After a very restless night, I finally got out of bed at 5:00. We found a little restaurant, our host was a great man who was very warm and welcoming. During our delicious breakfast we met two gentlemen who were from Venezuela and Columbia. We got some more information in case we decide to go to Columbia. We said our goodbyes and hit the road. We decided to see some ancient Mexican ruins called El Tajin 6 km west of Papantla. We followed the sign and ended up in Papantla. Hmmm.... wrong turn but no signs. We asked for directions and were given wrong advice. So now we are really lost. We turned around and backed tracked. A sign for the ruins we drove a little further and yes another. In Mexico when asking for directions you must ask four individuals. Then take that information and come to your own educated conclusion
. We finally found the ruins. They were spectacular and we explored them for several hours. The air was clean, no traffic and very few people. I stumbled across a huge patch of flowers and there were butterflies everywhere. The scents and sights were beautiful. In part of the ruins there is a place high above the rest of the grounds called El Tajin Chico. This is were the members of high society would watch the ball games, personal sacrifices or objectionable sacrifices. I could see everything thing from this point. Now don´t ask me why but this little thought popped into my head. What will happen if I yell from here. So what the heck.. I did. Holy crap the acoustics were unbelievable, my voice was amplified and echoed incredibly well. So like all boys with new toys I did it again. I couldn't stop laughing at myself. It makes me wonder if somehow these ancient people knew exactly what they were doing. The most impressive site here is Piramide de los Noches. After further exploration we decided to leave. We met a couple who works for the Museo. They were in absolute awe that we had driven from Canada to Mexico and that we were trying to get to Argentina. We carried on our way, again the roads were great with plenty of tight blind turns. We came across a truck that tried to negotiate a tight curve to quickly and rolled it. Not a pleasant site. We missed a cut off and ended up driving through a couple of beach towns. Very chic by Mexican standards.We arrived in the town of Alvarado. Once again the entire day was warm sunny and beautiful until an hour before we reached Alvarado and it started to rain.. We found a great restaurant with a spectacular view. It was the best meal we've had in days. Just to note, it is very difficult to drive at the same rate of speed and efficiency as in Canada. All major highways drive through small towns. There are topes( big speed bumps that force you to slow down to less than 5 km per hour) in those small towns. A little frustrating when it takes transport trucks a long time to get over the topes
. We are feeling a lot more comfortable in Mexico and things are not dangerous at all.
Thursday October 30th.
It's very dark this morning and I'm sure it is going to rain, never mind it is raining. We stopped at a restaurant to have breakfast. We ordered coffee and as our luck would have it the hydro went out. So no breakfast. We sat there waiting the rain out. It was wonderful, the air has been cleaned of the air pollution, the sound of the rain pattering onto the clay roof top was very soothing. Once the rain slowed a little we were back on the road. We stopped at the Santa Clara cigar factory. The security guard allowed us into the factory. The smell was wonderful, coffee, vanilla, cherry, chocolate and fresh tobacco all blended into one.
There was very cheerful music playing, all the employee´s facing us dressed the exact same way.
Wow what an atmosphere. We were given a tour and learned how they sort the leaves and devein them. Then move them to the specific locations based on the strength of the leaves and the cigars rolled. A couple of the employee´s really enjoyed their work as they puffed on their cigars while rolling them
. Fifty employee`s produce 10,000 cigars a day! Off course we purchased some of those fresh cigars for ourselves .We left there and stopped by a roadside BBQ and had some lovely BBQ`d chicken very tasty. We crossed the Tehauntepec isthmus, the road conditions were very poor for some 50 km's. It improved and twisted it´s way down to the town of Juchitan. Coming down the mountain side the winds became very strong. We saw 30-40 windmills indicating this is quite normal. I have noticed a huge difference in the Mexican populations diverse roots. Peoples features change very dramatically in short periods of time. There is also a huge difference in wealth between the city slickers and the country folk. The billboard advertisements have all white people on them. Indicating to me the cultural unimportance ( or ignorance) of it`s ethnic groups.
October 31st, 2008
We woke up this morning and decided to take the day off. Neither one of us want to ride. So we found the laundry mat and dropped off or laundry. We also stumbled across a huge market with everything one could need. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the market. We also changed the oil on the bikes and did complete maintenance of everything for the next leg of our journey. The wind is very strong today... with gusts over 100 kph.