March 06, 2006 GMT

From Teotihuacán I went straight to Puebla, trying to avoid Mexico City as far as possible. On the map it looked like easy-going via some kind of "Autobahn", i.e. dual carriageway highways. Unfortunately these turned out to be mainly chaotic, dirty and dusty inner-city avenues, with places signposted (if anything) that I rarely found in my map - and of course the signposting was completely inconsistent and unreliable (this is not Western Europe, is it?). Luckily I had a good description from the Teotihuacán hotel's exceptionally helpful and friendly concierge, and finally found the toll "Autopista" direction Puebla. You might guess that I was really happy having escaped Mexico City's tentacles.

Two hours later I was in famous Veracruz, which is nice but not half as impressive as its reputation - and double as hot and sweaty. Quite a contrast after close-to-zero temperatures when I started the trip in Teotihuacán - at an elevation of 2300m. Veracruz is a rather rundown seaport with some fine buildings around teh zócalo and a wide harbour esplanade. However, the hotel was cheap and friendly and had a safe bike parking possibility and cable TV. That's something for a start - especially when MIB2 is on TV :-)

Next early morning I left Veracruz towards the famous laguna Catemaco, a blue lake which is surrounded by small green volcanoes. I spent a tranquil night there and then hit the road back to Palenque, where I had already been some 4 weeks ago. Now the weather was much better than 4 weeks ago - and I could visit the ruins and the waterfalls. The special beauty of the Palenque ruins is their location on and around some jungle-covered hills at the edge of a great plain. This gives them - especially in the early morning - a magnificent atmosphere.

With the end of my journey already in sight, it seems my equipment is slowly falling to pieces. My jacket stinks, lost the zip which connects it to the trousers, keeps loosing buttons and its lining and velcro fasteners are dissolving. My trousers stink as well (and with 3 weeks to go in the hottest parts of Mexico, I see no point in washing them). I wonder why they don't dissolve with all this sweat ;-) The bike's rear mudflap had already broken in Brazil. The chain-oiler had given up in Argentina. The left pannier has ceased to be waterproof since the crash in Mérida. The rear tyre's tread (Profil) is close to zero. Finally on the trip to Catemaco my helmet's vizor just broke and I have to drive with the toned vizor by day and night. Luckily I don't have to drive at night :-) And you might guess but not want to know: My underwear is evenly dissolving - especially my socks do look disastrous ;-)

Since I had decided not to enter Mexico City by bike, I will do it by Bus, starting tomorrow night and arriving in the morning. The bike will remain in the Patio (courtyard) of the tiny and extremely cheap hotel Yun-Kax - and most of my luggage will remain in their "bodega" (basement/keller). Hopefully everything will still be there when I return. :-) But I am in Chiapas - the peope here are trustworthy.

(check for latest pics under -> Album "Digicam5 Mexico")

Posted by Winne Lichtblau at March 06, 2006 01:13 AM GMT

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