An Aussie Abroad - (Taking Lucy Home, from Chile to the US)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Junipertravels, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. Peter640

    Peter640 Peter 640

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    Great report and love your writing .... loved Mex and plan to be back there and deeper in in a couple of years.

    Thanks P
    #81
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  2. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Unfortunately, the KLR sparkplug is hidden down inside a depression in the top of the engine and lots of dirt and crap tends to accumulate around it, which can then drop into the engine when you remove the plug. It's important to give it a real good clean with compressed air / vacuum / brushes / whatever before pulling the old plug, last thing you need is a pebble in your cylinder. I just changed mine out a couple of days ago and had a good 20 minute session trying to pull out a tiny bit of rock stuck beside my half-out spark plug, if it had dropped it would have been a full top-end tear down!! Even with the fuel tank out there was not much room. In the end tweezers and a vacuum cleaner did the business, and she runs much nicer too! That iridium plug had about 25,000kms on it and my bike ran noticeably better, your one had about 50,000 kms on it which is why it looked like that :hide !! In my defense, they're supposed to be able to do 100,000 kms!

    So I would strongly recommend taking the fuel tank off and having a good clean down there when you swap them out.

    BTW - how long is your Arg TVIP good for? you still need to do the plate swap right?

    Happy travels bro! I LOVED Mexico city and as you say, the food....OMG
    #82
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  3. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

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    A valid point mate! And good to hear you're getting your bike back home ready, summer is coming! Hope you get some good trips in

    The TVIP is valid until the 28th of March, and still need to change the plates over. I was going to nip over to San Pedro de Atacama and change the plates before I left for Mexico, but the roads into the town were blockaded, the situation in Chile was a bit grim when I left. Will see about another border crossing when I get back there
    #83
  4. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

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    Okay so my first weekend in Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX) is relaxed without any real plans, this is thanks to my sensitive stomach (what the locals call Montezuma's revenge - food poisoning of gringos). My lack of eating leads to fatigue which leads to early bedtimes and consequently I'm awake before dawn most mornings. This is actually the best time of the day to wander a city and see it without the crowds. Perhaps a strange metaphor but I'd liken my early mornings watching the city wake up to that of watching your partner wake and dress in the morning. The city is naked of almost all people (there is the ever present police) but as the sky lightens people appear; fluorescent workers begin cleaning the streets; the police force change shift (literal police-marked buses are used to move the 100's of police in this district); punctual delivery drivers are dropping off boxes. When the roller doors begin to open men and women in suits with take away coffee cups appear, thicken but are then overtaken by screaming school kids. Soon the perpetually overcast sky of CDMX will be bright enough to be called daytime and the streets swell with my lot - the tourists, and with them come the merchandise hollering, the street performers and the beggars

    It's interesting being in a large city again after spending so much time in the relatively quiet Argentinian cities. That being said, CDMX wasn't as hectic as I was expecting. After travelling Asia I was expecting a similar chaos with Mexico City, but it wasn't. Population density of CDMX is relatively low and I was surprised with how tranquil it was. The historic district where I was staying would shut down at sunset (6.30pm) which caught me off guard a few times, and I suspect it's because no one wants to travel home on the public transport network after dark. Anyway, I really enjoyed the city. Vibrant and not overcrowded. And the food...!!! The best thing about Mexico is the food. As soon as I was eating again I became a regular and recognized customer of the street vendors of Plaza de Santo Domingo, and I try every variation of Tacos, Gordita's, Quesadillas... :happay

    :deal One of my regular's, the waiter was 10 years old and a real character

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    :dukegirl And some snaps of the street food here - it's delicious and deserves all the space on this post...

    Vaso de Choclo - corn cooked in butter, with cheese, chili powder and lime juice (30MXN / $2.20 AUD)

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    Assortment of kebab like meat used in the Taco del pastors - slow cooked and tender (Typical Tacos del Postors 60MXN for 5 tacos / $4.40 AUD)

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    Gordito (in ENG Little Fatty - a word also used to describe chubby friends!) - basically a large corn chip, shaped like pocket-bread, served with a red bean paste, cheese, mushrooms or meat, lettuce and pickled chilies. The one below is made from Zea Mays (Black corn). 40MXN / $2.95 AUD

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    Below, one of the many Tortas I ate. A bun fried in oil so the outside is crispy, inside can be a range of meats, cheese, beans, mushrooms, salads... Best eaten with pickled chili salsa. 50MXN / $3.70 AUD

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    Below, the making of a chicken and cheese quesadilla. 40MXN / $2.95 AUD

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    Also, another interesting point with CDMX was the immense police presence and the vehicles those police used. Dodge chargers seemed the most common, though there were streets lined with troupe carrying canopies. My favourite were the below bike (Harley's?) - something about police on bad-ass motorbikes made me think I was about to see a Terminator-like show down​

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    How many cop cars can you count in the below photo?

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    ...The answer is 11

    Janin arrived after I'd recovered from my gut poisoning. We were in town for the Day of the Dead festivities, but before the weekend we have time to explore the city - some interesting photos and facts which I will include at the end of this update. We also managed to get out to the large pyramid complex North West of the city

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    ...Continued on next post...​
    #84
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  5. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

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    Teotihuacan complex, photo overlooks the Lunar Temple Courtyard with the Sun Pyramid in the background

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    Two return public buses and a tourism entrance fee came to a grande total of 190MXN ($14 AUD). A very reasonably priced day trip instead of using a tour operator (600MXN). All thanks to Janin and her fluency with Spanish... The pyramid complex was massive and ancient. No one really knows who originally built the complex but it dates back to 100BC and was estimated to house up to 200,000 civilians at its height. We were able to climb the larger of the pyramids - the Sun pyramid, and get an appreciation of what the landscape would've looked like surrounded by temples and palaces, all covered in white plaster and murals. For now there is scant little of this left, and only the exposed foundation stone is left behind

    Some remnant plaster with some paintings... This would've covered all the walls and structures in the complex

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    There was also a temple left to Quetzalcoatl (the feathered snaked god) which still had impressive sculptures over the ruins

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    It felt very Indiana Jones (or at least it would've if it weren't crawling with other tourists)

    The highlight of my week was in fact a night spent at the wrestling. The Lucha Libre was an incredible, crazily comedic, very talented wrestling act. The performance was impressive, how they can throw their bodies around so violently without hurting each other. Throwing themselves onto each other from height and using each other to break their fall, very impressive, and very funny. A lot of the fighting reminded me of the classic moves of Black Widow from the Avengers movie franchise - lots of wrapping legs around necks and throwing each other to the ground this way... If you every find yourself in Mexico City you have to go to Lucha Libre - no need to understand Spanish, it's all pretty clear and very fun!



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    We also tried our first beer cocktails - this one was lime juice, beer, paprika and tamarind paste coated the rim of the cup. Let me describe it as very different, it didn't really taste like beer haha. We had our faces painted thanks to a spur of the moment decision and a good sales pitch from a street vendor

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    On the day of Dia del Muertos, we arose early and made for the nearby markets. I had picked up a suit jacket from a flea market for $4 (still had the tags on it - score!), will be perfect for my Dia Del Muertos attire and I can also use it for the wedding (yes I am a cheap bugger, but the jacket fits perfectly and is in new condition. No one will even notice!) We get our faces painted again and join the crowds to watch the parade. We meet up with some more travelers from our hostel (some Brit's and American's), and I'll summarise that fun times were had...

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    Spiced rum in take-away hot chocolates... Genius way to keep warm in what was a relatively cold day watching the parade:freaky

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    An example of the parade :lurk



    And some videos of the dancing which was happening all around the central plaza


    In the morning I drag myself out of bed for some delish tacos, wander the local markets and otherwise spend my time relaxing. The following day we'll be making for Puebla - 2 hours South West of here, the smaller city is a UNESCO world heritage site, famous for their architecture. Also it's surrounded by 3 volcanoes, one of which has recently been quite active - I'm yet to see an active volcano!

    ..Continued on the next post...
    #85
  6. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

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    FUN FACT TIME!

    So I mentioned in the earlier post Some Fun Facts about CDMX, gathered from one of those free city walking tours. If these things interest you, awesome, if not no dramas, feel free to skip :*sip*

    So you probably already know that Mexico City used to be a massive lake, the Incan empire built their capital on a small island within this lake until it gradually expanded and took over the lake ( obv there is no lake any more). They did this with these interesting man-made floating island, using trees to stabilise their position. Why did the Inca's build here? I suspect it was a tactical advantage to build your base surrounded by water, however the legend goes the that Quetzalcoatl had spoken to the emperor, and told him to create the capital where they found an eagle eating a snake whilst standing on a cactus. Very specific instruction. Anyway the Inca's found exactly this - a snake-eating-eagle propped on a cactus, on this little island and so the built their capital city here. This is now the image used on their national flag an the backs of all their coins

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    The Plaza we were staying next to was at the heart of this little island, and the government is carefully excavating the ruins which are beneath the historic Spanish buildings. There are literally layers of history in this square and the government has to weigh up which layer of history will be preserved

    This plaza is called Zocola. Now zocola in Spanish is a word used to describe the base of a statue (direct translation is socket or base). The government had commissioned a large Angel statue to commemorate their independence but had only built the base before construction was halted for decades after the US war. As a result everyone began calling the square Zocolo, and to this day is still called this despite there being no statue base now. The statue ended up being built elsewhere in Paseo de la Reforma and the independence square is remained relatively empty, and is often used as an arena for concerts, as well as a great central place for the Dia Del Muertos (Day of the Dead) parade. I thought it was interesting that now other Mexican cities and towns have come to call their central plaza's Zocalo, even though the term started as a nickname for an incomplete monument

    Ironically the iconic parade for the day of the dead festival, seen in the James' Bond film Spectre in the Zocalo, didn't actually exist before the film created it. The film popularised the idea of a large parade and so the city commissioned one after the film was released

    Back to the Inca's, the pyramid in the centre of the town (ruins in the below photo) was dedicated to the god of war - one of the Inca's most important gods. This pyramid was used to recreate gory acts of violence and sacrifice captured enemies. Their legend goes that the mother of creation, who had only 1 daughter out of her +400 godly children, fell pregnant with a child who would become the god war. The one daughter, jealous, plotted and convinced her brothers to turn against this new unborn child. The goddess of creation was scared and so by miracle gave birth to a powerful full grown man. The god of war. Immediately following his birth he killed his sister, casting her head into the sky with such force it became the moon, her body was cast down the steps of the temple leaving a bloody trail. The stars in the night sky represent the brothers who scattered in their fear. Each year the Inca's would recreate this story with an honoured sacrifice who would then have a place in the upper level of heaven for giving their life. Some sacrifices (often of their enemies) would have their still beating hearts cut from their chests... Very Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom...

    Model replica of Inca City Centre, with the remaining ruins in the background:

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    Below, the original gold plated statue head of the angel of independence, in the 1957 Earthquake the statue fell and was smashed to pieces. When authorities came the head of the statue was already missing. It was only recovered when someone tried to sell this giant gold head to a pawn shop some 10 years later

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    Below, is what local Mexican's have come to call as the first statue of corruption. The story goes that Viceroy Miguel was doing a terrible job ruling Mexico. When his king, Charles the fourth, planned a trip to Mexico he feared he'd lose his job. His response was to commission a grand, handsome statue of the king (looking nothing like him in reality). When presented with this statue the King allowed the viceroy to continue. Though it was not long after Mexican's rose up and took their independence from Spain. It's the second largest cast bronze statue to have been created, weighing 26 tonnes. Reader beware... the below photo isn't PG rated!

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    For those of you familiar with the Paris Underground you'll recognise the below metro station entrance. The Parisian styled metro entrance for only the Bellas Artes station. This is a little ironic, as it was a gift to commemorate an exiled dictator who attempted to recreate Mexico City as another European City (and all-round seemed racists against the locals). He spent his exiled years in France and after his death the French government gifted this metro station facade to the City of Mexico to celebrate the notorious dictator - despite ousting him in a violent coup, they actually assembled the facade and kept it for the station astride his infamous Palace of Fine Arts - An overly ornate marble monstrosity with ancient Greek architecture

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    Cathedral de San Francisco, has sunk several meters in the past 100 years. Below look to the chandelier and the angle it is sitting at, the whole has sunk but not equally and the foundations are wildly askew. Walls and floors are all at strange angles so that walking around inside this church feels very odd

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    This alludes to one of the biggest challenges CDMC is facing - it's interesting (or at least I find it interesting), but the problem with Mexico's sinking foundations is simultaneously due to a lack and an excess of water. How does this happen? So you know that CDMX was originally a giant lake which was built over and drained during the last 7 centuries. Due to poor drainage and a clay foundation water has frequently collected and flooded the city for most of these centuries. So there is an inherent culture now among the locals to fear water. The systematic creation of urban landscape has been developed to siphon the water away from the populace. This wasn't an issue until the mid 20th century when the population boomed causing water shortages, the government began bringing up water from the aquifer beneath the lake's clay foundation. So much water being has been removed, which, combined with the inability to recharge the aquifer thanks to the concrete and clay surfaces, has crippled the foundations, causing the city to sink. And not by any small amount, the city is sinking between 7 and 30 centimeters per year. Some parts of the city are 30 feet lower now than 100 years ago. The challenge the city faces is to recharge an aquifer that is all but blocked by original clay bottom of the lake and pavement above. At the same time parts of the city's population is often without water, and yet it is within a very high rainfall area
    More info here: https://www.thebubble.com/mexico-city-water-cuts-explainer


    Fun Facts about Dias Del Muertos:
    The below photo is a diagram of the Inca afterlife - the gateway into heaven leading into the 7 levels of heaven. The centre most is reserved for the gods and those sacrificed for the benefit of the Inca empire (the inca's did a lot of sacrificing). The orange petals are from the Samir flower which have heavy association with DDM. These petals are used to help guide the departed loved ones back home for their day on the Earthly plane (but only if their photos have been left on someone's ofrenda)

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    Below is a photo of me and Janin next to the ofrenda in our hostel

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    #86
  7. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

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    I'm really enjoying your report. makes me wish I had ridden through Northern Argentina rather than northern Chile. Are you still in Mexico? If you are , I'd like to buy you some tacos and beer.
    #87
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  8. rodrigzj

    rodrigzj Been here awhile

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    Wow! Great RR.
    I really enjoy your great description of everything you do.
    Good job keep me coming.
    Really like the history you explained about Mexico City.
    #88
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  9. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

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    Cheer for reading and the feedback guys! And looking forward to the beer and tacos @vicmitch :freaky

    So from Mexico City Janin and I made our way south to Puebla by local bus. A relatively short trip - used the time to watch the Pixar film Coco, highly recommended for anyone wanting to know more about the day of the dead festivities. Whilst it's a family friendly animation, it's been well researched and accurately describes the significance/belief of the celebration

    So Puebla - what a city! In 1987 it was named a world heritage site due to it's rich colonial architecture. Some of the streets were lined with buildings covered in tiles - very Portuguese, whilst other streets had the warm pastel colours I associate with Mexico. Whilst Puebla is one of the largest cities in Mexico it really didn't feel like it, it felt civilised but not not modern. For the first time in my adventures, cars would give way to pedestrians. I would often be the cause of a car-honking episode as I'd automatically wait for patient drivers who were in fact waiting for me

    Warm Pastels versus Portuguese-esc tiled building
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    Our hostel was relatively close to Mercado Del Carmen - a fresh produce market, so we loaded up the kitchen with fresh fruits for our breakfasts. We ended up making friends with some of the ladies here, who would giggle like girls when I'd speak Spanish with what I assume is a very confused accent - Australian/Argentina in Mexico... I think we spent close to an hour here trying an array of strange fruits, as well as a homemade candied sweet potato dessert. After the markets we found Jose - a treasure in markets, who has been making a meat-monstrosity of a Taco (named Super-Taco) in his shop for 53 years! It is also the only item on his menu, and I can understand why, once you've had one of his super tacos you won't want anything else - juicy beef steak slices, soft sausages (similar to black pudding), strips of pork, fried onion, crispy potatoes, and marinated green peppers...

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    One thing we were keen to try in Puebla is the Mexican National Dish, which the internet tells me originated here or perhaps in Oaxaca. The Mole. Now Mole isn't a dish as such, it's a sauce used in a variety of dishes. I think of it as a chocolate sauce (served on say a steak or chicken breast), but it can also be made with fruits, nuts and various spices. Anyway, our first night in Puebla Janin and I settled on a local relatively cheap restaurant and ordered Chicken Enchiladas with Mole Poblano, this is the darker chocolate sauce and apparently the most commonly found... So how was it?

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    It was weird. I love a good chocolate chili combo, but this sauce was very sweet and creamy, and the chicken was salty but the sauce overpowered any other flavour. I think it was one of those times when I go to a place that's perhaps a little too cheap or something. Anyway, it wasn't my best meal but I will withhold my judgment until I try it again somewhere else, perhaps in Oaxaca when I catch up with all my old uni mates

    The next day we make our way out to Cholula, a nearby suburb/town of Puebla. Very touristy but has some amazing views. We decide to use a couple of local buses, the first was little more than a minivan, the second was a minivan. They didn't seem to follow any particular route and the driver asked us exactly where he needed to go - not sure if this was just being super helpful or normal, but no one else got this special treatment. Cholula was very tranquil, beautiful and very clean. We headed to Zona de Arqueologica for some local history

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    Tlachihualtepetl or Man Made Mountain is a monster of a pyramd. Though it is now a ruin, it stands nearly as tall as the still complete pyramid of the sun (Teotihucan) we'd seen the previous week. In it's complete form it's estimated to have been ~450m in height. To put this in perspective the Pyramids of Giza, the largest currently standing, is only 140m tall. Tlachihualtepetl was built in a similar style and time as Teotihucan, and demised at a similar time. Similarly it was also built in layers, with each layer adding width and height. We were able to observed these layers by buying entrance to the site, which included walking the narrow corridors in the foundation of the complex (very interesting). Outside in the lands surrounding we walked the outer ruins that had been partially excavated. The ruins is largely buried, and a top it is a colonial catholic church. From a distance it would look like a church on a natural hill, the ruins are largely hidden until you get up close. The church was stunning - unfortunately I couldn't get a photo of the interior but it is the most ornate church I've seen on this trip so far. Looked like a room from Uncle Scrooge's McDuck Mansion - layers of gold on gold. The views from the top were excellent - Cholula seems relatively flat and this is probably the highest point in the city - from the plaza surrounding the church we were able to clearly see the three volcanoes which surround the city

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    The ruins were overrun with squirrels...
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    Popocatepetl, the active volcano between CDMX and Puebla gave us a show as we walked the grounds surrounding the pyramid complex, spewing a great column of dark smoke into the air. Popocatepetl has been relatively active lately, a local Mexican with the most impressive mustache went through his phone's photos with us, showing us photos of the violent eruption from about 3 months ago. Across the valley from Popocatepetl lies the dormant volcano Iztaccihuatl, the legend goes that a great warrior Popocatepetl. was betrothed with Iztaccihuatl. the most beautiful woman. The emperor who sought her hand sent Popocatepetl away to an unwinnable war, and then told Iztaccihuatl that he had fallen in battle. Stricken with grief she took her life with poison, when Popocatepetl returned he stood over her sleep-like form and vowed wait over her until she woke. The active volcano Popocatepetl does tower over the dormant Iztaccihuatl in a very reminiscent way

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    Popo on the left, Iztaaci on the right, the summits were shrouded at the time:
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    ...Continued on the next post...
    #89
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  10. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

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    It's a hot day to be exploring the ruins, parched, we head for the tourist hotspot Container City - a dozen bars made from an assortment of old shipping containers. I say we should grab a cold beer. Janin, the crazy German she is, twists my arm and the next thing I know I find myself in The Beirut Beerpong Bar playing a casual game of beerpong at 2pm in the afternoon. A fun afternoon follows, which includes snacking on some Chapulines - fried spicy grasshopper. I think Janin's face says it all in the below photos

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    Beer snacks:

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    Janin's face really sums up the whole eating grasshopper experience:

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    My last day in Puebla is spent in a cafe revising my Spanish and eating ice cream, in the evening I meet a group of rowdy Aussies. Fun times ensued.
    :rilla

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    At least I have Mexican food, it makes the ultimate cure for hangovers... :dukegirl

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    The next week I'm taking a Spanish course in Oaxaca, and the following week will be reuniting with my old university mates for my old housemates' wedding!

    I also need to make some decisions about what I'm going to do when I get back to Argentina/Lucy... Bolivia is pretty much a no-go at the moment, the stories of travelers crossing the country now are rough. The military and the protesters are clashing, with some fatalities. The roads have been blocked and the borders themselves may still be closed. Chile on the other hand seems to be calming down, so long as I steer clear of the larger cities I think I could cross into Peru through the North... The next wedding I'm attending is in Tulum, Mexico at the end of February
    #90
  11. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

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    Hey, I'm off to San Miguel de Allende till Monday. I guess we can meet up the week you are back in Mexico City
    #91
  12. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

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    Awesome mate, I'll be back this Sunday the 1st until the 3rd - let's do some beers and tacos!
    #92
  13. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

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    Alright, post Mexican wedding I’ve set myself up in a local cafe drinking not one but two drinks that have “detox” in their name… Fun times have been had

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    So Oaxaca began with a relaxed weekend with Janin, Saturday we wander the city, and on Sunday we take the public transport option (20mxn bus + 50mxn collectivo) to get up to Hierva del Agua - The boiling water. Despite the name these are cold springs, supersaturated with calcium carbonate. As it bubbles from a half doze cracks in the ground it leaves traces of limestone behind, much like the stalactites found in caves. The growth is obviously much faster given the volume of water, and what’s been formed is massive cascading limestone rock formations. From a distant they look like waterfalls, hence they’re more colloquially known as the local water falls. Much to some of my friends’ disappointment there is no actual waterfall here. There are a few man-made limestone pools at the top of the smaller fall though, large enough for a swim. Perfect for the hot days we’ve been having here. The pools green discolouration is hopefully from the minerals, though I do see a lot of young children swimming in the water. I’m very careful to not ingest any of the water anyway, lest I have another Jungle-water-hospital situation

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    We finish the day with some tourist-nuts (imported coconuts) with mezcal

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    Side note to those back home who may not know what mezcal is… It is a strong liquor made from the fermentation of the hearts of Agave plants, that have first been smoked. It’s more common than beer here, and Oaxaca is considered the home of this drink. Tequila is a subset of the mezcal alcohols, and there is no tequila we have in Australia that I’ve tasted really compares to the smooth mezcal’s here. I mean sure when I’m tight on money I drink some that might be better served stripping paint, but there were some mezcal’s I’ve had that were smoother than a good single malt and had a unique smokiness to them. I became quite partial to any “reposado” or rested mezcal – these are aged in barrels, giving them a distinct colour and smoothness.

    The collectivo off the mountain was overloaded so I ended up clinging to the outside of the ute for the 40min journey back to the Mitla bus stop. An excellent way to exercise my upper body (not), and the views were excellent, so a quick bowl of Pozole (4mxn) for dinner and an early bedtime

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    Collectivo ride on the way up was a little easier, being cramped in the luggage storage area...

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    Pozole - my regular dinner

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    **FYI a collectivo is a small scale more local transport, in the case of Hiearva del agua it was a ute fitted with seats and hand rails

    ...Continued in the next post...
    #93
    roadcapDen likes this.
  14. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Australia
    The next week was the Spanish classes I’d decided to take. The mornings I study with Johnathon, a 20 year old local lad. We do 2 hours written work, and 1 hour conversational. The conversational is with a couple of other travellers (Ophelie, Gracie etc). Afternoons are spent studying by myself in a local cafe. The week passes quickly

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    The view from the school (we study on the rooftop of one of someone's house - thankfully good weather every day here

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    Regular dinner meal from a street vendor in the Zocalo – Tamales Salsa Verde. Chicken with a spicy green sauce, steamed inside a corn-dough wrapped in banana leaves. Okay it may not look great, but trust me they're delicious and only 14mxn (~$1 AUD)!

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    The week plays out much the same, with the exception of a School Excursion. We grab a bus out to San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya – a 16th century church with a beautiful 280 year old organ. The bellows to the side are hand operated. Most impressively, this organ is still used in the weekly mass! Putting this in perspective, this organ was 40 years old when Australia was first discovered by Captain Cook. This one organ pre-dates all Australian buildings (excepting indigenous ruins), and would be an absolutely treasured relic in Australia. Instead, in Mexico it's just a musical instrument used for Sunday mass in this small little town outside Oaxaca... The ceilings of the church are covered in angels and floral patterns, all hand painted with incredible accuracy. Out the back of the church we found a relic of a very simple sundial, still reading the correct time (though I’m guessing as the seasons change it’s accuracy will vary)

    Hand painted decor ceiling:

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    Ancient still operational organ:

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    Sundial:

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    Next up, traditional textile weaving! Super interesting. All the colouring comes from local natural ingredients. The two most interesting were the red and the blue colourings

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    The blue comes from the leaf of the Añil plant, after being fermented for 3 months it’s mixed with another coagulating plant. The product drops out and the water is removed with evaporation. This product once dried can be stored as this blue chalk. When needed, it’s re-dissolved. Strangely this turns the water yellow, and wool dropped into this solution also turns yellow. When removed however it oxidises, and in moments and changes from yellow to green to blue. Memorising to watch, and interesting to ponder how this process was conceived and perfected in the pre-hispanic Central Mexico. Fun fact - Levi Strauss used this dye to make his first pair of blue Levi jeans in 1873

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    The red whilst less chemically interesting, has economic significance to world economies after the colonisation of Central America. The dye is derived from the white Cochineal bug which is encouraged to grow on the local cactus here. The white bugs are removed and crushed to into a bright red paste, very interesting to watch. This dye became an important export good in the 17th Century as European demand for the rich dye exploded. Interestingly Captain Phillip (namesake to Port Philip Bay back home) introduced the prickly pear to Australia (now a problematic weed) in an attempt to establish a British colony who could compete with the then Spanish monopoly – it was the dye being used in those cliche British red military uniforms

    The white powders on this cactus are hiding a startling red pigment inside...

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    Loom hard at work making a rug:


    The final product...

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    ...Continued in the next post...
    #94
  15. Junipertravels

    Junipertravels Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Australia
    We finish off the school week with our young teachers taking us out for some drinks. The main market here was just closing when we arrive, but some convincing by Johnathon enables us to get into the complex after hours. Once armed with two bottles of mezcal (150mxn each / $11 AUD) we invite local green grocer Freddy to stay back and join our secreted drinking session. We exchange some mezcal for limes, worm salt and chili’s which we use as shot glasses... Fun times were had...

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    (And yes, worm salt is made from crushed dried worms)...:kbasa2
    #95
    Slick13, ScotsFire and mrsdnf like this.
  16. mrsdnf

    mrsdnf Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2019
    Oddometer:
    1,013
    Location:
    Lost between the Dandenongs and Yarra Valley
    You are one crazy son of a gun. Loving your stories and pictures as always.
    #96
    Ozflock and Junipertravels like this.
  17. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    559
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Great reporting man, I loved oaxaca, I remember a row of taco stands that specialised in slow cooked pigs heads, they had seven different kinds of meat just from the face, and everything I dared eat from there was awesome! The huge local market and the fort up the hill are a great couple of days too, wonderful city but time to burn some rubber man!
    #97
  18. MotoRojo

    MotoRojo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2014
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    North Vancouver BC
    It’s been a while since the last post. Hopefully nothing to do with the mezcal :photog

    Hoping all is well with you, Haydon, and the adventure is still underway.
    #98
    razorsedge likes this.
  19. razorsedge

    razorsedge n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2019
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    USA
    Everything alright?
    #99
  20. Ozflock

    Ozflock n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Aussie
    Aww I expect far too busy enjoying Life now to sit at a computer and write about it...