Rode on a Trashbreaker

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
Trip End Dec 22, 2011

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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Saturday, October 1, 2011

San Cristobal de las Casas really has all I need to keep my interest for a few days…great food, beautiful colonial city center, nice people to hang with and most importantly of all I am not sweating to death. In fact, it is in the upper 40s at night and high 50s in the day with enough clouds to keep away the sun.   The mosquitos haven't discovered San Cristobal this time of year either and walking around without a slick mix of sweat and insect repellant sticking to a wet tee shirt is an absolute joy.

Since yesterday's excursion has fully tested my patience for anything organized the guys I am hanging with had to really talk me into venturing to Sumidero Canyon this morning.  Their persistence paid off.   200 pesos ($14) also paid off for a several hour boat ride inside cliffs and mountains rising 3,000 feet above the Grijalva River and the transfers to and from there.  Best of all the launching point in Chiapa de Corzo is only an hour away via a highway with few speedbumps.  We even went up over a chilly ridgeline into some incredibly dense fog straight out of some New England scene.

So what is Sumidero Canyon you ask and why visit? About 35 million years ago the Grijalva River began eroding the river basin and lucky for us today Sumidero got its start.   For any geology buffs out there, the Grand Canyon formed about the same time.   The river today faces a different type of force with pollution from about 700,000 people upstream, and we will revisit this fact in a few.  I am always here to take you to remote places you have never heard of or would dare visit.

Some Israeli tourists I met yesterday gave the canyon a 4 out of 10, and fully recommended I skip it.  In fact, they said it’s "just rocks."  I’d like to know what kind of kosher crack drives their rating process because I give it closer to 9 for scenery and holding my attention.   Chiflon Falls failed to impress them either so it goes to show some people just can’t be pleased.   All the female half of this couple could talk about is how wonderful Israel is and the hardships of Mexican travel since people actually speak Spanish and don’t know kosher.  I think kosher means no mixing of cheese and meats and a rabbi blesses the meat packing plant.  Yes, maybe she should just stay plan a staycation in Tel Aviv where she can avoid the dangerous mix of cheeses and meats Mexican cuisine lobs at us.

One very interesting part of the boat ride rounds a bend where tree debris and trash collect for about 200 feet.   This brew of mostly tree limbs and trunks washes into the river from the rainy season but water bottles and other assorted crap swirl around as well. This trash island is the craziest thing I’ve seen on a river. I mean all of a sudden it is there stretching from one bank to the other. Ever so slowly we plowed through this mess like an icebreaker turned trashbreaker. Only 200 feet later we were back on normal clear water again as if this pollution control problem never had existed. Again, it is mostly natural debris but the manmade sort really gives it a sick yet fascinating look.

As I write this I am sitting in the main square observing San Cristobal go by on this nice overcast cool afternoon.   My favorite sighting of the day is a couple of size shall we call them.   He is wearing a button that says, “I <heart shape> my Gordita.”  Hers just substitutes Gordito for Gordita.   And no folks, this isn’t a  profession of undying love for some crap off Taco Bell’s 99 cent menu.  I will save you the trip to Google Translator...Gordito is Spanish for fat person.  Well, at least their love lives large.

Another winner is the man whose riding lawn mower is now some sort of converted street conveyance for his wife and infant daughter.   I do trust he removed the blade.  At least they are wearing helmets should those white plastic chairs bolted to the sides give way.   I can't believed Chiapas State licensed that thing.
All this competes with a phone store blasting techno music, church bells, some band's traditional music, and the locals trying to sell me all manners of junk. I did feel sorry for one elderly water bottle collector though. This pitiful old man in white cowboy hat and worn out brown pants emptying all the trashcans walked by me no less than 8 times spying my half full bottle with a longing look.  Hopefully he is now put out his misery since I broke down and finished it quickly so he can have it. Goes to show one man's trash truly is another man's treasure. I wonder whose treasure the Grijalva's trash island is.

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