Page 13: - No Return Ticket - Just a Ride Report /w Pics - From the beginning
Oaxaca:I lika walk for a large cup of coffee with hot milk every morning, 54 cents. It is worth that just for the fun of getting it.
We stayed a week in Oaxaca and that was barely enough time to scratch the surface.
Heidi and I aren’t into the tourist scene that much but here we enjoyed it. But, after a few days we had the urge to get away from it and dive into the true culture of Oaxaca. I suggest to Heidi we venture out of the tourist zone and check out the area where the locals shop. We head out. This is stepping out of the hotel courtyard and onto the street.
All these stands get set up every morning and get torn down every night.Other people set up shop anywhere there is space.
We walk the opposite direction from the centro zone then cross a walking bridge leading to a big market area for locals.
First, we stop for some juice. Heidi gets orange juice, I get papaya juice. The girl squeezes the oranges and blends the fresh cut papaya right in front of us. Way Good….
Out of the thousands of people we saw here, there were zero tourists, except us.
Heidi and I thought we were really into the Mexican culture by hanging out at the centro zone market and streets. Well I have to tell you, when we got to the Centro Comercial Zona it was like a nuclear explosion of sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and feelings saying to us 'we are in a place like we have never been to before'. People, food and stuff everywhere. Our senses flashing ‘RED OVERLOAD’. This area is so large it is impossible to accurately absorb the real scope. We gave up almost immediately trying to cover the whole building and area outside because we knew it would be futile to do it all in one day.
Inside the market building there were several restaurants. It was hard to pick one. We just circled several and picked the one that felt the best. We first both order café con leche (coffee with milk). This is what we get???? (photo below) I say to the server “?café con leche?” she nods “si” Heidi and I are looking at it like, what the heck. It was a bowl of warm cinnamon milk with a bun. Oh well, we just go with the flow and order food. Heidi orders carne asada, I order enchilada de pollo con mole negra (chicken enchiladas with black mole sauce). The food was good.
The woman sitting next to us had a small child sitting on the table. The child started crying, to get her to stop the woman said “Miras los gringos” (Look at the gringos). Heidi had fun making faces at the kid after that. (Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore)
A couple more shots of the market.
Back at parque centro there was a buzz of activity. Heidi enjoys listening to the music and dreams of when we learn to waltz together.
The police presents was huge the last several days we were here. This day we saw big army trucks filled with soldiers. Getting close to parque centro we pass a truck parked unloading new M16’s from there boxes and handing them out to soldiers. While we were sitting at a table there were soldiers standing around with their guns. We find out from one of the vendor ladies in the park that tomorrow the park will be closed-off for a teacher demonstration. She said they were closing the park to keep from scaring the tourists.
Matatlan: Today we are heading closer to the Guatemalan border. We are in no big hurry so we plan to break it up into a day or two. The forecast showed a tropical disturbance in the Pacific Ocean close to where we are going. We woke up to a cloudy day, the first clouds we’ve seen since we arrived in Oaxaca. We decided to just make a run for it and play it by ear. If the weather turns bad we will simply find a place and hunker down until it ends. Yes, we have rain gear and we have the ability to ride through a storm but that doesn’t fit our plan, ‘play it safe’.
About an hour out of Oaxaca we tool through the town of Matatlan. The clouds over the mountains ahead were looking very black. Just as we get out of town on the other side it started to rain. I get a solid jab from Heidi meaning ‘Time for an equipment change’ like ‘rain gear’ I stop and talk with Heidi about our options. Heidi says she saw a place back a mile that could be a hotel. We stick it into gear and blast off back to town, Matatlan.
Casa de Huespedes(Guest house) sounds like a hotel to us.
Yes. It is and we get the deluxe suite #1 that has a toilet in the room, nice. No seat on the toilet but this is common south of the border We are liken it.
Heidi and I take a long walk through town and find a great place for breakfast. Eggs, ham, black beans, tortillas, fresh squeezed OJ topped with a sample of cream de mango de mezcal.
Next we tour the towns mezcal factories and shops. Good time and we were the only tourists here.
These guys are preparing the agave cactus cores called pineapples, for shredding.
Here is a photo of a small mezcal distillery. The pineapples are shredded then squeezed by this big stone wheel to extract the cactus juices. (Note the small still in the background)
Here is another small mezcal distillery. Notice the vats of shredded agave cactus pineapples. This is part of the fermentation process before the big stone wheel squeezes out the juices.
This is a nice quiet town, Heidi and I enjoyed touring it on foot.
This town must be super old. Taking a close look at the brick work on many of the buildings revealed, straw, sticks, stones and they looked like they were made by hand.
Agave cactus are growing everywhere.
We enjoyed checking out all the shops in town and buying a few small samples. The prices were very low for the best mezcal I have ever had, $3.60 for a pint bottle of aged or cream mezcal.
Next day we head out early and shoot toward the pacific coast. The road is through the mountains and is in good shape filled with twists and turns. At one point we get passed by three GS riders fully loaded for adventure touring. We enjoyed waving and beeping at each other as they blasted past us.
The road straightens out as we get close to the coast. We tool into the town of Tehuatepec and decide to look for a hotel early and enjoy another Mexican town.
Dogs were everywhere in this town, on the streets, in the central market building, lying all over the place. We like dogs….
Get a load of the taxis here…..
The market building is small compared to Oaxaca but the words Heidi and I came up with to describe it are “Hard Core” It’s dark and hot inside. No photos would turn out, but everything is close quarters with raw meat, people cooking and stuff all over. We were glad we stayed here and checked it out. It’s another new flavor of Mexican culture and we Like It…
We are getting so close to Guatemala we can almost taste it. We are both super excited to cross the border but for me it’s also an anxious feeling. The way Heidi and I travel is to explore deeply the places we go to while trying to find a place we can call our home away from home. We live at the places we travel to. We need to feel and become comfortable and safe. This is not trivial. Heidi’s safety is my number one priority and I’m taking her to places I’ve never been to before. There are infinitely more possibilities for things to go wrong because of the extended period of time we spend at any one place. At this point in our adventure we are not getting closer to ending our trip and getting home but are getting deeper into the unknown and further away from any place where we know we are comfortable. The unknown, the adventure, the challenge. I look at every day as a military mission that is not impossible but is only possible by being ready for every bad thing that can come our way. Bike dies in the middle of nowhere. I know what to do and am prepared for it. Flat tire, I have all the tools and experience to do everything solo. Bad guy gets in our face. We are both prepared and practiced. Heidi or I get sick. I have meds and we will take care of each other. Just like any adventure or extreme competition; compile scenarios in your mnd, hammer out solutions and be prepared to implement them. To challenge is to live. To live is to challenge.
We hope you are enjoying this type of ride report. Nothing written here is by design but simply a narrative of what is going on in our lives and in my mind during our motorcycle adventure of a lifetime.
The ride continues…….
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