The ferry to Topolobampo was extremely unextrordinary. Just like every other ferry that Ive ever been on. It had a bar for the truck drivers, a television lounge for those wanting to sleep and a restaurant for those in need of a taco. Its now very hot. Leaving Los Mochis the next morning at 7am its 26degC, at 11am its 35degC. By the middle of the afternoon its starting to get uncomfortable. Not unbearable, but certainly uncomfortable. I fear it will be like this for the forseeable future. The only respite that I can find is to ride the bike. However as soon as I have to stop the heat just builds up. Not nice, but all part of the challange.
On the run down to Mazatlan I encountered the local BMW riders group out for a run - also heading to Mazatlan for the weekend. A quick chat and then were all on our way. Mazatalan is a holiday hotspot - 350pesos (about 17GBP) gets me luxury accomodation right on the beach front. I figure that because its so hot the beach is the best place to be - but being honest it was too hot even for the beach. I have to say that the water temp was perfect - much better than California. I can also recommend it for those looking to join me in getting a touch of sunburn - after about 40minutes!!
That night there was the mother of all storms. I am sure that they are used to it here, but for me it was awesome. It was 10pm and I joined everyone else at the front of the hotel to watch across the bay. The road was flooded level with the kerb. The lightening was everywhere. But it was the thunder that was most intense - even though I was inside the hotel I can admit to being slightly scared and jumped more than once. God it was loud.
This part of mexico has a monsoon like climate. Thundery showers prevail nearly every day. All the way down this side of the country is really green - lots of farming. I believe you could grown anything here. In fact at times I have to keep reminding myself where I am - parts are so like back home.
After Mazatlan, its Guadalajara, Queretaro and then Mexico City. Queretaro deserves a special mention, being a well preserved historic city with a really nice feel. And then there is Mexico City. Travelling into Mexico City was a daunting prospect - its massive. However after a few false starts I found an excellent hotel in a good location, including a garage for the bike. All for the bargain price of 280pesos per night (about 14quid). Although they could only speak spanish (unlike me) everyone was extemely helpful and friendly. I even entrusted them with my laundry. Shame they charged me 600pesos for the privelage.
Mexico City is well worth a visit and is the equal of any large european city. Think Madrid or Barcelona - the spanish influence is obvious. It caters for both historic and modern. September 15th is the anniversary (198 years) of mexican independance - signs of the festivities were everywhere. I stayed three full days taking the opportunity to have some fettling done to the bike - maintenance needs come around really fast.
New tyres were due - off to VeraCruz to intercept a delivery. Unfortunately my Wednesday tyres turned into Friday tyres. Never mind, VeraCruz is a nice place to hang out. It was also the case that my symptoms of unwellness that I had been carrying since Mexico City turned into full unwellness so having the luxury of bed if I needed it was reassuring. VeraCruz also gave me the excuse to cross over to the Gulf of Mexico. This involves crossing the mountains - mile after mile of narrow twisty road. Because of the altitude its pretty much up in the clouds with the associated moisture and poor visability. 20mph is pretty much the best average that can be hoped for - progress is slow. But the road is quiet and a worthy experience. Similarly on the way back via Oaxaca - a two day journey in full waterproofs. At least its nice and cool in the mountains.
Its only a short haul now along the coast to Tapachula and the border with Guatamala.
After a shaky start, Im really into Mexico. I dont believe I could find anything bad to say about the country or the people - I feel comfortable here. The people - everyone has been very friendly and extremely helpful. Not speaking spanish has proved to be no hinderance whatsover - in fact I enjoy the challange. Why did I never think of coming here on holiday? There are numerous food opportunities and its all good. Petrol is 36pence a litre. Thats for the cheap stuff - your Subaru STI will probably require the dear stuff at 46pence.
In terms of progress, the Arctic Circle is 66.5deg N. Ushuaia is 55deg S. Halfway, 5.5deg N, is somewhere in Central Columbia. Mexico City is 19.5deg N. Basically, this means that there is still a long way to go. However, over 6 months, I need to cover around 20deg per month. After 2 months (Mexico City, 15th Sept) I should be around 26deg N. I think OK, but obviously not very scientific. Im also three hours closer to the UK than when I started which also means Im heading east.
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Posted by Graham Shee at September 14, 2008 11:00 PM GMT