It has been a strange time over the last three weeks with travelling in Mexico, interrupted by a 10 day visit to Hong Kong for me, while for Dave, my side trip meant a long stay on the Pacific coast of Mexico waiting for me to come back. We are now back in the swing of travelling together and the trip is made all the more enjoyable by the knowledge that I have a job for next school year and we will be moving to Hong Kong.
The last place we visited before I left for Asia was Morelia in Michoacan. This city is not visited much by gringo tourists but we were so glad we went as it was stunning and very European.
There were great vegetarian restaurants and we stayed in a cute colonial house where they let us bring the bike inside the courtyard.
This is also the place where I realised for the first time that I speak Spanish. I had no difficulty communicating with the housekeeper Lupe which quite surprised me.
One of the highlights of our stay was Sunday when the main street is closed to traffic to enable local people to cycle, rollerblade and do other things right in the centre of the city that they would not be bale to do normally. We had a ringside seat, right opposite the cathedral and spent a lazy early afternoon there drinking beer.
I then went off to Mexico City on the bus. The bus was luxurious and easy and I stayed overnight at one of the airport hotels before my 23 hour flight to Hong Kong via LAX. I had a scare as I had not realised until I boarded my flight that I would have to go through immigration in the USA before getting on the flight to Hong Kong (weird I know but this is how they do it in the USA). Technically I was not allowed back into the country (until I visit another country that is not Mexico or Canada) because of my visa situation. I stayed calm and for some reason, the immigration officer did not seem to notice my illegal status and stamped me in for another 90 days. Phew!
After returning to Mexico City via Toronto, I flew to meet Dave in Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca.We spent 2 hot days there and then two days in wonderful (but also hot) Zipolite, just down the coast, drinking too much beer and eating chips (french fries) every day, while I recovered from the trip.
Zipolite is a hippy paradise consisting of stunning beach, great restaurants and a laid back vibe. We loved it there but our room was not as comfy as we would have liked, mostly due to the heat.
We headed off to the mountains for three days in San Cristobal de las Casas. This is another amazing colonial city built at 2,200m. On the way up the fog descended upon us for a while and we could hardly see 30m ahead.
Our cottage was gorgeous and fully equipped with everything we needed except a heater. Luckily we have full thermal underwear and light down jackets and we wore them for most of the three days we were there.
The town is really beautiful and atmospheric but hard to photograph due to the traffic and the lack of light on gloomy days. Most of the people here are indigenous Mexicans and they look very different to the rest of the country, much more how you imagine people look in South America. We also saw a lot of women wearing traditional dress, consisting of a thick, hairy, black skirt and a colourful shawl. You can see some if you closely at the picture below.
On our first day in town we encountered a bike rally of about 100 bikes in the main square. We have not seen many bikes since arriving in Mexico, nearly 2 months ago and it seemed they were all here in one place.
We really loved the atmosphere here but were driven out by the cold in the end.
The journey down to the lowlands was 200km of winding, mountain roads with a lot of fog and some rain.
The villages are poor here and remind me of Laos or Nepal but they are not as quaint.
Arriving in the thick, moist jungle of Palenque, our intention was to stay and extra day to visit the Mayan ruins. However, our plans were thwarted by very heavy rain, forcing us to stay in the hotel and chill out for the day (never a hardship). We will pick the ruins up on the way back through Mexico in a couple of months.
We are now heading across the Yucatan peninsula and down into Belize and across to Guatemala to arrive at Lake Atitlan in time for Christmas weber we have rented a house for the holiday.