Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Puerto Angel -Oaxaca, Mexico

Little churches dot the landscape in pretty much every community. They are the nicest structure in every town which I'm sure make the locals very proud.
This giant church was under restoration, on the horizon it looked like a castle or a fortress.

A mare and its foll standing on the ridge with a rainbow in the background which is faint in the photo, but, was brilliant in real life.

The brewmaster, he didn't want his picture taken until I said it was for the women in Canada, then he emerged....but slowly.

Huge vats with all the mashed husks of the (pina de something). See the 5 gallon buckets....yeah....that gets pailed into a cooker and then bottled. The smell was kinda nasty, but I'm sure that I'll enjoy the drink someday back in Canada reflecting on my journey.

This big stone wheel is drawn by Torro's (bulls) round and round to crush the roasted Agave ("pina", pine something). The mash is then transferred to huge wooden vats and left to ferment before the next step in the process.

A fire pit where the "pina de something" is roasted to make the ingredients for Mezcal. The guy had a stack of wood that would keep a house in Canada warm all winter.

I crossed several different climates in one day which ranged from tropical coast and palms, to Pine trees and than into a decidious forest and finally into an arid grassland and then back into the pines. I loved the smell of the pines, its been a long time since I last smelled that distinct aroma.

Curvy roads and Tope's kept me on edge all day. Although I needed only to go 265km it took all day and I was riding like a maniac leaning it way over and really testing my motorcycling ability. After 7 hours it just begins to seem normal to hang it out there. Infact At one point I ran over so many tope's in a short time and the road was so twisty with perfect asphalt that I noticed that I was getting motion sickness.....weird.

Just up the hill from Puerto Angel this town was blasting music in the streets and decorating the town for some reason. People here like to enjoy life and get to know everyone in their community. In my communtity....errr I should rephrase that to ...In the city where I inhabit in order to go to work, I don't even know who my neighbors are and when I do say hello they think I'm a weirdo. Here everyone says hello, everyone is happy.

I awoke after a deep sleep in my Comfort Inn bed and decided that it was time to get my paper work completed. I followed the hand drawn map to the Aduana perfectly and got the bike officially entered into Mexico.

As I don't have a guide book for Mexico I am completely lost with only a road map showing me where to go in order to travel north. I managed to motorcycle all day on really straight boring highway for about 500 km along Ruta 200, at which point the road begins to head along the coast at Salina Cruz. From here the road was narrow and twisty with amazing views of the coast line.

By this point of the day I had been on the bike for 7 hours and I was getting tired. I knew of a beach town 200km further up the coast from Salina Cruz and now that I'm far enough north to enjoy extended day light hours I decided to push for Puerto Angel on the advice of Max and Chris who were surfer dudes in El Tunco.

I arrived in Puerto Angel in the dark and quickly found accomidations and headed out on foot in the rain. The rain was no bother as I had been in the rain more or less all day anyhow and I was hungry and looking for something typical to eat from the region other than Domino's Pizza.

I found a series of small stands selling "Comida Typical" (typical food) which served taco's, enchalada's, Etc. I waited in line and met a couple of German dudes standing there waiting for some grub as well. The local's form a deep human wall around the food counter and don't leave for any reason. They werent really buying food or anything, just huddling and carrying on the conversation of the day. Thus, for me to order food I had to yell over the heads of the little brown people to get what I needed. In about 15 minutes I had my taco's filled with beef, and chicken. The food was excellent and well worth the wait.

In the morning I headed out along the beautiful beach at Puerto Angel. This place was so amazing but, alas, I forgot my camera so only I can enjoy the memories of this special place. After walking along the beach, along the seawall, and after breakfast overlooking a beautiful bay I decided that it was time to move on. The day was shaping up to be a lazy day hiding from rain indoors breathing moldy air so I donned the moto gear and pulled outta town up Ruta 175 to Oaxaca.

The road acended steeply from sea level to 3000 meters and the air turned really cold. I pierced into the clouds and had very poor visibily at times with only 10 meters of foresight. According to the map, Oaxaca was only 265km away. The time to get to Oaxaca took more than 8 hours as the road had hundreas of Tope's (freaking huge speed bumps) and the twisty road kept my average speed somewhere around 35km/hr. The road was exhausting and the number of Tope's was ridiculious. I figure that I ran over 7-10 bumps per town, every 5 minutes for 10 hours which I can honestly say lands me rougly with 840 bumps and 4000 gear shifts. My left hand is so sore from clutching that at the end of the day my hand was merely a claw.

Just before Oaxaca I saw a little house like structure on the side of the road which was actually a fermentation building for Mezcal. (Mexico's unique drink to Oaxaca made from Agave plant and with a worm in the bottle). I stopped in and took a tour of the Hombre's place and got him to explain as much as he could to me as I thought the process was really interesting. In the end I bought a 1 litre water bottle full of the stuff and I'll try and bring it home. I'm pretty sure if I tell the Customs official that It's gasoline they'll belive me!!!

Arriving in Oaxaca I had no Guide book and the road proceeded into a political blockade of the highway. I was forced to ride along a detour through traffic jammed streets and weave my way through cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, dogs, chicken, pigs, etc., for an hour moving like the Flintstones dabbling along while making way through past hundreds of cars in gridlock.

As I have no book I had no idea what Oaxaca was all about and seeing the traffic and the crowdedness I headed out a toll road which was beautiful. It swept along the mountains where there were no inhabitants to scar the landscape. The scenery was amazing! Finally that night I bedded down in a smaller town called Nochixtlan and checked into Hotel Del Carmen where Luis made sure that I was comfortable for the night.

Before I headed up to the room I explained to Luis that I was happy to find a good hotel as I did'nt like the "love Motels" He agreed that I'd be ok here and upon entering my room I laid down on the bed and realised that the bed was plastic........arghhhhhh! Oh well, The place was clean and I hunkered down anyhow with the sound of people coming in and out all night.
Looking at the map I guess I'll head back to the coast to Ruta 200 where I think the road will have less tope's and make my way northwest from here. I looked on my GPS where I was relative to Canada longitudinally and I'm right at Winnipeg.

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