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Thread: 06.2009 Mexico

  1. #1
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    06.2009 Mexico



    Mexico is huge!

    Yes, after all those Central-American small countries than you can ride through within a day or two, Mexico felt like a true vastness. Riding all day, then looking on the map and realise you haven't moved much forward.

    As you can see from the map, we looped through the Yucatan peninsula that is packed with Mayan culture remains (click to enlarge panoramas):


    The famous Chichén Itzá.












    Magnificent pyramids of Chichén Itzá (click to enlarge to see them in full beauty!)












    Loads of big lizards running around the place.


    From there we headed down to the Gulf of Mexico, our tire had to be replaced and a blind guy helped us to do it. He replaced my tire, meanwhile I changed the break pads:






    Happy end pic - even blind guys can perform the job.



    Few miles away I smelled fuel and it turned out that one of the clamps was loose, so I performed the job aside the road:




    With the very basic tools at hand of course.



    Then due to our own bad parking on loose ground our bike fell on the tent. So the £££-Hilleberg hi-tec pole was broken:


    Actually there was a repair kit, but it was only for 1 pole section. We had broken two, so we used medicine trick to support it with duct tape, just like on a broken bone case:




    Mexican villages have lots of Mayan atmosphere in their architecture in Yucatan penninsula, nice thatched-roof houses:




    And of course we found a decent bush-camp place aside the Gulf of Mexico:

    (click to enlarge)














    And nice views to the Gulf of Mexico:

    (click to enlarge)



    From there further into the inland Misol Ha (funny name isn't it? ) waterfall was a decent attraction:




    And headed into the mountaneous region of Mexico, where San Cristóbal de las Casas welcomed us with it's colonial architecture and loads of native indians:






    (click to enlarge panorama)



































    And through the mountains we were on the way to the capital (click to enlarge pics and panoramas):












    Some nice chocolate-coloured and palm-sided rivers:












    Till we arrived in Mexico City - 2nd biggest city in the world - 22 million citizens!


    Packed with skyscrapers.



    Although our plan was just to ride through the metropol, luckily we met 3 guys on R1200GS ADVs - Andrés, Luis and Juan José - they turned out to be one of the friendliest bunch of people we've ever met! And we ended up staying 3 nights in the vivid capital!


    One of the guys, Andrés has superb minimalistic home - he runs a furniture distribution company, so no wonder he has a good taste for the interior design:


    Even the breakfast was served to us by servants - something we aren't used to, but was a nice experience after basically 8 months of "starving" on the road.


    Andrés had some of those nice things:


    This one played this tune - anyone recognizes?



    They have a very good Mexican friend, who happens to be a very talented artist while being motorcyclist himself. The result of combining those two was stunning work , one example here (click to enlarge to see the painting):


    Anyone recognize what GS models are on the painting?


    Visited World Trade Center (that one hasn't blown up yet):


    What a HUGE building it is:





    And the view to the 22M city of Mexico from WTC (click to enlarge).

    Funny thing about being in one of the biggest cities in the world is it has lot of parks - above average amount of city's space is "wasted" for parks and greenlands making the city quite cozy in fact. We liked it!



    With Ana and Sofia we visited Chapultepec castle - basically it's Europe inside Mexico - it was founded by an Austrian guy.



    But it had decent views to the Mexico City (click to enlarge panoramas):









    And of course on the streets there was mandatory hands-cleaning with medical officers - Mexico as a centre of swine flu you know.




    But mexicans weren't bothered a single bit - they had their siesta time in usual way - sleeping.




    And squirrels lived their own life in the parks...




    And skyscrapers didn't fall down because of swine flu...



    In Chapultepec there was a painting depicting a national hero - during the Mexican-American war, a young boy, a cadet at the military school, wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and jumped to his death rather than be captured. He was declared a national hero after that:




    And of course military school honoured this by everyday's training program running up to the castle and down again, in +30C heat:

    There is patriotism in Mexico.


    Museum of anthropology was nice, reminded us a lot of the gold museum we visited in Bogotá, Colombia with Mayan art:








    On the streets of Mexico City you can get roasted bananas and sweet potato:





    Tasted good!



    And native indians played their part on the streets - one example were the "flying indians" from Veracruz state of the country:



    They climbed into the tower, fastened themselves with ropes, put themselves into rotation till they touched the ground - and they played music while flying!

    Click to listen my recording of their indigenous "flying music" from here.








    Back at our basecamp we found a scorpion with children on her back in our bathtub:

    (click to enlarge to see the smaller ones on her back)

    With tears in our eyes we had to kill 'em - no place for them in the city


    The sad day came when we had to move on, our fantastic hosts and fellow GS-ers helped us to get through the complex street-structure of Mexico City:








    And a heartwarming letter from Luis:


    We got a huge boost in our motivation after that!


    And they all deserve a BIG thumbs up for their unbelievable hospitality in the very heart of the boiling Mexico City!!! We will be back!



    Me, Juan José, Luis, Kariina and our trusty GS.




    Andrés, Juan José, Kariina and me.




    And our road headed to the mythical Baja California...



    We needed a ferry to get to the peninsula of course. Not that one tho, turns out the same port is for Mexican crude-oil stuff.





    And they have a factory there.




    And nice nature on the inland side.



    After a full-nigh ferry ride, our Baja moment had arrived - stunning and inspiring place!

    The peninsula between the gulf and the Pacific creates diverse set of environments: hot deserted plains, windy mountains, the humid Pacific coastlines.

    It was a pleasure to take the small remote trail roads through those places:










    Loads of burned down cars.




    Very often, the road conditions weren't the best.




    A couple of falls included.



    But nothing stopped us enjoying the fantastic nature on Baja:

    (click to enlarge)



    And the cacti - they were the biggest we've seen!



    Over the mountains down to the plains... (click to enlarge)




    Strange dead fish on the beach.



    The best way to demonstrate Southern Baja's nature is through panoramas (click to enlarge each panorama in a new window, then click again in new window to a full size and schroll horizontally):







































    And we headed to the the Central Baja, where everything that grows is bigger and more cosmic:






    I must say that the main roads on Baja are very nice and in good condition, allowing you to ride through most of the Baja even on a street bike.



    But the most spectacular views are from small sandy trail roads leading deeper into the remoteness (click to enlarge pictures):








    And what a bizarre (in a good way) nature greets you there!

    Just like in some sci-fi scene:














    Those were the size of two basketballs.




    And marmelade-looking flowers on the ground.



























    And panoramas from the Central Baja (click to enlarge each panorama):








































    And our friend at our bush-camping place:




    And a video compilation from Baja California:


    Next stop - burgerdom aka U. S. of A.

    Good night, Margus

  2. #2
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    Brilliant yet again Margus.

  3. #3
    UKGSer of 2014 (Dead) Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    National Geographic quality as usual, Margus. I am always in awe of your photography
    Too shiny and clean to use it properly.

  5. #5
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    amazing. really appreciate the effort you go to with these updates!

  6. #6
    Shep of the Dessert Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Brilliant stuff

  7. #7
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    Excellent photos, Looks amazing.

  8. #8
    Motzilla
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    Hi Margus,

    Fantastic work you are doing with the photos and writing, professional grade!!!!
    Andres , Juanjo and I wonder how are "the children" doing ?

  9. #9
    GLIDARN
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    Fantastic Margus and Kariina! Great photography and ride report.
    I saw a post long ago when You prepared the bike for this trip, then I forgot to follow it up. Now when I found it again I have needed a couple of days to catch up. Your RTW travel makes me very happy.

    I saw some funny things in your packing to, a former swedish military field stove and a IKEA bag... not really what I expected to see (beside the Hilleberg and Öhlin). Simpel things often work well.
    Is it easy to find proper alcohole for the stove along the road?

    I wish You two the best thru Your travel and will keep an eye on Your reports.


    /Mattias

  10. #10
    BigblackGS
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    Thanks very much I enjoyed this very much. Phil

  11. #11
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    Fantastic! I was talking to a friend about such a trip at the weekend! And now there's a 'preview'!

    How long did it take to 'cross' Mexico? 2 weeks? Or more like 4??

  12. #12
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    Thoroughly absorbing and once again stunning photography

  13. #13
    Shedi Knight Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Great Work - again

    Thank you for the window upon so much of the world most of us will never see but often dream of.
    appears bright from a distance / dim up close

  14. #14
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    Wonderful, inspirational photos.
    Drink Real Ale and Save the Planet

  15. #15
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    Cheers guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by GLIDARN View Post
    I saw some funny things in your packing to, a former swedish military field stove and a IKEA bag... not really what I expected to see (beside the Hilleberg and Öhlin). Simpel things often work well.
    Is it easy to find proper alcohole for the stove along the road?
    Hi Mattias,

    Just a co-incidence I guess

    • Hilleberg tent - simply superb! Utmost stunning build quality (later discovered it's "Made in Estonia" btw ). We've pitched it up over 100 times and abused it in some extreme conditions and it still looks like a minter. Our last dome tent almost disintegrated when we put it up after around 80 times - was completely worn out. So we now know how to compare it.
    • Swedish army stove - superfunctional, compact, lightweight, no weak spots, no moving parts, no valves, no pressurized stuff - bomb proof reliable and a worhy piece (the aluminium version, not the heavier and rusting steel version tho!). You can get spirit or woodshine vodka almost everywhere - from the pharmacy, regular shops or in civilized world from the paint shops. Stove itself is cheap as chips to buy, you can do everything with it - it's good for up to 3 persons, lasts a lifetime, probably even your grandchildren can use it afterwards. No brainer really - while I've seen many I haven't seen any £££-costing campting stove that can compete with it yet in price/performance terms.
    • Ikea bag - Kariina made a durable bag herself for out tripod on the pannier. Funnily, "raw material" aka a big IKEA bag we got from Colombia - it's called globalisation I guess
    • Öhlins - turned out not to be as good as we thought in the beginning. Although we highly modified ours to be condiserably more stronger and more reliable, still, in time I've discovered some design flaws, less flaws than Wilbers, but still flaws, unfortunately.


    Quote Originally Posted by Slowdown View Post
    How long did it take to 'cross' Mexico? 2 weeks? Or more like 4??
    It's a big country, if you rush you can do it within 2 weeks, but I'd say take it easy, 4 weeks sounds more reasonable if you're on a more direct route, turning off here-and-there to see something, stoping for a day or two in some nice place etc.

    Margus

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