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Old 03-27-2013, 05:14 PM   #24
camitzi OP
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Vancouver BC
Oddometer: 90
San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque

We left Villahermosa the next day heading to San Cristobal de las Casas. The road was just as we were told: beautiful winding road, through jungle-like vegetation. It was humid, misty and very cold. By that I mean it got down to 12 C at some point, so we had to put the jackets on. Here they have a different definition of "cold".







The road goes winding pretty high up in Sierra Madre de Chiapas, to over 2000 m altitude, therefore the different temperatures and mist.

While stopped here to take some pics we saw a couple of military trucks that stopped and started to check out the area for marijuana grow ups. It appears to be lots of them in the area:) And it seems like Canadian have a good reputation in this sense: every time we are offered marijuana and we turn it down, they are like "and you are from Canada???". They can't really believe that a Canadian can turn down something like that



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The only annoying thing on this road, just like in the rest of the whole mexico, were these:



These are speed bumps that you can find everywhere! I have to admit they are the only thing that's really efficient in slowing down traffic, since everyone is ignoring the signs. We were in a construction zone, with a 20 km an hour limit, and everyone was doing 100 km. But these "vibradores" make cars slow down to 5 km an hour, since they cannot go over them faster. On the bikes we can go a lot faster, so that's the time for us to overtake heavy traffic.

We stopped in Tapilula for the night, a beautiful little village, San Francisco number two - the streets were so steep in all directions.





We saw a "hair salon" so we decided to have a haircut I have to admit, for 5.5 CAD for the two of us, the lady did a great job.



The next day we left and on the road there was a block again. They were claiming that this was an "accion voluntaria" but they ended up asking us for money so they let us pass. As we saw everyone was holding bats in their hands, we figured it was not a good idea to argue with them, so we just gave them $2 worth in pesos and they let us go.



We got to San Cristobal de las Casas and we were very pleasantly surprised. It was a nice old town, with narrow streets, despite the crazy traffic at those hours. This town was built in 1528 and it was one of the first Spanish settlements on this continent. We checked in at a hotel, and then we went for a walk in town.

Church of Santa Lucia



View from the church of Guadalupe





Catedral de San Cristobal



People here are so different, you can tell there are a lot of native people leaving here (20% of the population here is native - the dominant native group is Tzotzil). In Mexico, besides Spanish, there are 62 native languages and more than 100 dialects. A lot of the people leaving here don't even speak Spanish, they only speak their own language. I wanted to buy a fruit (something that looks like a cactus fruit) and the women was not speaking Spanish at all, but she was so nice. We understood each other just fine: apparently she asked 10 pesos for the whole pile, and I was offering her 5 pesos for just one fruit. From here you can see how good I am at negotiating too

I also bought here a very tasty drink made of corn, sugar cane and wheat, and flavoured with blackberries.



Up there it came in handy,since it was very cold, and the drink warmed us up. But I don't think I will have any more of this until we get to Bolivia.

The next day we stopped for lunch at a "loncheria" on the side of the road, and we saw how they wash the grill where they make the "pollo asado - grilled chicken"



The owner of the restaurant told us about the Waterfalls Agua Azul and Misol-Ha, so we decided to go and see them.

Agua Azul was the most amazing waterfall I have ever seen.



And then the Misol-Ha waterfall:



Another little 3 m waterfall in the cave, behind the Misol-Ha waterfall.



The next day we left everything at the hotel and we went two up to the archeological site, so we don't have to worry about the bikes and the luggage. The site was impressive:

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We spent half a day visiting the ruins and the museum, and it was half a day well spent. It is amazing to see how a village that was flourishing around 700 AD was abandoned 150 years later. It looks like Palenque had a population of about 8000 people, which means a density of 4 people per square meter!

Around noon we left Palenque with half a tank of gas, planning to do about 100 km towards Chetumal. We were used to doing very twisty roads, so 100 km would have been reasonable, considering that we left after noon, after the site seeing. But the road turned out to be very straight, so without realising we were well over the 100 km. Soon the KTM's light came on. We sopped at a gas station, but they did not have Premium gas (our bikes are quite fussy) and the guy over there told us that 7 km further there was another gas station that had premium gas. Well, we've done way more than 20 km, and no gas station. At some point, Vasile's bike died. Meanwhile my light came on too, so I didn't have many km left either. So here we are, in the middle of nowhere, not knowing how far the next gas station was, trying to stop someone to give us some gas.

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There was this truck from Us that we passed at some point, and we figured they must have some extra gas, so we were thinking to wait for them and ask them. When they passed by, we waved and they stopped. But unfortunately they had no extra gas. So now we had no other option but to stop someone to get some gas, or for me to go on my bike, and try to find a gas station, risking to run out of gas too and get stuck somewhere else by myself. I must say it was right before dark, so this option did not look like the best option.

I guess we were not good-looking enough, since for a while no one stopped. We were about to go for plan B, when one more time Mexico proved us that it has some awesome people. A guy in a Volkswagen stopped, and was willing to give us gas from his car. Now we needed a hose. We had a very short one, but we could not doo much with it. So now we had to stop someone to borrow a hose. The guy was so nice and trying so hard to help us, he was waving at cars himself, until he stopped a big truck who gave us a hose.

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And here are the guys trying to syphon some gas out of the car into our jerycan.

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As this was not working too well (they barely made to take out a few drops of gas), our new friend offered to drive me to the closest gas station, apparently about 25 km away, and back. We went to the gas station and came back with a full jerycan of Premium gas. He didn't want to accept any kind of compensation, not even for the gas that he spent to drive me there and back. Very nice guy!

In the meantime, 2 minutes after I left, the US guys in the truck came back with 2 l of gas. They did not have any extra gas when we stopped them, but without saying anything they drove to the gas station and came back with some gas. More and more awesome people we meet in this trip. They did not want to accept any compensation either.

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This helped us to get to the gas station and to fill up. We stopped for the night at a hotel in the next village, and then next day we made it to Chetumal.
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