Monday, November 18, 2013

Mexico - July 13th

Xilitla to Zacatlan - Day of the 10,000 topes.

The topes between Xilitla and Zacatlan are like the Bodhisattvas, too numerous to count.

Highway 105 south of Huejutla De Reys is spectacular. The road is cut into the steep jagged mountains. It rises into the mist of a dense rain forest. Giant ferns hang from the rock cliffs alongside the road. The mountains, and the vertical rock faces shrouded in cloud, look like something from an acient Chinese landscape painting.

I headed south east from Zacualtipan towards Zacatlan on secondary roads. The weather turned from mist to rain as the road turned from mostly paved to mostly potholes to dirt. By the time I arrived at Zacatlan it was pouring and the street into town was more like a fast shallow river. Found the Hotel San Pedro, a 7 by 9 foot room, a block from the cathedral and fast wifi. Feels like a palace after 9 hours of travel.

Mexico - July 14th

Zacatlan to Orizaba

Sunday morning in Zacatlan was bright and sunny after a night of rain. I started the week off with morning mass in the cathedral. Latin prayers, the smell of incense, and cold hard mexican tiles beneath my knees.


In Orizaba they like to mix their beer with sarsaparilla.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mexico - July 15th

Orizaba to Oaxaca

Gran Cafe de Orizaba
Bar del Jardin, Oaxaca

Mexico - July 16th & 17th

Aimless in Oaxaca

Church bells, sky rockets, deep sleep, good coffee, church bells, sky rockets.

Wednesday in Oaxaca, any day in Oaxaca, Oaxaca will give something. A brass band parade, led by the usual, crazy, skyrocket throwing, pyromaniac. Paper shapes, dancers, free shots of mezcal poured out to any one along the way. I could hear them coming through the city for an hour before they arrived in the Zocalo. The exploding sky rockets competing with the claps of thunder. It poured rain briefly before they came round the corner, but then they played so loud they kept the rain up in the sky.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mexico - July 18th

Oaxaca to Puerto Angel

Rode the 175 straight south from Oaxaca. Passing through Ocotlan was slow going due to the goat auction. There were some fine looking goats.

The road winds up and up. I stopped a couple of times before getting into the rain, and the rain filled potholes, and the mud.

Coming down the mountain the rain cleared, sandy patches appeared on the road, it got hot and muggy, and I started to smell fish. I arrived in Puerto Angel, and after a bit of wandering around lost I checked into the Hotel La Cabana. With a view of the beach.

As I enjoyed diner on the sand I watched fishermen catching a meal for tomorrow. Chickens searched for scraps in the sand beneath the tables. The chickens whose eggs I will be eating for tomorrow's breakfast.

Mexico - July 19th

Puerto Angel to Tehuantepec

The day began with an early breakfast on the beach. Big mug of real, not instant, coffee and very fresh eggs. It's hard to leave but Chiapas is calling.

The weather is getting hotter, the lizards are getting bigger, and there are snakes on the road. It's also getting windy as I near the Istmo De Tehuantepec.

Rolled into Tehuantepec and found the Zocalo and a hotel quickly. The Hotel Donaji Del Istmo.

Hotel Donaji, pronounced "Donashi", named after a Zapotec princess decapitated by the Mixtecs. The room key fob is a big piece of wood with a drawing of her severed head on it.

Popular place with the Federales, for some reason, so the parking is probably secure.

Spent the late afternoon and evening wandering around, watching the Zocalo come alive and studying the local variety of moto-taxi.

Mexico - July 20th

Tehuantepec to San Cristobal de las Casas

Left the hotel at the same time as the Federales. They were all geared up, balaclavas making them look like well armed Zapatistas.

The "Istmo De Tehuantepec" is very windy. Blows the motorcycle, I'm now glad is big and heavy, right across the road. Hundreds of windmills line the road in the most windy area.

Mexico - July 21st

Spent the day getting lost in the mountains near San Cristobal. Narrow roads winding their way through villages, over ridges and through valleys, and right off the map.

The Church at San Juan Chamula

According to The Rough Guide to Mexico: "almost everyone who stays in San Cristobal visits San Juan Chamula" and it "is one of the most moving sites in Mexico". Sounds like a tourist trap to me, but it's not, it really is incredible. There are way more people using the market and church than there are tourists.

The Church. There are no pews or chairs. The stone floor is covered with fresh pine needles. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of candles are burning. Many of the candles are in glass jars on tables. They illuminate the statues of the saints arranged along the walls. White and yellow fresh flowers, lilies, iris, and others, fill the spaces between and around the saints. There are masses of flowers. The flowers become the wall, completely blocking the plaster work up to ten or twelve feet above the floor. There are about a dozen areas where rows of taper candles have been set up on the floor. The pine needles are brushed out of the way and up to fifty candles, in each area, are arranged in ranks, small to large, with the largest being nearest the altar. Each area is tended by an individual or a family. There are no prayers, but some people chant.

No pictures allowed, which is how it should be. Below is the exterior, and the market in the plaza.

Mexico - July 22nd

Aimless in San Cristobal de las Casas

Hotel Posada Corto Maltese

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mexico - July 23rd

San Cristobal de las Casas to Santo Domingo Tehuantepec

North, and back across the land of wind.

Left cool San Cristobal and headed north, back across the mountains, across the ever windy Ismo de Tehuantepec, and into the humid heat. Back to the hotel of the headless princess, the "Hotel Donaji Del Ismo" with it's secure parking and views over this little town.