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Old 11-08-2012, 11:12 PM   #76
Hewby OP
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'That's not a knife'

I had some excitement at one point walking down the street in the late afternoon, after dropping off some friends at their house I checked my iphone for directions to the market. As I was looking down a man walked up to me with a red hoddy, pointing something at me and demanding my phone. I refused. He seemed a little nervous and at the end of the street I could see one of the major squares full of people. I looked again at his hand. He was holding a screwdriver. I grab it, strangely enough to check it was not a knife, and pushed it away from me. I knew that he would not kill me, and I needed that phone. I was not going to let it go without a fight. Thankfully people rounded the corner and he walked away, my phone still in my hand.

I joke now with friends that he might have come off worse minus a screwdriver! But sadly for my story I did not gain a trophy, nor have a screwdriver to hand to the police to say find this man!

Thankfully once again the universe was giving me a lesson with limited consequences. This was a good reminder to lift my guard, be more aware of my surroundings, and try harder to not show off my privilege so much wherever I was.

I did hear genuine surprise from locals later of the nerve of the man for trying to steal the phone. They stated their was zero tolerance in Oaxaca for that type of behaviour and the police were known to shot a man in the back if he was caught red handed. I am also thankful that the event went the way that it did, without either of us being harmed, even though I was a little shaken.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:25 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Hewby View Post
And yes the bike....I am trying to stay positive... but it did a crazy flicking of the rev meter again since leaving Oaxaca, without the associated engine noises. A friend suggested a pice of paper firmly taped over it should do the trick!
That's funny about colored contacts! The more Spanish you learn the easier you can verbally castrate unwanted pursuers.

I would not worry about the tach needle swinging wildly at all. As long as the engine is running OK, fuel MPG is OK and is not losing coolant or using or leaking oil ... well, then you are GOLDEN!

Take care of your chain and sprockets. If you need help, let us know. Don't let your sprockets get too far worn, it destroys chain prematurely. A high quality X ring chain is only way to go. Cheap chain and sprockets will BITE YOU sooner than you'd imagine.

Good luck! Love the Mole'.
!que le via muy bien!
!Adios, pues!
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:33 PM   #78
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Thanks for the intel!

I was referred to your thread by another advrider, because I'm toying with the idea of riding from Tucson to Cabo over the holidays. I've done plenty of touring (and blogging!) by my female solo self, but haven't tackled Mexico and have been wondering how concerned I need to be about it.
Anyway, good to see it can be done, sans Y chromosome!
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:38 PM   #79
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Since being in Oaxaca I have seen on the road and met up with more bikers than ever before. I met up with Wildrider, and another rider who I had met at my school, Derek, who both gave me bike envy with their light bikes and tiny luggage (both only travelling central America and not set for camping) and we went out for some rustic carne asada in the market with some other friends from school.
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My good friends Dan and Sara, introduced me briefly to Alicia from Spain who is seemingly on a whirlwind trip as she travels round the world with talks at BMW all over the place. That girl can cover some ground! With her at this point was “Don Solaris’ and ‘El Buffalo’ both interesting characters who had met Alicia on route.

Hey glad to see the updates again. That was a fun night out. Hope you are enjoying your next phase. I just finished another couple weeks of Spanish in Guatemala and will he'd out further south this weekend. Disfruta el viaje.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:01 PM   #80
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Operaflute go for it, yes it can be challenging at times but well worth it. Learn Spanish is my only tip. Enjoy.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:07 PM   #81
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I've got some Spanish under my belt, so that's something. (Lived a few months in Argentina, not to mention living here in Tucson.)
Thank you for your encouragement!
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:25 PM   #82
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Hey glad to see the updates again. That was a fun night out. Hope you are enjoying your next phase. I just finished another couple weeks of Spanish in Guatemala and will he'd out further south this weekend. Disfruta el viaje.
Thanks was fun to meet you. Enjoy your ride!
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:26 PM   #83
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Day of the Dead

After my last week at school, I took the bus to Mexico City to met Marcin at the airport. After 67 days, and some challenging travels it was wonderful to see him again. We had a brief tour of the center of México City then headed back to the house we had rented in the hills of Oaxaca with friends for the week of dia de los muertos.

The week is one of the most important for the people of Oaxaca. Much time effort and money goes into preparing for the festival, and as the people believe the return of the dead to their homes and cemeteries over the week.
In the homes and shops they prepare amazing alters to the dead, littered with the favourite food of the departed.
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Over the week we saw many parades with incredible costumes
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Danced with marching bands, with more tubas than I have ever seen in one place
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Visited cemeteries where the families crowd at the richly decorated graves throughout the night feasting and playing music for the departed.
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It was lovely to be able to sit down with the families in the cemetery and speak to them about the evening with my new improved spanish!

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It was a deeply touching experience, and strange to reflect my own culture where I don’t think I have ever visited a grave of a family member after their death. Stepping only into cemeteries, with a kind of voyeuristic historical interest. Never relating personally to those that lay beneath the stones. Here I was touched by the Mexican relationship with death, not seemingly scared by the at times gruesome imagery that plastered the churches and the streets, but the threat of their own mortality reminding them to live each moment. I was also moved by their deep connection to family, both the living and the dead. Amazing really.

After a fantastic week with Marcin, and the others as they headed back in the wee hours of the morning to Mexico City on flights to Seattle. I rode of towards the lovely town of San Cristobel de Casa with Dan and Sara, where I left them 2 days later sipping coffee and eating delicious French pastries on the cobbled streets of the beautiful town.
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Hewby screwed with this post 11-18-2012 at 01:24 PM
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:51 PM   #84
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Ruins, Earthquakes, and meetings

Heading to Palenque I find myself back on the road alone again, but this time not feeling so alone. I pass numerous bikes on the road, and the towns are filled with English speaking tourists. A far cry from the few westerners I met in the north of the country.

Google maps decided to send me on a diversion instead of the well made well used road between Palenque and san Cristobel I went exploring the hills of san Cristobel, the small towns and untimely the dead ends that Google decided to send me on. At times not having a GPS and a good mapping system can lead to some adventures. Getting into my campground, not the 2 .5 hours after Google told me, but 6 or so hours later right on dark was a little disconcerting.

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While exploring the ruined temples of Palenque, I stopped for a tired moment to rest in the sun against a wall. Suddenly like I was woken from a dream, the wall started to rock. In my sleepy state I thought the people behind me were pushing the foot thick stones. I looked around but no-one seemed perturbed, or even to notice. Five minutes later a guard came up to tell us in Spanish to move from the top of the temple, as there had been an earth tremor.

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Sadly this turned out to be a big earthquake in southern Guatemala. But I was not to know this for a while...

As we moved off the temple I met with a little boy who asked if I was Australian. It turned out he and his mother were Tasmanian as well, their roots based in Cygnet, just down from Hobart. We spent a lovely morning exploring the ruins and the museum together. Seeing the world through the curious eyes of a very well travelled four year old was refreshing. It was also inspiring to hear his mother confirm the real possibility of travelling the third world with a young child, their adventures spanning from when he was 8 months old to across south east Asia, India, China, Morocco and Europe. His intelligence and memory for the places he had seen and his recollection and inquisitiveness of the details of the stories he had been told, and the cultures he had been introduced to was inspiring. Very much reducing my fear that extensive travel with children was incredibly difficult and in some way out of the realm of possibility.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:17 AM   #85
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Great RR ! Subscribed !
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:35 PM   #86
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Tucson has an enormous Day of the Dead weekend celebration here as well. It's very unique - simultaneously wild and reverently meaningful - unique for the US, anyway. Here are a few photos that show only the tip of the iceberg... (I think/hope these photo albums are accessible via the link - the first album shows the actual procession and burning of the "urn", the second album shows one of the community altars and the pre-procession gathering.

All Souls 2011
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=7804521b4d
All Souls 2012
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=7795b226e6
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:04 PM   #87
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Road block

Well I almost forgot- but I passed my first road block on the way to San Cristobal de casa. The taxis were striking and left a huge pile of cars, and trucks waiting on each side of the block. Luckily I was with Dan and Sara at that point and Dan scouted ahead to find a route through the pile up. He found one off a dirt track and was kind enough to take my bike down for me, much to the delight of the onlookers. Better that I thought, than risk a crash infront of them!

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Old 11-16-2012, 08:58 PM   #88
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Leaving Mexico

Taking my leave from Palenque I decide to try and head to Tikal. In what I am finding true Google maps style there is no road posted between the two places. My paper maps also leave me wondering. I don’t want to head all the way south just to come back up again. A quick internet search gives me a lead the wonders of ADV come back into play, with Cal and Guaterider and Huzar always at the ready to assist me in my journeys! Thank you all! So I head towards El Cebio
At times I have such poor Internet searching for info is tough. And I have to admit I am a terrible planner and researcher when on the road. So I am thankful for the wonderful help and leads from others. The border crossing for me was just as was posted, down to the man coming out to take a picture of my bike on the Mexican side. On the Guatemalan side the paperwork is still completed in a truck on the side of the road. The staff on both sides of the border are friendly and the process is smooth. Once again I get inquisitive questions ‘Solitia?’ Seems to be the ongoing questions on everyone’s lips.
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I travel fast on the newly made roads of the north. I reflect that I have not been on such good roads for a while. But contrasting this is the poorer style housing of the people, the masses of free range pigs wandering the roads, turkeys are also predominant. Yet a seeming lack of gardens and land that is being put to use. Just open spaces. Notes in the lonely planet talk of the new roads causing the farmers to move north, slashing and burning the jungle, then a few short years later finding the land less arable as the soil cannot sustain the growth. And then I see people carrying what seems to be water in pots on their head. ‘No’ I think, ‘Really?’. The poverty starts to hit me.

I arrive at the lovely Isle of Flores, and wander round trying to find a hotel where I can securely park my bike. After 3 or 4 I find a relatively cheap one where I can bring the bike into the restaurant after dark. It might be safe for the bike, but my room leaves a little to be desired. The rickety stairs leading up to the door stop just past he door with no landing. Guess the building code did not apply here!
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After a beautiful sunset and a relaxed morning, I head off to Tikal.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:22 AM   #89
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I arrive at Tikal in the afternoon, set up tent in the grounds of hotel in the park, and head into the jungle. I walk through the lesser ruins and I am one of the only ones there. The Howling moneys are going crazy- their loud sounds close to that that sea lions make. Quite deafening. I try not to sand under them as I look up to see the racket.
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I stay to see the sun set over the jungle, and walk back down through the ruins as the stars come out and I am told to leave the site by the guards.

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Camping under the stars with the sounds for the jungle was amazing. The chilly evening air loud with the sounds or frogs and crickets, the sky pinpricked with stars, and fire flies flash in the grass at my feet. In the distance i heard the howler monkeys scream, and you could feel the awesome presence of the the Myan ruins awaiting the sunrise. I decided to sleep only a little and awake again under the stars at 4am to enter the park again and see the sunrise.
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I walk back through the ruins alone as I decided I did not want to join a tour at this time of the morning. The wildlife is amazing.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:48 AM   #90
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Great ride report, sounds like an awesome adventure. I am subscribed and eagerly awaiting your next updates.

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