Nos Vemos

Trip Start Sep 13, 2004
Trip End Apr 30, 2005

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Friday, April 29, 2005

Well well. Mexico City, the end of the line for two road-weary travellers. More on the Distrito Federal, as Mexicans call it, later but first let's share some stories from our action-packed final couple of weeks...

After leaving San Christobal we awoke on the side of the road in Pochutla on the Oaxacan coast. Our first stop was the beach town of Mazunte where we checked into a palm thatch room on the end the pale strip of sand known as Muzunte Beach. Highlights included the usual sun and sand as well as some great sunsets and a fortuitous early morning beach walk on which we came across thirty-odd sea turtle hatchlings making their first steps from the nest down the beach into the surf. Cool. Beers were cold and plentiful and turns out Mexicans can do things with seafood that the rest of the culinary world dares not dream of. After a few days in Mazunte we moved 15 minutes down the coast to neighbouring Zipolite, another beach town and bohemian hangout described in our guide book as, "the ultimate place in Mexico to do as little as you like for as little as you like in as little as you like." We did our best to record the first documented case of hammock sores.

Our last stop on the coast was to Peurto Escondido, an hour or so west. Puerto is known as the best surf spot in Mexico, laying claim to the board-snapping, ego taming "Mexican pipeline". Like the idiot I am I temped fate one afternoon and while no boards were snapped, ego's weren't so much tamed as they were crushed. You can tell Andy Irons his title is safe for the time being. Julie was wise enough to be a spectator in this event and was very nearly needed in her capacity as a lifeguard. We also gave scuba diving another go one morning but were frustrated by surge caused by the strong swell that ruined visibility and tossed us around a bit for good measure. We needed a whole day in beach chairs sipping on coconut milk to recover.

With the beach out of the way we headed to Oaxaca city on a culinary mission. We spent our two days in the city pounding the cobblestone streets in search of local delicacies. Among other things we tried grasshoppers cooked in chili and lime, leche quemada or "burnt milk" flavoured ice cream, stuffed Oaxacan Chiles and two kinds of Oaxacan "moles" or sauces including the monarch of moles, the mole negro a complex blackish sauce made with of over thirty ingredients including chocolate, chilis and banana. We also spent an evening in a cantina sampling shot after shot of mezcal, the local spirit made, like tequila, from the distilled pulp of the maguey plant. Apparently the state of Oaxaca produces the country's finest (right, and Windsor, Ontario produces our country's finest battery acid).

Our last bus ride (no tears were shed) took to the capital on Wednesday afternoon. We're staying in a great little hostel just a bock off the zocalo or main plaza, just us... and 18 million Mexicans. The D.F. is quite a site and we spent our first day riding the world's third largest metro (only Moscow's and Tokyo's move more people per day) and visiting the National Museum of Anthropology were we saw... well a small fraction of the museum's 100,000+ square feet of artifacts. We then tried to visit a neighbourhood of the city containing the former houses-turned-museums of Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky but were foiled by a less-than-cooperative bus driver and ended up having to take the metro eight kilometers back to our hotel. This is a big place folks. Today we did a walking tour of the city's historical centre visiting the cathedral (the largest church in the Americas), the palacio national which is home to Diego Rivera's famous murals of Mexican history as well as a few other interesting sites. While certainly sprawling, the D.F. is more pleasant than we expected. Most of the city is relatively safe to explore on foot and there is never a lack of action, the street food is great and the people are friendly (we have found Mexicans, in general, to be among the friendliest people we've run into). That said, walking the streets is exhausting for the throngs of vendors and the air quality provides some raw throats and splitting headaches. But it's all worth it to experience the metropolitan heart of Mexico and home to over one-fifth of the country's population.

We've taken some time out of our busy schedule to compile a summary of the trip of sorts so without anything further..

The Count:

Total days abroad: 226
Hours spent on buses: 374
(approximately 18,700km at an average velocity of 50km/h)
Number of buses that have broken down: 8
Note: not included are other forms of transportation such as: minibus, boat, train, taxi, plane, pick-up truck, horseback, foot, ATV, jeep, tuk-tuk, car, tram and subway.
Border crossings made: 18
Currencies used: 11
Books read: Julie - 39, Pete - 36
Beds slept in: 109
Times vomited: 4
Pairs of sunglasses purchased: 9
Scuba tanks used: 30
Photos taken: 971
Tattoos: 2

Well that's it, it ends tomorrow afternoon when we land at YVR. We can't adequately express what an adventure it's been and how many great memories we've made. We are really thankful to have had this oppurtunity and thank all of you that helped make it happen and most of all thank for your wishes and emails and for sharing our experiences with us... it's been great having you along.

Until next time,

Julie and Pete
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