Mexico is a country proud of its history ...
Trip Start Sep 16, 2002
19Trip End May 31, 2004
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Started in the North on the border by taking a 35 hour bus ride (I wanted to ease into the journey) from Tijuana to Guadalajara. Dont remember much of the bus trip, apart from stopping every 3 hours and watching the movies and the checkpoints. In Mexico busses are occassionally stopped by the army and checked for drug traffickers and probably criminals. Finally arrived at Guadalajara and started the Mexican experience. This is where Tequila and Mariachi music originated from
So after a few days in Guadalajara I headed south east to the megapolis which is Mexico City. This place is just too big. 23 million and rising. And the energy just drains you. Most people try and spend as little time as possible in this city because of crime or its too busy or whatever, but this is a mistake. This is the cradle of one of the greatest empires of the Americas...the Aztecs. It used to be the capital Tenochtitlan. An island city built in the middle of a lake. The Aztecs were more warlike than other indian cultures. However when Hernan Cortes made his way to Mexico with his conquisatdors, they welcomed him with open arms. You could call it great timing on Cortes's part or bad luck for the Aztecs. That year the Aztecs had predicted a god would be arriving to their land. Quite coincidentally the God had the same complexion as Cortes and a beard. So when Cortes arrived they assumed he was the God. Unfortunately for them he was a very ambitous and ruthless Spanish General and made alliances with their enemies (which he conquered later)to overthrow them
And it has great art and a great Anthropological museum. After a couple days I went to visit the ancient city of Teotihucuan just north of Mexico City. Built before the Aztecs (800 BC) this is home to the third largest pyramid in the world - Temple of the Sun.
After the mad energy of Mexico City I took a 2 hour bus journey (learnt my lesson on long bus trips by now) to the picturesque city of Puebla. Nearby was a town called Cholula
After Puebla I started to head for the Pacific beaches, but first stopping at Oaxaca to visit the famous Monte Alban city. The bus journey took us through valleys of cacti and when I arrived at Oaxaca I was not disappointed. The state of Oaxaca is where the drink called Mezcal comes from
Finally after being on the road for almost 2 months and badly needing a rest my new travel companion Paul (ex newspaper subeditor from NZ) and I headed to the palm strewn Pacific Beaches - Puerto Angel. Here we stayed in a Cabana right on the beach and ate fresh fish and drank Pina Coladas to molten sun sets. I also finally saw my first sunrise on the Pacific before heading out one morning with the local fisherman to bring in their catch. Unfortunately they only caught one fish, but on the boat ride out I saw turtle and manta rays somersaulting out of the water. I felt quite sorry for the fisherman so decided to purchase their entire catch for 7 dollars. Later we barbecued the fish and I was persuaded into eating one of the eyes, which was quite unappetising.
Pretty much half way through the Mexican trip and was looking forward to what would probably be the highlight - the Mayan route. This is a tour through the southernmost Mexican states of Chiapas and Yucatan taking in the Mayan temples
During the Mayan route I saw some amazing archaelogical sites. Palenque was the first and probably my favourite. White temples set in the lush green jungle. The setting really made this site. And some of the bas-reliefs were amusing, especially one of a god smoking a suspicious substance. So it seems that the Mayans liked to alter their perception too with the help of the plants. I also noticed Palenque had alot of butterflies floating about which added to the mystical charm. Later I visited the impressive temple of the Magician at Uxmal. This site also had its own new residents - huge iguanas. Then off to Chichen Itza, probably the biggest Mayan site in Mexico. This was impressive not only because of the main pyramid but also the perfectly preserved crypt inside which has some artefacts: a red jaguar throne and a green sacrificial statue.
Finally I arrived on the Caribbean coast at Tulum. This would be my final Mayan ruin and set against the turquiose waters it is quite a sight. Was now coming up to Christmas so what a better place to relax than a Cabana on the Caribbean. After 4 days of lethargy on the beaches I decided to get organised for my next destination. Cuba apparrantly is quite lively so will be making my way there for New Years....
Until next time wishing you all a Happy New Year !!!