Hello world. I took a month long vacation break. After spending a week in Mazunte, I flew to Costa Rica for a festival for 2 weeks; 3 days on buses back to Mazunte, Oaxaca; and a couple days in Nicaragua. Never again, do I want to suffer the process of travel by plane or bus again- if I can avoid it.
I have to thank La Isla Hotel (Pablo, Alice, Katy, y Lisandro) for keeping my bike and personal possessions in storage at their hotel for two weeks, while I was in Central America. They are amazing young folks who have a beautiful beach front hotel. I highly recommend visiting beautiful Mazunte and room at La Isla.
It was near the end of March when I got back to Mazunte, Mexico, where Paul was waiting for me. Paul and I met in Aguascalientes months ago, coincidently. He was lead to Chris and I by a local who mistakenly thought Paul was with us. Together, they looked for Chris and I. Paul made the right turn on the street and saw the loaded touring bikes parked in front of a restaurant. At the table, Paul and I instantly decided to ride to South America together- after he returned to Mexico City from his 10 week trip in Asia. Our first week back together was a ride through the Istmo de Tehuantepec. It was the week before Semana Santa- days of 34 degree Celcius, wearing the sweat and stink ridden clothes that we haven’t washed for days. Nontheless, we both were happy to be cycling through the beautiful landscapes and people of Oaxaca and Chiapas. It seemed as if we were welcome back to the bike tour. Children ran across the yards to greet us and we were even applauded from vehicles. We entered urban zones like the seaport, Salina Cruz; the bustling capital, Tuxla Guitterez; and through many pueblos and farms. We climbed 5000 meters through the Chiapas highlands and arrived at the charming San Cristobal de las Casas.
A beautiful ride it was.
Near the coast of Oaxaca, we had our choice of wonderful local foods like fresh fish from the fisherman. The southern states of Mexico are wonderfully abundant of tropical fruits. We gathered wild mangoes and plums in Oaxaca and snuck into passionfruit vines. We camped in an organic papaya farm. The owner of the farm gave us a papaya to enjoy. It was the best papaya I have tasted- so sweet and fresh from the farm!
It’s been a wonderful reunion with Paul. He brought gifts from Asia; Cambodian scarfs to keep the sun off my head; hammocks and special teas like Lotus flowers that grow in the water. Night camping is no longer a lonely experience. We exchange our music collections and our road stories over tea and campfire rice curries.
Fortunately, we had some options to wash and cool off; a hose in the papaya farm, a river, a well, waterfalls and at the homes of our Couchsurfing and Warmshowers homes. We were welcomed by Rodrigo and his family’s home in a small town name Zanatepec. Alejandro in Tuxtla Gutierrez, kindly accepted our last minute request. His sister let us keep our bikes at her place so that we didn’t have to ride up hill at night to Alejandro’s. Alejandro extended his accommodation by connecting us with his friend Javier in Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas. In Javier’s lovely garden, we parked our bikes and camped for one night, after our tour of the Sumidero Canyon river tour.
If you are in Chiapas, I highly recommend taking the Sumidero River tour. It’s a 3 hour boat ride on the Grijalva river between the 1000 meter canyon walls. There are amazing plants and wildlife that inhabit the river canyon. We saw crocodiles as big as our boat on the shores!
We stopped in Tehuantepec for lunch in the market, built over an old railroad. There we ate lunch with a family. The mother served us up gorditas, tlayudas and fresh plum juice. I gave my mohawk hat to the youngest daughter of the family.
…and I picked up a wing…
It’s amazing to hear the hundreds of voices of the birds in Oaxaca and Chiapas. Alejandro’s sister is a biologist who studies birds of Chiapas. She looked up the names of the bird species we saw since we had left Mazunte.
We arrived to San Cristobal just before the rain began to fall. Our first night was a free stay at El Hostelito a bike-friendly hostel. It’s decor is like what you would expect to see in San Francisco; hipster chic. The following night we moved to the home of Couchsurfing host, Ricardo. His home is a open door to travelers. The walls are beautiful. with painted postcards and farewell wishes from past vagabonds.
Yes, it’s back to the road. I may not miss some things, like, getting flat tires (5 for me in two weeks) and being a nightly dinner to the mosquitoes and sand-flies (I am resisting to itch as I type this entry). But, it’s a liberating and wonderful feeling to ride my bike. With Paul, sunsets, sunrises and stars- life is a “wander”ful wonder.