An eastern Mexico domination...

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Sunday, December 31, 2006

I - What the fuck does Old Lang Syne mean anyway?

Smashing an egg on someone's head is a fucking cool new year's tradition. Especially when the victim is completely unsuspecting. As the countdown began, armed with flour-filled eggs, I planned my ambush. Target acquired - the silhouettes of of 2 Australian chicas rising above the plateau of short mexican families; the traditional band drawing attention to the brightly lit centre stage. Unbeknowns to me, they have weapons of their own. The clock strikes - the sky over Oaxaca's Zocalo explodes in a cocktail of fluro green, purple, red and egg-shell 15 hours after the Perth new year. Fiery debris settles upon the historic Catedral - fire precautions clearly not of the highest priority, perhaps rightly so given the significant social unrest and riots of the previous weeks. A small girl smiles across the state, perched on the back of Dad's neck, a stick of sugar-come-cottom a secondary focus of delight. Below her, squeals of evasion - another egg in pursuit of another child. Balloons bob in the breeze; the repetitive and now familiar regaton beat strikes up in the distance; and as the final, faint, smokey remnants of the previous year sweep away over the beautiful square, 3 Australians stand, in 2007, with egg on their faces...

A mExican new year bears little resemblance to its Australian counterpart - where are the yobbos and drunks; the complicated dramas; the inevitable transportation issues; the anti-climax that seems to get greater every year? They are allabsent, it seems, evidently traded for a family-oriented affair - traditions of egg-smashing and underwear trading - a very different kind of underwear trading, I imagine, to the Australian new year - the celebration method of choice. In search of a compromise between the new years of their former lives and the now, 3 Australians from Perth sat on a hostel roof, peering over the precipice of both Oaxaca and 2007, joined by a llama, a bottle of tequila and Toto's Africa. There may or may not also have been Dancing on the Ceiling. Of course, similar scenes are unlikely to ever been witnesses again - consensus being that it was 'so 2006'.

II - Oaxaca

Don't go to Oaxaca says the Australian government:

"We advise you to reconsider travel to Oaxaca because you will die."

Having considered the warning, we found ourselves in Oaxaca. Sitting in the Zocalo, the charming flower and fountain filled main square of Oaxaca, despite the barricades and riot police negotiated at its entrances, you are surrounded by a wonderful sense of calm which is only enhanced by a plate of nuts, lime and an icy cold corona. It would be nice to say that I did something other than sit in a cafe around the Zocalo during my time in Oaxaca - but to do so would require me to lie. And as regular readers would know, this blog contains only complete truths. Indeed, Oaxaca's Zoaclo is magnetic - its tranquil prsence conspiring with the forever closed museums and galleries to ensure your constant return. And so, an Australian-Chinese-Indonesian sits in the Zocalo - his companions embarking on the great Oaxacan Market Shop of the Devil of the Death - reading, the words 'una mas cerveza' appearing frequently on his lips...

III - Not the Last Crusade or Raiders of the Lost Ark - the other one

You'd be surprised how hard it is to lose stalkers in the jungle. Especially when you have the aid of ancient ruins. As the sweat drips down you in the muggy, tropical heat, your mind starts to play tricks on you, partly fuelled by those boyhood desires to emulate Indian Jones. A few chance encounters with a group of consisting of mexican and german dudes suddnely becomes, in your mind at least, a pursuit - clambering through amazing jungle ruins for your life - at the foot of, not the temple of doom, but the temple of the devil of the death from hell. The Mayan Ruins of Palenque are of this nature - the type that allow your imagination to run free - of secret treasures buried in long-forgotten temples deep in the jungle; guarded by shaman spells and booby traps, by time.
you can get ruined out - no doubt. And to be fair, I've seen a fair few fucking ruins recently, especially since Peru. Mu impression of Teotihicuan certainly suffered. But there was something about Palenque which resisted such an assessment; which still inspired the imagination of a 10 year old boy. And, indeed, it would be sad if you were ever to tire of jungle - enshrouded ruins; of tiered temples growing out of the lush vines; of the gentle aura of cascades; the insects of repeat; the fluroescent green of moss on ancient stone. Palenque oozes the atmosphere of the tranquil jungle - and it's probably why it is hippie central. Fucking central. Especially this little area called El Panchan - Hippieville - population: hippies. The mayor? Some hippie dude doing fire twirling. And Don Mucho's Italiano restaurant - home of the most plentiful caipirinhas in all Palenque. Probably. The colony of hippies - I think known as a 'joint' of hippies, makes for a karma-filled retreat from Mexico's general madness. Brilliant. Caipirinha it up...

IV - It's clearly NFL playoff time

Please find below a list of quotes from actual conversations that took place in the first hours in Tulum that led to an initial dispise of the place:
"Hey - have you guys just arrived from the states?"
"Oh - you look like you're from LA"
"Tulum's really full at the moment. Our hostel is completely full. Heaps of people come down from the states at this time of year - so it's full of them..."
"Hey Hannah - is your beer really warm as well?"
"Sorry - only cold showers. And there's a hole in your mosquito net..."
"Yeah, well you know, Dion Williams is one of the best American Football running backs - he's 6'4, 220, does a 6.2, benches 300, you know. He's like, my hero..."

Love the Americans...

But as the light of the fading sun reflects off the Caribbean, tequila sunrise in hand, the wafting breeze carrying both the fresh aromas of the ocean and Kermit's 'Rainbow Connection' by our beach front cabana, Tulum is forgiven. For Tulum is what it is - profound I know - an unapologetic tourist resort town: powdery beaches, palm trees sprouting from the sand; turquoise, lucid, exquisite water; a general promise of a less mainstream experience than the overun and hideous cancun. And then there's the ancient ruins. The ones on the beach. Let's be honest. Average. Structures, with nothing particular remarkable about them except for the fact that they're kinda old and on the beach. Average. Anyway, I'm officially ruined out...

Love the Americans...

V - Top 5

So, to the Top 5. I'm not one for new years resolutions. Normally. But this year, after this silly trip, I thought it might be nice to make a few. So I went silly. Here are the top 5 resolutions made:
5. Finish Super Mario Brothers
4. Figure out how to solve that coin puzzle... (*)
3. Become one of the world's Top 20 producers of candy canes.
2. Work out "Funky COle Medina" means...
1. Expand on my vocabulary beyond the phrases "Do it" and "Brilliant"...

To Cancun and the Sombrero and 80's Ballads Challenge of the Devil of the Death...

* You have 12 coins. All of them weigh the same except for one. You do not know whether this coin is heavier or lighter. You have a scale with no reading - you can only weigh one thing against another. In 3 weighings, how do you determine which coin is of different weight.
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kiemce on

Coin puzzle solution
Number the coins 1 through 12. Weigh coins 1,2,3,4 against coins 5,6,7,8. If they balance, weigh coins 9 & 10 against coins 11 & 8 (we know from the first weighing that 8 is a normal coin). If they balance, we know coin 12, the only unweighed one is the dud. The third weighing indicates whether it is heavier or lighter.

If, however, at the second weighing, coins 11 and 8 are heavier than coins 9 and 10, either 11 is heavy, 9 is light, or 10 is light. Weigh 9 with 10. If they balance, 11 is heavy. If they don't balance, either 9 or 10 is light.

Now assume that at first weighing the side with coins 5,6,7,8 is heavier than the side with coins 1,2,3,4. This means that either 1,2,3,4 is light or 5,6,7,8 is heavy. Weigh 1,2,5 against 3,6,9. If they balance, it means that either 7 or 8 is heavy or 4 is light. By weighing 7 and 8 we obtain the answer, because if they balance, then 4 has to be light. If 7 and 8 do not balance, then the heavier coin is the dud.

If when we weigh 1,2,5 against 3,6,9, the right side is heavier, then either 6 is heavy or 1 is light or 2 is light. By weighing 1 against 2 the solution is obtained.

If however, when we weigh 1,2,5 against 3,6,9, the right side is lighter, then either 3 is light or 5 is heavy. By weighing 3 against a normal coin the solution is arrived at.

De nada.

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