An opening sequence of sweeping panoramas of metal-and-glass skyscrapers glinted in the sun, people in sharp suits carried briefcases as they vanished into revolving doors, the endless rush of traffic sped on sunlit freeways. Welcome to Mexico City. Every building had its own character and street its own identity. Peeling back the gloss, I was in a city that had a spin of its own—a wilder orbit inside the Earth’s calm blue-green whirl. Mexico City wasn’t open to the peace and tranquil that drifted around other places. Here, people raced on the roads like their lives depended on it. And cursed constantly in front of other vehicles hell bent on gaining distance first. But strangely, no one really honked their horn.
Upon saying our toodaloos to Leanne and Calvin in El Tule, we tootled off with the mountains and volcanoes flirting in our periphery onto Puebla—70 miles southeast of the capital. As well as the city, Puebla is also a Mexican state and the Spanish word for ‘seed that a gardener sows’. Might as well kill three birds…Meeting overlanders Chloe and Toby (from Carpe Viam), with whom we’d become acquainted at Overlander Oasis at an Air B&B apartment there was both a respite and a splurge for the month. Jason’s eye had just been all but taken out by a firework, unlucky lad.
Back in El Tule for the start of the town’s bi-annual fiesta celebrations, a religious celebration had commenced in honour of Saint Mary. Leanne and Calvin, owners of Overlander Oasis, chatted away to us in their usual style; unhindered with a lifetime of hilarious stories. Some anecdotes never failed to reach new levels of crazy, others were just unhinged! I adored Calvin’s sense of humour, the cheeky glint constantly twinkling out of the corner of his eye and an innate ability to turn his hand to practically anything. I chuckled when he casually mentioned his favourite factoid about the country: alongside Israelis, Mexicans are the largest consumers of hair gel. Love it! There were indeed many males who indulged heavily there. Continue reading
The pavements were sticky with heat, the roads became rivers of exhaust and steam and the air felt lifeless. Eager to leave Zipolite, albeit Pearl’s clutch cable was hanging on by a frayed thread. It’d consequently engaged the gears, which is always a laugh-a-minute when riding through the rush hour traffic. Jase executed a quick fix in the bustling thick of it all—utilising a clutch repair kit from eBay that’d been rattling around his pannier for the last 18 months—in front of an intrigued audience of passers-by. Outnumbered by traffic wardens, one guy on patrol made a beeline for me and asked in addition to my wheels, if my ensemble—item by item—was for sale. You want my wrecked gloves, why? Sorry sugar, Pearl and my girl-sized gear are going nowhere. Continue reading
While the mozzies and no-see-ums sucked my blood, the heavy heat was sucking the life force out of Jase. Impeccably located, the Piramide Inn Resort on the Yucatán Peninsula gave us respite from the heinous level of humidity alongside a reprieve from the unyielding insects—cue an air-conditioned room. Who knew, you can even haggle over cold air! The hungry blighters were driving virtually every square inch of me to distraction and the equally insane temperatures were melting Jason’s face like hot wax dripping from a candle. Continue reading
An elevated 80 miles saw our sorry excuses for bodies, sore muscles that’d ache for some time to come and seized legs—on a less than welcomed ride—taking leave of Antigua’s stunning architecture up through the nippy Guatemalan Highlands and into the Sierra Madre mountain range. Ordinarily happy to earn the magic moments that often ensue post a slog of some sort, I just hurt, throbbed even and yearned for timeout. Gingerly negotiating steep switchbacks on a broken road peppered with gaping potholes was about the least desirable endeavour on my radar, or on Pearl’s suspension—the pair of us far from fresh. Still, it featured heavily on our agenda the morning after the day before our closure with Acatenango. Continue reading
With a week’s worth of rest and relaxation under our loosened belts, the physical and emotional reserves were as stockpiled as they were ever going be for the two-day volcano trek. Having recently scaled Cerro Negro for an hour, a modest volcano in Nicaragua; climbed Tongariro for two hours in New Zealand six years back and motorcycled up another one in Chile—you could argue that we were anything but prepared to get our ‘volcano’ on… Continue reading