Saturday, October 22, 2005

8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.7

(continued from part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.6)

Along this coast you could stop at a completely different playita about every 15 minutes. Each one unique and some with no more than a single palapa restaurant and nothing else as far as the eye can see. Soon I came upon a sign for Fara de Bucieras and had it claimed to be one of the most beautiful little beaches on the Michoacan coast. And, because I only had maybe another hour or so of light left I discussed it with Ruby and she seemed content to take a little siesta in the shade. The little stone road snaked around and through a small village then turned into a sand passage running along the beach with a few palapa restaurants and tiendas. Poor Ruby was having a bit of go staying upright in the soft sand patches, what with her dual-sport high heels and all, she did the best she could and I propped her up to inspect the beach. The sun was about to set and the sweet little cove was rimmed with soft golden sand and a little stone island reachable via a short wade across a sand bar. And, seated crooked atop the little island was a simple little restaurant. I went back to told Ruby to relax, we'd be staying here a night or two.

I picked a palapa at the end of the beach assuming it'd be the most quiet. Negotiated a rate of $30 pesos for the night, hung my hammock next to Ruby under the main palapa, and settled in. Ahhh! Peace at last. Until, the workers who'd been building a new tienda next door started hammering and sawing again. No problemo, it was getting late and perhaps they'd soon finish for the day. Then, the family I rented the palapa space from had a couple little ninos who felt compelled to sing tunes at the top of their lungs inbetween fits of crying and screaming. No sweat, likely the little tykes would be put to bed soon. Then mamacita cranks up the TV I hadn't seen propped up on a stack of crates just a few feet from me. I guess it was time for her stories, and in order to fight the pesky noise of ocean wave, she had to blast the TV at full volume. Oh well, guess it was time for a walk. Eventually, when all had quieted down, I settled back into my hammock to let the waves lull me to sleep. That is, until the breeze ceased and the first wave of mosquitos descended upon me. I scrambled for my repellent and discovered I had just one squirt left in the bottle. And, without the breeze it was now quite balmy so it was either endure mosquitos or slather myself in the only repellent I had left which was mixed with oily sunscreen. I opted for greasy sweating over the onslaught of mosquitos and finally drifted off.

I don't know how long I actually got to sleep, but as soon as the sun began his ascent Papa decides he needs to catch up on the news and twists the TV volume past tolerable volume and into distortion territory. And, it wasn't even 7AM yet! Time to move on, or at least to a different palapa down the beach. I slung my salty greasy self out of the hammock and stumbled down the beach half awake until I hit about the middle and sat for a cup of coffee at one of the little restaurants on the beach. I'd stopped there the night before when I went for a walk and although the restaurant was closed, the woman sympathized with my abdominal malady and agreed to fix me a couple cups of herba buena tea to settle it a bit. As I sat I noticed a few other travelers were enjoying a nice and quiet mid morning sleep in their hammocks. And, because this spot was up on a ridge of sand looking down on the beach the wind coming off the Pacific was much stronger, ie. no mosquitos! I nearly ran back to tell Ruby the good news and within minutos I strapped everything half-packed onto Ruby and in no more that 20 minutes, I was again laying in my hammock caressed my mid morning sea breeze.

A bit later a nice Mexican woman named Irma who was camping under the same palapa with her little daughter Elizabeth came over and told me about all the sea turtles they'd seen the night before on a nearby beach. Muchas tortugas! Muchas! She asked if I would want to join her and a friend for a short drive down to the next playita to see the tortugas. I said sure, but that I'd prefer to follow with Ruby. She said I could ride in their car if I wanted, but if I just wanted to ride the moto she understood. We chatted for awhile after that as she told me about the area and of the sunken ships just off coast you could snorkle to. After she'd broken the ice and gone off down to chat with her friend, her little chubby daughter Elizabeth stayed behind and stared at me for a good while. Charming little girl, but a little bit more touchy feely than I'm accustomed to. I answered most of the barrage of questions she had for me that were as intriguing as, "How much did your Zippo cost? Where did you buy? Do you think they sell them in Guadalajara? Can I have yours?, etc." Eventually her mother graciously called her away and I slipped off for a little nap in the hammock. But, that bit of peace was short-lived as well. Elizabeth put her little face about an inch from mine as I slept, then growled like a tiger at the top of her lungs. Scared the tacos outta me and rattled off something profane in English. I was embarassed at what I'd said to little Elizabeth until I realized she only spoke Spanish. I tried to slip back to sleep, but Elizabeth wouldn't have it. She just plopped herself right on top of me and nestled herself into the hammock with me like a kitten. I just closed my eyes and pretended to sleep until she finally got bored and moved on. ;-)

(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.8)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.6

(continued from part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.5)

After a beautiful ride over to Ixtapa to watch the sunset, I put Ruby to sleep after tightening up all her bits and pieces, and set out to find some local seafood. Les' words echoed and I decided that perhaps I should do a bit more to support the local economy too, so I located one of the touristy seafood restaurants that lined the beach. I paid 5 times more for the meal I had, and the waiter was so pleasant I gave him an exceptionally nice tip and felt good doing so. That is, until about 5 hours later when I couldn't stop going to the bano, and felt quite ill. I was determined to continue South and hoped that the abdominal pains and nausea would ease up once I was distracted by the ride. Not such a wise decision. By the time I hit Lazaro Cardenas, the sun was boiling my brain inside my helmet, the abdominal pains had become more severe, and I felt like I was going to toss my tacos right into my face shield. If that weren't enough, the dusty exhaust of Lazaro Cardenas was making me need to sneeze, and being afraid a good sneeze would bring my "support the local economy" seafood up with it. Not pleasant. And to add insult to injury, the town of Lazaro Cardenas is an absolute armpit. At least the part I road through. And everytime I stopped for directions the temperature inside my helmet would rise a few degrees and I'd begin to feel faint. I thought, "If I could just make it through this god forsaken town and back into the sea breeze, I could hang on a while longer. But, I ended up continually going in circles. I was so frustrated at one point that I was literally screaming in my helmet, "Where is the f@#king highway? Why are all the road signs painted over with green so that nothing is marked?!!!" I uttered several more profanities at full volume until I looked over to my left and saw a truck full of military personal in full gear with machine guns. Actually, I think they were more startled by the screaming gringo on a motorcycle than I was from them and it amused me mildly.

I would even pull up to an intersection and ask a group of people sitting at a covered taco stand which direction the highway North toward Puerto Vallarta and would get 3 completely different answers and one person saying just ask a taxi driver. A taxi driver!? Never!? But soon I swallowed my pride and after an hour of going in circles was set back on course. Finally, Ruby and I could breath again and the coastline made for a brilliant diversion. But there was still this nagging gastonomic issue to contend with. The breeze helped sure enough, but I was still pretty miserable and had to pull over. I spotted a simple palapa restaurant seemingly in the middle of nowhere sitting atop a cliff overlooking dramatic bluffs below. I spotted a hammock or two, and an outhouse toilet. Seemed like a pleasant enough spot to get grounded for a while, and when I asked the woman if she had any herba buena tea for my stomach, she pulled a pot off the ground growing various plants and asked if I wanted her to prepare it for me. Ahhhhh!!!! Soon the pains were subsiding and I was laying carelessly in a hammock overlooking the sea. I could have stayed there longer and would have until the woman's husband was trying to convince me to go with him up into the mountains to get some gold and silver. He said, "The hills are full of it and if you have cash, wouldn't you rather trade it for gold!?" "No, I have no use for gold. But, why don't you just carry your load of gold and silver to the city and get a buyer there?" He stammered at my curve ball and answered, "I can't get it by myself, it's deep in a well and I would need your help. But, if you don't have any use for it I'll just have to figure something else out."

A silence fell and I took the opportunity to get back on the road. One last visit to the bano for good luck, and Ruby and I were sailing down the coastline again. Dropping down to straight flat parts that hug the coastline, then twisting back up into mountain passes covered with a canopy of trees for shade. With the exception of getting bogged down by the occasional semi, bus, or dump truck overloaded with rocks or coconuts (some falling off the back). It was a fantastic ride. Getting around the trucks isn't such a problem since then bog down to a crawl on the inclines, it's just that the blind curves get pretty tight with no much room to shoot past them without risk of hitting someone head on from the other side. Not only that, but you also have to be very wary of people passing blindly from the other side as they often do and allowing yourself a few inches to get out of the way. Another tip is to be careful following too close behind the taller trucks. They scrape the top of the canopy and send fairly good sized broken branches with leaves crashing down on you. It's not too bad once you get past the trucks and get back into your rhythm curving left, right, left, etc. It's really kind of a smooth rhythm you have to get into until after an hour or so and you've forgotten you're not the only soul on this road and are startled by a huge semi rounding the same tight curve from the other side and he's using half of your lane too! Tends to wake one up from the ecstatic hypnosis. ;-)

The name Maruata came up on a sign. I'd been there before and the coves there are stunning for sure. But I was determined to stay at a new beach this time, and as I recall, Maruata is very popular with the stoned, bongo-playing, mota smokers... as well as the mosquitos. So I just blew right past without a stop. I still was enjoying the clarity of mind without "smoke" or booze and wanted to keep riding that train a bit longer. During the long hours of thought, I decided my problem had mostly been habitual. Using anything to divert my attention from regular life every chance I could instead of just taking it head on. I also figured this is where the problem is, not in the use of various plants, but in their habitual use. I realized that oftentimes I'm partake just for no reason at all. I can't deny that I have certainly enjoyed benefits from occasional "plant" use. And, a nice drink every now and then or a fine glass of wine definitely seemed almost therapudic when taken in moderation and used to enhance a given life moment. However, learning to recognize when one is using such "remedies" for a specific and controlled beneficial purpose, or just using them for the hell of it habitually without regard to purpose would prove to be the real challenge. For the moment I was content to stay clear headed and enjoy all the current textures of my life. I can understand how some might find refuge in dulling their senses from time to time in order to take a break from real life for awhile, but I can no longer understand how people can go to so much trouble to get to some remote beach, jungle dwelling, or mountain hut... and instead of soaking up every ounce of smell and sensation, they choose to dullen their every sense as quickly as possible. I've done it myself, and the only answer is that it's because I'd habitually learned to dullen myself for ANY occasion instead of just the most severe when it might be appropriate. But laying in a hammock with the cool breeze caressing every inch of skin while you're watching the sun explode into heavenly fire as he slips past the boundless horizon? I think I'll take THAT glorious cocktail... straight up.

(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.7)

8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.5

(continued from part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.4)

If you are trying to make good time and cover miles, and you have a choice between a toll road (cuota) or free one (libre), take the cuota! The roads are better than most in the States, are straight with gentle curves, and most of the time you can cut your travel time by at least half if not more. It's not that the free ones are all that horrible, though some are, it's that they pass through small towns with topes. Oftentimes the topes aren't even marked, so if you see any evidence that humans dwell anywhere, you can count on a few hidden topes to slow down for. Sometimes I'd see little kids waiting alongside the bigger unmarked topes with hopes of getting a nice spark show when some unwary traveler hit the damn thing at 70mph. Luckily, I'd always see them just in time to at least stand up on the pegs to take most of the impact. Poor Ruby didn't seem to mind the jolt every now an then, so we just sailed along leaving disappointed children in the dust.

The toll road toward the coast was amazing as the mountains got less craggy, with less foilage. They seemed to roll around each other with larger masses shooting out of lakes that were rimmed by soft green marshes. I hadn't even noticed that Ruby had crept up to 95mph on the straight parts when some pendejo in a Dodge Stealth came bearing up on my tail within feet. It was a four-lane so I don't know why he didn't just go around. He backed off a little and I held at 95mph, as fast as I wanted to go. Until he came blasting by me at what had to be at least 120mph. I guess he was just showing off? Or wanted to race? No clue, but I was just glad he was gone before he ran me off the road. Until a bit later. He must have stopped for some juice or something, because he came right up on me again! Did the same exact thing. Maybe he was just being macho? Or drunk? Anyway, he eventually got tired of his little cat and mouse game and blew right past me again at an even higher velocity. How fast will those Dodge cars go anyway? Then, I finally got to see the thing I've been waiting for all my life.... passing some dimwit who shouldn't be allowed on the road explaining himself to the Mexican highway patrol! Yes! I wanted to slow down and laugh at him, but I didn't want the cop to catch on he could have caught a gringo instead. ;-)

The road gradually dropped in altitude and the curves began more gentle flanked by mountains as far as you could see. The scenery began to hypnotize me with it's constant sprawling beauty. Until I began one long curve and became disoriented. My mind stammered while it tried to figure out why all the mountains to the left had suddenly disappeared into a hazy white nothingness. And then the smell of the sea hit me and realized I'd finally hit the coast. Only a few more kilometers to Lazaro Cardenas, but Ruby seemed to be in some sort of smooth ecstasy and so she persuaded me to pull over for a smoke and rethink my destination. After a quick scan of the map I noticed Zihuatenejo to the South was only another 60 or so kilometers and I still had a few hours of daylight and no rain, so South we went.

You would think that I would have learned my lesson that the new places held much more for me than the old familiar ones, and I'd already been to Zihua a couple times before. But Ruby insisted and I already knew of a decent cheap room with a place for Ruby as well. Everything remained as I remembered and I found hotel Miriam without problems. Only if felt like the town was know less vibrant than I remembered. I had a cup of coffee at this little stall of a cafe that exports fine coffee and chatted with an American guy, Les, with a long ponytail and a substantial beer ponch who said he'd lived there for 5 years. He went on about how his ex-wife, a Brazilian gal, had taken most everything from him and that his restaurant had gone down the tubes due to economic depression. He claimed that the kinds of tourist that used to come to Zihua were getting older now and opting for the nearby touristy, all-inclusive resort town of Ixtapa. And he continued about how the gringos didn't want to pay a reasonable price for good food. Said, they had no desire to help out the local economy, bla, blah. I answered that the folks here don't seem nearly as friendly as they used to and bordered on rude. And, that maybe if they were a bit more cheery, spruced up some of the streets, and offered a fair price for things without constantly trying to gouge the tourists.. they might want to come back and stay. He agreed the folks weren't as friendly as they once were, but that they'd been burned one to many times by gringos. He didn't elaborate, and I took the opportunity to bid him farewell. Before I left I recommended a couple restaurants for seafood in case I wanted to support the local economy.

The next day Ruby and I went out for ride and up along the road that overlooks Zihua's bay to give her chain a nice cleaning with a fresh coat of lube. While I was getting Ruby all sorted out, I noticed a couple of taxi drivers sitting nearby drinking beers. They asked what was wrong with my moto, and I told them nothing.. that I was just putting oil on the chain. They looked puzzled and asked, "Why? Is it making noise?" I said, "No, it's just something you're supposed to do every now and then to make sure it lasts longer." They seemed befuddled with the idea of preventive maintenance and went back to swilling their beers. Until I asked them,

"Are you guys both taxi drivers?"

"Si! Both of us. Why?"

"Because I'd really like to know what the problem with taxi drivers is. Why are you guys so inhuman when it comes to driving... especially motorcycles!"

They laughed and just said it was part of the culture. That's just the way it is.

"Taxi drivers are the most stupid people in Mexico. I know, I am one! They don't have to have a special license or anything so most aren't the best drivers around."

"But, don't they realize that if they crash into someone there're likely only going to break their car, but if they crash into me it'll likely break ME?!"

"That's just the culture my friend. We get paid by how many fares we can pick up in a day, so the faster we can get to where we're going, the more money we make. It's not personal, we treat the Mexican drivers with little respect as well."

I watched as the other driver who didn't speak English down the last of what must've been his 5th beer and tossed it down the hillside.

"Hey, I've got a novel idea, do you suppose if the taxi drivers didn't drink mucho cervezas while they're working, they might be able to drive a little better?"

He looked down at the beer in his hand, finished it, belched, and excused himself. Said he had to get back to work.

(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.6)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.4

(continued from part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.3)

Ruby was beginning to get a little irritable and reminded me of my promise to take her out for a little dirty time. So, I took the little local map the hotel gave me and we went off to find some dirt. Patzcuaro sits slightly above a lovely lake that has 3 or four small islands on it. One of the islands, Janitzio, juts out of the middle of the lake like a grand pyramid with colorful tumbling block buildings stacked haphazard around it's base with a giant stature reaching up to the sky at it's peak. There's a ferry you can take to the island, but Ruby wouldn't hear of me just leaving her there while I explored Janitzio, and because I could see through my telephoto lens that the island likely looked more appealing from a distance than up close, I let Ruby have her way and we set off to ride completely around the lake to check out all the small towns along the way. After a few kilometers the road turned to a single lane dirt road that hugged the edge of cliffs dropping down to the lake's shore. Ruby was in heaven! Dirt, mud, sand, stone, erosion, etc. Not too difficult but enough to make it interesting. Now she had her dirty makeup and let me be while she purred along. The road eventually turned to pavement and passed through several small towns and villages along the way. It must've been market day or something, because the larger towns where bustling with vendors and pedestrians.

The road turned into a very nice new blacktop that curved away from the lake and rose up into the mountains. I could feel the temperature drop as we climbed, but the curves were so fun to ride, I wasn't really paying attention to where we were going. I began to get a bit concerned when we'd gone several kilometers without seeing any signs, or gas stations and I was starting to get low. We had already passed far beyond one of the volcanoes and the road didn't show any signs of turning back to continue around the lake. I decided to take the first left and try to find someone to ask, but the road lead me through farmland down a very treacherous road full of potholes and littered with cows, donkeys, goats, and horses just wandering all over the road freely. At one point there were half a dozen cows just laying on the road and they didn't seem the slightest bit concerned that I was trying to pass. I crept on them slowly, until the motor startled a couple of the calves and they started to dart every which way. I just kept riding slow to conserve gas and was really starting to panic. I was far enough away from the last gas station I'd seen that I knew I wouldn't make it back if I backtracked. So, I just continued with my fingers crossed. Eventually, I saw a rusted, bent road sign with the name covered in grafitti and I could make out the name of a town that was on the lake. Only 30 more kilometers, so it looked like I would make it.

I wound around gorgeous farmland until I arrived at a little town overlooking the lake. It was really starting to get colder at that higher altitude, but I could now see the town ahead I knew had gas, so I didn't mind the cold so much. ;-) I believe the last town before you finish the loop and land back at Patzcuaro is also sort of an island or peninsula where you can drive across and get very near the edge of the neighboring island of Janitzio. And, that island is surrounded by smooth lush fields of green dotted with horses, herds of goats, and the color of farmers tending their crops. I stunning place to say the least.

The next day we set out for Uruapan for the afternoon, and then planned to continue toward the coast. The ride was a bit of a drone, and when we arrived I again didn't see much reason to stay. Not that it isn't a nice place, but it just looked like any other Mexican town with a little industry. Granted I only traversed 3 or 4 boulevards around the centro, but never saw anything that compelled me to stay. After a few quesadillas and coffee for me, and a full tank of 93 octane for Ruby, we were on our way again. I was told and had read that there is no high octane gas in Mexico, but that has not been the case. Most of the Pemex stations have 87 octane "Magna" and 93 octane "Premium". I was worried this was leaded gas, but was assured it was not. I've now burned it for 2000 miles without problems so I guess it's fine. Even when I hit the occasional town that only has "Magna", I've always had a half tank of Premium to mix with it so fuel hasn't been a problem at all.

A guy at the quesadilla stand told me that if I take the toll road (cuota), it would only take me 3hrs to hit the coast, but if I took the free (libre) road the trip would be 6-7hrs. I followed his directions as best as I could interpret and after passing a beautiful national park with dramatic cliffs dropping down to a lake I realized this was probably the highlight of Uruapan, but I'd seen enough mountains and lakes and was hungry for the smell of the sea. Several kilometers later I still hadn't found the autopista so I pulled over at this little tienda shack. A VERY wasted young Mexican dude stumbled up to me to offer assistance and from what I could make out from all the slurring, I had to head back to Uruapan several kilometers back to get the toll road. Then and old dude sauntered up who appeared to be a little lit up himself, but handling it better. The two argued as the old fella said I could just ride a few more kilometers and rejoin the toll road, but the younger guy insisted I had to go back. I decided to go with the older more sober man's advice and continued. I don't know who was right because the road did eventually rejoin the toll road, but it was many kilometers before it did. Granted the scenery was dramatic with narrow bridges that passed over giant gorges and rivers, with twisty curves through lush mountains, and I was tempted to just stay on the free road but was determined to make the coast by nightfall.

(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.5)

8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.3

(continued from part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.2)

I noticed the rain had let up a bit to a sprinkle so I decided to make a run for the town and try to get a room pronto before the next wave hit. I handed the woman a 50 peso note to pay for my refresco, and even that seemed to piss her off that I didn't have anything smaller. So, after about 15 minutes of her running around trying to break the 50 note, it started to rain again. Thanks a lot Senora! Not a heavy rain yet, but just that rain that comes like preamble to a bigger onslaught. Each place I stopped wanted fairly high rates and even one had printed on their sign that a room was $120 pesos. A bargain! But when I pulled up the woman looked around and then told me the room is $250 pesos. "What? You sign says $120. Why does your sign say $120 if the price is $250?" She shrugged and said she didn't know why the sign said that, but today the price is $250. So, I kept on going toward the centro where the road turned into large cobblestone. Tough to ride on, but I was getting used to it. Until, the second wave of rain came and turned the streets into small rivers of mud. And, hiding all the pot-holes. I managed to keep the bike up and after realizing most of the budget hotels didn't have garages, I spotted one that had a lobby that opened up to the street. The sign said a room was $300, so I asked the woman where I might find something more economica. She was very friendly and asked if I was by myself. When I said yes she said the room is only $150 pesos a night. "Great! But, where can I put the moto?" "Just wheel it into the lobby, there is someone here all day and night."

The next trick was trying to get Ruby up a large curb into the lobby. Not such a problem with the motor to assist, but what I hadn't counted on was how slick polished terracotta tile can be when it's wet! Luckily, a passerby saw my plight and helped me over the hump. Ahhhh!! Now I could relax for a bit. The room even had a TV with loads of stations. I found that many of them were soft-core porn. Score!!!

I'm actually glad I got stopped abruptly by the rain in Patzcuaro because it wasn't anything like I expected. Yes, it's a tourist town for sure. But, I don't think I saw enough gringo tourist to count on one hand. Most were nationals and the city is really quite attractive with it's winding cobblestone streets, and all the buildings are painted the exact same color scheme, ie. sort of a brownish red ochre color up to about eye level, then white to the tiled terracotta roof. Even all the lettering is the same typeface with the first letter or two in the same ochre color, and the remaining in black. Sounds boring I know, but its really very stunning. Without all the buildings being painted every color imaginable like many Mexican towns, it gives your eyes fewer distractions and allows you to see the "texture" of the place a bit better.

The street food scene in Patzcuaro is vibrant with much variety. After few tacos, and some other eats I can't remember the name of, I settled down for a coffee on one of the smaller plazas. They had turned out all of the lights and fellows in traditional Indian garb were playing a game that resembled hockey, but the puck was a large hunk of firey coal. In the complete darkness is was spectacular. Eventually, two of the player lined up two balls of fire and smacked them with their hockey sticks sending them sailing about 50 meters to land in a fountain. I kinda hoped the fountain was full of kerosine and the fire balls would ignite the surface as a final punctuation to the performance, but they just sizzled out and that was that. Most of the other spectators started moving on as did I. Until they started lighting off those massive canon-like fireworks. I was only several feet away from the first one when the deafening boom nearly caused me to have to do laundry one day early. ;-) So, the show wasn't over yet! I moved off to a bench to enjoy the fireworks going off until one of the canon payloads exploded prematurely only about 10 meters high. The sparks and colorful fire streamed out into the crowd and I braced myself for disaster. I waited for a second, then came nothing but laughter. I didn't see anyone rolling around on the ground to put themselves out, nor did I see anyone running around screaming with their hair on fire, so I guess all was good. In the States I think there would've been much more panic and screams of terror, but here it was just an amusing foible.

Soon, the plaza lights came back up and I took a little stroll around the city. I'm not sure what it is, but this city has sort of a subtle creepiness about it at night. Not sure if it's because of my prior knowledge that this city is famous for it's day of the dead festivities, but there was a certain intangible queer feeling walking about the streets at night. For this, I think I liked this city much better at night. During the day it just seemed like any other tourist city, but at night it became something quite different for me. Something that stimulated my imagination and gave me a pleasant uneasiness. Ghosts? Quien sabe.

(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.4)