Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Doesn't time fly when you're having fun?! Seemed like ages since I last managed a blog entry!

We left Oaxaca a week ago and did some serious riding for a couple of days. More stunning roads from Oaxaca for 130 miles of riding, up over the mountains towards the Gulf of Mexico coast. It was another hot ride that day, but we managed to break it up a little but stopping at a great little swimming hole we'd read about. Difficult to find (in fact we'd all but given up and were driving off when we stumbled into it!), it had a few locals in it. Some kids playing around and several women doing their washing there! Very peaceful and wonderfully refreshing!

There wasn't much en route that we really wanted to stop for, so it was a case of riding each day till we got tired then just finding somewhere, anywhere to crash for the night. Stayed in a miserable town called Tuxtepec which I didn't like at all, topped off by the fact we couldn't find anywhere to eat that night so had some suspect food from a street vendor in the local square (now if that isn't the best way to contract Hep A I don't know what is!?!). The following day we got as far as Ciudad del Carmen on the coast. It was a pretty large town, again nothing to get exciting about in terms of things to do or see, but that day we broke all our riding records and had done 354 miles - at 3.30pm we were ready to stop! Tiredness had crept up quickly and we weren't in the mood for trolling around town looking for somewhere to stay, expecially after I'd already spied the billboards for the local HOliday Inn hotel!! (I am my mother's daughter after all and it was calling for me!) So given that it was my birthday the next day it was a great treat to stay in a quality 5 star hotel - hoorah! (no dripping electric fittings, a toilet seat, floors I didn't mind walking barefoot on, thick luxourious cotton sheets, hot water showers and toilet paper on a roll fastened to the wall - it was great not having to carry it around with me! - ah it was bliss!!

We then spent a couple of days in Campeche. It's a lovely old colonial walled city and is on the list of World Heritage sites. Actually there's not a lot of the old wall left - they knocked it down yonks ago but several of the bastions are still there, most housing museums of some sort. The wall was 2.5km and took 18 years to build (obviously a lot less bother to knock down!) The streets are full of old colonial building, many are well restored now and painted in cheerful pastel colours. We were staying in a hostel right on the town square where there was town entertainment, dancing and singing both nights we were there. Since leaving Oaxaca we had our first 'less than perfect' weather. Our first night in Campeche it rained - poured in fact. We had a day off in Campeche which was the first miserable weather we'd seen since being on the mainland. Thankfully the roads were dry when we set off the next morning. (Oh and quite by accident we ended up with a great shot of the town catherdral with the solar eclipse in the background! We just thought the moon was looking a bit perculiar - we were SURE it had been full the night before! It was only the day after we'd read there'd been a solar eclipse and it was that we'd witnessed!)

As far as the weather goes it hasn't been great since. So much for the lovely Carribben setting we were expecting! Since being in the Yucatan we've actually made use of the spare pairs of long trousers we both brought and even the sweatshirts have had an airing on one occasion!
Next stop was Chichen Itza. It's the most famous and the best restored of this area's Mayan sites. Very impressive and so different to Monte Alban (different period, different settlers I guess). It's huge centrepeice is El Castillo, a 25m tall pyramid. We had thought we'd be able to climb it (pictures and our guidebook had said you could, but we later found out that only about 7 months ago some Canadian tourist had taken a tumble and so health and safety had arrived in Chichen Itza - bah-humbugs). Spent 2 or 3 hours wandering around the site, then went back again that evening for a sound and light show - very cool though we missed out a bit as there was a commentary in Spanish.

And so that brings us to date...we're in Playa del Carmen now. The Carribben sea. And still lousy weather, but ho-hum - maybe perfect white sand beaches and turquiose waters AND the good weather to enjoy them would be too much to ask for!!

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