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Old 06-14-2011, 04:57 PM   #76
csustewy OP
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Guanajuato

Despite Guadalajara being a beautiful city, we were anxious to move on to our next stop, Guanajuato, because we were going to meet another couple from Colorado that have been traveling by motorcycle, and familiar to many of you here. PlasticSun began their trip in November and we have been following their ride report. We noticed a lot of commonalities between us and had been communicating by email prior to the start of our trip. They had spent 4 months in Mexico the first time around, made it to Panama and then decided to turn around and come back to Mexico to live for awhile so Sabrina could enhance her Spanish at the school and Eric could work from home on web design. They have been living in a sweet house in Guanajuato for the past 3 months and have a pretty good thing going for them. They are in the process of deciding if they are going to stay for another 3 months or go back to Colorado. It seems to us they are gonna be in Guanajuato for as long as they can.

From Guadalajara, we took what seemed like the longest possible way to Guanajuato, driving through several large towns and having to backtrack to stay on the libre (free) roads. What we thought would be a 3-4 hour drive turned into a 6 hour drive. Eric and Sabrina were nice enough to meet us at the airport aobut 30 min out of town so we could follow them to their house. Thank goodness they did because we would have definitely been lost for hours. Guanajuato streets consist of a lot of tunnels that are really fun to drive through.



Since Eric and Sabrina have been in Guanajuato for awhile, they also know the best places to eat. We have had quiche; club sandwiches; comida corrida, a 4 course meal including the best roasted potatoes that were free as long as we kept drinking (no problem there); wonderful pasta and salad; plus we got to go to a BBQ at one of their friends cabins out of town; and we have even had some marvelous home cooked food to boot.





We have also been able to meet several of their very cool friends, including a couple who have purchased a house in Guanajuanto and are turning it from a trash pit into a really nice sustainable living area. We also met a couple who are living in this cabin and have this sunset to look at on a regular basis.





This is the view of Guanajuato from Eric and Sabrina´s patio



One of Sabrina´s favorite hobbies is feeding the neighborhood cats and dogs. They are lucky she is around.



There is also a museum of mummies in the town that we went to. It is next to the town cemetary and apparantly the city exhumes bodies that are delinquent in their yearly burial plot fees. They have created a museum of those bodies. It is a very interesting museum, but is a little morbid, creepy and sad at the same time.









Guanajuato is a beautiful city, enveloped by mountains on all sides, and we have really enjoyed spending a couple of days here.



We also visited San Miguel with Eric, another beautiful expat enclave.



We have really enjoyed spending time with Eric and Sabrina. It has been great to talk about motorcycle stuff, life on the road, life in Guanajuato, and everything else. They have been awesome hosts and we are really grateful for the place to stay and the good times spent. It was just what we needed. Thanks to both of you!
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:15 PM   #77
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Thanks for sharing...subscribed!!
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:24 PM   #78
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Great Ride Report thus far, thanks for sharing. Also, never heard of couchsurfing before, but after so many times you mentioned it, I had to google it.

Had I known about it before, I would have invited you while you stayed over in Phoenix...

Good Luck and stay safe, Mexico is a great place to see and enjoy.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:47 AM   #79
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So exciting!

I'm new to Adventure Rider, and this is one of my first threads I've subscribed to. I'm really enjoying your adventures, and am feeling very motivated to take one of my own soon!!

Keep up the posts, it keeps us smiling!
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:08 PM   #80
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First post on your thread. Looks like a great time, thus far!

I spent a month in GTO in the summer of 2009. Loved it. Your photos look just like mine! Sitting here in my soul-sucking corporate cubicle, I really want to go back and rent a house!

I have a friend who owned a 1990 Transalp Xl600V for 12 years. She went to a SuperHawk 996, and then to a KLR 650. She always speaks with regret about getting rid of the Transalp.; it was a part of her.

Carry on, and enjoy! Go to Queretaro, as well, if you're heading that way again.
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:30 AM   #81
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I've really missed the PLASTICSUN threads. what an adventure those two have had. it's great you guys met up with them...you guys are doing some cool stuff too...and i just figured out that 14 pesos = a $ (trying to finance a trip in my head)
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:44 AM   #82
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On The Road Again

We are looking forward to traveling south again tomorrow. Our next major destinations include Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas. But on the way, we are very excited to have the chance to check out an EcoSan project taking place in Tepoztlán. We will take more notes than pictures while there, but we´ll do our best to update this again when we can.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:45 AM   #83
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Excitement on the Way South

While every city we´ve been to has felt very safe, and every road (99% libre instead of toll roads) has been fine, there are still random acts of violence taking place here in Mexico. But most of you know that already. We know that, too. As tourists we are not targeted, but we could be in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Our hope is to avoid that. But similar to TSA inspections at airports (ya know, like looking at everyone´s shoes after the lackluster shoe bomber attempt...), you don´t really know what´s going to happen next until it does.

A reminder of that occured yesterday as we were driving through Celaya, right down Ignacio Allende, Hwy 51. On the way to Celaya, there were a few pick-up trucks full of geared up policemen passing us in a very big hurry. There was a major check point in the middle of Celaya, where they were pulling over any late model truck, especially SUVs with tinted windows. Then just down the street, at about 11am we passed by the storefront where 3 people were killed that morning.

http://impreso.milenio.com/node/8976566

It´s sad that this turf battle is taking place in Mexico, and even more so that innocent bystanders are often caught in the melee. Props to the policemen and women who are courageous enough to do what they can to bring peace and protection.

As far as we are concerned, we are doing our best to steer our route around notoriously dangerous areas, and continue to absolutely love our time here in Mexico! We would travel through Mexico again in a heartbeat. And we are still very much looking forward to spending some time in Chiapas. More to follow on our way there...
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:17 AM   #84
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great rteport guys and thanks for bringing us along on your journey.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:52 PM   #85
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Hey Guys,
Haven't heard from you guys for a while. You still doing ok?
Eric from Atlanta
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:45 PM   #86
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Still Alive and Doing Well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfart123 View Post
Hey Guys,
Haven't heard from you guys for a while. You still doing ok?
Eric from Atlanta

Hi Eric,

Thanks for checking on us. Sorry to have not posted in awhile. We have been in Tepoztlan, south of Mexico city, for the past 2.5 weeks. Mike is volunteering with an eco sanitation organization and Jill is working in their garden. We are planning to post an update soon and plan to be on the road again this weekend.

Mike & Jill
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:23 PM   #87
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A weekend in Mexico

We had not planned on venturing into Mexico City on this trip, but several people along the way have strongly recommended it. Plus, the bus to Mexico from Tepoz is cheap, easy and direct, and eliminates the need to find safe motorcycle parking. So, we went to the city for the weekend. While we were waiting at the terminal, Jill was approached by a guy from Minnesota while Mike was in the bathroom. Mike now calls him Señor Palin because he has a thick northern accent (a lá Sarah), talks excessively, and states ridiculous "facts". He was also good at rapid-firing kindergarden questions like, "Where are you going?," "What are you doing here?," Where is your bike?," "Who are your friends?," etc. He is married to a Mexican lady that lives in the city and they have kids somewhere in this country. He also has a home in Acupulco. Despite his obvious long term ties to the country, his accent was possibly the worst we have heard yet from a gringo (and Jill`s is pretty bad so we have a good comparison). When we arrived at the bus terminal in Mexico (he chose to sit in front of us, of course), he woke up the man sitting across from him and started asking for directions. Then he demanded that they travel on public transportation through Mexico City together. The last we saw as we snuck past the bus in an attempt to avoid getting stuck with him, the poor man was waiting for the Minnesotan to get his bags so he could escort him to the far northern side of Mexico City from the far southern side. Pretty entertaining. Not for the Mexican fellow.

We found the subway and noticed that it is extremely cheap (about 25 cents) and easy to use. We got off at the Zócalo and found a nice hostel quickly, based on a recommendation from a friend we made in Guadalajara. We didn`t have a lot planned for our trip other than seeing the anthropology museum, so we headed that way. We got directions from the hostel receptionist and then went back to the subway. We were about to hop on when Mike was told he couldn`t get on the car because it was for women and children only. As Mike was heading to the other end of the platform, a train came, and it turned out that Jill went on her own, hoping to get off at the right stop and to not lose Mike forever in the mass of people getting on and off the subway. Apparantly, there are separate cars for women and children sometimes, but we are unsure of when and where these cars appear. There didn`t seem to be any signs to let you know, but we think it is to save women and children from having to deal with all the men during rush hour. Strangely, though, men can easily board those cars at certain stations, so not quite sure what´s accomplished there. Luckily, Mike was on the next train and got off right where Jill was waiting.

The museum is in a beautiful area of town with a bosque (forest) and several other museums. Before going in we had to try isquites, which is corn covered in mayo, cheese, limón, and chile. Que rico!



The museum was outstanding. It was open on the outside with separate doors leading to different native american civilizations in Mexico during different time periods, including Aztec, Mayan, Oaxacan, Occidental and modern day. It was amazing to see how much has been uncovered and how developed the societies were. Much more than what exists in the US.


(entrance to the museum)


(street art outside)






(Mayan writing)







(original headress given to Cortes by Moctezuma made of quetzal feathers)






(King Pacal´s burial clothing at Palenque)

We explored for about 4 hours until were were too tired and hungry to pay attention. Then we walked to Zona Rosa, another nice area that has a lot of embassies, restaurants, and judging by the amount of same sex people holding hands, is the gay district. It seemed like a pretty cool place to hang out, but we only stayed long enough to eat.





Then we went to the Alameda Central, a park where the Diego Rivera Museum happens to be located. Entry was only about $1.50, so we decided to check it out. There was only one of his paintings and one of his famous murals. There was a group of people singing in front of the mural, which sounded great, but not so cool because we were not able to look at the mural up close. The museum is worth seeing if you happen upon it like we did, but we probably wouldn`t make a special trip to see it.



Then we walked to the Zócalo, mainly on a pedestrian street the whole way. We knew that Mexico City was one of the most populated cities in the world with over 21 million people, but it is still a little bit of a shock to see this many people in the streets for no apparant reason.



We also discoverd that Saturday night must be the night to go shoe and jewelry shopping because both types of stores were completely packed with shoppers. And the Hostel Regina happened to be right in the middle of shoe and jewelry district. Mike had no luck finding a pair of flip flops, however. We ended up grabbing a couple of drinks at a cantina that permitted women but had a sign strictly prohibiting dancing, despite the Guns & Roses on the jukebox. Back at the hostel we could see from our balcony that this taco stand was the place to be - there was a steady line all night. These literal hole-in-the-wall type places seemed to always have a crowd, while many restaurants in the area remained empty.



The next day, on Sunday, we went to the Templo Mayor, ruins of a huge Aztec pyramid that was at the center of Tenochtitlán, but is now literally in the middle of downtown Mexico City, since the Spanish built on top of the old city. The outside wall was rebuilt a total of seven times by the Aztecs, making it larger and more ornate each time. The site was not rediscovered until 1978. It currently takes up a full city block, with evidence of ruins extending under the streets in all directions. The earthquake in 1985 forced several nearby buildings to be condemned. When they started tearing the buildings down, a massive amount of artifacts were found. It is quite amazing that all of this history continues to exist literally under the city. The museum was wonderful also and houses most of the artifacts found. We would highly recommend this museum if you get a chance.


(model of how the pyramid looked after its 7 wall rebuildings)


(outside wall with serpent)


(inner wall and outer wall)


(canal built in the early 20th century that runs through the site)


(inner area where sacifices and rituals were made, with two smaller pyramids on top, one for water/storms/agriculture and one for war)


(one of the structures was designed with exterior walls of skulls)


(artifacts found in and near the pyramid)










(mosiac made of 1500 jade pieces and depicting warriors)


(two large stone carvings found in the ruins, the one in the distance was unearthed in 2006 (!), weighs around 12 tons and measures almost 4m x 4 m)



After several hours there, we were really hungry. We walked several blocks, unable to find anything that met our criteria of being 1)cheap and 2)having a place to sit. Finally we found food inside a market on top of subway grates. Despite having to hold onto our food when a subway came due to the wind, the food was great. We also learned that huaraches don´t always go on your feet, sometimes you eat them.


(you may be able to guess by now that Jill loves her some food)

Then we wandered aimlessly around the city, exploring more of the Zócalo
and then finding a huge market. We walked all the way through it, only finding strange kids uniforms and childrens tuxedos. Very chaotic and surreal. Then we worked our way back to the hostel area where there is another pedestrian street named Regina. We wanted to drink beer and people watch. So, we went to a restaurant that sold beer and had an outside patio. Mike asked if we could drink the beer outside and they said yes. Once we ordered, however, the waiter directed us to a small interior room with no windows or TV, away from the rest of the restaurant, with plastic chairs and tables. There were two other people inside, also drinking a beer. The waiter said it was illegal to drink outside during the day. Strange because after our beer we walked about a block to another restaurant/bar that had no problem with us drinking outside during the day. That`s where we ended up until we caught the subway back to Tepoz. All in all, we enjoyed Mexico City quite a bit although we are very glad we didn`t have the motorcycle with us. We will leave you with this picture that is sadly as close as we got to a lucha libre.

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Old 07-09-2011, 06:08 PM   #88
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:54 AM   #89
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Nice! Glad you enjoyed Mexico city we're hoping to head back there next month. Ride on!
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:01 PM   #90
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Slackers we are

PlasticSun - good to hear from you! Looks like you enjoyed the time at the beach, even if it took a small detour for some chain work. Glad a good birthday was had.

And thanks to all the others for recent comments and for following along!

Kitesurfer and bouldergeek - it sounds like you´ll be back this way soon. Pull the trigger! Maybe we can catch you on our way back north, or hopefully offer you a place to stay wherever we end up for awhile.

Massive updates coming soon...
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