Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mexico (Old posts for site migration)

This is an old post from my original site I used. The sole purpose of it here at this time is to integrate the old site with the current blog.

July 3 2012 (Victoria, MX)

It was an interesting day to say the least when entering Mexico through Matamoros, but me and the bike are officially in. The border was not busy and I was prepared, but was thrown for a significant loop in my first foreign country. Mexico allows Tourist Visas of up to 180 days of which I purchased motorcycle insurance (mandatory) for the prior night. Only to be told by the immigration officer that he is only going to allow me 30 days in their country and I need to be out by August 1! 

The reason supposedly was due to the fact that when he asked me where I was going I said after visiting your beautiful country I will be going on to Central America. He considers this not visiting but passing through? And because of that only 30 days WTF.....Even the customs officers went to talk to him as they thought it was ridicules. He then said if I would have told him I was just visiting his country (in other words lie) he would have given me the 6 months. But if I wanted to wait another 72 hours (3 days) in the U.S.A he could issue me another Visa for the 180 days. Basically I thought to myself if you do not want my 6 months worth of tourist dollars go F$#%&* yourself. Lots of other great countries to see!

The best way to describe Mexico so far is using the famous line from the Wizard of Oz "this ain't Kansas no more Dorothy". Instantaneously you are slammed into the polar opposite of the U.S.A. And by the way my eight weeks of Spanish lessons went out the door instantly. I would say something in what I believe was well practiced fluid Spanish and would hear back bfsha ivbjvhdj vpdjvbdjv  ncjqcdjbcdh cdhjcdhvb dhdddu cdjcbd at break neck speed. Overall I was able to find a place to stay and something to eat so a success for the first day. 

N.B. I have started to journal with video as well. If you would like to see the interesting hotel I stayed in on my first night in mexico. Go to you tube and type in roameoriding and it will bring you to my youtube site.

July 4 2012 (Tampico, MX)
Only the second day and I am starting to feel like a seasoned pro. I have been surprisingly relaxed even after going through my fifth road block. These are either by the military or the policia, all have been great and only wanted to see my documentation. But it does make you wonder when you are driving into a group standing on the road or behind bunkers with machine guns.

Ah lunch time! The roads are dotted with these food stands so I figured why not where else am I going to eat. And besides this is where all the locals eat, so once again nothing ventured nothing gained.  I wish I new what I ate, but to order I just pointed at what others were eating. Later I asked in my broken spanish/sign language what I ate. The lady said Chicharron? But to me it looked like a small soft Taco. I requested Dos Cerdo (two pork) and Dos Carne (ground beef) along with a coke. Tasted great and all for the price of 26 pesos or $2.

July 5-6 2012 (Poza Rica,MX)

Enough already with these damn Topes (speed bumps). Mexico is in love with these things, and we are not talking in parking lots. You will find these in the middle of highways. Yup you guessed it, driving 100 km and WHAM speed bump. I figure by the time I leave the country I will have crossed a thousand or so.....

My first Mayan ruins of the trip just southwest of Poza Rica called Tajin (the god of thunder and lightning). It was early so no crowds, but already extremely warm and humid especially walking around in full riding gear. I need to figure a better system when touring.  

Now the goal of this blog is not to only represent what I have seen in my travels, but also how the travel personally effects me.  So lets talk a little about free enterprise in Mexico and constipation (bet you did not see that coming).

First of all I believe I am the only person to ever be constipated in Mexico. Now I am all for free enterprise as everyone needs to make a living, but somethings are just sacred to me. For example you will see street vendors everywhere and even at the ruins I paid a elderly gentleman 10 pesos to watch my bike. But here I am visiting a historical site and finally nature calls. So I head off to the washrooms and guess what no toilet paper in any of the stalls? So I look around a there he is, a man just outside the washroom sitting at a table with all the toilet paper. The little bugger takes it all then sells it back to the customers. It kind of reminds me of those pesky bathroom attendants you find at some bars!

If I am going to try and make it around the world I have a fiduciary responsibility towards my budget, and can't just go and throw peso's around willy nilly. So you guessed it I decided to wait until I found a non paying bano.

July 7-8 2012 (Puebla, Mx)

Had the ride from hell after the Tajin ruins. Went through the mountains and got caught in torrential rain and cold weather due to the elevation. Got completely soaked and did not find a hotel until 9:00 pm that night. So I have decided to chill two days in the city of Pueblo and do some much needed bike maintenance. 

Here I am cleaning and oiling the chain prior to adjusting the tension. Found a nice little hotel for 300 peso ($23) a night with internet and the owner Manuel gave me a great place to work on my bike. 

Video journal # 2 up. Go to youtube and type in roameoriding and it will bring you to my youtube site. (Yes I need to work on the volume when I speak. Sorry all)

July 9-11 2012 (Oaxaca, Mx)

I had a great ride on route from Puebla to Oaxaca. Here is a picture I took while riding some of the back roads through the sugar cane fields. I could not go wrong with the beautiful scenery in the background.

I have started too realize that one of the best ways to gauge how good a city may be, is the amount of hostels available in the area. Oaxaca was a prime example where I found an amazing hostel called La Viallada.

Oaxaca is an amazing city and by far my favourite so far. It has a great colonial feeling and reminded very much of the old parts of Quebec City and Montreal. Above is a picture of their Central Cathedral found in what is called the Zocalo. Zocalo means pedestal in spanish, but has become synonymous with being a centre court yard found in numerous cities in Mexico. It is filled with people relaxing and enjoying food and drinks from the many cafe's and restaurants surrounding the Zocalo.

For the sake of simplicity today I decided to post a few more videos on youtube. Sometimes a picture is just not enough. 

July 13-15 2012 (San Cristobal del Casas)

So I learn something new everyday and this morning was no exception. I finally got caught with an upset stomach last night and the other ailments that go with it. My doctor said if I feel it coming on take a Pepto and Imodium combo to head it off before it gets worse. So last night I pop two of each and try and get some sleep. When I wake up this morning and look in the mirror while brushing my teeth this is what I see! Of course I freak and hit the internet to see if I have some strange jungle disease and am going to die. But low and behold this is a common side effect of the Bismuth subsalicylate when it reacts with saliva. You think they would put that on the bottle. IDIOTS is all I will say.

Well I will not be reporting much from San Cristobal as I have been laid up sick with the travellers bug. All I can say is that it is a beautiful mountain city and understand why it is so popular. There are al kinds of shops, restaurants, cafes, galleries etc. The choices of food seems to be in abundance, but all I can do is drink water and eat plain bland bread or pastries.

When entering Mexico I reported that I needed to drastically improve my spanish. Well I will admit I was excited when I arrived in San Cristobal and seeing all the caucasian  tourists. The first thing I think is YEAH someone to speak english with. Well, in case you are unaware as supposedly I was at that brain fart moment. Not all caucasians speak only english? Go figure there are other languages in the world. I am really starting to think that neither Canadians or Americans travel because every language but english was being spoken. So now if I saw someone I was even more confused because I did not know what language to say hello in.

July 16-18 2012 (Pelenque.MX)

These are the must see Aqua de Azul on route from San Cristobal to Pelenque. They are approximately an hour out of Pelenque and popular with both tourists and locals. I spent a few hours relaxing, eating and going for a swim before making the final trek to Pelenque.

As always I am game for trying new food on route. They were selling this fruit ( I think it is a fruit ) along side Papaya and Watermelon. It is called Jicama and they sprinkle salt and lime juice over it prior to giving it to you. I really cannot describe it other than I did not find it really had any flavour.

The ruins of Pelenque are found just 10 minutes outside of town in their National Park. When visiting the ruins let me give you a heads up of what not to do. Do not go in the middle of the afternoon when it is 90 degrees out with 100% humidity and expect to survive climbing to the top of these things. These steps will give you a major work out on the best of days (each step is the equivalent to two steps). These Mayans must have been in exceptional shape climbing these steps all day!

Now as breath taking as Mayan ruins are I believe these are my last (at least in Mexico). They start to lose their charm with all the commercialization of the ruins. They are crammed with vendors everywhere and the complete tranquility of the area is lost. My advice is to be there first before the tour buses and all the vendors.

July 19-21 2012 (Campeche, Mx)

Now I know I said I would never pay to use a bathroom, but I had a Curious George moment and had to see what the fuss was all about while at a local Zocalo. I was walking around and decided I needed to take a squirt.

So I found the nearest bathroom and wondered why there was such a lineup of people. Upon further inspection there she was "The gate Keeper" sitting at her table all mighty looking and handing out toilet paper. When I approach she asked for 3 pesos and then hands me the toilet paper in the picture.

Seriously does she think this would actually be effective! Thank god I only had to take a squirt, because if I had to do any serious business I would need at least 30 pesos worth. Yet locals were happily going in? What the hell could they possible doing with this little paper?  

July 22-23 2012 (Chetumal, Mx)

Looks like this will be my last post from Mexico. I arrived in Chetumal last night and will spend the day here prepping to hop over to Belize. From what I have read this is the most corrupt border known so it should prove to be an interesting crossing. 

Mexico overall is a beautiful and safe country and know one should fear travelling throughout. I thought this last picture was a great way to end because I do not know when I will see someone riding in the trunk of a car again!

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