November 15, 2002 GMT
Raining again

After riding down the middle of Mexico, we felt that it was time to head to some water, the coast was a little far so we decided on Lake Chapala. We had to negotiate our way through or preferably around Guadalajara, Mexico’s second city. We rode with Ruth and Merv and I was surprised how much more attention we attracted, being 3 bikes rather than 2.

Ruth.JPG

By the time we had got through the city traffic – good practice for when we head to the capital, it was getting late. It was a quick road to Chapala, apart from traffic congestion outside every cemetery, the dead it seemed were still being celebrated. The town had no inexpensive hotels with parking however, so we headed out toward Ajijic and found a campsite. Pitched our tent in the semi darkness and went to find food.

We awoke he next morning to the sound of rain on the tent, oh joy!! Now to decide, stay and get wet, or go and get wet. When Ruth came back from the bathrooms saying there was no water the decision was easier, we go. Ruth and Merv decided to stay and have a look at the town, so exchanged email addresses and agreed to meet up somewhere before crossing into Guatemala in a month or so.

It was a slow ride to Pátzcauro and very soggy. At a Pemex station, where we stopped for a warming cuppa, we met up with a group of Israelies, 2 riding enduros bought in the States and 3 driving one of those large American vans. Their ultimate destination also S. America. Needless to say all their kit was nice and dry inside their support vehicle. When we got to Pátzcauro and found a place to stay with the help of a friendly local, we filled our room with drying clothes and later our tent. I don’t think the maid was too impressed.

It rained for 3 more days and so we stayed put, seeing the town in between the showers. One morning, we managed to go for a ride to a neighbouring village where the Day of the Dead celebrations are one of the largest in the country. Had a wander around the cemetery, where unfortunately the decorations had been a little spoiled by the rain. It still looked very colourful and judging by the debris strewn around, as if one huge party had taken place.

graveyard1.JPG


As soon as there was a break in the weather, we left for Angangueo, a small village up in the mountains. Its claim to fame being proximity to where the monarch butterflies come to spend the winter. The butterfly reserve was about 12km away, to Arno’s delight along a dirt road, well dirt and mud thanks to the recent weather. We decided to take only the XT, a wise choice I felt, as I clung on while Arno flew around the steep curves and splashed through the mud.

mudroad1.JPG


I don’t think he enjoyed seeing the butterflies half as much as the ride up and down.
Our next big adventure was the ride into Mexico City, most people thought we were crazy to go there. We had heard so many stories of traffic chaos, corrupt police, taxi kidnappings and pickpockets that we were beginning to have second thoughts. We had things that we wanted to do there however, so we planned to ride into the city early on a Sunday morning. Saturday evening we spent in Tula, cement factory capital of Mexico. From the top of the Toltec pyramid, a forest of smokestacks could be seen belching out goodness knows what into the atmosphere.
We left Tula as soon as it was light and headed to the capital, taking the Autopista at the first opportunity. It was expensive, U$5 each, but got us into the city limits by 8am. The traffic was not too heavy or crazy, in fact it reminded me of riding through Napoli, Italy. The worst drivers were taxi drivers, in their green and white volkswagen beetles. They seemed to delight in cutting you up, forcing you into the path of other traffic, veering unexpectedly left or right, or just sitting on your tail with just a few centimetres in between. We missed our turning towards the centre of town, so stopped for directions. Were soon back on track and amazingly enough, I could remember enough of the city from my last visit in 1998, to get us to Plaza de la Revolución, just around the corner from the hostel. Unfortunately the roads around the plaza were all blocked off by the police. We stopped and asked what was going on and whether we could pass. After the usual questions, we were let through and no money changed hands!! By 9am we were settled in the hostel, bikes parked safely drinking a cuppa. So much for the hair-raising ride we were expecting!!

Posted by Sian Mackenzie at November 15, 2002 01:21 AM GMT
Comments

Hey,

again I liked your story, maybe even more so as Mexico is one of my favourite countries! And I don´t think Mexico City is that bad after all, I found it very exciting and a lot less dangerous than everybody said.
So, Sian, how is riding the bike like for you? Did you get used to it already? I know Arno would rather not get down if it wasn´t necessary to do some other things once in a while ;-)
You´re definitely not missing much here anyway, as finally the November (or almost December) rain has set in.
SO I will probably try and book a flight today for my next holiday, which will probably be a trip to Marocco at Easter. have you already been ther? If so, advice is welcome! Take care and have fun, Karin.

Posted by: Karin Mees on November 30, 2002 07:31 AM GMT

Glad to hear my friends are enjoying the rain. We had some here over the weekend as well. Sunshine is on the way if you haven't dried out already kids!

Keep Safe!
Smile :-)
lsd

Posted by: Linda Sue on December 2, 2002 07:32 AM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.
 



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