Wednesday, March 10, 2010


(sorry for the lack of photos due to faulty USB ports...)

After quite a bit of time, we finally made it to our next big town destination: San Cristobol de las Casas.

We left the big city of Oaxaca a day later than expected. Bike chores and the desire to see more of the city led us to stay. We met an amazing couple from England via who rode their bikes to Oaxaca from Halifax, Nova Scotia, then decided to stay in Oaxaca to volunteer. We had a blast talking to them, and they even gave us some stuff we needed that they didn´t. Namely, they gave me a pair of new tires. Not just any tires, but Schwalbe far the best tires you can find. The timing was uncanny since I was looking at ordering Schwalbe tires online ealier that morning, and here I got them for free.

We visited Monte Alban, Zapotec ruins up high on a hill outside of town, and then we were ready to leave. We rode toward the sea, crossed over the Sierra Madre del Sur to get to Puerto Escondido. Beautiful road, lots of climbing which led us to a killer view from the divide. Behind us were the dry hills we had come accustomed to, in front of us was lush and green. All of the rain gets caught on this side of the divide, and there were streams, waterfalls, and actually leaves on the trees. Gorgeous downhill had us on the beautiful Oaxacan coast.

We stayed the day at Mazunte, an amazing and quiet slice of coast. We paid a few dollars and camped for the night with other backpackers. This is the first time weve been in the backpacker scene, and it was fun to talk with people from other countries with Spanish as the common language. A fun scrample up Punta Cometa gave us a great view at sunset.

Leaving Mazunte, we passed many other beaches, and climbed over many ridges that dropped to the sea. The riding became predictable in a fun way. We realized that the mountains were dropping fingers of rock down to the coast, parallel to our road. We´d climb over a ridge, drop down into a valley with a inhabitants, then climb again. In one of those last valleys, girls rushed me at a speed bump to sell tomales. I felt bad, but decided to buy tomales from the girl who was the fastest runner. We´ve been swarmed by people selling all sorts of things before, but never girls under the age of 10. Nice tomales too!

After we went thru the hellishly large port town, complete with oil refinery, of Salina Cruz, we rode into absurd winds. This section of Mexico is where it is at it´s thinnest, the Isthmus of Tehauntepec. We had an amazing headwind for over 30 km, passing through many wind farms on the way. Turning east it turned into either a tailwind which felt like we were sailing, or it would be a crosswind which was terrifying.

That afternoon the wind finally died down, and the riding was smooth. We got to Tuxtla Gutierrez with its amazing street art, climbed over the Sierra again after entering Chiapas, now are in San Cristobol de las Casas. A beautiful colonial town, and easily the biggest congregation of gringos we´ve seen yet. There are loads of hostels, vegetarian restaurants, fancy pizza joints, and they show radical documentary films about Zapatatistas and other movements for the peoples at night. We´re paying for lodging for the first time in a while, trying to find a horrible noise in Lisa´s bike, going to see a flick on Zapatistas, then leave in a day or two. Once we leave here, we will drop down into the jungle and serious heat. Forecast is calling for 104 deg heat with 75% humidity. Yum.

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