8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.1
(continued from part 7/20/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.6)
Forgive me father for I have sinned! It has been 13 days since my last trip report. If you aren't up to reading through all this drivel, feel free to scroll down to the end and click on the link to see a new random photo gallery sampling from this trip.
I drifted and floated about Guanajuato's craggy disjointed streets with architecture that resembles a hodge-podge of children's colored building blocks for a couple more days, looking for the spark that had given my spirit a jolt in the past. I never found it. Just wandered around the city like a ghost peeking down familiar alleyways looking for my ol' muse of yesteryear. I don't think the city has really changed that much, and the gringo infestation seemed to just be a weekend fluke. The days afterward were pretty much the Guanajuato I once knew, but she was no longer dancing for me. Strange though, I always thought the place held some inherent mystique that stimulated my psyche. Now, I think it must have been my own state of mind and the unfamiliarity of the place.
It rained off and on for most of the time I spent in Guanajuato, so going for a ride was out of the question. I could have handled a little wet pavement, but the obstacle corse that passes for Guanajuato streets kept my desires at bay. Besides, I was completely blocked in and couldn't get the bike out if I wanted. So, during one of the stronger late afternoon storms I pulled Ruby out from under her awning and decided to give her a little bath. I pulled most of the dried insectos from her hair, scraped off most of the road grime and mud off her ample frame, and buffed her to the best sheen I could with an old towel the hotel loaned me and rain water. Later, Ruby whispered to me that she felt quite uncomfortable being so clean. Said it somehow felt "false" to her and that she longed to dig her heels back into the sweet soil. I think ol' Ruby is a dirty girl at heart and promised as soon as we hit the next town I'd find a little dirty playtime for her. ;-)
Finally, I got a dry window and made my move out of Guanajuato. I got directions and travel estimates from this guy at the hotel and it looked like I might make it all the way to Uruapan before nightfall, with a stop in Morelia and Patzcuaro weather permitting. Essentially, I just decided to drive West and stop as soon as the rain started coming down. Based on the travel estimates, it looked like I had time to get a couple cups of coffee at Spanglish. It was supposed to open at 8AM but no one was there. Not so unusual for Mexico. They sort of start whenever they get around to it. I came back an hour later and still no one was there but a young gringa backpacker. We chatted for a bit and I asked why she had a giant bottle of tequila strapped to her backpack alongside running shoes. She claimed to have started that bottle 2 weeks ago and couldn't get around to finishing it, but something told me it was intended more for show. You know? Like she's one tough gringa and you better not mess with her sort of thing? Anyhow, she seemed like a good kid and told me about all the places she planned on going all the way down to Costa Rica. I explained that I'd been to all those places and that she was going to have to be doing a lot of backtracking to hit all those locales. I doubted she could see ALL of them in the time she had, so I offered suggestions on possible routes that would give her the most varied route, but not be so rushed. Every word I uttered she quickly scrawled into her notebook with markings on her map. She explained that she and a friend would be traveling some of it together and that they were going to Real de Catorce for peyote.
"Oh! I just came from there. I can give you some tips if you like?"
"Excellent! My friend has been there before, but any advice is certainly appreciated!"
About that time her friend arrived. I twenty-something gringa with dreadlocks, tattoos, piercing, etc. And, she looked at me like I was the lowest form of gringo tourist she'd ever seen. Would barely make eye contact and carried herself like she was some sort of bohemian princess. Yeah, I remember being like that a few years ago. Back then I thought I knew everything and I wasn't about to kill any time chit-chatting with some "tourist". The other girl quickly put away the notebook she'd been scrawling my advice into so that her friend couldn't see.
"Your friend tells me you two are heading for Real de Catorce for peyote?
"Yeah, what of it?"
"Oh nothing, I just came from there and have done the same thing many times. I was just going to offer some tips."
"No need. I've been there before and my friends and I just take one of the jeeps to Estacion' Catorce, then out into the desert."
"That's what everybody does, and the policia know it. You'd be better off going on down the road another 5km where the police won't bother you."
At first I was a little put off by her attitude, but I realized I probably would've had the same attitude just a few years ago. So, I just sat with my coffee and shut up while the dreadlock girl tried to tell me the guy that told me I could get to Uruapan in just 4-5hrs was absolutely wrong. She said it took her over 6 hours to Morelia and there was no way. I reminded her that I'm on a motorcycle and that I didn't have to take the bus routes etc. But, she still insisted my info was wrong. So, back to my coffee I went. ;-) Although I understood the girl's attitude, it still annoyed me somewhat, so I walked right up to their table and stated,
"I know you probably have everything figured out on your own and don't care to hear anything I have to say, but let me at least share one little piece of advice regarding your little 'trip'. About 6 years ago or so, I'd listened to various hippies tell me that the best way to do peyote was to fast for several days. I'd heard this over and over again and decided to give it a try.
Long story short, after about 10 days of digesting the cactus alone without food, I started losing mucho blood out my posterior region and eventually lost over 60% off my total volume. By the time I barely made it back to the states I had to be rushed to intensive care for a blood transfusion. I was told eventually, that it's very important to eat a good meal before putting something that harsh and poisonous in your system and that fasting while digesting poisonous stricnine-laden plants was too much for the human body to take. I just thought I'd share that little bit of advice with you so that you at least eat a few tortillas or something before you partake."
This time her eyes were locked on mine the entire time and it looked as if her face began to lose a bit of color. There was a little delay after the story, and then she pulled her jaw back up and timidly thanked me for the advice. "No sweat! I guess if you say my travel time estimates are severely off I better get going. Buen viaje!" And, off I went.
(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.2)