I left Xilitla on a cloudy day. Actually it’s always cloudy in the cloud forest… I headed south to Pachuca through some of the best scenery of the trip so far. The road twisted and turned up and down the mountain side as I skirted along the rim of the Park Nacional El Chico. The landscape reminded me of New Mexico. However, I wasn’t in New Mexico, I was in regular Mexico. Strange…
With the daylight coming to an end I spent the night in Pachuca – a colorfully painted city. The hotel I stayed in was terrible though. The room had no natural light, it was very dirty, and I think someone/thing may have died in it. I spent some time in the central square people watching. The center is packed with traffic cops blowing their whistles in so many different patterns. This one officer noticed a car had double parked and it pissed him off. Blowing his whistle furiously from afar he had no luck. He went up to the car to find out there was no one inside. He continued blowing his whistle and circling the car for the next 20 minutes. Eventually the owner came out and he whipped out his ticket book in excitement and the woman started crying. Guess you should have thought about that before you double parked… This is way more fun than visiting tourist attractions!
Early the next morning I set out for ancient city of Teotihuacan. The city was established sometime around 500 B.C. and the pyramids were built sometime around 100 A.D. Here’s the Piramide del Sol (Sun):
And here’s the Piramide de la Luna (Moon) as seen from the top of the Piramide del Sol:
Panoramic view of the pyramids
After walking up and down the Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the dead) for more than 3 miles, I departed for the Teotihuacan Trailer Park (lovely name). Oddly enough, it’s a beautiful little grassy sanctuary in a rather uninteresting town just a few miles from the Pyramids. It’s cheap living and I enjoyed the relaxation before continuing south to Puebla.
I stayed at a hostel in Puebla where I met Vera. She and I took a bus to the town of Cholula – the home of the widest pyramid ever built, Piramide Tepanapa. Unfortunately, the pyramid has been so neglected over the centuries that it’s difficult to see that it’s a manmade structure. In fact, when the Spanish arrived, they built a church on top of their “hill” without even realizing it was a pyramid.
Vera taking a break after walking up the pyramid’s steps. It’s a tough climb at 7,000 ft.
Isn’t it great to live in the age of science…?
It’s common in Mexico to have a “roof dog.”
The next morning I was back on the road for an 8 hour, 270 mile ride to Oaxaca via Highway 190. On my way out of town I had my first run in with the police. A motorcycle cop pulled me over. Immediately I didn’t speak any Spanish 🙂 The only thing he could say in English was “red.” Maybe it’s because I turned right on red or because I went through a yellow light that was turning red. I’m not sure, I just played dumb (and friendly). I could see that he was getting frustrated by not being able to tell me what I did wrong. I flipped the situation and asked for directions by pointing at my map. He came to the rescue with his machismo and showed the way out of town. I made him feel like he saved the day and I didn’t get a ticket or pay a bribe!
Once again, the mountain roads were spectacular. Many of the backpackers I’ve met sleep all day on a bus. I feel fortunate to experience so much more by riding through all the small towns and interacting with the landscape and people. The motorbike is such a beautiful mode of travel!
p.s. I ran over a snake today.