Saturday, February 28, 2015


Feb 26th
We entered our last state in Mexico today. Hola Chiapas!

Thanks again to our hosts Rodrigo and Lupita! We can't thank you enough for everything.

We invited our new friend Max to ride with us today. In the morning we all attempt to leave early. Unfortunately Danny gets a flat tire first thing. Despite the delay, we manage to leave quickly and once  we're on the road we make good time. Suddenly one of Max's spokes break. He offers to hitchhike but we have spare spokes and decide to take this as an opportunity to learn how to fix a broken one. It takes a while but eventually we are successful! Max's wheel holds up well for the rest of the day. 
Danny and Max struggling to pump up Max's tiny road tires. 

Inevitably we start our climb into the mountains as it is starting to get uncomfortably hot. Luckily, the scenery is beautiful and the road has so little traffic that we can ride three across and talk.

Near the top of the hill we stop for lunch in a little town. It's hard to motivate ourselves to get going afterwards, but when we do we find ourselves desending into a wonderful valley. Unfortunately, on the descent one of my shiftng cables breaks. What is wrong with our bikes today? It is only beacause of an amazing tailwind that we make it to our goal destination: Cintalapa. Here we meet some amazingly friendly firefighters who let us camp at the station. We use their stove to make a pasta feast for dinner.
Sunset behind the fire station 

Feb. 27th
We sleep very well outside the fire station. Thankfully it's a cool night and the next day is overcast. The traffic on our road has increased, so when we reach an intersection with the toll road we hop on it.  Toll roads always have nice shoulders for us to ride on, and this morning we have some beautiful mountain scenery to enjoy as well. 
The Maseca factory! (The company that produces corn flour for basically every tortilleria) 

We get into Tuxtla (the capital of Chiapas) around lunch time. After fighting through the typical mess of traffic on the city edges, we spend our afternoon trying to get pills for malaria prevention and food shopping. 
Yep- everyone is piling their garbage in the middle of the street. Why? Apparently no one wants the pile next to their house or business, so in the middle of the street it goes.

Errands completed, we make our way to Tuxtla en Bici, a house for cyclists sponsored by the Tuxtla cycling group. Here we meet Roberto, founder of Tuxtla en Bici, an extremely friendly and energetic young guy. He tells us all about different bike rides and clean air initiatives in the city. There are a lot of great events happening here! 

Cool posters promoting cycling and cleaner city air

As the evening progresses, more and more people come over and it turns into a full fledged party that lasts until 3 AM. We try to go to sleep around midnight with little success.

Feb 28th
After a night of little sleep Danny and Max spend all morning trying to get their second dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine. Apparently most people in the health care system are incompetent and it's next to impossibly to try to get something. They go to 4 different places before finally receiving the vaccine. In the afternoon we take a trip out to visit El Cañón del Sumidero, a large canyon right next to the city of Tuxtla. The canyon was originally formed by the action of a geological fault and then further carved by rivers flowing from the nearby mountains. At some point, a dam was created and the canyon partially flooded. Thus, now the water is calm without a noticeable flow and is only disturbed by the motor boats that zoom up and down.
To reach the canyon we take the public transport known as "Colectivos"- small cars in which they cram far too many people. When we reach the entrance to the park we check out the map and learn that if we want to hike in for a view we'll have to walk up an 18 km road. As we try to decide what to do, a pickup truck pulls up and offers to give us a ride. The people in the truck are extremely nice and take us to all of the viewpoints. 
The true Mexican experience- too many people in the back of a truck. It's a negative stereotype in the US, but in Mexico, it's something we see all the time.

On the way up we also get a great view of the whole city of Tuxtla nestled into the valley. We enjoy seeing the canyon with sheer walls more than 4,000ft tall and jungle-y vegetation. But even from up here I can see trash from the city glittering in eddies of the river and it seems sad that this natural place has been altered so much by man.
The city of Tuxtla 
Beautiful canyon
In the evening we go out for a special treat- pizza! But pizza is very expensive here so we supplement our dinner with tamales.

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