Wednesday, March 25, 2009

3/22/09 Martinez De La Torre - Oaxaca, 320 miles/11hours

Skipped a day writing because I was too damn tired to do anything but sleep. Left Martinez DLT determined to make it to Oaxaca 300 miles away. An easy half-day in the States but a really full day in Mexico. The first half of the day was pretty standard riding. As I rode through the state of Veracruz it got very mountainous with a lot of curvy raods, switchbacks, dropoffs with no guardrails, roamong animals, etc. Trucks and cars blazing through, but much like in NYC, when dealing with unavoidable driving circumstances, the drivers are forced to make driving a non-passive activity and things move along. I still want to post a Mexican Driving Primer 101 but in the meantime Ill just say that i think this kind of semi-aggressive driving is good and forces people to pay attention unlike in most of the U.S. where people just zone out and talk on cell-phones, apply make-up, etc. Anyway, the mountains of Veracruz were also very tropical and jungle-like. Oranges are everywhere, in trees, the backs of trucks, on the side of the roads, and sold all over by vendors. Also stopped and had my first "agua de coco", where a girl cut off the top of a cocunut and dropped a straw in. i drank the semi-sweet water and the girl chopped up the coconut with a machete and pulled out the "pulpa" for me to eat. All this for about 75 cents and she refused to take anymore. Exited Veracruz and entered the state of Puebla. Much like when crossong U.S. state borders, the change was almost immediate. The mountains plateaued off somewhat and the landscape turned from lush green to dry brown. Made my way through Puebla and rode the rest of the day which included misseed turns, dirt roads, getting chased by dogs, coming face to face with mules and donkeys, etc. Determined to make it to Oaxaca by nightfall I push on through the mountains, swearing not to pay the exorbidant fees to use the national freeway system, (toll roads or "autopistas'). They charge you by the length of miles you travel and can cost up to $100 a day! It gets dark in the mountains, pitch black with all the same hazards as before but also very peaceful and exciting at the same time. I slowly make my way into the bustling city of Oaxaca around 10:00pm and after driving around the city lost for an hour (I found out the next day I was reading my guidebook incorrectly), I find a room for $10, runout for a bite to eat, and quickly fall asleep.

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