Guatemala or…?

Our visit to Uxmal very much reinvigorated our spirits and recharged our Allspark. But where to next? That’s THE question we keep asking each other lately. How about south into Guatemala…via Merida (yes I know Merida is north of us O_o, and yes, we did just spend 10 days there)? Our logic (I use the term logic loosely) was to resupply in Merida and to research which border we wanted to cross.

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Apparently we missed this mall with an indoor ice skating rink during our first stay in Merida. Just goes to show you that no matter how long you visit a place for, you probably won’t see everything.

Juan the mall cop was keeping all the skaters in line.

A couple of days later, instead of heading south we found ourselves booking a hotel off the main strip in Cancun. Yeah, I don’t know what we’re doing either but it sure is fun! We figured since we were so close, why not stop there for a few days…or a week. It seemed fitting to keep the momentum of our lack of momentum going. Or something like that.

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Lori once again managed to find us a great deal online at the Holiday Inn Express, and although perhaps not exactly indicative of the typical North American standards for room quality of a HIE, the place was fantastic. What it lacked in room swanki-ness, it made up in amenities.

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A beautiful pool area and a fantastic multi course breakfast served up every day by Armando and his team. The hotel is also away from the main tourist strip, which means that it’s quiet and that we had to walk a few kilometres to get anywhere – something we were both excited about. No really! Riding around on the bike isn’t exactly a high intensity workout so we enjoy every possible opportunity to get some exercise.

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We found a little public beach just off a parking lot amongst some resorts.

Let’s be honest though, had the beach been in our backyard like some (or most) of the all-inclusive’s, we may have done zero walking.

The first night in town we found this awesome little hole in the wall that served up quesadillas and nothing but quesadillas, all kinds of quesadillas for 12 pesos each (about a $1).

Not a bad view from our room. Unfortunately that’s mostly all Lori saw for several days after getting sick. We ended up hanging around the hotel and the pool for several days while Lori recuperated. I suppose there are worse places to get sick.

We’ve read about people getting sick in Mexico from eating or drinking the wrong thing, but we were pretty much eating and drinking the same thing so we’re not sure what it was. I don’t think it was the quesadillas since I essentially lived off of them while Lori was sick and didn’t eat anything. It’s hard to pass up yummy dinner and a drink for $4.

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While hanging out in Cancun we found out that our friend Tina and her friend had escaped the bitter winter back home and were in nearby Playa Del Carmen on holidays. So we hopped on the bike and made the short trek to PDC to have some dinner together. Small world.

The last 2 nights in Cancun we decided to treat ourselves to some better food. Not only because we cheaped out most of the week but Lori was also feeling much better and since she hadn’t eaten in like days, we thought it would be a nice treat. We did our usual “let’s walk down the road and stop at the first place that has people eating and looks good” bit and came across the Surfin Burrito/Pizza shop. I had probably THE BEST chicken parmesan I’ve ever had from these guys. Short of having live chickens roaming around in the back, everything was made from scratch while we waited. The portion size was also quite generous and I was almost in tears having to leave what I couldn’t finish behind. But with no fridge at the hotel, such goes the travel life. We found ourselves back the following night and both ordered the Mahi Mahi fish & chips. Double WOW! Definitely a place to check out if you ever end up in Cancun. Best fish & chips since that place in Kaslo, B.C.

Considering we’re not huge fans of super busy touristy places, we had a great time here in Cancun (apart from Lori getting sick of course).

Uxmal Video

Our photo editing software seems to be acting up. GRRRRR! It has for some strange reason spontaneously deleted all the edits to all photos since we left Merida and we’re trying to get back up to speed. Yes we have backups of the photos but it seems to be a little more complicated than that.

In the meantime here’s a short little video I forgot to add to the previous post from Uxmal.

Uxmal Ruins

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We’ve gone from 1400km’s in 4 days to about 200km’s in nearly 3 weeks. Taking this “slow” thing to a new level, we put down another exhausting day riding a whopping 83km’s from Merida to Uxmal (pronounced oosh-mahl). Lori found another excellent deal online at a hotel only 2km’s away from the Uxmal ruins and out of uncertainty of where to go next, we checked in for few days.

I know what you’re thinking. A few days at this place? Yeah, that’s gotta be tough. Continue reading

Happy Holidays

We’ve mentioned a couple of times that we had hit a low spot on our travels. I’m not going to belabour the low points though because we’ve already kind of flogged that horse. We have been overwhelmed with the positive energy, comments and votes of confidence we have received from far and wide. Our intention in posting about the downside of our trip wasn’t to garner support or attention but to document both the ups and downs of our longterm travels. Life just isn’t perfect either at home or away. We want to remember this when we are old and sitting in our rocking chairs looking back on all we’ve experienced. We also want anyone who cares to know we are aware there isn’t a perfect life, or trip. I remember that before we started out we both read many trip reports and blogs. The one thing we didn’t see in most of them was anything negative. I’m sure that’s got something to do with people wanting to remember the good times and forget about the bad, but I believe the bad times make the good that much more special and we shouldn’t be afraid to experience them or talk about them. Suffice it to say since our first post about things not being wonderful we have truly fallen in love with Mexico, the culture, the people and all the things we first found uncomfortable. We will be very sad to leave. Continue reading

Not every road is paved with gold

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In the hope that some sun and beach time would lift our spirits we booked an ocean front condo in the Yucatán over Christmas and spent the next few days motoring east. Something we would later come to regret, not only because we blew through 8 states in such a short time, but also because we missed some of the spots we planned on seeing. Not to mention the small fortune we spent on tolls as we mainly stuck to the cuota covering over 1400 km’s over 4 days.

We came across a couple of noteworthy (token) runaway ramps along this very twisty stretch of highway in the mountains heading towards Córdoba. The first ramp was all downhill and had a couple hundred feet of gravel just before coming to an abrupt stop at the face of the mountain. Guaranteed to stop any vehicle from any speed I suppose. The second one had an even shorter gravel section resembling the end of a ski jump ramp aimed directly out over the edge of the mountain. Past the ramp was a several thousand foot drop to the bottom of the valley. I called them token ramps, because really, who’s going to use them? Continue reading

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Back when we visited the Geo Centre in St John’s, Newfoundland, we saw Flight of the Butterflies, a fantastic 3D movie about the Monarch butterflies and their migration from eastern Canada and the US all the way down to Mexico. Canadian zoologist and Scarborough (Ontario) resident Fred Urquhart, discovered that the Monarch butterflies migrate all the way down to Mexico for the winter by tagging them. Angagueo just happens to be located a short ride from the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve where the Monarchs migrate to. Coincidence? Naw. We made up our minds about coming here back in Newfoundland and it’s exactly where we headed next. Of course it wasn’t long before we had another gravitational incident with our bike. Continue reading

Gravity Sucks!

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We didn’t roll out of our hotel till the crack of noon and encountered more bumper to bumper traffic pretty much right outside our hotel door. We eventually found ourselves in a very ritzy part of town after missing a turn the GPS wanted us to take. Beautiful new homes, security guards everywhere, we were worried one of the guards would run us off for trespassing. The GPS rerouted us straight through the subdivision and a few minutes later we found ourselves at the end of a cul-de-sac facing a really crappy looking dirt path with the GPS urging us on. According to the GPS, this is a through road. Hmmmm! A moment later a cab zipped right passed us and down the dirt road. Ok, I thought, if he can do it… Continue reading


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We had a very short 174km’s to Morelia and our 8th state (Michoacán), and even with our morning detour to Guanajuato, we made it there with plenty of daylight left. We managed to hit another huge traffic jam navigating our way downtown to the first hotel on our list. Nice place but parking was an issue as I would have to get the bike up the rather significant sidewalk curb, through the main door, over the raised threshold and into a small sunken courtyard right next to the nativity scene. There was just enough space to park the bike but not enough space to turn around to get out of the sunken courtyard.

The girl at the front desk told us about another hotel a few blocks over with secured parking and drew us a little map. Looked good but parking was across the road although in a secured building. We thought we’d try the other hotel on our list first, the Hotel California. But the GPS took us out of downtown into a much more depressed part of town, down some alleys we both thought were questionable and of course no hotel in sight when we got to our destination. Back to #2 it was.

On the way there, we were behind a pick up truck waiting for a light to change when one of the kids in the back of the truck yells something to us in spanish. “Lo siento, no hablo español,” I replied. The girl next to him then yells back in perfect english, “do you know where the theatre is?” Seriously? You’re asking us for directions? BWAHAHAHAHA! Continue reading

Culture Shock

Somewhere over the last few days we’ve began feeling pretty homesick, almost 7 months on the road and it hits us now? With Christmas fast approaching it’s only going to get harder I think. There’s no doubt that there are good days and bad ones but we’ve noticed we’re having more of the bad ones lately for some reason.

Mexico seems like a paradox of sorts. It has some of the most amazing architecture we’ve ever seen, the buildings, cathedrals, every town is beautifully decorated for Christmas, people are nothing but friendly, well dressed, platform shoes and high heels are totally in at the moment. On the flip side the poverty is almost overwhelming. You can’t drive through a small town and not notice it, even in larger cities. Some of the buildings are so dilapidated it’s hard to imagine anyone living in them. Driving through a small town we watched a family doing their laundry in the creek, 50 feet upstream another one doing the same thing. We wondered if that was also the town’s water supply but if they’re doing laundry in the creek, it’s possible there is no running water at all.

Stray dogs are everywhere. Dead ones litter the roadsides and the ones that are alive are so emaciated it’s heartbreaking to see first hand. The language barrier doesn’t help either and just seems to make everything that much more stressful. We were having a difficult time processing everything emotionally and have found ourselves essentially shutting down by the end of the day some days. We’ve gone from everything being essentially easy and fun to everything being a struggle. What’s going on? It didn’t hit us till about a week later that what we were experiencing was culture shock! Continue reading

Drivers Ed…Mexican style

While loading up the bike in front of the hotel the next morning, we were approached by someone from a Mexican magazine, Enlace, and ended up doing an impromptu interview. We fielded questions about Durango and whether we felt safe, about the missing students and also about Obama’s immigration bill.

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We crossed into our fourth state today, Zacatecas and stopped in the city of the same name. We passed the hotel we were aiming for on the opposite side of the divided highway and in trying to turn around, we quickly found ourselves being sucked into downtown amongst some pretty insane rush hour traffic. Traffic here is way more chaotic than back home, cars going every which way, pulling out into traffic from a side street to merge when there’s really no room, bikes filtering everywhere and yet strangely it seems to have a good flow to it.

One of the first things that stands out about the highways in Mexico is that drivers tend to keep to the right (unlike in Canada or the states). Back home there is almost like this sense of ownership of the lane people are in, especially the left lane. Continue reading