(February 18 – written by Dave)
It was a quiet Saturday night in Cintalapa. At one point Nancy was outside and came back in to tell me that there was a parade coming. I grabbed my camera and ran out front just in time to see the lead car in the “parade” – a mariachi band in the back of a Toyota pickup. They were playing really cheery music, being followed some guys carrying a casket and a very large group of locals marching en-mass. One could be forgiving thinking it was a parade, if only by listening, you’d never know that this was a funeral. I discretely took a photo but stopped at one – it didn’t seem right.
Our room was ok, no A/C but it wasn’t too hot. The only issue was that the fan had a single speed and that was warp speed. It was nice and cool with it on but hearing the TV or a simple conversation was out of the question. Sleeping was kind of ok if you are used to sleeping at airports. We could have paid $100 peso more for A/C but that room was up the stairs. We traded off schlepping bags for the fan…maybe not a good trade in hindsight.
We were up early and riding by 7AM. Sunday morning traffic was light and we had a nice rolling ride out into the Sierra Madre Mountains. Overall today we finished just below the altitude where we started. But the ride was not flat. We had a couple nice climbs before the mid-way point. The coolish morning air was nice. I love the early starts. Nancy likes them as well, though she doesn’t like getting up for them. I noted today that it a lot easier to ride your bike IF you’ve gotten up. I know, how supportive of me!
We had a couple stops today. Nancy’s bike developed a shimmy that we thought might be bag placement. The first time we adjusted bags and it didn’t really help. The second time, I gave her front tire a squeeze and it was low. I didn’t feel like changing a tire on the roadside so I just pumped it up. We had to do this two more times but we got to the hotel without a roadside tire change – happy Dave.
The last 15k of the ride were surprisingly fast, almost all downhill. We expected downhill but not as steep and fast. We made it to Tuxtla just after 12:30. We would have been at the hotel soon after had we not spotted a Starbucks. Don’t judge us (Chris), we know that we should be seeking out boutique local coffee shops where guys named Juan roast their own beans. Sometimes it’s just nice to have something that is easy and familiar. Being in adventure mode every day can take its toll. Today the Starbucks servers kind of spiced it up a bit however. The language barrier worked Nancy into a new name – Nexy. I kind of like it – Nancy and Sexy mixed together. It may become a new stable of the LWOP posts.
We eventually found our hotel, the Hotel Del Carmen. It’s in an odd part of Tuxtla, sort of medium density residential, small business and some commercial. Reminds me of parts of cities that have not yet been gentrified. That may not ever happen in Tuxtla but if it does, this is place. It’s a nice hotel, clean and comfy with all the bells and whistles. And we were able to roll the bikes right in, always a plus.
Based on Inge’s request we have not one, but three doors of the day. They all have a story of sorts. The second runner up is not really a door but I just liked the colours of the shop so I took a photo of the door.
The first runner up is a non-door. Even though we are in what both US and Aussie governments safe is the safest part of Mexico, we’ve seen a few shops in the last couple days where they bar the doors and sell you what you tell them to bring to bars. No lingering over the drinks cooler pretending to decide while secretly letting the blast of frigid air cool you down. The last time that we saw doors like these was in aboriginal outback town in Australia – where they control access to alcohol.
And finally, the door of the day. I really liked the texture of this three-quarter door but they reason it won today was because the writing on the wall next to the door. The building was damaged in one of the earthquakes. We see this sort of writing on damaged buildings – they are generally unoccupied or being re-built.
There is a nice city park just two blocks away. They have a city sign and a couple good looking cafes. We are just about to head out there for an early dinner.
Tomorrow we are off to San Cristobal de la Casas, one of “the” spots to see in Chiapas. It’s not too long of a day (70k or so) but we have to climb at least 6000 feet to get there so it will be a challenging day. Another early start is planned (as Nancy groans…).