Tolantongo, Mexico to Oaxaca, Mexico
April 12 – April 18, 2014
A city of 8.8 million people
After meeting a few hundred mexican tourists in the small campground at Tolantongo we decided things might be more peaceful in Mexico City. We broke down the camp and left the hotsprings as early as we could. The Wolf’s reconnaissance of the area’s trails paid off and he assessed that I ought to manage the dirts trails out of the canyon. It was a fun ride, perfectly suited to test my newly acquired skills, and I was rewarded with breathtaking views of mountains, switchbacks and the bright turquoise waters far below. Once we were out of the mountains we once again hit the tollway toward our next stop, Mexico D.F. I was feeling intimidated by tackling the world renowned traffic of the country’s capital and bribed the Wolf to ride a little slower than usual to make sure I did not get lost in the melee. The time spent wrestling the GPS into submission at Linda’s house paid off and it obediently led us to a charming love hotel aptly named: “MaxIntimo”
A city full of wondersMexico D.F. or just “D.F.” as it’s known locally, is spectacular in the grandeur of it’s dramatic and opulent historical buildings and also in the dilapidation and deterioration of others. A city so steeped in history has more to see than can be managed in a week, so we had to be very selective. We spent a full day meandering around the Bosque de Chapultepec with it’s museums, castles and monuments and even managed to find the hidden auditorium garden. It’s a shady cove with a some benches where you can come sit peacefully while listening to classical music pouring from the speakers hidden amongst the trees.
A city under police supervision
The police in D.F. have an atrocious reputation, which we quickly learned is well deserved. On a quest to find the one ferreteria in town selling German crafted Knipex pliers, we got intercepted by Municipal cops in a flashy Dodge Charger. A series of interactional missteps stood in the way of a liberating bribe. Instead, the poor Zebramobile was ridden to the impound by a smirky cop, Zebra hanging to the back seat for fear our steed would disappear on its way. There, a bogus charge taught us how creative cops can be. With the help of US$130 and the assistance of an unforgettably kind taxi driver, the Zebramobile was back on the streets determined to stay clear of any red/blue lights.
A visit to the Frida Kahlo museum, a lovely brunch at Maque Pasticeria in Condesa, a few 25 Pesos tostadas at Coyoacan market and 500 pesos sushi on the desperately chic deck of the Condesa DF hotel, sufficed to rekindle us with D.F.
Semana Santa in OaxacaWith a blessing of the Angel of the Independence and our lungs full of smog, we escaped the city’s traffic on our way to Oaxaca. We stopped for a night in Tehuacan to catch up with the Amazing Spiderman, in English, and felt the tremor of a distant Nicaraguan earthquake.
For our arrival on Viernes Santo, at the end of la Semana Santa, bleeding christs and Klansmen hoods animated the streets of the otherwise peaceful Oaxaca. A Wolf on a horse was the other unusual event that happened that week! At Rancho Pitaya we traded our DRs for champion endurance horses and trotted the hills around Mitla marvelling at the Nueve Puntas mountain in the horizon. An excellent warmup for the next leg of our trip.