Tricepilot's Oaxaca

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tricepilot, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Meet Juan Pelota. I don't know if that's his real name, or if he has a name at all. Its the name I gave him because for some reason, I thought of Juan Pelota, the name of the coffee bar at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop, owned by Lance Armstrong, in Austin, Texas. But this hog isn't a Texas hog, he's a Mexican hog. And he doesn't live on the route we were taking to Veracruz (the city) either, but far off the beaten path. His pen is on a hillside behind a house in Tlapacoyan, Veracruz state, with a lot of other hogs. Their Mexican owner has been labled by the United States Government as a criminal. I think he's a hero.

    That story, next.
    #61
  2. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan There, that's it

    Joined:
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    Errrrr, where's the commercial break following the teaser?? :dunno
    #62
  3. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

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    Hope you remembered to add an extra soccer ball in my name in exchange for that CD I won, and didn't collect. :D
    #63
  4. M38A1

    M38A1 Type-A Introvert

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    Central Tejas
    :*sip*

    More please......

    .
    #64
  5. Kiko

    Kiko Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Jalisco, Mexico 45800
    This picture of the hog is reminding me of the rider last year on ADV who said he was afraid to ride to Mexico because he could get the swine flu virus and die or worse yet, be trapped in Mexico because he could not re-enter the US with the swine flu. :sick
    #65
  6. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan There, that's it

    Joined:
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    I've been tempted to feign the swine flu so that I would be stuck in Mexico.

    *Ring* *Ring*

    "Hi, this is Bryan"

    "Hi, Boss. Got some bad news. ICE won't let me back into the US
    from Mexico 'cause they think I have the swine flu. Real sorry, but there's nothing I can do. Good news is I did bring my company laptop so I can work from here until they've cleared me to re-enter."

    "Wow! Sorry to hear that! But thanks for being such a good employee and being willing to do whatever it takes to get the work done. Where will you be working from?"

    "Why thanks Boss. See you in a few weeks. Oh, yeah, I'm in a little village called Galeana."
    #66
  7. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
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    Tlapacoyan - never heard of it. Tlacotalpan, yes. Tlaquepaque, sure.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    If Tlapacoyan is hard to pronounce, try "ta-la-pa-coyan". Then try to blend the first two syllables as best you can, to eliminate the first 'a' sound in my example. The result is a fairly easy sound to achieve, once you ge the hang of it.<o:p></o:p>
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    Often if not usually the unplanned excursion to see what's around the bend achieves the most surprising results. This was one of those side trips. It wasn't even a done deal until just about time to clutch out from lunch.<o:p></o:p>
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    I was wondering what was in Jims Big Bag. I couldn't imagine what possibilities he was preparing for. I mean, he had a full set of Givi hard luggage, and now this, a parcel bordering on the gigantic. An assumption was made that it was extra gear for his trip to the BMW rally so perhaps it was additional fru-fru evening attire. Who knows, I didn't ask.

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    Noshing over lunch, the subject came up of who wanted to accompany Jim to Tlapacoyan (been able to pronounce it yet?) and who wanted to cruise on into Veracruz and have a longish afternoon. Brian, Frank, and Ralph went with the latter, and I decided to provide "wingman" support to Jim on the remote chance the he had a mechanical or other problem. This was unlikely due to the fact that he was experienced and had no issues traveling off the established trail. He mentioned that his drop-off bag was full of clothes, and thought we would stay for a short while and then resume the vector to Veracruz. I was good with all of this.<o:p></o:p>
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    Digesting a fairly non-descript seaside lunch, Jim and I took off for the delivery and the others headed south on Mx 180 to Veracruz. We cut onto Mx 129 to Tlapacoyan. If you've been on this route, you've seen the endless banana plantations that 129 seems to split. Many of the bundles of bananas on the trees had a blue plastic bag around them, I suppose to ward off the cold, but I tried hard to think of where that cold could come from, as even at night at this latitude the temps were extremely tropic. Save for one wrong turn that turned out to be extremely intriguing, we pulled through town and to the appointed destination.<o:p></o:p>
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    Noe's house was at the top of a hill, of nice appearance and in a quiet area of Tlapacoyan. All seemed as it should for the first few minutes until he came over to the bikes and said "hey, how's it going?". His wife and sons in their middle teens and a young twenty-something were equally at ease speaking English. Invited in, we sat in the living room (salón) as Jim presented clothes from the depths of his gigantic bag. Jim had been here before and he was the one to suggest "hey, you want to see Noe's hogs?" Off we went to meet what I was to call "Juan Pelota" and his friends.<o:p></o:p>
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    Immediately out the back of the house I was struck by the sight of dense jungle and a steep hill, which combined to add to the dissonance of finding a virtual pig farm built on the side of a hill, each pen ten to fifteen feet lower than the previous, a series of them, culminating at one large one at the bottom of the hill. Mixed in with all of this were banana trees, orange trees, and coffee plants. Not expecting any of this (and never having seen a coffee plant up close), this was a bit surreal to me.

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    Piece by piece, Noe's story unfolded on the tour of his property. Turns out he had crossed the Rio Grande once or twice and eventually been caught and deported. He crosses again, makes it to the Midwest, and cranks out a hard working life as a roofer. His kids grow and go to American schools, becoming fully and totally bilingual, to the point that in either language they have no accent at all. Only Noe is caught again, threatened with prison time, so he packs up his family and returns to Mexico.<o:p></o:p>
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    From roofing to hillside farmer and hog raiser, I was fixed on the idea of being transplanted like that and wondered if I could pull it off if I had to. In the sense of taking what life throws at you combined with the force of will to try to provide a good life for you family, Noe was a walking example of grit and determination. To me he is a hero, even though our own government has him filed as a marked man. <o:p></o:p>
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    I'm constantly thinking and re-thinking about our government's policy on our southern border, and I've been watching Border Wars on the Nat Geo channel. Recently, we had tree work done on the property, and three of the men in the trees were from Honduras, and one from El Salvador. None had entered legally, and I had a lengthy conversation with one of them about his harrowed night crossing and being chased by the Border Patrol. His boss, Benicio, also has his own story to tell of how he came to the United States.<o:p></o:p>
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    If anyone is inclined to inject an opinion on U.S. border policy, I'd say keep it out of the ride report and take it to jo momma. We're not going to solve it here. What I can say is that this little side trip that I hadn't planned to take widened my eyes big time on the impact the collision between dreams and policy can have. I'll just leave it at that. If you have strong feelings you can PM me and get more on what I really think.<o:p></o:p>
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    Climbing the hill back to the house, it was time to say our goodbyes and get on to Veracruz and meet up with the other guys. Just before we clutched out of Tlapacoyan, Noe's wife handed Jim a large package, which he placed in his now empty bag. Turned out it was ground Veracruz coffee, from their own beans. I made it my goal to get my hands on some of that coffee. We rode back down 129 to 180, and pulled into Veracruz in the very early evening. Plenty of time to see the zócalo and then take a taxi to a nice seafood restaurant. Most of that day, and often since, I thought about making a life on a jungle hillside, and the hero that makes it all work.<o:p></o:p>

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    #67
  8. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
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    #68
  9. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    By the way, if you're on Mx 180 near Monte Gordo and Casitas, skip the Mocambo, is my recommendation. The brightly colored entrance is alluring, but the food is just so-so, and I'm sure there are better stops along this absolutely beautiful coastline. Why more expats don't live in this area north of Veracruz, I have no idea.

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    However, I did appreciate their colorful, if slightly faded, artwork :clap
    #69
  10. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Its always interesting to me how you can get people to smile and pose for the camera, even if when you first meet them they seem rather aloof. My next subject works the hotel bar in Tuxpam's Holiday Inn. She was at the main desk doing business while we were checking in. After I dropped my stuff of in my room, I went down to the bar to watch football (soccer in Mexico) and relax. She was extremely shy at first, and declined to be photographed. I laugh when I think about this, because rarely, if ever, have I encountered someone who steadfastly refuses some portrait shots.

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    #70
  11. NAVIGATOR

    NAVIGATOR Wanderer

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    #71
  12. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Apr 30, 2006
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    San Antonio
    :clap

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    #72
  13. Tripletreat

    Tripletreat Been here awhile

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    Boise, Idaho
    Thanks for persevering with the young lady. It paid handsome rewareds. Lovely lass!
    #73
  14. HWSNBN

    HWSNBN Banned

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    Playing a d00d, disguised as another d00d
    Keep it coming TP. I've wanted to got to Oaxaca ever since I read this RR years ago here...:D
    #74
  15. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Uvalde, TX

    The Costa Esmeralda. I happen to agree with you. When I rode down to Santa Ana with Arte and Andres last year I fell in love with that area. Tropical and coastal, it's pretty damned close to Margaritaville. :clap
    #75
  16. TCSVN

    TCSVN ...Stays in Vegas...

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    Living the dream
    Great stuff, Trice!
    #76
  17. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan There, that's it

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    Haven't been back to Monte Gordo since August of 1980. There was nothing there back then but a nationally known Brujo. Well, and our American expat friends.

    My, how things can change in just a few short decades.
    #77
  18. Bato

    Bato Been here awhile

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    TEJAS
    you're now making me think of Maria Sabina flight attendant from OAXACA
    #78
  19. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan There, that's it

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    "Flight attendant"??

    Yes, I suppose so, in a way. :lol3

    Like Carlos Castañeda was a writer of travel blogs, maybe? :dunno
    #79
  20. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
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    tricepilot = the best Mexico ride reports on ADV. :clap
    #80