Mexico City and futher south

Mexico City, Mexico via Amecameca to Puebla, Puebla (140km)
On Sunday Mexico City is really nice. The traffic is like only 10% of a weekday and people are less stressed and the air is much better. I picked up my motorbike at the other hotel where I parked it semi legal for the last 3 days and had no issues since I did not open any discussion neither. It was a warm and sunny day. I was leaving towards Puebla and was taking the highway towards Amecameca. Target was to see the volcano Popocatepetl. Actually I missed the junction in Amecameca and while asking for the way in a restaurant I saw the food and stopped for lunch. “Pulpo” again. Awesome and delicious. One hour later I left and found my way immediately. It was a nice uphill ride where people already cut their Christmas tree (in mid November) and take it home. Not only one, but hundreds did so. I reached the top met some Germans with campers and a fellow from Lichtenstein with Four-Wheelers / Quads and had some talks. I bought my ticket for the dirt road further up to the volcano of Iztaccihuatl, o died volcano. The road was a little challenge since it was pulverized sand at some part. Up at the top I met a lot of hikers who attempt the top of the volcano Iztaccihuatl which was annother 1200m more in altitude. I was 5230 meters, with other words not a easy hike for them. i met Alex from RSA (Republic of South Africa) and we had some talk. When we left he gave me a advise that paid off soon later and a couple of more times in the weeks after (yes I am late with the posts). He said “In doubt, open the trottle!!! ” (dt.: Wenn du Zweifel hast, zieh am Gas !!!)

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On my way down I hit a 18km downhill gravel road which was partly fun, partly challenge. When I reached the valley the sun was already behind the volcano’s and Pubela in front of me. I found my Hostel quite quick and checked in and had a shower, because Antonio and his wife have been on the plan for dinner. They picked me up and we went to the restaurant. We talked a lot about the company and private things. I t was a cool evening and Puebla appeared to be a nice town. I liked it.

Puebla, Puebla to Oaxaca, Oaxaca (340km)
The evening before Antonio and his wife wanted to invite me for breakfast. We met again in the morning for breakfast. That was actually a good one. We laughed a lot and I got my final travel advices for the south of Mexico. Next stop was Oaxaca, however against the recommendation of Antonio, I took the free road via the little villages versus the toll and fast highway.

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It is interesting to see how local transport works. On these pickup’s, old and new, you can see horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chicken, turkey, hay, people and most f the time at the limit in terms of load and safety. I talked with some locals while having a coke and all people have been very very friendly. Nice area here. After150km I switched to the toll highway and reached Oaxaca. A nice little town and the capital city of the province with the same name.

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I was lucky that the national TV station was filming a documentary of the Santo Domingo Convent that day and the entire church was nicely enlightened (see pictures).
I had some street food and a walk around. I had a good sleep that night, sharing the room with a guy from the US that moved in late at night. He was a translator and working from anywhere and receiving work online and sending back the work done online too. Work and travel in a different way.

Oaxaca, Oaxaca via Tuxtepec and Tuxla Gutierrez to San Cristobal de las Casas,Chiapas (750km)
A day in the saddle. I left Oaxaca to see the biggest tree alive close by in Tule. The tree has some amazing numbers to tell, such as 200 years old, 14meters in diameter and 636tons heavy. If it could talk it would have many stories to tell.

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I filled up fuel and left for Tuxtepec. To get there I had to cross the mountains in Chipas to the Caribbean side. This was only a 160km but it took me 3hrs and 20min. It was amazing to drive that highway 175 north, since it was only curves curves curves. I never saw this before. I went dizzy after two hours, but couldn’t help it, still one hour to go. Every now and then a construction site, then a land slide that was repaired (and a practice for the “Camino de los Muertos in Bolivia to come). I caught some fog that I never have seen before. So humid that the seems to stand in the air and condensed on me while driving through. It was not raining (no noise on the helmet) but I was wet like driving n heavy rain. And it was warm also. Amazing !!!
After Tuxtepec I had a long dry and straight highway, before I took off for Tuxla Gutierrez . I should see a canyon, but I couldn’t since I faced rain and fog and the daylight was over before I reached Tuxla Gutierrez.

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In a construction site on gravel I had a Mercedes E-Class behind be , which is rare to see here and I turned myself around while waiting the traffic to move on to have a look behind. I lost balance, probably was to tired, and had the “rubber side no more down”. Some pedestrians helped me to lift up my motorbike again. The right gripper protector was done now after the 3rd fall on it. But I could easily fix it the next day.
I was in touch with Chris and he said come over to San Cristobal, so I had another 60km to go through the night, rain and fog. I was on a straight highway, noticing I was going up and up and right of me was nothing, but I couldn’t see anything due to the fog. I trusted some locals and kept the speed.
I arrived, had a shower and dinner with Chris. Welcome to San Cristobal de las Casas.

San Cristobal de las Casas,Chiapas (A day rest)
In the morning I had breakfast with Chris who left right after for the south. He had some appointments and was late. Chris is a guy, … travels without rain gear. I believe meanwhile (6Dec) I am sure he bought some, since there was a lot of rain in Central America.

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After he left I had a walk through the city of San Cristobal and visited the local market (where I saw a old woman that was as tall as my elbow is high, so must have been 1.40m or less), bought some fruits and visited a few churches. A day rest at its best.

San Cristobal de las Casas,Chiapas to Tuxla Gutierrez and back; daytrip with no luggage(160km)
I left the hostel in the morning and had a talk with the hostel owner, a “motocyclista” also. I finally found a shop that could do me my stickers in one day so I got them done. They are pretty cool.

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I saw a demonstration of about 2000 people and Oxxo (local mini supermarket) that was burning when I left San Cristobal. I thought it is an accident. Learned at my return that a other Oxxo downtown was burning too and that the people demonstrate that way against the globalization and that a few brands and shops kill all unity and small businesses.

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I left meanwhile for Tuxla Gutierrez and to see that Sumidero canyon that I missed the day before. I did a 2 hour boat cruise 60km up the canyon and it was nice to see it from the water. It is a artificially filled canyon today for the reason of creating electricity. It was built in the 1980s, the tallest mountain is 1100 meters above the water level and the water is 260m deep. Incredible numbers of this nature reserve (however some rubbish is in the water, don’t know why they do not keep it tidy).
I saw crocodiles, pelican and monkeys, beside this amazing views.
On the way back to San Cristobal I had the view this time on the valley that I missed in rain, fog and night the other day. A great view. Amazing.

Dinner with some youngsters from “Waldorf” and “K├╝nzelsau”, which was cool alsosince we talked in our home dialect. We shared what we have experience on our different travels so far. Was a real relaxing evening and we laughed a lot

San Cristobal de las Casas,Chiapas to Palenque, Chiapas(220km)
Honestly speaking it took me ages to make a decision if I should do the one day to Palenque and one day back or to go straight towards Guatemala. the people I am booked on the boat from Panama to Cartagena/Colombia on 8 DEC with said I ratehr hurry up in order to not miss the boat. So I wanted to see Palenque but the two days would make me miss something else on the way to Panama. Last minute decision was taken to go to Palenque. And no regret ! Another road with only curves curves curves. It took far longer than calculated by google maps, but it did not matter.

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I left the mountains and forests and arrived to Palenque as I saw A GS parked on the side and a guy having late lunch. It was John from the US. We had a quick talk and said lets meet down town for some beers. I rushed to the park of Palenque with its runins and pyramids, sinc ethe park supposed to close at 5pm. I arrived at 4:20pm. They said “You only have 30 minutes and you do not need to pay a entry fee for that”. It was quick but for free. I liked it.

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Leaving the park there where two BMW GS next to my motorcycle. Matt and Brayden from Seattle. We had a quick talk and found out that my target hotel was the same like theirs and since the entire area arround is under construction an the hotel was tricky to reach. We agreed that I follow them. At the gate of the park John was waiting fro me to have some beers. So all four went together down town, checked in at different hotels and had a shower and dinner in town. Good talks. Great food. Just a nice evening.

Palenque, Chiapas to Comitan de Dominguez, Chiapas (230km)
Matt and Brayden haven’t seen the Palenque ruins yet and went there in the morning. I had breakfast and left Palenque for Comitan. 80% of the road to Comitan was the road from the days before. Matt and Brayden had the same target for that day. 15km befor e Comitan, I had a brak and a coke, they catch up with me and we drove together to look for a Hotel. Found two or three of them and choose a nice little one where we could park our motorcycles on the inner yard of the hotel. We left for dinner and had the slowest service in my entire restaurant experience, not only on this trip. Basically we had dinner all after each other, my soup came as a desert and to pay we waited 20min for the invoice. We rated it as “Gringo Punishment”, since locals got served quite convenient. Had a walk around town later which was nice.
It turned out that Matt, Brayden and I will travel together for more days and in total 8 Nights and 3 countries. It was fun and great to meet them. I am sure we meet further down in Latin America again and in Germany, since Matt is working for a Motorcycle equipment company from Niedereschach in the black forrest, South West Germany. ­čÖé