Hello – welcome to 2017. I hope you enjoyed the story of Snow White, her friends and, of course, her lover. Perhaps we’ll have a look in on them later this year but, in the mean time, I have a few other tales to tell. As with Snow White’s story, this first one of the New Year will be bit by bit and will be posted from here every Thursday. As you can see above, this one is A Strange Story. Enjoy!
I WILL TELL YOU A STORY, one I have told no one before. It’s something that happened to me over 60 years ago, when I was just fifteen. Let me introduce myself first. I am Juan Jaime Domenech.
The story concerns myself and my father, a surveyor like his father before him. I was intending to follow the same profession. His father, my grandfather, had left Spain to live and work in Mexico, and my father had stayed on after he died. My story starts when my father was hired to survey an area in Mexico from the coast from the Gulf of Campeche south across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec toward the southern Sierra Madre mountains. He felt the trip would be quite straightforward so he took me along with him, “To get a feel of the real thing,” he told me.
We took a steamer from Veracruz and travelled south perhaps 100 miles, to a small coastal town. There we made our final preparations. Father fixed the route of our survey, due south from the town, and drew it on a large map. The area around the town had been mapped but the interior on the map was blank. It just showed the highlands of the Mexican Plateau and the southern Sierra Madre mountains. It was this blank area we were to survey. He pinned the map on a board in the only hotel and let it be known that we wanted a team of porters to come with us on the survey.
Early that following morning there were more than twenty Indians outside the hotel, all wanting to be part of the survey. Father selected twelve and began the last stages of our preparations. I couldn’t wait for morning to come – but, of course, it did!
Soon after the sun had risen above the hills the following day we set off. My father and I carried the survey equipment while the Indians carried our stores for a ten-week trek. At first we followed a clearly-marked trail leading south from the town. We travelled through country that was wild and varied. Sometimes it was green and lush. Then it would become rocky and dry, the hot sun reflecting from the barren rocks.
Our porters worked well and we made good time. Sometimes father stopped and made readings and notes, but this was just to check the map details that existed. It was not part of our survey. For the survey he ensured that we kept going due south.
By the end of the first week we had travelled many miles but now the trail had vanished, and we were into the unchartered territory.
And we shall be back to tell you more!