversation, sitting on the wall that delimits the garden, next to the multicolored letters with which the municipality announces itself to those who visit it.
The market on the other side of the central garden has, for some time now, gone into its usual frenetic mode. indigenous teenek and huastecas display vegetables, fruit and handicrafts.
At nearby stalls, they serve tacos, zacahuiles e jams.
And other snacks that, at that time, make anything between breakfast and lunch, or even both.
The Huastec Colors and Flavors of Pueblo Mágico Aquismón
On a distinct edge of the square, the establishment of zest Chavitas kept his sound promotion chimed through the loudspeaker.
Sebastian Madera, better known as Chavas, reminds us of the classic “who goes to Aquismón and doesn’t taste their zest, It's like I've never been there."
Convinced that he had persuaded us, he vigorously scrapes the ice.
Condensed milk, mango, coconut, banana, waffles, gummies and other sweets are poured onto the frigid pile that sits in the glasses, which add extra flavor to the snack and make its caloric total rise to record numbers.
We devoured it in three stages.
With the tropical sun of Huasteca rising on the horizon, the cooling effect of this scrape lasts what lasts. It is under a brazier that we arrive at the churchyard parish of San Miguel Arcangel.
The Unusual Churchyard of San Miguel Arcangel Parish
We were already used to the gardening of Eduardo Scissorhands, which beautifies the baseboards and announces so many Christian temples in Mexico.
This orange and seal-colored church of Aquismón was content with a solitary bush. A species of vegetable Hydra, from whose branches crowns of lush foliage sprouted.
On its own, the whole gleamed with eccentricity. As if that weren't enough, a resident, who uses any nearby public service, arrives determined to park in the shade. Unceremoniously, she leaves her car in the care of the parish's superlative bonsai.
In addition to being minimal, the vehicle is a metallic green that rivals that of the bush.
For a short time.
When she removed it from the churchyard, we pointed to the car in which we were following and inaugurated the route out of Aquismón, on the path where a river called Santa Maria crossed another, called Gallinas.
On Demand of the Santa Maria River. That of Santa Maria, becomes Tampaón
Time consuming, the path begins by taking us to the La Morena pier, situated on the banks of the Tampaón, a kind of reincarnation of Santa Maria.
We find it in an area of large pastures maintained at the expense of the riverine forest. There, Carlos López, the person in charge of the river route that followed, awaits us.
Carlos leads us along a grassy path.
When we arrived at the riverside, two helpers joined, in charge of choosing and preparing the boat for navigation, among the many that we saw, of assorted colors, some floating, others half-sunken in the translucent flow of the river.
While we were waiting for boarding, thirsty cows emerged from the pastures above, somewhat dusty due to the dry and dry season we were going through.
Two of them ignore our presence.
They descend along the muddy shore and stick their wide snouts into the amphibious boats, as if they preferred to drink from a makeshift trough.
The Peculiar Shipment in Semi-Sunken Ships
Finally, Carlos' helpers bring us a first boat. We noticed that the water entered through a crack right in front of us. In possession of the photographic equipment we work with, we refuse to proceed. Carlos asks them to bring him another boat.
The second was just a little better.
Carlos tries hard to convince us that they were like that, that they all let in a little water and that it was the swelling of the resulting wood that kept them operational. He also assures us that every day he led groups in the Tampaón and that, despite the entry of some water, nothing happened.
We agree. The boat sets sail.
After a few good paddles against the current, a few hundred meters further on, we noticed that both Carlos and the assistants ensured that the water they removed was greater than the water that came in.
Tampaón's current account navigation
We calm down. We dedicated ourselves to the paddles that competed with us and, whenever the scenery deserved it, photographing the abrupt banks of the Tampaón.
We reached the first rapids, impossible to win with just the strength of our arms. Carlos makes us disembark and walk along a new riverside trail.
We reenter further ahead, in an area where torrents of water coming from the slopes to the north joined the river, under different flows: small waterfalls that erupted from walls of hanging moss, zigzagging streams full of ferns.
We disembarked at an anchorage that gave access to some walkways that reveal a little bit of everything.
From its top, we find a cenote, a cave also filled with water.
A Guadeloupe Pilgrimage for the End of the Pandemic
Closer to the Tampaón again, we are surprised by the passing of dozens of rowers aboard a fleet of boats. Carlos explains to us that it was a fluvial pilgrimage.
I would appreciate the fact that, after a long period in which, due to the pandemic, the authorities banned the navigation of tourists on the river and made it impossible for its workers to earn a living, activity has returned to normal.
So, what we saw passing by, were boat owners, rowers and other agents transporting and accompanying a image of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the vicinity of the Tamul waterfall, the financial guarantor and reason for being for many of their lives.
After some time, we continued in the same direction. Until we cross paths with its return.
In an area where the Tampaón is crammed into a high gorge and, as such, dark, but where the water flowed calmly, like a blue-green mirror.
We continued to look forward to the meeting with the great Tamul. Paddles followed one another, sometimes by some, others, by others.
The rush was relative. Also, against the current, whenever we applied ourselves, we felt, in an instant, our arms and shoulders on fire.
Finally, we enter an even darker zone.
There we come to an islet of rock in the middle of the river, high in relation to the flow. Carlos confirms that it was the last landing point and the platform from which we would appreciate Tamul, some of the most impressive waterfalls we have ever seen.
We climbed to the highest point of the islet.
The First Glimpse of the Great Tamul Waterfall
From there, we can see the huge curtain of water generated by the dip of more than 100 meters of the Gallinas tributary over the Santa Maria, which, from then on, with an almost double flow, assumed the name of Tampaón.
The Tampaón flows for another 165km, until it joins the Moctezuma River and forms the Pánuco, on the way to the inevitable Gulf of Mexico, the sea in which Hernan Cortez disembarked and forever changed the destiny of the Mexicas, the Maias and so many other indigenous peoples.
From the rock islet where we were standing, we could almost see the smoking profile of the falls closest to the waterfall.
We knew, however, that it extended for hundreds of meters more and that both at the top of the Gallinas and at the bottom of the gorge, still in the sun, the river displayed an almost turquoise flow.
For the Huastec (or teenek) natives, that vision and its phenomenon were so exuberant that they believed they were created by the gods, who were the deities who made the water, sometimes bluish, sometimes green, pour out of gigantic jugs.
As short as it may seem, this is the concept synthesized in Tamul, “the place of pitchers”.
The Hidden Tamul Drone Mode Contemplation
Frustrated by the little that the viewpoint revealed to us, we tried to send, as a visual and photographic emissary, the latest technological reinforcement, the drone that we now carry.
Its release proves to be a martyrdom. In that tight canyon, the GPS signal insisted on hiding.
Only after a long period of precarious flight were we able to detect it, and maneuver the device to altitudes that revealed the set of the two rivers, the waterfalls and the surrounding jungle in all its splendor.
We were enjoying this ride when Carlos came to alert us to the problem that was growing below, and in our backs.
In the final moments of almost half an hour, several boats had arrived at the islet. Passengers were as tired of rowing as they were eager to take a look at the famous Tamul.
Distraught, Carlos said that we had to get the drone back and back to the boat as soon as possible. While we were finishing the recovery of the aircraft, the islet was already filling with restless, indignant passengers, in a balance that the overcrowding of the rock made unstable.
We return with the current. We realized, however, that not even the alleged descending direction of navigation helped us. The Tampaón as if resisted saving us the effort and fatigue.
Only when we reached the rapids were we able to let go of the paddles and let ourselves be carried away by the force of the current, overfly by vultures in the expectation of an accident, lulled by the magical song of the Central American oropéndolas.
When we returned to land, at the same pier La Morena, other cows were drinking in the midst of the fleet of gaudy, amphibious and even sunken boats that filled the Tampaón with color.