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Old 03-07-2014, 03:50 PM   #106
bastchild OP
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Originally Posted by GSBruce View Post
This is a fantastic ride report, thanks so much for doing it. I gave you 5 stars, which moved it from 3 stars to 4 stars, but this is a 5 star report.


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Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
love the canyon pics, looks awesome! minus the trash of course...
they say they clean it up and there were bags of trash on the side, but it still is quite an impressive canyon

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Originally Posted by ChazW View Post
Thank you so much for sharing your trip(s). It's obvious that you guys are having a blast together and are really loving life and loving each other. That's rarer than it should be, but rare none the less.

Best wishes for continued happiness, safety, and adventure.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:51 PM   #107
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Day 41 to Tuxtla Airport 21 miles on bike

day 41 to tuxtla airport

Airport day again. We got up at 6:15 am and were out the door an hour later. The airport is about 30 minutes away. Although the airport code is TGZ for Tuxtla Gutierrez, it is actually in Chiapas de Corzo. Parking is going to be 180 pesos/day – ouch. But this time I know it and there is nothing around the airport that looks like an alternative – it’s in farm country. It is amazing how modern, clean, and efficient the airports are in Mexico compared to even the new ones in the States.
TGZ parking lot

We spent five hours at Mexico City’s airport in the food court, and four hours at Houston International (90 minutes going through customs and immigration and security check point). It took 13 hours but we made it home on time. We’ve gotta stop booking last minute flights!
MEX food court
some chinese food
flying out of IAH
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:53 PM   #108
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Day 42 to San Cristobal de las Casas, 49 miles on bike

day 42 to san cristobal


We had a 9 am flight out of Gulfport and with pretty good connections only made it to Tuxtla by 7pm through Atlanta and Mexico City – night riding, here we come! Luckily, it didn't rain on us but we could see lightning in the night skies ahead. The parking fee for almost 8 days was 900 pesos - oh well. The machine to pay for parking would only take 200 peso bills so the parking attendant “helped” me by using his smaller bills, but he only put in 300 pesos in for the 500 pesos he took from me and he started to walk off, so I asked him to return, and he finally put the final 200 pesos – weird.


Back to Tuxtla


Riding at night in Mexico wasn't too bad. I rode slower than normal, and followed a vehicle so their headlights would light up the road ahead for me. It took us around 90 minutes to get to our hostel in San Cristobal which has surprisingly congested traffic in the centro area. Not a moment too soon, though, it started raining hard 40 minutes after we had settled into our room. That would have sucked being stuck in the stop-and-go traffic or on the mountain road.


Rossco's Backpacker's is awesome. They allow a free night for motorcyclists (and bicyclists). That deserves repeating: A FREE NIGHT FOR MOTORCYCLISTS. We booked 2 nights for a private double ensuite for 450 pesos. Not bad. They had breakfast and wifi and a pool table and a fire pit. It is only a couple blocks from the main drag.


Rossco's Backpacker's Hostel
Rossco's Backpacker's Hostel
Rossco's Backpacker's Hostel


Because of the rain, we just went to a tienda around the corner and bought some cream of mushroom soup, canned mushrooms, tomato sauce, and pasta and cooked in the kitchen with the two cats lingering around.
Rain after we arrived
Spaghetti dinner
Spaghetti dinner
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:13 PM   #109
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Day 43 San Cristobal de las Casas, 0 miles on bike

more photos of the hostel
Rossco's Backpacker's Hostel
Rossco's Backpacker's Hostel
Rossco's Backpacker's Hostel
Rossco's Backpacker's Hostel
Rossco's Backpacker's Hostel


It rained a bit overnight, and the day started off overcast. We had no plans today but to explore the city. The streets were filled with locals who had finished a 10k foot race.
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas


We walked to a couple churches on two different hills.
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
are these ktms?
KTM cop bikes!
Super Tenere 1200
R850
Duc


The town is quaint with narrow streets on a grid pattern and colonial one-story storefronts and pastel colored walls.
San Cristobal de las Casas


We went to a grocery store and bought some boxed wine (1-L California red for 33 pesos!), olives, and some savory baked goods and hung out at the hostel.
lunch
awesome chips
lunch


It rained some more and we stayed in and went back out exploring when it stopped. We bought some more baked goods from El Horno Magico near the zocalo, which was tasty (especially the plantain and chocolate pastry).
El Horno Magico
El Horno Magico
San Cristobal de las Casas
queso roll – a bit dried
San Cristobal de las Casas
garlic and onion but also dry
San Cristobal de las Casas
chocolate and plantain which is awesome
San Cristobal de las Casas


We saw some backpackers arrive from Guatemala and get dumped off in the zocalo and look lost and then head off in different directions.
San Cristobal de las Casas
furry skirt
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
a parade went around the square. It reminded me of a New Orleans Funeral (or wedding) but had a West African boogie man too. Maybe it's all creole.
New Orleans Funeral?
New Orleans Funeral?
New Orleans Funeral?
27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000">
there was a show in the zocalo – dances from the different areas of Mexico.
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas
27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000">
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas


We ended up spending the night talking to a couple folks around the firepit at the hostel, hearing their interesting stories. There were a lot of German-speakers at our hostel.
hanging around the firepit


One guy we met was six weeks into his year-long travel, and had just gotten a divorce from his wife, who was traveling a few weeks behind him (they had purchased their tickets before the divorce) and she was trying to reconcile with him. I feel so fortunate being able to experience this trip with my wife.
It was a relaxed day in San Cristobal. In retrospect, we should have spent a couple nights in San Cristobal instead of Chiapas de Corzo last week.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:24 AM   #110
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Glad you're back on the road...great report and pics.

Travel safe.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:51 AM   #111
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San Cristobal

San Cristobal looks like a great town - I want to go there someday.

Great to see you back in Mexico, I'm enjoying following your excellent report and novel travel strategy.

Ride safe.
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:23 AM   #112
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Thanks for the write up! I love the pictures! I left port out of Tuxpan almost two years ago for some work in the Gulf, but got to spend some time in the town for a few days before departure. First evening was an awesome parade, and my hotel balcony gave me a private seat above the crowd. Never got to leave the boat in Progreso, but got to see the town of Paraiso just north of where you are when we steamed into Dos Bocas. I really liked it there and got to spend some nice times with government officials-one of whom was the kindest hostess I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Your pictures bring back good memories.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:53 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Serbchaser View Post
Glad you're back on the road...great report and pics.

Travel safe.
thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by XTWalt View Post
San Cristobal looks like a great town - I want to go there someday.

Great to see you back in Mexico, I'm enjoying following your excellent report and novel travel strategy.

Ride safe.
it is quite pretty, like antigua in guatemala and unlike san miguel de allende, there were more national tourists and locals than foreigners milling about.

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Originally Posted by Beezer Josh View Post
Thanks for the write up! I love the pictures! I left port out of Tuxpan almost two years ago for some work in the Gulf, but got to spend some time in the town for a few days before departure. First evening was an awesome parade, and my hotel balcony gave me a private seat above the crowd. Never got to leave the boat in Progreso, but got to see the town of Paraiso just north of where you are when we steamed into Dos Bocas. I really liked it there and got to spend some nice times with government officials-one of whom was the kindest hostess I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Your pictures bring back good memories.
glad you are enjoying the photos. mexico is an amazing place, as you already know.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:58 AM   #114
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Day 44 to Palenque, 132 miles on bike

day 44 to palenque

We had a late night around the fire, but planned an early departure for our ride to Palenque. The day prior had been the end of day light savings time back home, but not anywhere else in the world, so we had been operating an hour ahead, unbeknownst to us. So our early departure was even earlier, which was just as well for traffic's sake.
Riding to Ocosingo
Riding to Ocosingo
Ocosingo

The ride to Palenque is not far but slow and windy through the mountains. We had our rain jackets on for the first half of the morning, but by the time we made it to Ocosingo, the sun was out. We stopped at a taqueria and had the worst tacos we have had on the trip. Seriously, they were terrible, and not inexpensive. 5 tacos with a soda for 65 pesos. The tortillas were soft and would not hold up to the weight and moisture of the fillings. The puerco was mostly chicharron so it was a greasy mess. We actually didn't finish our food. So unexpected.
Ocosingo
Ocosingo
What’s that on the crate of chickens?
what is that on the chicken truck?
Yes, it is a dude sleeping
It's a man sleeping!
Riding to Palenque

We stopped at Agua Azul, 58 miles north of Ocosingo to see the emerald-colored cascades. We paid 28 pesos to enter the park. There were several taxis and minibuses there but not too many people in the water. We locked up our stuff on the bike, and carried what we couldn't secure to the bike with us. Lumbering around with our gear in the 90 F heat and humidity wasn't fun, but the views are worth it. We spent so much time changing clothes the same vendors came up five times to ask if we wanted plantains or bananas. Um, no muchos gracias.
Agua Azul
No, I don’t want plantain chips and bananas!
Agua Azul

There are loads of vendors on the sidewalk path that goes upstream along the falls. They sold empanadas which looked better and were cheaper than our lunch in Ocosingo. Boo, on a wasted meal! You can buy a ride across on a ferry to the other side of the stream, where, I am guessing, you can climb to a nicer place to swim up above the falls. I don't know because we're too cheap to do this, haha. We walked to the top of the falls but there were some clouds of mozzies, so we headed back down and waded into the water where the locals were. The temperature of the water felt like 60F, so it was difficult going in too deep. But it worked in cooling us off. After an hour or so, we got back on the bike and put on the motogear over our damp swimwear and headed off to Palenque. Does that sound like a smelly combination? It was!
Agua Azul
Agua Azul
Agua Azul
View from the top
Agua Azul
Agua Azul

We didn't have a place booked in Palenque but had a couple places in mind. There are old moldy resorty hotels on the road from Palenque town to the ruins. They look like they were built 40 years ago. We stopped at one which was less than $40 on the internet but there was no one there and it looked old, so we headed back to Palenque town to stay at the Hostel Yaxkin for 450 pesos for a beautiful private room. It is actually in La Canada, a shaded neighborhood full of hotels across a short bridge from the rest of the Palenque town. It has the market area and supermercados one block away. They have a sweat lodge there, which is funny because you don't need to be in a lodge to sweat in Palenque.
Yaxkin Hostel
Yaxkin Hostel
Sweat lodge
Yaxkin Hostel
Yaxkin Hostel
Yaxkin Hostel
Yaxkin Hostel
Yaxkin Hostel
Yaxkin Hostel

After peeling off our clothes, we headed out to Chedraui, the supermercado, and bought some dinner – a baguette, tomatoes, boxed wine, goat cheese, Spanish jamon, and baked goods. It was a tasty meal and we saved the baked goods for lunch tomorrow at the ruins, but someone in the hostel got hungry in the middle of the night and ate our food! Oh well. This kind of thing happens at work in the break room, where people know you, so it is bound to happen in a hostel full of strangers. The wife was kind of pissed, though.
Chedraui
Chedraui
Chedraui
making use of the kitchen
Jamon, Tomato Cheese baguette
Palenque town
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:01 AM   #115
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...This kind of thing happens at work in the break room, where people know you, so it is bound to happen in a hostel full of strangers. The wife was kind of pissed, though.
aint that the truth! Phil, if you're reading this, you still owe me a frozen yogurt you bastard!

on the topic of your traveling work approach, have you had any trouble getting a solid wifi connection to the office? i'd love to do some traveling down there, but i'm frequently on-call and need to be able to VPN in.

edit: sorry about my post, somehow i got my text preferences all effed up..
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:23 PM   #116
bastchild OP
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aint that the truth! Phil, if you're reading this, you still owe me a frozen yogurt you bastard!

on the topic of your traveling work approach, have you had any trouble getting a solid wifi connection to the office? i'd love to do some traveling down there, but i'm frequently on-call and need to be able to VPN in.

edit: sorry about my post, somehow i got my text preferences all effed up..
wifi has been great for the most part, except for a few places, and those were lodging-dependent. public spaces (gardens, squares) in cities have free wifi, but as expected, can be slow (due to volume of users). the youth hostel in mexico city we used had terrible wifi but i was able to skype with work, but other times couldn't even check my email. if we had to, we would just go to a fast food restaurant or coffee place and pay for a drink and use their wifi. or an internet cafe. if you have the ability to work via the internet, i would have no qualms about working/traveling in mexico!
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:39 PM   #117
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Day 45 to Villahermosa, 89 miles on bike

day 45 to villahermosa

We got up early to hit the ruins. We packed our gear up and kept it in the hostel locker and checked out of our room. We headed back to Chedraui to buy more baked goods for lunch.
Back to Chedraui
road to Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins

At Palenque, you have to pay a couple times – 28 pesos to enter the national park, and 59 pesos to enter the ruins. The guy at the ticket booth tried to shortchange me pesos, but only a couple pesos. But I guess if a hundred people show up in a day, he can make out pretty well. At the parking lot, a local asked if I wanted him to keep an eye on my bike, and I declined. Haha. Loads of guides offered their services, but we aren't really into that kind of stuff, so we just explored on our own. I can't even pay attention long enough to read the section on the ruins in the guidebooks.
Palenque is awesome. The setting in the jungle makes all the difference. They have uncovered and semi-restored tall temples for tourists to explore, and left many in a semi-cleared state to give the visitor an idea of what they may have looked like undisturbed. We climbed to the top of the Temple of the Cross and ate our breakfast of pastries and empanadas.
We headed downhill to see the waterfall and other ruins and the museum, and then headed back up to the parking lot. We spent around three hours there, and enjoyed the ride back to the hostel to cool off and dry off our sweaty shirts.
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins
Palenque ruins

From Palenque, it was a two-hour ride to Villahermosa. The riding becomes much faster once you leave Palenque and head north. It was hot, though, and I accidentally ripped out the wires to my intercom microphone, so I had some helmet time, thinking about stuff going on at work.
The guidebooks have nothing great to say about Villahermosa. We booked a night at the Hotel Maya Tabasco, formerly a Best Western, 40 years ago when it was built. It has an awesome pool and is close to bus station, and we paid $45. We walked to the Oxxo and spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool, listening to tunes, and sipping drinks and eating chips. We need more days like this!
riding to Villahermosa
Hotel Maya Tabasco
Hotel Maya Tabasco
Hotel Maya Tabasco
Hotel Maya Tabasco
Hotel Maya Tabasco

In the evening, we walked around the neighborhood and discovered a Chedraui a block away and bought some more baked goods. We had an early night because we were flying out at 6:30 am in the morning.
Brand new tuk tuk
tuk tuk
tuk tuk
Chedraui again
This 4 L bottle of water at Chedraui costs the same as a 1 L at oxxo – 10 pesos!
Chedraui again
Villahermosa
dinner in the room
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:51 PM   #118
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Day 46 to Gulfport, 8 miles on bike

day 46 to vsa

We had a 4 am wake up and got on the bike by 5 am just in time for the mosquitoes to start harassing us. The airport was only a 15-minute ride in the dark. More mozzies attacked while we changed in the parking lot. Parking will be 180 pesos/day again, but we are getting more comfortable with keeping the bike at airports. See you next week!

6:30am flight out of Villahermosa!
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:58 PM   #119
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Day 47 to Isla Aguada, 139 miles on bike

day 47 to Isla Aguada

We had another 6:30 am flight out of Gulfport, but we made it to Villahermosa at 2:30 pm. It was drizzling when we arrived. Not sure what to do, we grabbed our cases off the bike, and went back into the airport to change and organize our stuff. When we came out, the rain had stopped. Surely this was a sign! Instead of staying in Villahermosa another night, we decided to head to the coast and camp at Isla Aguada, three hours away!

Changing at Villahermosa
Packing more, with camping gear in the duffel bag
no rain!
riding to Isla Aguada

The ride was flat and fast. The surrounding was lush and green with lots of water around. We filled up the bike in Cuidad del Carmen filled up at the Oxxo for basic essentials. As it turns out, there is a small Oxxo at Isla Aguada.
riding to Isla Aguada
riding to Isla Aguada
Cuidad del Carmen

By the time we got there, it was dark. Freedom Shores is on the right hand side coming off the bridge, on the inlet to the lagoon. There was no one else there, but Thelma, the owner, came out to show us a spot to camp. She recommended under the palapa because it was windy and branches might fall on our tent. It was 300 pesos a night, which seemed a bit steep for camping, but it is a nice enough place. I asked for the wifi password three or four times and each time she said yes she would get it to me, but in the end she disappeared and never gave it to us (even when we were in the office). We also asked for a towel and she responded, “you don’t have a towel?! How do you live?” Yeah, so it was no surprise to me that she was a schoolteacher, and probably a cranky one at that. No matter, we showered with a sarong and handkerchief to dry off. Thanks, Thelma, you are a gem and a perfect host!
We are headed to the beach this week and wanted to take advantage of opportunities to beach camp, so we brought a tent, a couple pads, and thin sleeping bags (55 F).
Freedom Shores
Freedom Shores
Basic essentials
Fat Tuesday insulated mug!

We went out to get some tacos. When I pulled up to the taco stand around the corner, I asked how much tacos were, and they said 15 pesos, so we moved on. Haha. We ended up near the toll booth and had some tacos, tortas, and mystery soup called mondongo. It is made of bits of meat and stomach lining. It actually is quite bland. The tacos were 8 and the tortas were 25. I love it when I ask how much something costs, they have to ask el jefe to see how much they want to charge me.
Dinner in Isla Aguada
These were delicious!
Dinner in Isla Aguada
Yum!
Dinner in Isla Aguada
Dinner in Isla Aguada
Dinner in Isla Aguada
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:27 PM   #120
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Day 48 to Piste, 286 miles on bike

day 48 to Piste

We woke up around 7am with the sounds of fishermen in boats.
Freedom Shores RV camping
Freedom Shores RV camping
Freedom Shores RV camping
Freedom Shores RV camping
Hot water!
Freedom Shores RV camping
Freedom Shores RV camping
Freedom Shores RV camping

We had a slow start, enjoying the view, and deciding how far to ride that day.
riding to campeche

We eventually packed up and headed out in the beautiful clear weather towards Campeche.
The city of Campeche is right on the coast and has a colorful pastel-painted old walled city.
Campeche
Campeche

The guidebooks say it was often raided by pirates hence the wall and 2 forts alongside it. We stopped and had a sandwich for lunch before heading back up the road towards Merida.
Lunch in Campeche
Lunch in Campeche
Lunch in Campeche
Lunch in Campeche

We had been to Merida four years ago, and had visited Chichen Itza, but did not get to swim in the Ik Kil Cenote, which was across the street from our hotel, Hotel Dolores Alba. The wife wanted to go swim there this time. We initially tried an ecolodge before Piste, but it didn’t look too inviting and had no sign, and it was questionable whether it was even open. We ended going to the Dolores Alba. The front desk wanted 800 pesos, and the price on hotels.com was cheaper, so we booked it online. We actually rode back to town (no cell signal at the hotel) to book the place. While we were there, the wife went to the Oxxo to buy some Fresca and Doritos. She didn’t have her motojacket on, because it was so hot, and her motopants don’t have pockets, so she put the wallet on one of the cases, and then we rode off. It wasn’t until I tried to check in that she said, “I hope you have the wallet.” And it turns out I didn’t so we immediately went back to town and rode around and circled and couldn’t find it. We went back to the hotel and I got on skype and called the credit card company and cancelled the card. It already had 3 charges for small amounts from the local grocery stores that I didn’t make. And we only had $20 in the wallet and my expired driver’s license. It was no big loss, and a cheap lesson.
This is the last time we saw the red wallet in the wife’s hands.
My wife and my bike
Hotel Dolores Alba
Hotel Dolores Alba
Hotel Dolores Alba
Hotel Dolores Alba
Hotel Dolores Alba
Hotel Dolores Alba
Hotel Dolores Alba
Trying to cancel credit card on skype.
Hotel Dolores Alba

Credit card canceled, we finally dipped into the pool at the hotel, but the sun had already set.
Hotel Dolores Alba

There are two pools – one with natural limestone rock and the other a normal pool. The water was cool and the mozzies were coming out, so we just cleaned up and headed out for dinner. The wife was pissed about the wallet, especially when we passed by the Super Willy’s market when the charges had occurred. We had some nice Yucatan food.
Yucatan food
Yucatan food

The menu had no prices, which was a sure sign we were in a tourist area! We had some nice lime soup at Coox Hanal in Mexico City, and they had lime soup here! The Cochinita Pibil was as flavorless as it was there!
Cochinita Pibil
So I just had flautas which were great!
Yucatan food
And the soup was still very good.
lime soup

There was a gastronomic festival going on but there were not too many entries. They played musical chairs for some kids and there was one kid who was blazing fast running back to the chairs. He would have won in the end if he had gotten the directions correct. (he had to sit at a different spot at the end, which he didn’t do).
Food festival
Dog on shoulder
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