Not much happened today; I wrote some posts and talked a lot to Rick and Kathy. They are snow birds from Canada which travel during the winter in their campervan through Mexico. This year they are going to stay for a couple of month in Bacalar. Just have a look at the pictures below and you can imagine how horrible that must be.
It looks like everybody is chilled out; the hammock was in high demand.
We got a very good tip from Rick and Kathy for Belize, so we will adjust our trip to see another pyramid in Belize, combined with a boat trip through the rain forest. It is great that we can adjust our trip to see places recommended by others.
My birthday J I got woken up nicely (with flowers and a gift)
and I got a happy birthday song from Rick, Kathy, Tom and Simone.
Tom and Simone arrived yesterday evening and we went out to dinner together. Sigrid magically organized a cake for me; it was huge and very tasty. The rest of the day, well, we had a swim and relaxed for the rest of the day. At night we went to dinner with Rick and Kathy to the same restaurant as yesterday. Sigrid mentioned to Daniel (the owner) that today was my birthday and promptly I got a piece of cake with a straw as a candle.
Tomorrow we have to get some things organized to be on our way again, bummer.
After breakfast, we drove to Chetumal to send away a parcel. Well, when we finally found the post office – seems to be a secret place in Mexico –
they told us that we had to go to customs first to get a paper with stamps that identify all items to send. The post officer told us as well that it would be easier and cheaper in Belize. We pulled the plug and drove back to Bacalar. There we purchased an immersion coil for main power – coffee in the morning in accommodation that don’t serve coffee is secured- and had a look at the fortress in Bacalar. It was built to keep the pirates out and to secure the Spanish presence against the Mayas -didn’t work that well…
After such a hard day we had dinner at the main square and organised a massage for usJ. Tomorrow we will leave Mexico and go to Belize.
We passed Becan and had a look at some accommodation which we would book when we return from the Calakmul ruins. We liked it, so we will come back here. Then we continued to Xpujil, had a short stop on a petrol station where we found a nice Italian coffee shop.
We had a look at a couple of hotels and finally found one that was reasonable. In the hotel there was a cage with two Toucan’s.
We talked to a couple of Mexican’s and they reckon that we need roughly two hours before we are at the ruins, which means an early start tomorrow.
We made it! We got up at 6AM, packed the bikes, started riding at 7AM, 30 min on the highway, 30min on a two lane road into the bio reserve and one hour on a one lane road to the ruins.
Calakmul is spread over a relative large area, so we had to walk through the rainforest for a bit before we got to the ruins.
And here we found a nice pyramid that we could climb.
The view from the middle of the stairs was great, I was looking forward to the view from the top.
The view was worth all that climbing.
When we arrived at the top, we saw that there was a small plaza and another pyramid which got us even higher.
From there we could see another pyramid and this was /even/ higher.
So we decided to climb this as well and then headed back down. I like how the trees grew into the stairs.
The other pyramid looked plainer; there were no quarters at all.
The view from the top looked similar to the other pyramid. On our way down I tried an old Mayan sport, stair body surfing. First I was a bit scared, but as soon I started sliding it was fun 😉 and I arrived save at the bottom, much faster than walking.
On the way back we saw a couple of peacocks and some hard working ants.
We walked back to the bikes and were heading to Bacalar. We met the owner of the hotel, Bob, when we arrived just before 5PM. He has traveled a lot and gave us some tips for Guatemala.
We took our time to get started, talked to a German girl about traveling on motorcycles and talked to a polish guy before we finally took off to Dzitnup or the Xkeken cenote sinkhole. It was only 50km so we arrived there around midday, the right time, when the sun shines into the cenote. However as fate would have it, it just got cloudy. Bummer! So went into the cenote with our swimming gear and I must say it was stunning.
The water in the cenote was crystal clear with some fish swimming in it. Sigrid also noticed some small crabs nibbling on her feet when she was standing on a rock for too long.
When we were finished with swimming, we geared up, had a fresh coconut for lunch and headed off to Tulum. There was a new road that the GPS didn’t know about, so we shortened the trip by 30km. We got into a police control, which was the first time that they ask for vehicle papers, first I showed them my driver licence, but this time is was not good enough. So I showed the copies of the US documents, that was not bad but they liked to see the original. All was good when I showed them the temporary Mexican import license. Since they were the first they ask for our papers, we asked if we could take a picture of them, and they agreed.
Then we continued and arrived 20km out of Tulum at our first earmarked hotel. We had a look and we liked it (and the price), so we stayed for the day.
This hotel was one of the rare occasions where everything was working. Firstly the toilet had a lid, the doors closed, the air con worked, internet even worked in the room, the pool had water, the room was clean and so where the beds, just great. So I started to read up on our tire problem (couldn’t find the right tyres in Mexico, and simular tyres were three times dearer than in the US). After calling the US and finally finding somebody who would ship the tires, I gave up when they told me that the postage would cost around 270US. So I did some more reading on the internet – a lot of blogs and forums – and I found out that Guatemala City is the place to get the tyres that would work for us. Looking at the Lonely Planet Guide, I found that we could climb the ruins in Calakmul. They were also recommended by Garth, a friend from Adelaide, and by another couple that travels the Pan American Highway and is two weeks in front of us. So we revised our plan and added Calakmul. So we thought we extend our stay, visit Tulum and Coba ruins tomorrow, and travel to Calakmul in the south the next day.
In the morning we started to unload one bike to go two up to the ruins. Sigrid tried to extend our stay and found out that the hotel was fully booked, bummer. We were the only two guests yesterday and today it is fully booked, was it something we said 😀 ? (No it was a tour bus…) So we had breakfast, I finished to download the GPS maps of South America, took a couple of pictures of our hosts and then headed to the Tulum ruins.
This time we took a guide. We could ask all the questions that we had from the visits to other ruins.
Poor bugger, normally the tour takes him one hour, in our case, he was stuck with us for more than two hours. The Tulum ruins were surrounded by a wall that should divide the upper from the lower class (ratio, 200 people upper class in the walls, 20.000 lower class, outside of the walls). That caused certain tensions that resulted in a revolution around 1080AC and in the end the abandonment of Tulum. We are at the entrance to the city in front of the wall.
Tulum was a major Mayan port. The Mayas traded goods with Belize down to Honduras. The harbour was protected by a reef and to make sure that the ships didn’t run aground, they built a beacon tower (left).
The beach was very nice,
but we didn’t have time for a swim, since we wanted to ride at least another 100km today. When we finished visiting the ruins it was around 3.30PM, not too much time left to ride in daylight. So we rode 100km to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, searched for a hotel, finally found one (most of them were overpriced or not nice), unpacked and went for dinner. Tomorrow we continue to Calakmul, have a look at the ruins and the day after we go back to Bacalar for a couple of days beach holiday, before we enter Belize. At least that is the plan today 🙂
We had breakfast and talked to two German guys which booked in yesterday. They have a week to travel through Yucatan before they meet their families for a holiday in Tulum. We left and rode to our first ruin of the day – Kabah. When we arrived I thought I should practice picking up my bike, so I dropped it (again) after I stopped and picked it up. It worked as well as it did the last time. I guess practice makes perfect 😛
After this morning exercise we had a look at the palace
a 3D stone sculpture, which is rarely seen in Mayan ruins.
and finally at the Arch, which terminated the Scabe (Mayan causeway) which connected Kabah to other Mayan cities.
We hopped on our bikes and were heading towards Merida. On the way we found a bike shop that sold spare parts, but they didn’t have chain oil or synthetic oil for the bike. They did, however, give us some drawings of where to find the Suzuki shop in Merida. So when we arrived in Merida we tried to find the Suzuki shop which was, shall we say, a little difficult… Lukily Hanibal, a Mexican motorcycle rider came to help us. We were stopped at a traffic light when he asked us where we are from and where we are going to. We asked him about the location of the Suzuki dealer and he said just, ‘follow me’. So we did and finally arrived at the Suzuki dealership 😀
We took a picture of our saviour, exchanged email and blog addresses and went to the workshop.
These guys were great, I paid for the oil and they changed it for me, tensioned the chain and changed my front break pads :). 90minutes and a carton of beer later we were on our way again. Below are the mechanics, including the apprentice in the middle.
We continued to Pista, a town a couple of kilometers away from Chichen Itza. We looked at a couple of accommodations, but it took a while before we found something suitable. The rooms were reasonable priced, the hotel was built at the side of a Maya ruin (left), and it had a huge pool (right)
The interior and exterior had references to Mayan history (right picture shows the head of a stone turtle).
We went to the ruins a bit later, waiting for the weather to be a bit warmer, and most of the tourist busses had arrived at that time.
The Chichen Itza ruins cover a large area and the number of tourists disappears in the size, but not the number of “sales people”, aka hawkers. They lined every path to a ruin, so it was easy, just follow the stalls and you will reach the next ruin 🙂. It’s amazing what you find when you have a closer look at the things sold. Australia gold, no, not beer. It’s sun screen 🙂
Anyway, the main pyramid looked impressive, but we couldn’t climb it. Bummer, I would like to stand on top of one of those pyramids and have a look from the top. The guys on the top are the maintenance crew; walking up with a bucket of cement to fix some stones at the top (they looked fit).
There was also the ball arena, where the captain of the winning team was sacrificed; here the ring was also still intact. On the right picture is the area where the sacrifice would be done. The idea was that only the best can be sacrificed and will be received by the gods with open arms. If you are not perfect (the looser of the game), then you are not worthy to be sacrificed. It sort of makes sense; I’d still like to be on the losing team though 😉
We also found the plaza of a thousand columns, which was the major place for trading goods.
And we saw the observatory, where the Mayas observed the starts and the Maya calendar was created.
We took plenty of pictures; they will all be all on Facebook 😉. On our way to Belize we will pass by Tulum, which has ruins of a Mayan port :D, looks like we are really hooked on Maya ruins! 😀
Today was a long day, we made more than 500km, this time it was easy and enjoyable to ride a highway, smooth surface and no potholes. On a petrol station we had a short conversation with a Mexican guy, where we are from and where we are going. He said all accommodation around Uxmal would be expensive, but Santa Elena, a couple of km further south, would be cheaper. So we changed the destination to Santa Elena. We arrived just before sunset, it sets one hour earlier then in San Cristobal. We got a bungalow for a reasonable price, only drawback, no internet. Tomorrow we have a look at the Uxmal ruins.
We had a nice breakfast in the middle of a rainforest.
Then we road two up to the ruins of Uxmal. The pyramid at the entrance was impressive, but we couldn’t climb it.
We didn’t get a guide this time (money saving exercise) so we walked around and read the signs. We noticed that there were ornaments carved into stones which were different to the ruins in Palenque.
We also saw the ball court, where two teams were competing to put a rubber ball through a stone ring and the captain of the winning team was sacrificed. Hmm, I ‘d rather like to loose in this case J
Finally we found a pyramid to climb; the view from the top was great (after we caught our breath again). The pyramid (left), me coming down (middle) and the view from the pyramid (right).
After the visit of the ruins, we went to the next town to buy some things. On the market place we were greeted by sculptures in the town square.
When we went back to the hotel, I had a look at the Lonely Planet Guide to see how long it will take to visit the four ruins on our way to Chichen Itza. In the end we decided to stay a day longer and have a look at the ruins and the cacao museum tomorrow and ride the day after to Chichen Itza. With the tickets we purchase we also got tickets for a light show in the evening, so we were going back to the ruins in Uxmal. During the show they played music and narrated a story with lights illuminating the ruins in different colours. Unfortunately our Spanish was not good enough to get it all 😉
After the light show we rode back in the dark, but my additional LED lights worked well. By the way, thanks to Ryan who quality controlled the building of the light bracket. The bracket was still intact after my accident (the bike tumbling on the road with 70mp/h) and a couple of rough roads, and did us a great service during this night ride.
Since we decided to stay a day longer there was no hurry. So we had a nice long breakfast before we started to have a look at the ruins. The Diddle’s and Bryce were joining us too 🙂
We started with the ruin furthest away (Labna). We looked at the palace first and found some amazing stone carvings, it looked better preserved then the ones in Uxmal.
The other interesting structure was an arch which was the entrance to a small market place.
There we meet a fellow Australian, Michael from Sydney riding his F800GS.
We talked briefly and exchanged email addresses to send each other the spot site links. Michael has the same route planned as we do, but with different timing. He will meet a friend in San Diageo de Chile at the beginning of January, then ride to Ushuaia and then travel back very slowly. Maybe we meet somewhere on the trip, at least we both have spots so we can see where everybody is and meet for a beer if we are close.
From here we went to the Cacao Museum, which included as well a Maya culture museum. We saw lots of explanation about the Mayas day to day life, writing, numeric system
as well as the importance of cacao beans. Included in the price was a cacao ceremony and a cacao preparation and tasting, which was really interesting.
It took us so long that we hat to hurry to get to the next ruins, they normally close at 17:00. So we went to Xlapak, which was free, and that had its reason. Let’s say, there was hardly anything restored yet. So we hopped back on the bike to at least get to the next ruin, Sayil. Here we found some restored ruins, but the ruins were really far apart and the sun started to set, so we were hurried a bit. There was one ruin left and we decided to have a look at it tomorrow on our way to Chichin-Itza.
We packed the bikes and had a short breakfast,then took some pictures of us and our host before leaving.
We really liked it in Hotel/Hostel Miramar, it had a nice atmosphere. Some locals predicted that it will take us five to six hours to get to Palenque, but the roads were ok and we expected to be there earlier. So when we arrived in Ocosingo we thought we have a look at the ruins of Tonina. We saw a sign to the ruins when we entered the city, but that was the last of it. After having left the city by some miles, we decided to give Tonina a miss and have a look at Agua de Azul instead. Close to the water falls, we had a short break for some food. There we asked for directions, just to be sure… After a nice meal, we continued to the Agua Azul waterfall which was really quite close to our lunch place. When we arrived it started to rain… Bummer! So we took our rain gear out and walked to the waterfalls. Luckily when we start walking, the rain stopped and the sun came out. We checked out different viewpoints around the waterfalls and I took plenty of pictures of each of them. I liked the blue water and the sandy colour of the rocks.
On the way back to the bikes, the sun really started to shine and it got quite humid. Around the footpath were stalls selling everything from Mayan masks, T-Shirts to food. Some stalls were offering cold green coconuts as refreshment, so we gave it a try. The milk/water was not as sweet and tasty as we hoped but they were quite refreshing.
Since the sun was out, I took even more pictures 😀
We went back to the bikes, and headed towards Palenque. Some people told us that there is plenty of accommodation on the way to the ruins. We picked one that looked nice and had a pool and restaurant (and a reasonable price as well). The surroundings gave us the feeling of being in a rain forest. 🙂
When we settled in we realised that we were the only guests in the complex. But in the evening a nice couple from Canada -Monika and Daniel- arrived. We found out that they migrated from Switzerland to Canada 22 Years ago . We decided to have dinner together. It was really interesting hear about their migration. Some issues we had in common, others were quite unique to Canada. Both of them were now looking for a new home country for their retirement. We only stopped talking when the restaurant wanted to close for the night.
At breakfast we met again and talked about their experience in Central and South America. We talked a lot and it started to get late, so we decided not to rush to the ruins and have a rest day instead. I ordered spare parts to be delivered to Belize and wrote two blogs.
We went to Palenque and had a look at our first Maya ruin in Mexico. Since we didn’t have a map of Palenque, we opted to take a guide to show us around. It was really worth the money, there are so many things that we would have missed. So, the first ruin was the palace and he showed us the toilet of the Royal Family, with flushing water (Sigrid gives an example how to use them, ignore the toilet paper in Sigrid’s hand, that’s not authentic :-).
We also saw the lower level of the palace, which was the living quarters of the royal family. Sigrid tried the bed, but it was hard as stone ….
Then we climbed the Temple of the Cross, while the guide waited for us at the bottom. After we arrived at the top we knew why, but the view was great. I bet oxygen masks and beer would sell very well at the top.
At the end of the tour, our guide walked into the jungle with us to show us the rubber tree – they made the ball for their games out of the rubber it provided – as well as a spiky tree that is special to the Mayas. The branches spread out similar to a cross and it has spikes all over it. After that our guide showed us the way to the museum, then we took a picture and said good bye.
We climbed a couple of other ruins and the view was stunning from all of them. Getting there was sometimes a bit strenuous.
When we arrived at the museum, there were some nice flowers with red blossoms, so I couldn’t resist to play with the camera again 😀
After I finished, we went into the museum and got some good explanations about the Maya culture, daily life, the solcial structure of the Mayan society and had a look at the sarcophagus that was found in the Temple of the Inscriptions.
On our way back we took another path and discovered even more ruins. It is amazing what nature does to the buildings in 1000 Years.
At the end we even saw some monkeys in the trees but we couldn’t get them on camera. I only caught Sigrid by hanging onto a vine.
It was a great day, our first Maya ruins. Tomorrow we will continue to Uxmal and have a look at the ruins there.
Started a bit later, talked too much in the morning, first with a guest from Austria and then with a girl from Alaska riding the pushbike from Mexico to the south for the next six month, very impressive.
So we finally started at 10AM. The GPS was suggesting a long route along a two lane highway, it was longer then the route through the mountain but it would be faster. We decided to take the slower road through the mountain; we could see as well the ruins of Mitla. The GPS didn’t have any idea were the ruins are, so we followed the signs. We didn’t realize that they were still building the highway until we went onto a ramp and encountered a pile of sand half way. This was the second time that the highway all of the sudden ended in a pile of dirt. In both cases I was too surprised to take a picture, next time. Great, so we had to turn around and make a 50km detour through the mountains. We gave up on the ruins in order to make any progress at all. An hour later we were back on a highway, this one was finished. 🙂 So we continued on the highway through an area where they distilled Mescal on the side of the road. We decided to buy some to have a sip of it after a meal, that should keep your stomach healthy (a zip, ok, not a shot glass fullJ). We got that tip from two bicycle riders and it is working for them. So we stopped at one of these places and had a look how they produce Mescal. It seems to be pretty simple, squeeze and boilJ
When we ask the sales guy if we could take a picture of him he disappeared to return a moment later with a Sombrero!
The way through the mountain was definitely the right choice, the views and the twisty roads were just great.
After 4PM we started looking for accommodation and ended up in Magdalena Tequisistlan. Asking around, we were told that there was one hotel. When we arrived it looked closed. So we knocked at the door and a young girl opened. After some questions, her mum came and we booked a room and parked the bikes secure in their sort of living room.
I tighten both chains and during this time the dad arrived with a donkey and a cart and the kids loved it.
We had dinner there , then went to bed. In the middle of the night we were under attack from moskitos. We didn’t pay for an air-conditioned room, we thought the fan and an open window would to the job but we forgot to make sure that the window had a fly screen. So after all even though the hotel was quite decent we didn’t sleep very well.
City: San Cristobal de las Casas , Mexico
Kilometres ridden: 429
Cumulative kilometre: 25842
Got up early and had a nice breakfast and I took some photos.
It took a while before I could convince the GPS where to go (it didn’t recognised the street to the hostel that we had earmarked, not sure why), so we started at 9AM. We were discussing if we should have a look at the ‘Canyon Sumidero’, but we arrived there a bit late, so we decided to skip it to be in San Cristobal before dark. We had a short stop on a view point in Tuxtla Gutierrez and took a couple of pictures. We meet as well somebody famous, but we don’t know is name, he was sitting there for a long time; I guess he likes the view.
We continued through the hills and all of the sudden we passed a mountain lake with a small village, it was quite picturesque.
When we arrived in San Cristobal, it took ages to get to the street! The traffic was mainly small one way streets, with stop and go traffic and some unknown traffic rules. Finally we got there, but, no hostel there! After asking around and getting send all over the place we gave up and looked for any hostel. At this time it was dark. We found one hostel, shared toilet and shower, we would like to have at least a private toilette, so Sigrid ask around in the hotel, but there were all too expensive. We took off again and found a hostel, with private toilette (which had even a lid) and a private shower, luxury! J. After settling into our room, we went out for dinner. On the way to the restaurant we noticed that it got cold, really cold, so on the way back we stopped and had a nice hot chocolate.
City: San Cristobal de las casas , Mexico
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 25842
We slept in, no mossy’s to keep us up J. We bought some bread rolls and had breakfast in the hostel where we meet James from Spain.
He played in an orchestra back in Spain but decided to travel. He is now teaching the tuba in a children orchestra. During our breakfast, another teacher came and they both tried to play a peace, so we had nice music during our breakfast. In the afternoon we walked to the church at the top of the hill that was a good exercise.
The inside of the church was different what we have seen so far, there were neon lights
in the middle of the altar and I saw the first time a black Jesus.
I noticed as well that only energy efficient light bulbs were used inside.
On the way back we walked around the city, had a look at a couple of other churches and buildings and Sigrid found the following sign at the wall of a law faculty. She wanted this photo for Niko 🙂
Tomorrow we’ll take our first bus tour to the Canyon we missed earlier.
City: San Cristobal de las Casas , Mexico
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 25842
After breakfast we started our tour to the canyon. There we hopped on a speed boat that drove us for two hours through the canyon.
We saw some crocodiles and a lot of different birds.
The boat captain explaned the sights in Spanish, luckily we were sitting in front of a couple from Koeln, He could speak Spanish, so he was translating it for us and his wife into German J. The landscape was great and the canyon has vertical walls reaching as high as 1000 meters!
At one place we saw something that looked like a Christmas tree. It was created by an underground river ending at the canyon wall. When we came closer, we could see the water dropping down.
After arriving back at the harbour, we hopped back on the bus to have a look at the canyon from the top. The white dots in the river are the same boats that we were on!
On our way back, we had an hour stop in Chipa de Corzo, a small town with the main feature the ‘La Pila fountain’, a building in diamond shape made out of bricks. It is located on the main square in the city.
After taking pictures and having a late lunch we arrived back in San Cristobal, had a beer with an Australian couple that we meet on the trip. Then we went home and packed our gear. Tomorrow we will be on our way to Palenque.
Sigrid was up early and started packing, so I couldn’t convince her to stay a day longer. Fine, then we leave today. The bikes were packed and we left at 8AM. The road was windy and we started to climb quite quickly. The landscape changed from costal beach to rain forest.
We climbed up to 2500m and the temperature started getting cold, until I eventually had to put on my t-shirt and close the vents in the jacket. As we got used to the curves, the Mexicans threw in some potholes, just to make it a bit more interesting. At first in the straight sections of the road but later in the corners too :D.
After an exhausting ride we arrived around 4PM and went to the hostel recommended by Stephan and Claudia. We parked the bikes in the hallway, removed all boxes and settled in the room. To have a shower you have to ride the pushbike which pumps the water up into the roof. Great idea!
At night we walked around and visited, guess what, right! A church! 😀
I must admit the exterior looked impressive, with lots of carved wall ornaments. Unfortunately they switched the lights off when we arrived, we will see if we get the opportunity again to take some pictures. The town had many colonial buildings; it seemed that many had been renovated recently.
Tomorrow we will see if we can get some spare parts from the local Suzuki dealer.
In the morning we met a German couple , Sabine and Rafael from Bavaria who are also traveling through Mexico by public transport.
Bavaria must be empty, most of the people are over here in Mexico 😉
They suggested a market where we could have a local Mole dish. It’s a meat dish with special sauce that Oaxaca is known for. So we went there, had two different Mole dishes and some hot chocolate. Oaxaca is also known for their good chocolate. 😀
On the way out we passed a stall that sold fried crickets, so we tasted some.
For my taste, the whole crickets where a bit sour, the smaller ones tasted better, a bit more salty.
Next we checked if we could get some spare parts for our bikes here. We walked to the spare part shop, got some oil filters but couldn’t get the chain and sprockets. It’s not necessary yet, but it seems that the original DR chains last around 20000km, so I thought if I could replace them now then we wouldn’t have to think about it again until the end of our trip. The tyres were terribly expensive – 3 times the price we could get them for in the US – but we would be able to get some if needed. The next shop we wanted to visit was a Suzuki dealer. After following Google maps, which promptly sent us to the wrong end of a long road (30 minutes one way), we found a Suzuki shop.
Talking to the sales person, we found that the DR 650 will be sold in Mexico from next month, so no spare parts are available yet. Bummer! But we could get a chain from another bike that would fit; it would cost 300US dollar, again 3 times the price of the US. Looks like we will try to get the parts sent to somewhere in Mexico, but that’s a task for another day. So we went back to the hostel, I like the town centre with the colourful houses.
After a short rest we went to a restaurant to meet with Alvin, a guy from Canada, who lives in Oaxaca now, does tours and writes article for fun.
In Canada he was a family lawyer who had enough of his job. Now he and his wife have a small B&B and that is where Sigrid got in contact with him. The restaurant was very nice and we talked for 90 minutes when Sigrid started to get restless. She wanted to go to a dance show with dinner that was recommended in the lonely planet. So we said good bye and went to the show, they were showing traditional dances from different areas around Oaxaca.
Sigrid felt worn out in the morning, so we decided to stay a day longer. Updated the blog, had a nap and went into the city to have a look at the church again, this time in day light. When we arrived, the church was closed (siesta), so we had some lunch at a restaurant nearby. The restaurant reminded us a bit of Bavaria with some modern art on the walls and some older relicts around the place. I like the one behind Sigrid, all you need is love 🙂
When we finished lunch, the church was open, so we could finally have a look inside the catedral.
The detail in the wood carvings was amazing
On our way back we found some strange people standing around in the street, Sigrid is on the right 🙂
Back at our hostel I had a look over the city from the roof and a looked at our inner garden.
Did I mention that the hostel was a sort of green hoste? It was the first place where they recycled plastic and glass bottles and decomposable materials. The roof is used to collect water for the showers, and the water is then pumped into big tanks on the roof which are plummed into the gravity feed showers. How to pump the water onto the roof you ask? Well have a look.
All of the sudden you have a different appreciation of the shower water 😀.
Tomorrow we start heading torwards San Cristobal de Las Casas, at least that is the plan.
Holiday, finally ;).
Our plans today: do nothing. Just hang around which is what a hammock is for. So we had breakfast in our hotel, realised that we needed some funds and that the next ATM is in the next village. We quickly hopped on my bike, and rode to the next town two up. After having some difficulties locating the ATM we finally found it and got some money, no problem at all. After all that work, I could hang around some more 🙂
When I finally woke up, we went to the beach, and had the terrible task to select a restaurant to have dinner and to watch the sunset.
Today is Monday and the restaurant in our hotel was closed, so we went to the beach and had breakfast there. They started to put new palm leaves onto the umbrellas; we could sit there, watching how they do it. I really could get used to this lifestyle.
After breakfast we strolled along the beach when I started to play with sand 😀 (PAH = Pan American Highway)
I think Sigrid was a bit bored, so she explored the water.
We went back to our room and the serious part of life started, I had to update our blog 🙂. When I was sitting there, typing along and listening to the sound of the waves, I saw a visitor on our balcony. At the end of the handrail he jumped into the next tree and was disappeared.
So I finished the blog update, by this time it was evening and we went to restaurant recommended by our host, Antonio. We found out that he used to work at the University in Mexico City. He then decided that he would like to live in Zipolite, so he moved here and started to build the house, roughly 30 years ago.
The recommended restaurant was a bit hard to find, but at the end we managed.
I had some…. – wrong! No scrambled eggs this time– fresh fish with all sorts of topping and Sigrid had some octopus with vegetables.
The food was great and plenty. The plan for tomorrow was to revise the rest of the trip and to make a decision when we book the boat from Panama to Columbia and if we can append the Alaska bit onto Buenos Aires.
We replanned the whole trip. We wanted ensure that we don’t get snowed in in Ushuaia. And we looked at the feasibility of shipping the bikes back to the US. This would then allow us to go to Alaska in July 2013. It took a while but it all seems to work out. The current plan is to go from Panama to Columbia on the 14th January 2013 with the Stahlratte, a ship that has a good reputation amongst motorcycle travelers and to leave Buenos Aires in June to go back to the US. We also found out that our bikes registrations can be remotely renewed, so that we will arrive in the US with registered bikes.
I didn’t want to leave, so we extended our stay another day. Nothing in particular planned, just relaxing. We met a German couple, Stephan and Claudia, from Munich. They are traveling Mexico by bus and they arrived yesterday from Oaxaca, our next stop. So we had dinner around sunset on the beach and meet at our hotel to pick their brains.
We enjoyed it so much that I forgot to take a picture of them… :/
So tomorrow we leave early in the morning to avoid the heat during the day. Well, only if I can’t convince Sigrid to stay for another day 😀
First we took a couple of pictures from Acapulco in daylight.
We decided to start a bit earlier to avoid major traffic through Acapulco. All went well, we even had a look at some nice looking sandy beaches. We continued until we hit another traffic jam. It ‘only’ took us 15 minutes in a hot humid environment with all our gear on, to get through it -you get the picture.
We forgot, today was the 2nd November, ‘dia de los muertos’ a public holiday in Mexico so most of the people tried to get somewhere. We continued for another 180km before we filled up the bikes. I was sitting on my bike and Sigrids bike was on my right hand side. After we finished filling up I paid, and when the petrol station attendant said something I turned around. That was the moment where my bike just tipped, I tried to hold it, hit Sigrids bike, so in the end my bike toppled Sigrid’s bike over… Great! Bike domino!!
I was always wondering if something like this really happens. It wouldn’t have been a problem if my starter switch hadn’t disintegrated ~ it must have hit something. Below a before and after picture, do you spot the difference? :/
So I looked at the ground, found the button and the spring, hoping that I found all the spare parts. I started the bike with my Leatherman tool – finally found a good use for it, something other than cutting tomatoes and bread…
We rode the bikes over into a shady place and started to pull my tools out to disassemble the button unit. I fixed the spring, put everything together (nothing left ) and it started again, yeah! Thing is, I’m not sure why… More on that one later.
So we continued, started to look for a hotel around 5PM, the first one was nice but too expensive. Then we rode to the next town, the hotels were similarly expensive, so we decided to drive back and move into the expensive hotel – advantage wat the location – on the beach.
It had a restaurant on the side. After putting the bikes in to the reception area,
we had a short dip in the pool
then went to the restaurant. We found out it closed at 6 PM and we were there at 6:30. So we purchased 2 beer from the hotel went into our room and had our bread from yesterday (from Wallmart) and some chips. Internet was down as well, so we couldn’t really Google where we would go tomorrow, but with Lonely Planet and the GPS we found a guideline. It’s only ~100Km tomorrow, so we will have a slow start and breakfast in the restaurant.
We had breakfast in the morning at the restaurant on the next property, overlooking the lagoon. We were the only guests in the hotel and in the restaurant; a bit of an eerie feeling. Then we packed the bikes and when I tried to start my bike the button nearly fell out.
Bummer! But nothing that you can’t fix with Gaffa tape for a bit. We continued on and rode until we arrived in Zipolite, after asking for directions multiple times. The GPS didn’t know this beach town. We tried to find the accommodation that was suggested by Fernando, and asked around. We eventually found it, it looked very nice and expensive. We asked for the price and they came back with 1000M$, which is the budget for a whole day. The reception lady that we talked to was from Austria. We explained our budget situation and she recommended the hotel next door. So we sussed it out and the price was only 250M$ for a room with sea view, shared bathroom and shower, so we took it. The pictures below show our balcony and the way to the beach.
I started to have a look at the switch, pulled it apart, fitted it together, but it didn’t work, I couldn’t figure out why. After a while I thought there must be a part missing. I dismantled Sigrid switch, and right, there was a bit missing, we must have lost it at the petrol station. So I organized a beer lid (hard work 😉 ) and cut a bit out, cut it to size, put it in and it worked 😀
We had a nice talk to the owner, why he was here and what he did before. Then we meet two Aussies, one from Alice and the other from Queensland, unbelievable! They were short on Vegemite and ask if we had brought some :).
After a short talk we went to the beach and took a couple of pictures of the Sunset.
On our way to a restaurant we saw bikes we recognized. They were Chris and Brooks but we didn’t see them. So we had dinner at a local restaurant, Fish for Sigrid, Shrimp for me – they didn’t have omelette or scrambled eggs 😉
We also tried some fresh coconut milk.
They had some small sea turtles in a barrel, when I ask them if they were for eating, they declined indignantly.
After dinner, they asked Sigrid if she would like to release some young sea turtles to the sea, so she did.
Tomorrow we will have to drive into the next town to get money from an ATM, this will be the last time were we move the bike for a couple of days. Tomorrow is holiday, we won’t do anything, great 😀