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Mexico by Geezer

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RexBuck, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    Mazatlan. sometimes seattle!
    RexBuck: The Photo's and narrative just keep getting better & better....

    Thanks for the great RR......:clap
  2. terrapinneck

    terrapinneck Been here awhile

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    Just a fantastic trip report, looking forward to the next installment.....
  3. LS650

    LS650 Adventurer

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    Are you heading further south to Chiapas? If you liked Oaxaca you will love San Cristobal de Las Casas...
  4. jcrider

    jcrider n00b

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    We've been spending our coffee breaks here forgetting about work & the white stuff thats piling up outside.
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us we are thoroughly enjoying it!
  5. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    :D
    Thanks for the comments. I appreciate it.

    Great - thanks for that. Next installment may not be for a day or so . . . probably 2 or 3 more Oaxaca installments.

    You are quite welcome. Having wasted tons of time reading RRs when I was working, I'm happy I can give a little payback. :D

    Thanks for tagging along.
  6. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    That is a great question and I appreciate your comments. I've been kind of 50/50 whether or not to go further south. I need to do some ride planning for next week when I leave the Oaxaca area. I think if I have the time (and why wouldn't I? :ear) I'll try to make it down there.

    Should be able to start proper planning in about half an hour, when the Bohemia Obscura is chilled.:1drink
  7. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Day 34 - Feb 19

    In the town of Teotitlan, in addition to weavers they have a few Zapotec candle-makers. As part of the weaving tour we visited one of the candle-making families.


    I liked this because:

    A - The candles are cool and the methods are pretty simple
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    B - The 3 year old daughter
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    In this family, Mama is the boss and makes the candles and decorations while Papa melts wax, gathers wood and carries stuff around. The kids help Mama. This family's (as are most families in the town) primary language is the Zapotec Indian language with Spanish to communicate with the rest of the world. So, any discussion between family members was always in the native tongue.

    All of the candles and decorations are made from beeswax which starts off like this. You know it must be beeswax because of the dead bees stuck in it.
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    Melted in these pots over wood fire while wick is prepared
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    Hot wax poured on the wicks to slowly (really slowly) build the candles up
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    to guys like these

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    Or, a monster like this. Since a good percentage of the candles are used in churches, I suspect this is going to one big church.
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    Flowers are also made from beeswax. Various molds are dipped into hot wax then cooled and popped off the mold
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    [​IMG]

    then trimmed and shaped to be assembled as a flower. Some are natural color and others use wax dyed with about any color you want.
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    Peeking around a corner was the 3 year old
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    Mom calls her over
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    Hands her a mold
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    She goes to work (How many mothers out there would be letting their 3 year old kid play in hot wax?)
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    Mom, is very calm and very patient
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    Success - Happy Mom
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    [​IMG]

    Proud Dad
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    She's pretty proud of this herself
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    Gives it to Mom
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    Proceeds to grab some scissors (Moms are a titterin again :yikes) and make some flowers of her own
    [​IMG]
  8. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Hey Rexbuck: I've been following along with your report and I think you would enjoy San Cristobal de las Casas. It has a great vibe...with lots of indigenous villages to explore in the nearby hills. Great markets and great restaurants. If you want to get more specific...send me a PM.

    Johnnydarock
  9. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    He Johnnydarock, thanks for the comments. You have mail
  10. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Hey Rexbuck: Here's what I know. The attraction to San Cristobal de las Casas is it's smal colonial city charm surrounded by indigenous Tzotzil and Tzeltal indian villages. I always stay at a small hotel called Jardines el Cerrillo located at Av. Belisario Domingues No. 27. It's close to everything (as you will want to walk around this town) about $40 and has secure bike parking. To find it...you'll have to get a map or ask directions. If you only have one day here you will want to begin with a visit to a local village called San Juan Chamula (about 10kms). Try to make it on Sunday (market day) but any day is good. Go early. You'll want to buy a ticket at the city hall and go to the church. There will be many shaman healers doing their thing. Just stand in the back and watch. No camaras are allowed (even around town) and you'll see them sacrificing chickens or downing a full Coke to burp in order to expel evil spirits. Get back to San Cristobal in the afternoon and wonder through the main market. There will many indians running around in their local dress...great photos. You'll think you're in another world. Find a nice restaurant and enjoy a Negro Modelo.

    Tonina is a great ruin as it probably sees 10 visitors a day. Don't forget to visit Agua Azul on the way to Palenque. The ride over the mountains is fun and much like that road from the Pacific coast to Oaxaca. Take it slow as you can come around a corner and there will be only half the road in many places. Plus you may come across more of those "bandidos" you encountered with the rope across the road asking for a "road tax." I always stay at Campground Mayabel near the Palenque ruins (walking distance). They have nice rooms as well as camping and a great restaurant. It has a fun vibe and there is usually music most nights in the restaurant. Get to the Palenque ruins early as the big buses full of fat tourist start showing up at 9am and the place is a zoo by 10am.

    That's about it. Have fun!

    Johnnydarock
  11. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Hey Johnnydarock
    Thanks so much for the info. I'm wanting more and more to head down that way. My main concern is I just don't want to short myself on time further north and, I don't want to interupt my new found lazy, relaxing, short mileage days style. :ricky
  12. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Day 35 - Feb 20

    Took a trip out to the ruins of Mitla and the Tule tree

    It is believed Mitla was populated by the Zapotec from around 100AD and became the political/religious center of the region around 900AD. It ceased to be the hub when the Spanish showed up around 1520.

    Some of the walls. Notice the design of the friezes

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    Everything was cut exactly - no mortar used. If there is any visible now, it was introduced during restoration
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    These columns that supported a roof and the large lintels above the door frames were quarried in the mountains and transported here
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    Tombs - 2 tombs are in this location. Of course, they were used to stick the bodies of presumably important people. Apparently, when the next important person died, they just shoved the previous guys (and their belongings aside) to make room for the new guy. Given they were buried with important stuff, I'm guessing gold and silver, this is the sort of place the Spanish looted.

    If you are claustrophobic, don't go down there - it's about 2 or 3 giant steps down

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    This poor girl became the unsuspecting model for my demonstration of how low the entry into the tombs is
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    Each tomb had three chambers like this radiating from the main entrance way
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    Looking back at the entrance. Below this girl, you can see the entrance you have to crawl through
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    Of course, with the Spanish came the Catholic Church. In the 17th century, a new church was built right on top of one of the Zapotec structures and the large stone lintels continue to support the large church structure.
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    [​IMG]

    Building materials for the church were scavenged from the palaces and other structures so a lot of the original buildings are gone or largely destroyed
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    There are a lot of small to mid-sized Mescal distilleries in the area. As we were leaving Mitla, noticed this one small outfit crushing agave piñas the old fashioned way
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    So, what's the difference between Mescal and Tequila? Here is the short explanation. Tequila is a type of Mescal. Mescals are distilled from the fermented juice of many varieties of the Agave, which incidentally is not a cactus but related to the lily. :huh

    To be a Tequila, it must be made in a small region of Jalisco State from Blue Agave and the Agave piñas are steamed before crushing. The other Mescals can be made anywhere in Mexico from a number of types of Agave and the piñas are baked before crushing (giving Mescal more of a smokey flavor).

    The Agave plant takes 8-10 years to mature and then is dug up, the leaves chopped off and the central piña, which can weigh 30 to 100 pounds, is crushed for its juice . . . which they then turn into a magic nectar. :thumb


    Field of Blue Agave
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    Agave piñas being delivered to a distillery
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    The Tule tree is estimated to be over 2000 years old, in the courtyard of the local church and appears to be quite healthy. It is truly magnificent. Difficult to get a pic of it and give the viewer a sense of its immensity.
    [​IMG]

    2000 years old
    A bit less than 50' in diameter
    About 140' tall

    [​IMG]
  13. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    What a Cutie, look at those eyes!

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    The People, Food & Scenery are what makes the Adventure:clap

    Sleddog
  14. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Great RR! :clap I am on page 7 and catching up. I am in Mexico as well.
  15. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Thanks for tagging along Donnie.

    I've been following your RR as well. You look like you are making pretty good time. Are you planning on staying on the coast all the way down?
  16. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    I'M FINALLY CAUGHT UP!!!! i've enjoyed it all...what is a 'mole'. how much does tequilla cost in mexico? love all the pics and your story about them.
  17. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    sweet trip.
    had some killer mole the other day.
  18. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    heaven on your tongue & less
  19. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    I am making a detour to Guadalajara and then will head back to the coast.
  20. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Mole . . . pronounced moe-lay . . . what Eakins said. The "sauce" in the dish. Very complex flavors and when you get a good one, you may start crying it is so good. Seriously!

    Tequila - I think I've seen it for as cheap as $5 a bottle - probably get some homemade stuff cheaper. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. Tequila is spectacular as a sipping drink, I like it with a little ice . . . hmmmm.