Saturday, September 19, 2015

Finally on the Road

After our Independence day celebrations, we had a bit of a late start to the morning. Getting back on the Trolls, we made our way to the road and immediately went through a 2 km tunnel to pass through the mountain. The other side had a stunning view of the valley, complete with low hanging clouds. The next 25 km was all downhill, but the road was made of a dense cobblestone that made us wonder if our wheels would last. Whenever possible, we opted for the angled drainage on the sides because it was smooth. I must say, even though our first few days were very physically demanding and our wheels probably should look more like squares, our Trolls have miraculously withstood every test thus far with flying colors.

Continuing on to Montehuella, we had lunch in the city center. One thing Mexico is doing very right is when you order a taco, they give you 5. The city was incredibly welcoming and a police officer we were chatting with even waved us down while we were leaving to point out we had left 50 pesos behind. Pretty awesome considering all we had heard about police in Mexico before the trip was how corrupt they were.

The rest of the day was spent pedaling to Villa de Guadalupe, where we got a room for $250 pesos (or about $15) and quickly wondered why the town was so empty. It turns out that for additional Independence day celebrations, they had a rodeo in town. The place was packed, so we got a couple of beers and made our way to the top of the wall. It didn't take long for the clowns in the middle to spot us, and they climbed over the wall during a break in the action to offer us various women and asked if we thought they were pretty. Besides the bull riding, there was a contest with children to see who could spin the longest without falling over and a dance competition with some of the cuter women in the crowd. A couple Modelos in, it was safe to say we were having a wonderful time.

To finish off the festivities, we learned the town was having a live Mariache band and dance. Kai and Jon decided they were satisfied with the rodeo and didn't want to experience a party (sounds like silly old folk to me too) so I ended up going down alone and boy did they miss out.

The center was filled with booths, vendors, and even a few amusement rides, but the real focus was on the band. It had at least 6 violins, 2 guitars, a drum set, keyboard, accordion, and occasional other instruments. I made my way near the dance floor and watched couples perform a traditional dance that looked like a combination of a two step and a waltz.

Being a tall white gringo, eventually two girls came up to me and offered to show me how to dance. They were incredibly patient as I struggled, and were kind enough to share some drinks with me. The whole night they were teaching me Spanish and practicing English. Our language levels were about perfect since we could ask each other what things were, but still had to bounce between the two. Both of them were studying to become doctors, and shared an enjoyment of teaching me words I'm guessing I shouldn't use in public.


The Next Day

The next morning we had our first full day of pavement. It´s interesting how different the leg muscles are when you aren't walking your bike through a river valley half of the day. At one point, we saw a sign for a water area so we decided to check it out. What we found was a swimming area with a double diving board and a small waterfall you could walk under. Naturally, we shamelessly took advantage of it and had a wonderful swim all to ourselves.

Feeling refreshed, we continued down the road a bit and eventually asked some middle school girls for a place to camp. We ended up in a park, next to a military base, but we were assured it was safe. At this park was a teekee looking hut that we could string our hammocks under and avoid any rain. Honestly, it was about as ideal of a set up as you could ask for. Tired from the day's ride, that night we feasted on rice, refried beans, fresh onion, carrots, tomatoes, and cheese all inside tortillas.

When we woke up the next morning, we realized we had been locked into the park. Luckily their fence was not the highest of quality, so we were able to pass over our gear, bikes, and eventually ourselves despite a bit of barbed wire at the top. What this truly means is we can now say we've broken out of a military base in Mexico. Counts.

After another long day´s ride, and again more mountains than anyone ever has told us about even existed in Mexico, we rolled into San Luis Potosi. We've had some lucky moments with the free meal in the mountains, the hitch to Real de Catorce, a rodeo waiting for us at the next town, and a teekee hut, but this one might take the cake. At the suggestion of our Texan friend Mark, we stayed at Hotel Progresso (cheap, but still near the city center) and quickly realized laundry was very necessary. For $80 pesos, we through in all of our nasty riding clothes. That poor man better have a poor sense of smell.

Working our way back toward town, we rewarded ourselves with a double scoop of amazing ice cream. Still hungry, Kai had a weird craving for pizza so we found a place suggested by the front desk of our hotel called "Blue Pizza." Much to our amusement, there was absolutely nothing blue in the entire place. We ordered the "Mexican" which had sausage, onion, and jalapeƱo. The slices were huge and 2 each filled us up, especially since it came with 1.5 Liters of Tutti Fruti soda.

Renewed with some energy, we went out exploring the Plaza del Carmen. In one corner was an old theater we decided to check out. The inside was gorgeous and we were just saying how awesome it would be to watch a performance there when a man came up to us and said if we came back in half an hour, there was a free concert at 8. Not believing our luck, we walked around the block a bit and made sure we were back in time.

By "concert" what he really meant was a grand opening for an art exhibit, followed by amazing hour dourves (my favorite was one with bread, a sweet jam, cream cheese, and a slice of strawberry), glasses of red wine, and a professional symphony orchestra that has traveled the world. There is absolutely no way it was all free because at each stage he would escort us through and offer us whatever we wanted. Three glasses of wine each later, we sat through an hour and a half of beautiful music. The first half hour featured the whole orchestra, the next half hour had a bassoon soloist, and the final half hour was for an incredible pianist who had the most awkward exits imaginable and played 2 encore pieces at the end.

We're taking today as a rest day to explore San Luis because we're very tired, but also because the city is so impressive. With about 30 plazas, all complete with different buildings and park features, we could probably spend a week and never see everything.

It´s crazy to think it´s been just over a week. We've already done so much and been so incredibly fortunate. Mom, know that we are definitely not starving but believe me when I say the three of us can put down some food. Dinner often is made up of a half kilo of rice accompanied with various veggies, beans, or meats. We're definitely tired but we're not trying to push too hard in the initial part so we don´t get burnt out. However, despite the mountains, we´re still able to cover 80 to 100 km a day without too much trouble. Financially, mainly out of curiosity, I've been tracking our group purchases of food, lodging, and misc. Even with numerous rooms and meals, the each of us averaged $55 US the first week. I think that counts as a win :) Let the adventure continue and thanks for following along!


No comments:

Post a Comment