Mexico

Email sent 17 December 2008 ..........Chihuahua

Well, we are safely in Chihuahua, Mexico.Mixico Border The border crossing was not too bad, it took us 40 minutes to get the GS stamped out of the USA. On the Mexican side it took 20 minutes to do our immigration and 1 hour 30 minutes to get the road permit for the GS. The drive from the border was great, the scenery got more and more beautiful. Dry arrid conditions as in the Northern Cape/Namaqualand. When we left Easter Egg Valley this morning is was -1'C!! but thankfully the closer we got to the city the warmer is got - right up to 27'C. We have booked into the Motel Maria Dolores and will be heading for Creel in the morning.
Email sent 22 December 2008 ......AlamosMexican dish
We are safely in Alamos. Our first empresions of Mexico is great. The people are friendly, the countryside are gourgious and the food are the best! What more can you ask for? From the border town of Ojinaga we drove through arid mountinous terain to Creel, on the North rim of the Copper Canyon. After a few enjoyable days at Creel it took us two days riding to get here to Alamos,60km from the Gulf of California. The road winds and winds through theRocky Mountains like the roads in Europe and Turkey, lovely! We are back in Cactus country and saw our first Road Runner (bird) today. We will stay here for two days, before we will go further South to Mazatlan.
Chihauhau MexicoEmail sent 26 December 2008 ........Ojinago to Alamos

Here is the first part of Mexico. Please feel free to inform us if you wish not to recieve these mails from us. We do not want to fill your inbox with stuff you do not want. The border crossing into Mexico went much better than we expected, about two and a half hours in total.  After getting the carnet stamped out of the USA we drove over a bridge to the Mexican side and the officials showed us to drive straight though.  We stopped where Bruce and Donna (the American couple that joined us) were waiting for us, they were already finished with all their paper work, and we walked back to the immigration office to get our passports stamped.  The longest wait was to get the permit for the GS as the officials did not understand the use of the carnet and our non-existent Spanish did not help either. The road south to Chihuahua was really beautiful and the surface condition was good.  The terrain was dry and flat with small shrubs, very much like the Karoo or Namaqualand.  We passed through one or two little towns that supported the local farming communities.  They consisted of a few small buildings that were a home come convenience store and a fuel station with a bus stop.  It was a nice welcome to discover that the ‘al banyos’ (toilets) were the sit type and not the squat over the hole-in-the-ground type.
Charmaine & Bruce MexicoWe got into the town of Chihuahua just before sunset and went in-search for a place to spend the night.   The streets were filled with Christmas decorations, pretty flashing coloured lights of nativity scenes and hundreds of shoppers.  As before on our travels we were looking for a place with secure parking for the GS and now also for Bruce’s Harley.  After criss-crossing the city in the evening traffic we were now riding in the dark, so with the torch shining over Johan’s shoulder onto the little street map which got torn out of the Lonely Planet Book, we were almost back at the place where we started our search and low-and-behold we found the perfect place with a courtyard! 

 

The flat lands slowly changed as we climbed in altitude and we went through mountains with pine trees as we got closer to the Copper Canyon. The Copper Canyon is a group of canyons consisting of 6 distinct canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara in the southwestern part of the state of Chihuahua. The overall canyon system is larger and portions are deeper than the Grand Canyon in the USA.  The famous Chihuahua al Pac'fico railroad, nicknamed “Chepe”, is both an important transportation system for locals and a draw card for tourists (both international and Mexican). Johan Charmaine & GS at Copper CanyonThe canyon is the traditional home of the indigenous Raramuri (Tarahumara) people. The town of Creel is a lovely town with narrow cobbled streets, loads of little shops filled to the brim with curios for the many tourists visiting the town.  All the curios are hand crafted in either wood or leather, woven woolen fabrics, woven reed or palm frond baskets, rustic music instruments – guitars, drums, flutes, (both Johan and Bruce enjoyed testing all the noisy items... boys!!!) etc, etc.  Creel was historically a logging town, although tourism has become the primary job source over the last 20 years. There are many hotels, restaurants and a number of tours (mountain biking, horse trails and canoeing) down into the canyons and throughout the surrounding area.  We went for a drive to the view point of the ‘Three Canyons’ in Davisadero.  It was a wonderful winding road that goes up and down through the thick tree covered mountains and valleys, giving you a glimpse of the canyons when you near the top.  The view point has a paved pathway and a suspended bridge with the locals selling hand crafted curios on the side walk.  We got to love the bright colours that the Mexicans are so fond of; you see it in their clothing, the way they paint their buildings and homes.  Each town also seems to have its own beautiful, well maintained old stone churches with great wooden doors. I guess this is from the Spanish - Catholic influence.Local girl in Creel Mexico  The Mexicans dress very neatly, the women and children wear brighter colours, and you see both men and women wearing real leather boots.  We have also seen more Mexican cowboys, some on their horse in the towns, than in the USA.  During the 16th century, the Conquistadors and other Spanish settlers brought their cattle-raising traditions (what we now consider the cowboy tradition) as well as both horses and domesticated cattle to the Americas. So, though popularly considered as a North American icon, the traditional cowboy actually began with a Hispanic tradition! Another thing we noted in every town was that there seemed to be a lot of ugly pavement specials skulking around, (these dogs make the Dubai kitty fondly named ....ertjie look like a princess)!!  They are everywhere, mostly medium size dogs and some are quite muscular and sturdy looking – I think a lot of them do have homes but due to the fact that most of the shops in the city are also the family homes, the poor dogs either have to roam the streets in the day or like some, lie on the sidewalk and bake in the sun, who knows where they go at night!!  We have also seen some real small ones but man; I can’t say that I’ve seen any pretty looking ones!!

 

It was a real surprise to feel how cold it was when we headed out of Creel, we were getting colder than we ever got before - at one point the temperature dropped to minus 5 degrees Celsius, brrrrrrr.  The route for the morning was to take a short cut on a scenic mountain road that was 60km’s tar and about 40km’s gravel.  When we enquired about this road we were told that it was a good quality gravel road, so Bruce would not have to worry.....  well, it sure was a scenic road, houses in the middle of nowhere, people farming with cattle and growing crops, really beautiful country life, one corner after the next and even though the tar was in very good condition, the tight corners were not very Harley friendly, then came the gravel...  my goodness, even the GS had to slow down to 1st gear to negotiate some of the technical and rocky sections.  We take our hat off to Bruce, he handled his large touring machine like a real pro, and he can join us on almost any adventure ride after surviving that road!  We called it a day in the town of Yecora.Taking a break on the long dirt road from Creel

 We had another early start with fresh crisp air but this time we knew that we would be heading for the warmer weather.  Once again we were blessed with the most amazing scenery, the mountainous roads slowly levelled out into rolling hills with flat areas the closer we got to the coast, and we saw more and more bird life.  We even saw a real ‘beep-beep’ the road runner and it crossed the road really quickly before disappearing into the bush... no, there was no coyote chasing it!!  We also saw some local little buck in the distance. 

 

Alamos, which was founded in the late 17th century following discoveries of silver in the region.  The town has stunning tall, arched, covered verandas or walkways which line the narrow cobble-stoned streets.  The great wealth created by the silver mines enabled the founders and residents of Alamos to build scores of Baroque mansions throughout the town; many of these have been bought by foreigners over the past 20 years and are now either private homes or have been made into really expensive hotels.  Most of the building in the narrow streets look really plain and simple, even run down with big old wooden doors and wooden shutters but should one of the doors be open and you get to look inside... my goodness it is unbelievable – a beautifully decorated passage / hallway that leads into the most awesome looking courtyard with huge trees and flowers, absolutely stunning. The town has a wonderful plaza with people selling food from little stalls, or just sitting chatting under the very big old trees.  There are numerous museums (which we did not visit) and a big old cathedral on one of the squares, another tourist haven.

 

It was with a sad heart that we had to say farewell to Bruce and Donna as we headed further south and they had to return to the USA. Bruce & Donna Alamos Mexico It was really nice having the companionship of Christian friends on the road with us, with whom we could share our experiences. We are glad they had the opportunity to see for themselves how lovely it is in Mexico, as too many of their fellow country-men seem to have a negative opinion of Mexico even though they have not travelled down here themselves. We found that Mexico has lots and lots of character with friendly and beautiful people. We hope to improve our 10 words of Spanish soon so that we can get to communicate a little better with these friendly folk. Thanks to Donnas knowledge of Mexican food in the USA that we now are able to work our way through the menu

Sms sent 29 December 2008 ..............
We are in Guadalupe, 10klm out of Zacatecas, visiting the sites today. Heading for La Quemada tomorrow
Sms sent 30 December 2008.......................... USA number call time finished...................... We are using South African Number again +27825524057, this is a text message only contract so please DO NOT CALL............... Heading out of Gualalupe
Sms sent 31 December 2008.................HAPPY NEW YEAR!....We are in Silao
Sms sent 1 January 2009...............We will stay two nights in Silao, going site seeing into Guanajuato tomorrow, then we will make our way to Morelia


Email sent 3 January 2009...................Morelia
We are safely in Morelia and we are staying at the Hostel Allende. Thank goodness they have wifi. Once again we were amazed and blessed by the sites of the old town of Guanojuato. The town with brightly-coloured houses, colonial buildings, cobbled streets, market places and the best manicured tree lined plazas we have seen to date (including Europe) is crammed into the steep slopes of a ravine. The roads twist around the hillsides and before you know it you are in one of the many tunnels that form the underground road network!

Epos gestuur  4 January 2009.........................Alamos na Zacatenas
We will stay here in Morelia another two days, and possibly one more. We are waiting for that scottish couple to catch up with us, and we will ride together from here and visit the Butterfly sanctuary on our way east.Charmaine having breakfast in Mexico

Mexico het sover al ons verwagtinge oortref. My kennis van Mexico was maar baie beperk, en het nie regtig geweet wat presies om hier te verwag nie. Al die bangmaakstories wat die Amerikaners ons vertel het van Mexico het ook nie gehelp nie. Volgens die gemidelde Amerikaner is Mexico vol gangsters wat jou gaan aanrand en al jou geld gaan steel. Ons het so baie waarskuwings' van hulle gekry dat ons al begin wonder het. Wel, ons kan nou met ondervinding se dat al daardie stories totaal en al bog is. Mexico is fantasties. Die land het nie net 'n pragtige landskap nie, maar ook  vriendelike mense en 'n geskiedenis wat nie terug staan vir enige ander area/nasie in die wereld nie. '
The Best is yet to come', soos die engelsman sal se, want in die suide le die geskiedenis dik van die Maya en ander beskawings wat hier geheers het. Kortliks 'n geskiedenis les oor Mexico: Die eerste groot merkwaardige beskawing wat hier geheers het was die Omlecs (1000 - 400 jaar voor Christus) Toe volg die Teotihuacan, en na hulle die Maya, Toltecs en die Astecs. Vroeg in die 16de eeu het die Spanjaarde geland en die res is geskiedenis. Almal van hierdie nasies het stede en geboue agter gelaat vir ons om vandag te bewonder. Ons het sover nog net die Spaanjaarde se bydra gesien in die pragtige koloniale stede van Durango en Zacatecas.

Alby hierdie stede is uniek in karakter, DurangoDuronga Mexico is 'n netjiese cowboy dorp met 'n paar pragtige historiese geboue, maar dis veral Zacatecas wat ons beindruk het. Zacatecus se moderne geskiedenis dateer terug na die1550's, en die vele pragtige geboue en strate getuig van hierdie koloniale tye. Amper soos Rome, daar is ou geboue ooral waar jy stap en kyk, die mees merkwaardiges natuurlik tempels en kerk geboue. Meskien nie so groot soos die Katedraal in Colone nie, maar net so indrukwekkend, veral die fyn besonderhede van die beeldhouwerk aan die buitekante van hierdie geboue. Die meeste van hulle is ook gebou met pienk kleurige stene, wat die plekke laat uitstaan bo die res. Ons het een dag afgesonder om deur Zacatecas te stap en het dit geweldig interesant gevind. Die stad le teen 'n heling wat ook grootliks bydra tot die stad se romantiese gevoel.Durango in die ander kant, het ook mooi historiese geboue, maar dit was sy cowboy atmosfeer waarvan ons gehou het. 15km uit die stad is 'n plek met die naam van Villa Del Oeste. Dit was gebou terug in die 1960's om Cowboy films te maak ,en was sederdien die plek waar vele films gemaak was, selfs die meer onlangse Mask of Zoro. Die geboue is net soos jy dit sien in die films, met 'n perdestal/blacksmith, bank, saloon, sherrif/tronk, ens. Daar was 'n paar akteurs wat in cowboy-drag rondgeloop het om die plek 'n meer ware gevoel te gee. Die akteurs het later 'n vertoning gedoen wat die
toeriste baie geniet het. Van Alamos af het ons kuslangs suid gery tot so 30km voor Mazatlan, waar ons per ongeluk op die pragtige dorpie, El Qelite MexicoEl Quelite afgekom het en die nag spandeer het. El Quelite is 'n pragtige klein dorpie met klip-strate. Die plaaslike inwoners het so 7 jaar gelede besluit om die dorpie 'op die map' te sit en het baie moeite gedoem om hul huise en strate te restoreer. Ons hotel kamer was maar baie basies, maar dit was die goedkoper opsie en goed genoeg vir gaharde toeriste soos ons. In die dorp is 'n resturant wat meeste van die toeriste lok. Ons 'moes' natuurlik gaan kyk het en het soos konings geeet. Na El Quelite het ons besluit om die toeriste stad van Mazatlan en die kuslyn 'n skip te gee, pryse van akomodasie het aan die duur kant gelyk, en die binneland het baie meer interesant geklink volgens ons Lonely Planet gids.  Op pad vanuit Bouganvilles with GS MexicoMazatlan het ons vir Andy en Maya (
http://www.adventuresidecar.co.uk/) ontmoet, hulle toer ook vanaf die VSA af na Argentinie met 'n Truimph 900 en side-car. Dit was so lekker om met hulle tyd te spandeer en het besluit om verder aan weer te ontmoet, aangesien hulle kersdag in Mazatlan wou wees en ons in Durango. Die pad tussen Mazatlan en Durango was geweldig kronkelrig, maar ook pragtig en bergagtig. Dit het ons heel dag geneem om die 300km van draaie af te le.

Die pad tussen Durango en Zacatecas was meer gelyk en oop, nie veel meer as bees-plase wat hier is nie. Net buite ZacatecasZacatecas Mexico het ons ons eerste ruines besoek by La Quemada. Selfs die kenners is nie seker van die presiese geskiedenis van die ou stad op die berg nie, aangesien dit so ver weg is van die res van die sou tede in die suide. Ons het 'n lekker 'work-out' gehad om die vele trappe te klim, die stad was gebou bo op 'n berg, en die uitsig van bo af is pragtig. Die ouens wat hier gebly het moes reuse gewees het, want die meeste trappe is knie-hoogte! Ek is ook bly om met julle mee te deel dat die GS nog 100% loop met geen probleme nie. GS entosiaste sal ook bly wees om te hoor dat die ewenaar nog tip top is na 14,000km sedert die modifikasie.

Email sent 12 January 2009.............Zacatecas to Teothuacan

La Quemada, about 45km south of Zacatecas, was the first ancient ruin site that we visited. It is built on the slope of a hill and the exact history and purpose of the site is not known. We got our fair share of exercises as we negotiated the steep and high staircase which leads to the sites upper levels.  Apparently only 1% of the site has been excavated, so in years to come I’m sure we will hear who built the site.  We huffed and puffed our way to the top – but we enjoyed ourselves tremendously!  On our way back down to the parking area, we stopped at the little curio shop to buy a cooldrink, as we were paying we noticed the unusual shop counter – it was glass cages which had some of the local snakes on display, yes live snakes!!  We ended up staying the night in Teocaltiche, another town with an old quarter.  It is just so amazing to see how many old cities there are in Mexico.

 

We travelled through some big cattle ranch country.  The cattle seem to be well fed and healthy; and most of the time where you see the cattle you see horses in groups of 10 to 15. Oh, and every now and then, you see cowboys riding their horses to or from a village, or in the village – it’s so cool! The last bit of the journey into Guanajuato was a bit boring as we did it on a toll road to by-pass the big city of Leon.  As we got into Guanajuato we were greeted by a sea of colour.  This was by far the most brightly coloured houses and buildings we had seen so far.  The streets were very busy with cars and people, so we followed the slow traffic towards the ‘Centro’ – my goodness what a surprise – the cobbled streets became really narrow and lead into an underground road network that is totally mind boggling – every now and then the tunnels opened at the top to reveal brightly painted houses clinging to the rocks high above and then we were back in a tunnel again. We got hopelessly lost as firstly, I could not read the map in the dark and secondly the underground road network is not on the map!  We popped out in the top of the town somewhere, studied the map and headed off in the direction where we thought we were, only to turn the corner and enter another tunnel that would go left and right and had many turn offs along the way.  The road network is a one-way system, so there is no way to make a u-turn; you have to follow the road and see where you end up.  We eventually found ourselves way up above the main part of the town and tried to orientate ourselves and move back to the ‘Centro’ – above ground!   We headed down – and I mean down – the cobbled road was extremely steep and at one time it was so narrow that we thought we were on a foot path until a car turned out of a side road in front of us.  It was unbelievable; we could not believe that a car could fit around some of the corners without getting a ding!!  We followed the car as it snaked down through the houses and all of a sudden we found ourselves right in the centre ‘Centro’ of the old quarter, hallelujah, Praise the Lord.  The city is full of neat little plazas with the most immaculately manicured trees and colourful flower beds in the centre. The pathways through the plazas and around the edge have big benches on which you can sit as you watch the people walk by or to relax and read a book.  Most of the plazas have little stalletjies where you can buy chopped up fruit, boiled or roasted corn-on-the-cob and the weirdest looking chips (crisps) – the locals love to put hot sauce (like Tabasco or Nali Gold) on their crisps – like having the dip and the chips in one packet, in fact I’ve seen them put the hot sauce on the corn and on frozen fruit lollies – how weird is that.... The plazas and street restaurants are frequented by singing amigos who strum a local tune on the guitar for you, it is a joyous atmosphere right through the day, a place where families come to relax and watch the sun-set.

MoreliaFrom there we headed south to Morelia, where we spent quite a few days, it is also a beautiful old city with one of the longest aqueducts that I have seen.  This old city was quite a bit different from the cities we had just visited before, as none of the buildings and houses were brightly painted, they were all built with natural big stone blocks and bricks. The further away from the Centro of the old quarter, the brighter the houses and the more modern the structures became.   

 

The overland couple that we met outside Mazatlan, on the Triumph with the side-car, Miya and Andy joined us at the hostel and we travelled together to the monarch butterfly sanctuary.  The road up to the sanctuary twisted and turned up the mountains and through the valleys.  The more we climbed in altitude, the more spectacular the scenery.  The trees got bigger and bigger, with thick vegetation and vines hanging down the trunks, some of the parasite plants that were growing high up on the branches were in bloom with the most amazing bright pink, almost red, flower hanging down.  At one point we stopped to check the map and the friendly locals who had been working on some vehicles asked if they could assist.  Well, it was not long before we had our own private guide riding a shiny white, well looked after Harley Davidson but still leaking oil; and an assistant guide on a 150cc Italica scooter.  Hector was an absolute star, he guided us all the way to the last turn-off, then after having a cooldrink together he headed back into town and we did the last few kilometres to the Cerro Pellon Monarch Butterfly Reserve.  We found ourselves in the little village of Macheros where the locals were busy developing a brand new visitor’s park/camp site.  They invited us in and continued working while we set up camp amongst the swings and monkey bars.  By 9am the next morning we were ready for our adventure up the mountain to see the masses of butterflies.  The guide walked at a pretty fast pace up the steep, uneven, pathway and we did some serious cardiovascular work to keep up with him.  After many stops to catch our breath, the second guide who was trailing behind us with 2 horses, saw that these 2 over-weight South Africans had much more stamina than anticipated and turned back to the village.  That was the turning point in the exhausting journey, the pathway pretty much evened out after that and it was an easier gentle incline to the meadow.  There was one last steep section which lead us right to where the butterflies were starting to fly around as they had been warmed in the sun.  Praise the Lord, to see the thousands of butterflies hanging tightly packed – body to body with wings closed – is truly a Godly thing.  We could hardly see the fur tree that they were hanging in; the branches were drooping down under the weight of the butterflies. The more the sun rose in the sky and its rays reached the fur tree, the more the butterflies started to move and fly around.  There were so many butterflies that we could hear them fly – we could hear their wings brushing against each other and the leaves in the trees. Where ever we looked there were butterflies, high in the sky, in the trees, in the low shrubs, on the ground, they were even landing on us.  Oh what an absolute blessing to witness such an awesome part of God’s creation, thank you Jesus.  All too soon it was time to head on back down the mountain again.

 

Oh for those that are wondering, we had a quiet New Year’s celebration over pizza and coffee, in Silao. We've also uploaded new videos on youtube for those who whould like to see. (search: jc4ever2)


Sms sent 12 January 2009 ........Good Morning from Teotihuacan, 5'C brrrrr......No internet at camp site.......butterflies were absolutely unbelievable. Heading for Puebla tomorrow. 

Epos gestuur 14 January 2009 ..................Puebla..............Ons is veilig in Puebla na 'n rustige dag se ry. Ons gaan more na Manual en sy gesin in Hautusco (Veracruz provinsie), dis die CMA leiers van Mexico. Ons sal seker so aand of drie by hulle deurbring.

Email sent 14 January 2009 ...............Teothuacan
From Macheros and the Butterfly Sanctuary we drove through some nice mountainous roads towards Mexico City. Our plan was never to go into the city, but to bypass it. Unfortunately the traffic was hectic, even on the ‘bypass’ toll road. It was like driving in Dubai again, aggressive. It was the worst driving in Mexico so far, with the worst road conditions that we came across in the country, full of potholes and speed bumps. At least we made it safely to San Juan Teotihuacan. We wanted to visit the well known Teotihuacan site north of Mexico City. It consists of many pyramids that used to be some kind of temple or places of worship, as well as a huge city of some 50,000 people at the peak of the cities life, where the Teotihuacan people lived. It is amazing to see what people do and build for the sake of religion. The one pyramid, the Pyramid of the Sun is huge, 70m tall, and apparently the world’s third largest pyramid (after Egypt).Charmaine climbing pyramid steps It was nice to  be able to climb the stairs all the way to the top and view the site from a bird’s eye-view. Once again we got some much needed exercise while exploring the huge site. There is also a museum on site displaying some of the artifacts and a scale model of the full site.

We left Teotihuacan and head east to Puebla. A couple of kilometer before Puebla is yet another huge Pyramid. Just like some other religious buildings in the past the nation that concurred the land built their religious building on top of the predecessor’s building (like the mosque on top of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem). Mexico Church on top of PyramidThe result is an amazing church building on top of an overgrown Pyramid, apparently the largest pyramid in the world. The Spaniard’s excuse was that the pyramid was mistaken for a natural ‘hill’ as it was so overgrown that it looks natural and not man-made. Even today it sure does not look like a man made structure but archaeologists has discovered plenty of tunnels into the pyramid with stuff to prove it is a man made structure. The drive into the beautiful Puebla was straight forward, and we settled in a nice hostel for the evening.

Sms sent 15 January 2009 .............Travelled from dry dusty Peubla down to the more tropical area of Hautusco, Veracruz. We are with CMA'ers Manuel and Ortencia, daughter Saria in a beautiful tropical town of Hautusco
Sms sent 16 January 2009...................Brrr it's still raining and cold like the Cape winter weather. Yesterday the family took us for a drive to look at the surrounding area.
Sms sent 18 January 2009..........We have sunshine today and the mountain is covered with snow!Will spend the evening camping at Yambigapan which is 3km from San Andres Tuxtla.
Sms sent 20 January 2009 ..............Yippee much warmer weather! safely in Palenque, Camping at Michol's which is close to the ruins of Palenque. Will be here for 2 days.
Sms sent 23 January 2009..............We spent our last night in Xpujil, we should be at the border at 10am to cross into Belize. We sure will miss Mexico, its a wonderful country

Epos gestuur 26 Januarie 2009.............Teothuacan na Belize
 

Die volgende oggend na ons Teothuacan besoek het, het ons weer in die pad geval en in 'n Oostelike rigting gery. Die paaie rondom die groot Mexico Stad is sleg, en elke liewe dorpie het spoed hobbels wat jy in eerste rat moet oor ry, anders breek dit jou voertuig. Na so uur of wat se ry het die spoed hobbels het my redelik op hol gehad, want ons het minder 50km in amper 2 ure afgele. Dis toe dat ons maar besluit het om eerder die tolpad te vat en uit die stadsgemors uit te kom. Teen die namiddag, na so 200km is ons by Puebla, 'n groot koloniale stad Oos van Mexico Stad. Die midde stad van Puebla is pragtig met geboue wat terug dateer tot die 16 en 17de eeu! Die hotel waarin ons gebly het was ook nogals oulik en weereens kon ons die GS in die ontvangs portaal intrek vir die nag. Ons het so bietjie rondgestap in die namiddag (in Puebla), en het die pragtige senter plein en die kolosale Katedraal gaan besoek, wat net so paar straat blokke van ons hotel was. By die plein let een van die vele skoen skoonmaker ouens op my boots kort 'n was en soos 'n goeie intrepaneur bied hy aan om my een skoen gratis skoon te maak, om my te wys hoe nice hy hulle kan maak. Wel, ek het so bietjie tos gelyk met een skoon en een vuil skoen, en moes toe maar die geldjies opdok vir die perd om my ander skoen ook mooi skoon te maak. Ten minste het hulle darem mooi gelyk vir so dag of wat.
 
Die volgende dag is ons vroeg daar weg en het deur pragtige bergagtige terein gery, die keer op die tolpad, aangesien ek nie meer kans gesien het om op die gratis pad en oor die duisende spoed hobbels te poer poer nie. Dit was die moeite werd, en ons het vroeg middag by Huatosco aangekom. Huatosco is 'n klein dorpie in 'n pragtige, lowergroen gebied, met piesang, suikeriet en koffie plantasies in die omgewing. Dis hier waar die leier van CMA Mexico, en sy gesin bly.Cma'ers Ons het hulle so paar maande vantevore in Arkansas, VSA, ontmoet en hulle het ons genooi om by hulle te kom kuier. Manual, Ortencia en hul twee dogters (Sarai en Andrea) het ons behoorlik laat tuis voel. Nog 'n CMA lid, Andy, van Texas, VSA, met sy Truimph 1200 Trophy, het ook by hulle gekuier dieselfde tyd as ons. Andy was 'n God send, want hy kon al ons gesprekke vertaal, aangesien hy vlot in beide Engels en Spaans is. Manual het ons vertel hoe hy sy hart vir die Here gegee het na 'n vriend hom vertel het van die liefde van Jesus. So 3 of 4 jaar gelede het hy gehoor van CMA, en het Arkansas toe gery om meer uit te vind van die organisasie en het aangesluit as die stigterslede in Mexico. Hulle is reeds al 30 lede sterk, net in die klein dorpie van Huatosco, en het so paar lede in ander dorpe in die omgewing. Ons het ook die geleentheid gehad om baie van die lede te ontmoet en was saam na hul kerkdiens. Dit het vir 4 dae aaneen gereen terwyl ons daar by hulle was, so ons kon net lekker in die huis sit en gesels. Die weer het teen sondag opgeklaar en ons het toe besluit om die pad te vat terwyl dit nie reen nie. Ons was duidelik nou in die mooi groen deel van die land, en het ook die warm weer verwelkom. Ons het nou lank genoeg in die koue gery, en is al uitgehonger vir bietjie warmte. Ons het kuslangs gehou en deur die staat van Tobasco gery. Die Tabasco peper sous wat ons ken het sy naam van hierdie deel van Mexico ge-erf. Tabasco staat is duidelik 'n meer welvaarende staat as die vorige state wat ons deur gery het. Die paaie is die beste wat ons nog voorgekom het, en die stad van Villahermosa lyk netjies en modern. Tabasco kry sy welvaart van die olie berdyf, wat in die deel van die Meksikaanse Golf plaasvind.
 
PalenquePalengue is die bekendste ou Maya stad in Mexico. Ons was hoogs beindruk met die plek, wat besonders mooi  gerestureer is en in 'n pragtige deel van die oerwoud le. Meeste van die stad se bekende geskiedenis gaan oor hul bekendste koning, Pakal. Hy het 'n pragtige paleis gehad, met 'n uitkyktoring en alles. Die paleis is deel van die groot groep ruines, en tans een van die strukture wat hul skoon en netjies hou, saam met so paar ander piramides wat gedien het as grafte en aanbiddingsplekke. Daar is ook 'n groot deel van die ruines wat nie heeltemal skoongemaak en in die oopte is nie en die geboue is oorgroei met die oerwoud plante. Palenque het ons 'n wonderlike idee gegee van beide werelde, hoe dit eens op 'n tyd moes gelyk het, en ook hoe dit moes gelyk het toe die ontdekkingsreisigers die stede gevind het.
 
Ons kampterein was so 1km vanaf die ruines in die reservaat wat 'howler monkeys' huisves. Ons het nie die apies gesien nie, maar elke aand het ons hulle gehoor 'howl', vandaar seker die naam. Die kampterein het ook 'n resturant gehad, wat die warmste salsa saam met hul kos bedien wat ons nog teegekom het. Daar was so paar lastige honde rondom die tafel elke keer waneer ons geeet het, so toe 'dokter' ek so paar hoenderbene dik met die salsa en gee dit vir hul. Wel, die hond het ons darem lekker vermaak, want sy bek moes behoorlik gebrand het, maar hy sal mos nie daardie been los nie. Hy kou net so af en toe aan die been, dan laat val hy hom weer op die grond, tot die ander hond nader kom, dan begin kou hy weer. 'n Regte 'sucker vir punishment' kom sit hy weer langs my vir nog terwyl hy aanhoudend sy brandende lippe lek. Ai, wat 'n mens nie alles doen vir 'vermaak' op die pad nie!
 
In Palenque dorp loop ons twee Afgetreede Kanadese ouens raak op hul nuwe 1200GS's. Hul toer Sentraal Amerika in 3 maande.  Die pad vanaf Palenque na Chetumal (By die Belize grans) was pragtig. Die landskap is dig bewoud en lowergroen. Daar is min mense in daardie deel van die land en dele van die pad het my laat heriner aan die Alaskan Highway, net wildernis so ver die oog kan sien. Naby Xpujil het ons Maya Tempels bo die woud sien uitsteek nie ver van die pad af nie. Dis indrukwekkend om te dink hoe diep die Maya mense in die woud gebly en oorleef het. Ek wonder wat hul gedoen het teen muskiet en ander gogga byte. Ons het die een aand in die dorpie van Xpujil (spreek so uit: Spoejeel) geslaap in 'n hout hokkie/kamer, en die volgende oggend vroeg weer in die pad geval na die grens van Mexico en Belize. Mexico het al ons verwagtinge oortref en is 'n land met al die eienskappe om jou 'n wonderlike fakansie ervaring te gee. Die land is geweldig ryk aan geskiedenis en het vele dorpe en ruines wat daarvan getuig. Daar is 'n wye verskydenheid van landskap en natuurskoon, van woestyn en vlaktes tot berge en oerwoud. Die mense van Mexico is baie vriendelik en het 'n unieke kultuur, en hul kos verskeidenheid is van die beste wat ons al teegekom het. Mexico is groot en ons het 5800km gery van Noord na Suid. Dis ook redelik bekostigbaar, aangesien ons vir die eerste keer sedert Iran binne ons begroting gespandeer ($40 per dag) het en ook 'n lekker tyd gehad het. Mexico is sekerlik 'n land waarna ons graag sal wil terugkeer om meer van te sien. . . .

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