Apizaco to Oaxaca, Monday, 29 October 2012, Day 118

Beautiful Dress made out of plastic cups and saucers !

Even scarier from the front

A good day in the saddle and I covered a lot more distance than I have been in the last couple of days so how did I do this well I cheated.

I got packed up and hit the road and the first thing I noticed in the distance was a couple of mountains but what surprised me most was that they both had snow on top of them! This was the last thing I was expecting I was not aware of Snow covered mountains in Mexico so I was a little confused for a while.

I needed a coffee and some breakfast, as it was quite chilly around 14 degrees and as soon as I drove into Apizaco I saw an OXXO which is sort of like the Mexican 7/11 so I had breakfast sitting on the pavement outside as they do good coffee and sandwiches but they do not always have somewhere to sit and consume your purchases.

View from my breakfast spot

So todays plan was to try and reach Oaxaca, which was going to be difficult if I was sticking to the type of roads, I have been using for the last couple of days with all the tope and reductions (Spanish words for them bloody speed bumps they have all over the place here killing my suspension slowly but surely me thinks and god knows what this is doing to the rest of the bike it cannot be good me thinks). So first thing I did was change the settings on my GPS to allow toll routes to be part of the route as I usually avoid these if possible but a change of tactic is called for if I am going to make any progress. By doing this I shortened the distance to Oaxaca by 40km, which is excellent, and the last 200km was on a Mexican toll road, which went through some breath taking scenery and no villages to slow me down for and no speed humps either so I could get some speed up and sustain it for a reasonable amount of time.

escaping the speed humps!

The downside was that I had to pay for the speed so as I joined the toll road they charged me 35 peso which I thought was excellent value as it was 200km still to go to Oaxaca but after about 30km another toll booth this time 25 peso and this kept happening regularly and later the distance got shorter but the price kept getting more. All in all buying this extra time cost me 190 pesos so about 10 EUR but well worth it as it was a really enjoyable run on empty roads with not having to worry about all the usual distractions and potential risks that you have driving through Mexican villages and countryside I could just enjoy the ride and the spectacular scenery. I had a laugh at each of the toll booths when they kept wanting more money for the next bit in broken Spanish I was telling them that I should be half price as they where charging me the same as a car as there was no motorcycle rates and also telling them I had already paid at the last booth. It kept me entertained for a while and some of them where also amused.

I have been to Oaxaca before about 15 years ago but I did not recognise the place it seem so much bigger and busier and the GPS was sending me in the opposite directions to what the signpost where telling me and so like a fool I followed the GPS but when it turned me down yet another dirt road I switched it of and asked the locals which was far more effective. I finally found the center but it was the middle of rush hour getting hot and I had no Mexican money left as used the last on the toll roads and credit cards are not used as much here especially in the places I have been staying cash is king. So after checking out one hotel to get a feel of the prices in town I plugged in ATM into my GPS and the first one I found again would not accept my card and the next one was on the main square but there was a huge festival going on there and the cops where not allowing any vehicles in but I showed one them on my GPS what I was looking for and I was allowed onto the square with my bike and they even watched my bike while I popped round the corner to the cashpoint. There suggestion not mine this was while they where trying to manage a full-blown crowd of revellers not sure what is going on as there where Incas dancers, Trade unionists, and Halloween or Night of the death festival all going on at the same time. This time the cashpoint gave me some money so back to the bike, which was parked on a one-way street and the only correct way out was across the square so the friendly coppers cleared a route for me through the revellers and I was on my way 🙂

I went a couple of blocks from the square and saw a Hostel with a drive in parking garage so pulled in there glad to be out of the traffic and checked out how much they wanted for a room for the night it was reasonable enough and the bike was in a secure manned car park so sorted.

So got out of my bike gear and went of to rediscover Oaxaca some of seemed familiar but I could not find the place I had stayed last time, as I was curious on what it would be like now.

I had a great evening just wandering around as mentioned in the main square was teaming with people and there was stage with what I thought was for either Halloween of night of the dead festival some great outfits on show. As well as that a political rally was taking place and something else with mariachi bands making a hell of a racket so great place to people watch. The rest of town was lively as well great market so I did some wandering taking in the sights. I still do not know what time it is I think I have gained an hour maybe the clocks changed on Sunday I do not know but it does not really matter as knowing what time it is is not a necessity that I have at the moment 🙂

I ended up back at the hotel where I downloaded the sequels to the Hunger Game very clever pricing scam they got going there. The first book is 5 bucks for kindle but books 2 and 3 are 9 bucks so they getting you hooked cheaply the 1st time round and you have to pay more once you are addicted very clever.

I am having problems uploading my Photos to Smug mug it is very rare that you get anywhere with a decent Internet connection or maybe I am just asking too much.

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