SF to Panama... eventually

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by stickfigure, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    #81
  2. marcopolo27

    marcopolo27 The Tiny Ship was Tossed!

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    :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk :lurk
    #82
  3. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    This is a great idea, thanks! Maybe I will bring a new rear tire back with me from the states too. Any idea if there are problems bringing a tire through customs?

    Jeff
    #83
  4. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    [​IMG]

    [Note: One problem with writing in present tense is it sounds silly when you post a week later. I'm not in Oaxaca anymore.]

    I'm in Oaxaca. The language school I am studying with (Amigos Del Sol) arranged a homestay for me with secure parking for the bike and wifi. Here is my new family:

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    As soon as I sat down, they offered me chapulines, an Oaxacan delicacy. This picture was taken at a market but you get the idea:

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    The crickets are purged of digestive matter and then deep fried and served with chili and lime. The taste is not unpleasant, but a couple handfuls were enough for me.

    I've been studying Spanish for the last week. I had three years of Spanish in high school but that was over fifteen years ago and my last handful of trips to Mexico were not long enough to recover any significant skill. The class, however, is working wonders. Here are my instructors and some students:

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    The city of Oaxaca is not quite what I expected it to be. It's not exactly cute, but it's certainly not ugly. The zócalo and surrounding parts are nice but not awe-inspiring. The populace is busy but the city doesn't crawl with people the way Guadalajara does. I like it here but after a week I'm ready to move on.

    Part of the problem is my homestay. It's about 30 minutes walk from downtown, so I can't just pop in and out. While I have been practicing my Spanish with the family, I'm not making friends the way I would if I were staying in a hostel. The school is very small; most of the other students are either Japanese or retired. I'm having a good time, but I feel rather isolated.

    Part of the problem may also be that Oaxaca itself has fallen on hard times. Somehow I missed this news item at the time, but two years ago there were major riots here. It decimated the tourist industry, which is the core of the economy here. It's slowly recovering, but on a smaller scale; many Mexicans had to move elsewhere to find work and businesses like the language school I'm studying with had to move to smaller buildings.

    Nevertheless, Oaxaca has some great things to offer. For one thing, the food is *excellent*. I have started to notice that there really isn't such a singular thing as "Mexican food"; the different regions of Mexico have distinctly different culinary traditions. Oaxaca is the "land of seven moles", including the famous chocolaty mole negro. I will post more pictures of food soon.

    Oaxaca has a large number of very impressive Zapotec and Mixtec ruins, some dating back thousands of years. The grand prehispanic city of Monte Albán looks over the entire valley. I will make a separate entry for my trip there.

    Few Oxacaños speak English. This has forced me to develop my speaking skills.

    My homestay is actually fairly nice. It has a nice little room on top of the roof, reachable by a spiral staircase:

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    #84
  5. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    I took a day trip to Mitla, a town about 45 minutes by vehicle away from Oaxaca. Mitla was a significant Zapotec city about a thousand years ago and has some relatively well-preserved ruins.

    First I stopped at El Tule, possibly the most massive tree alive.

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    I bought some ice cream at this nievaria. Look at the list of flavors carefully.

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    This is "tuna" sorbet:

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    In fact, tuna is prickly pear cactus. It was delicious. The other tuna is atún. With this knowledge, you can now order ice cream safely.

    On to Mitla. Lots of stonework:

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    Notice the continuation of the pattern:

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    Inside a tomb:

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    The Spaniards arrived long after Mitla had gone into decline and been nearly abandoned. Nevertheless, they knocked over many of the buildings and temples (for their god is a jealous god) and built a church on top of the ruins:

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    Afterwards I visited a huge market in Tlacolula. One odd variation on Mexico's pervasive "huge crazy street bazaar" theme were the indoor carnecerias with the bbqs lined up in the center of the isle so you can start grilling your meat immediately:

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    This is some kind of chocolate, I think:

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    #85
  6. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    This is the best meal I have had in Mexico so far.

    I decided to try to find the finest (read: most expensive) restaurant in Oaxaca. Don't try this at home, folks! I left the zócalo and wandered around the pretty neighborhood near the Inglesia de Santo Domingo:

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    Checking menus, the Hosteria de Alcala seemed sufficiently lujo:

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    Let me apologize for the poor quality of the photos in advance. I'm still figuring out how to capture macro shots in low light conditions without making them look like crime scene pictures.

    I started with a half-size bottle of Mexican cabernet sauvignon, which turned out to be pretty good despite the late vintage. The first course was sopa de ajo, garlic soup. It was the highlight of the meal, with a strong taste of fresh garlic in a thin but rich tomato broth:

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    My main course was mole almondrado, one of the seven moles. It was served over lengua de res, beef tongue. I had never tried beef tongue before. It had been thinly sliced cross-sectionally and might actually be the most tender meat I have ever eaten. The mole sauce was excellent, almost like a very delicate Indian korma:

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    Postre was "Flan de la Hosteria", big chunks of flan over ice cream with pecans and carmel:

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    Yes, it was delicious. Total bill was a little over 400 pesos (including tip), about $40 USD.

    Walking home I stumbled across "those guys" busking in the zócalo:

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    You know "those guys". You've seen them at pretty much every street faire and farmer's market in the US, playing Ecuadorian folk music with guitars, flutes, and pan pipes. Fifteen years ago I ate some Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds while "babysitting" some friends drinking Ayohuasca tea. They put Andean pipe music on the CD changer to add some authenticity to the experience and I've been hooked ever since. My closet contains at least a dozen albums (most purchased from wandering street musicians), a set of pan pipes (which I can just barely persuade to make noise), and a half-dozen other instruments with which I am similarly facile. These particular guys were some of the best that I had heard, several playing guitar and pan pipes simultaneously. I threw a few bucks in their hat and reminded myself to patronize more street buskers in the future, especially in my hometown - it's a rough life but it adds a nice spark to otherwise droll street corners.
    #86
  7. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    This meal started with an Oaxacan salad. The green beans are steamed and then lightly marinated in something. It was served chilled. As a lover of pickled things, I thought it was very good, although it could have fed two people.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/oaxaca/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2374/2249398259_9498e10e91.jpg"/></a>

    The beverage in the top right corner is <i>tejate</i>, a traditional prehispanic drink. I'm not sure what it's made from but I know there is corn meal in it. The experience is something a little like chocolate protein drink. It's interesting but I don't love it.

    The main corse was <i>mole verde</i> with pork. This is one of the lighter moles, made from tomatillos. It was tasty but hard to compare with the other, richer moles.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/oaxaca/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2053/2250196706_58510dd8eb.jpg"/></a>

    Not pictured is a límonada I drank afterwards.

    Total bill was under 200 pesos. As you've probably figured out by now, that's about $20 USD.

    Digging through the photos, here's another traditional Oaxacan dish. I can't recall what it is called, but it's basically <i>cecina</i> (salted beef) and <i>quesillo</i> (Oaxacan string cheese, much like mozzarella) in pizza format. This came from a market vendor, it was cheap:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/oaxaca/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2161/2249267585_5f20982a1b.jpg"/></a>

    Here's some fried fish with garlic made by the mother of one of my instructors, Adolfo:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/oaxaca/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2072/2265458869_fd1d4848d1.jpg"/></a>

    Adolfo turned out not only to be a language instructor but also just graduated from university with a CS degree, so he was a geek like me. He taught me quite a lot of computer-related Spanish lingo.

    Here he is between a couple other students on my last night in town... we had all had varying amounts to drink ranging from "a large amount" to "an excessive amount". You can guess who was who:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/oaxaca/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2364/2265463059_4bd72795ff.jpg"/></a>

    After helping Adolfo carry that girl back to her home, I need to find her and make sure she gets this photograph (a classic in every country):

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/oaxaca/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2315/2266255414_0a94381925.jpg"/></a>
    #87
  8. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    Jeff,

    What a great report!!! :thumb I'll be following along your entire journey with you.:lurk

    I just recently took a tire along with me to Panama City and had no problems getting it through customs. The only strange thing was the airline made me package it in a cardboard box before they would ship it.

    I think the suggestion of checking with the KTM dealer to store your bike is a good one. You might also check with the BMW dealer in Mexico City if the KTM dealer can't store it. I think they are pretty close together.

    Keep the rubber side down.
    #88
  9. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Alb%C3%A1n">Monte Albán</a> is the ruin of an ancient megopolis perched on a low mountain overlooking the entire Oaxaca valley. It's about 15 minutes by van from downtown. I've seen a fair number of ruins; European castles, Anasazi cliff dwellings, abandoned General Motors plants, etc... but this is bigger. Monte Albán was one of the biggest cities around for over a thousand years, with a population of tens of thousands of people. Then it was simply abandoned.

    Here's what it looks like today (if you were 2,000 feet tall):

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/montealban/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2265/2250107094_ffd7566372.jpg"/></a>

    This view is pretty much what you see looking 360 degrees around the mountain - the populous Oaxaca valley. I'm sure the city commanded quite a presence to all the people living in the valley, but it must have been tough to get water.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/montealban/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2163/2250074890_22dee96795.jpg"/></a>

    This is the middle of the dry season, so all the grass is brown. When it rains the scene turns green.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/montealban/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2053/2250081600_aaa4e8a60f.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/montealban/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2353/2249292309_879f1f89a3.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/montealban/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2067/2250094620_3d70e6fcbf.jpg"/></a>

    One of the ball courts, for the Zapotec equivalent of fútbol:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/montealban/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2298/2250079142_d77e9dc663.jpg"/></a>

    Here's what the city must have looked like before excavation:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/montealban/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2038/2249303473_f03a180302.jpg"/></a>

    The experience is what I imagine it would be like to walk through a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, only with little placards explaining the purpose of each building.
    #89
  10. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    If you are American and you want a six-month tourist visa to Mexico, you cross the border and pay $20 at the immigration office. If you stay in the border regions you don't even need to do this. If you travel by airplane the cost is already included in your ticket price.

    If you are Mexican and you want a tourist visa of *any* duration to visit the United States, you must:

    * Pay $140 USD for the privilege of having an interview with US Customs.
    * Travel to Mexico City to interview with an agent.
    * Let them keep the money even if they deny you a visa, which is 3/4 of the time.

    This is horrible and demeaning and makes me embarrassed for my country.

    Adolfo recently went through this process. Two minutes into the interview the agent told him his application was denied. Adolfo has no criminal record, an education, a good job, and family in Oaxaca. The fact that he can't get a tourist visa makes me really upset. The fact that he and lots of people like him are getting screwed out of a significant amount of money by a boldfaced money-generating racket worthy of any corrupt third-world bureaucracy makes me really angry :splat
    #90
  11. theturtleshead

    theturtleshead Tits on a fish

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    Hello matey! I,m off to work in Oaxaca on Monday for about two months:clap
    While you were there did you find any good bars? Oh yeah and anywhere to hire a bike up there?
    Cheers Albert theturtleshead:freaky
    #91
  12. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Woot! Two months should be perfect. What will you be doing there?

    Honestly I didn't get to know the bar scene well; if I had stayed longer I probably would have. I liked Colectivo Central aka "Bar Central" west of the zócalo; it's a lot like a hip San Francisco bar in both the good and bad ways. A fellow norteamericano and I watched a US-Mexico fútbol game in Bar Caffeine (next to Inglesia Santa Domingo) and had a great time drunkenly rooting and joking with the locals in our respective broken languages.

    On the other hand, on my last night in Oaxaca some guy I'd never seen before tried to kick my ass in a nightclub, but it got as far as him reaching for me when his friends jumped all over him. I still have no idea what that was about. I had been having a good time talking to his friend (who spent a lot of time in LA and had lots of gang tattoos - funny, but the tough guys are always really nice in person) for about fifteen minutes. I don't remember the name of the nightclub, but it's the one in my pictures with the red walls.

    Hiring a bike? Dunno, but I didn't look - I conveniently brought my own :D

    For two months, you might just want to buy one and sell it when you leave. 200cc bikes are cheap down there. Even new they're only about 20,000 pesos, so they can't cost too much used. Bigger bikes are rare in Oaxaca, and cost way more than they do in the US. If you go this route, I'm curious to know how complicated the paperwork, etc is!

    Jeff
    #92
  13. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    I left Oaxaca on Feb 9th headed for Mexico City. I hadn't bought a plane ticket yet because I wasn't sure when I would be ready to leave, but I needed to be in San Francisco before Valentine's Day.

    I assumed I would stop in Puebla, but I got a late start. Thanks to the prior evening's festivities, <i>estuve crudo</i>. This didn't make the traffic any easier (note - the cars in the middle are parked on the old abandoned railbed that runs through town):

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2289/2265470847_3de5c97a35.jpg"/>

    Once on the road, the scenery was grand, back into beautiful deserts:

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2163/2265474241_1d01bd2ec5.jpg"/>

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2073/2266268352_30b001e3a7.jpg"/>

    I looked longingly at the road carved into the side of the mountain in the distance:

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2187/2265478059_6d40ea8b06.jpg"/>

    When I crossed into the state of Puebla, the roads became dramatically worse, potholes everywhere. The vegetation also changed. The road was lined with big sugarcane plantations. All of a sudden the air started smelling of heavy, sticky, burnt sugar. It was actually quite tasty. Then I saw this:

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2242/2266269162_e261fd8233.jpg"/>

    A refinery surrounded with truck after truck of sugarcane, waiting to be unloaded.

    It was getting dark, so I opted to stay in Tehuacán. There isn't much to say about Tehuacán, touristwise, but it's fairly cute for a sizeable city and Lonely Planet recommended a hotel overlooking the zócalo:

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2076/2265481453_eb5f0465af.jpg"/>

    The next day I noticed something odd about Tehuacán and Puebla. There are countless intersections like this one. Talk about mixed signals...

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2243/2265482961_eb975fa592.jpg"/>

    Tehuacán:

    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=tehuacan,+mexico&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=47.435825,113.027344&ie=UTF8&ll=18.281518,-97.965088&spn=4.995278,8.22876&z=7"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2139/2279905405_1c5922fc1a.jpg"/></a>
    #93
  14. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    There are very few functioning railroads left in Mexico. In the US, most abandoned railroads get pulled up for scrap pretty quickly, but not in Mexico. This excites me.

    Some friends of mine constructed a makeshift railcar which we have been using to explore derelict railway in California:

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    On other trips, I've tried motorcycling the railbed:

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    ...however, hopping over rails on a big bike is tough:

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    (that's sp4ce looking proud)

    Every time I ride by abandoned railbed in Mexico, a little gland in the back of my brain oozes happy juice. You might say I'm a little obsessed.

    Here are some pictures of the railroad that once ran between Puebla and Mitla (according to my map). I was told it's been abandoned for 15 years. It's probably too overgrown and broken for the railcar (and too far south anyways) but it's fun to dream about:

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    #94
  15. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    [​IMG]

    Google doesn't know about it, but my Guia Roji map shows a dirt road that runs between Puebla and Mexico City right between the two mountains in the picture above. The entire area is some sort of Mexican national park. I had to ride through.

    Finding the road wasn't too hard with the GPS (I :raabia bicimpapas). The road itself was fairly well maintained, with only occasional soft bits. Sometimes a car or truck would come down the opposite direction; one subcompact filled with kids asked me what was in this direction - "Puebla", I answered.

    My bike was getting progressively more and more sluggish. I checked altitude on the GPS - about 11,000 ft. I :ruskie carburetors!

    Near the top I saw this beautiful building perched on the side of a cliff:

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    I couldn't tell what it was but I had to find it. I found a turnoff and started exploring. The road started out pretty reasonable:

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    Then it got worse:

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    Then it got worse:

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    Then it got *worse*:

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    About this time I realized I took a wrong turn.

    Eventually I found the building. It's some sort of monastery, not necessarily catholic - there was only one small cross. Unfortunately it was closed, but the structure and grounds were beautiful. There were waterfalls coming out of the rock face behind the building.

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    At this point it was getting late. I liked the idea of staying the night up at this altitude so I found a cabin at a small "eco-resort" in the valley below the monastery.

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    Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the spicy foil-wrapped baked trout I had for dinner. A Mexican family invited me to sit at the dinner table with them; I practiced my spanish while they practiced my english. I'm getting better.

    Here's the view out the front door of my cabin (which cost 450 pesos):

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    My cabin had no electricity, but it did have a fireplace! I spent the night reading by fireplace:

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    It's COLD at 12,000 ft elevation! :vardy
    #95
  16. Flyingavanti

    Flyingavanti With the Redhead on Back!

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    More!!!!!!!!!:clap
    #96
  17. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    [​IMG]

    Mexico City is just as crazy as you hear about. On the positive side, air pollution has been cleaned up pretty dramatically in recent years. On the down side, there are still plenty of open sewers - and they smell terrible.

    If you wanted to distill Ciudad de Mexico into one word, that would would be traffic.

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    There are two problems with traffic in Mexico City:

    * There are too many cars.
    * The freeways were designed by the criminally insane.

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    xkcd has been to DF.

    Let's say you see a highway ahead running perpendicular to your line of travel, and you want to make a left. There will be six different possible exits near the interchange, all labeled with obscure names of districts miles away. The correct path to the direction you want to go likely involves several right turns, a cloverleaf, a half-mile drive in the wrong direction, a u-turn, and traversing a bridge over the inevitable open sewer.

    In Guadalajara there were motorcycles everywhere. In Mexico City they are conspicuously absent. I should have taken this as a hint. Motorcycles (of any kind) are not allowed on the high-speed viaducts or the innermost lanes of highways. Remember what I said about the criminally insane - they like their traffic here.

    My first day in Mexico City was just long enough to find the Hostel Cathedral, get my motorcycle booted while checking in (less than two minutes parked in front), pay a 400 peso fine, wait three hours for them to unboot it, and find the KTM dealer. Sadly, I forgot to get a picture of my "jailed" KTM.

    I had the address of the KTM shop from their website. Upon arrival, I was informed that this was merely the sales shop and that the repair shop was across town. After 15 minutes of fumbling with maps and the GPS, the guy behind the counter gave up and said "follow me".

    This is the point at which real adventure begins:

    * Following a 690SM across Mexico City
    * Splitting traffic
    * At night
    * In the rain

    My only consolation was that at least I could touch ground with both feet, unlike the guy I was following:

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    The shop was closed; this exercise was simply so that I could mark the location on my GPS. For an encore, I rode the 45 minutes back to the zócalo aided only by my GPS and a fleeting sense of my own mortality.
    #97
  18. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    "A funny thing happened on the way to the airport..."

    My flight was at 5pm but I got up at 8am to leave plenty of time for the unexpected. The rule while traveling in Latin America is that you do only one thing per day, and I was going to try two - "leave motorcycle at shop" and "fly out of country".

    The ride to the shop was confusing as hell and took about an hour of wrong turns. Strategizing a route across Mexico City would challenge Garry Kasparov, and my Zumo is no Deep Blue. The autorouting is useless.

    The KTM shop in Mexico City (Motoaltavista) is very nice. I was happy to see about a dozen 640 Adventures in various states of repair, including a 660 Rally. They took my motorcycle, listened to my instructions (new rear tire, increase rear shock preload, replace all the bolts that vibrated out), and stored my gear.

    A well-dressed Columbian man who spoke perfect English struck up a conversation with me in the shop. Alejandro has a few KTMs including a 640 Adventure, and we spent a good hour talking about motorcycles. He even offered me a ride to the airport, which I accepted. Then he offered me a tour of his workplace - Alejandro designs bulletproof cars. I accepted!!

    Here is Ballistic Protection. They're pretty much the top-end maker of bulletproof cars. They will take almost any car and rebuild it as bulletproof.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2021/2265524169_680400e080.jpg"/></a>

    Here's Alejandro standing in front of a finished Escalade. From the outside you can't tell that the vehicle is bulletproof:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2021/2266305442_fffc159e6d.jpg"/></a>

    The interior finish is perfect as well. The giveaway is when you roll down the window and see the thickness of the glass. The Escalade has level three protection, which will stop most small arms:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2038/2265513919_690c442cbf.jpg"/></a>

    A different car with level three protection:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2060/2265513219_34ab5c3369.jpg"/></a>

    This window is thicker. The car has level five protection, which will stop armor-piercing sniper weapons:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2196/2266307814_6ee8429f8d.jpg"/></a>

    Another level five window, this one on a BMW X5. Alejandro had to design a completely new mechanism for electrically raising and lowering the heavy glass:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2191/2266312176_c0e2d5e8fb.jpg"/></a>

    A work in progress. They pretty much completely disassemble the body of the car and weld in thick armor plate. The armor panels overlap and include the firewall, floor, and roof of the vehicle. It's amazing that they can preserve the original finish of the interior.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2062/2266306216_158e7c05b8.jpg"/></a>

    The cutting and grinding of steel plate. The guys in back are using a plasma torch. Alejandro mentioned they regularly test steel from a variety of sources and Russian steel is by far the strongest.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2288/2266308780_f6b67d6799.jpg"/></a>

    They put runflats in the tires so you can still drive away. They also beef up the brakes and suspension because this process roughly doubles the weight of the car:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2095/2266310544_2dbdd078a8.jpg"/></a>

    The factory floor. They will convert just about any kind of car, not just SUVs:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/tags/ballisticprotection/"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2014/2265521663_17b96727de.jpg"/></a>

    I was impressed. It was cheaper than I expected; about $35-40k (in addition to the car) for a level 3 vehicle and $90-100k for level 5. I'm glad nobody (that I know of) is that interested in killing me!
    #98
  19. bluepoof

    bluepoof insert pithy saying here

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    437
    Location:
    San Carlos, CA
    :rofl :rofl :rofl

    That's exactly how I felt in Tijuana, too. Glad to hear that I won't be out of my element going farther south into Mexico. :D

    Thoroughly enjoying your trip, btw. Thanks for writing it!
    #99
  20. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    524
    Location:
    Please don't call it 'Frisco
    Hehehe... my advice, skip DF! :eek1

    Hey, I see you're from Danger. How's Life Under Bill? I had hiptops since the 1st gen, even wrote a nifty bartender guide app for the phone - but Danger couldn't convince TMobile to put it on-deck. After I bought an iPhone in anger I started wondering what was going to happen to Danger, Inc.

    Jeff