Thursday, November 8, 2012

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mexico

The journey continues in the city of Puebla.  Home of a VW factory that still makes the original Bug!  We showed up around mid afternoon and got down to the taxing business of hotel hunting. For me, that means pulling up in front of a likely establishment or just riding my bike straight into the office (I’m not joking, you can do that down here in some places) and shouting “Cuanto cuesto un cuarto?!” at the top of my lungs. If they say anything more than 350 pesos, I usually run off screaming in outrage. When the price is right, we get down to the real important questions: “Hay estacianmento seguro y internet?” (secure parking and wifi). Those are both deal breakers. Well, maybe not the wifi, but definetly the parking. If that all checks out, we then go take a look at one of the rooms to make sure it isn’t too heavily infested with roaches. I did this at about 6 different hotels before we found the right one.

After settling in, we made a run to Mexican Auto Zone for some supplies.  We then returned to our hotel and cleaned our air filters, oiled our chains, and thumbed our noses at Green Peace. We parked our bikes on the sidewalk in front of the hotel, pulled out the gear oil, and sprayed it all over the ground. We also managed to get a little bit on the chains too. We then took a water bottle, cut it in half, filled it with gasoline, then used it to rinse our air filters out into the storm drain. As we were busy destroying the environment and polluting the pristine Mexican scenery, a few cops walked by and totally ignored us. In California we would have been looking at 10 to 20 in a Super Max. I love this place!

 That night we went to the Zocalo to see the cathedral, which was built in the 1600’s.  As we were walking around inside, they started an evening Mass, so we sat down and watched.  There was a huge organ behind us and the combination of awe inspiring architecture and deafening organ playing lent a certain atmosphere of awe and grandeur to the Mass that so many church services in the United States just lack.

After mass, we went out into the square and tried some of the local culinary delights: chicken mole!  The best way to describe it is a mixture of chocolate and chili sauce spread over chicken legs with a little rice on the side.  Quite rich, but extremely delicious!

The next day we had to dry our air filters before we could continue.  After fruitlessly searching the city for a hairdryer, I had the bright idea of walking into McDonalds and using the hand dryers.  Five minutes later, our airfilters were dry! 
The next task for the day was to ride all over Puebla trying to find a special oil for Justin’s bike.  He’s riding a KTM, which is a very expensive and nice bike, and the oil that it takes comes from unicorn blood and baby seal tears.  Needless to say, all five motorcycle shops that we stopped at were all fresh out of unicorn blood, so looks like Justin will have to figure something else out.  Meanwhile, I stopped at the local Honda shop, picked up a few quarts of oil, and convinced them to let me change the oil in their shop!  They were all super nice and friendly and gave me lots of compliments on my bike.  Everyone is super impressed by the massive gas tank.



The third day in Puebla, we stashed most of our gear at the hotel and backtracked about 50 miles to see the ruins of Teotihuacán, just outside of Mexico City.  These are the iconic pyramids that are always featured in tourist brochures and tv commercials for Mexico.  The extra milage was worth it!  These things are amazing!  If you ever go to Mexico, make sure you go here!  We parked the bikes in one of the parking lots and were immediately accosted by a tour guide who spoke passable English, telling us he would take us around the ruins for 500 pesos.  A few minutes of haggling later, and we had him down 300 pesos.  Score!

Louie, our guide, took us around and showed us the main attractions.  The Pyramid of the Moon:

The Pyramid of the Sun:

The Avenue of the Dead:

At one time tens of thousands of people lived in this city.  By the time the Aztecs showed up, it was deserted.  No one really know exactly who built it or what they were called.  I’m not going to go any further into the history lesson here, because I don’t remember much about Teotihuacan from college, and Louie was a little hard to understand at times, so if you want to know about this place, look it up on Wikipedia.   It’s quite impressive!
We made it back to Puebla a little late, and decided to stay the night rather than push on in the dark.  That's all for now.  I'm actually in Oaxaca now, but I'll have to write about that later...

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