February 19, 2010

Central Mexico


Guadalajara and Mexico City are very modern cities, but also very Mexican.  One moment you are surrounded by modern buildings, sidewalks full of well dressed commuters, and the next you are overlooking smog and urban blight.

The central part of Mexico is  very crowded and confusing for me.  I give up on the free roads and take to the toll roads.  The Mexican toll roads are the best roads you could find anywhere.  They avoid the towns and villages, are well paved, have helpful signs for navigation and are pretty much empty.  After burning through hundreds of pesos in a few hours the reason they are virtually unused becomes clear.

In Morelia my hotel is a building that is probably 300 years old or more.  I found out later that it may have been technical training school. (really!) The bike is parked on a polished marble floor in the middle of the lobby.  When Sheraton Four Seasons offers this kind of accommodation, maybe I will stay there.

Coming from a place that barely existed 100 years ago, it is a unique experience to see all the 'Centros Historicos' with buildings dating to the 17th and 18th centuries.  Am I still on the same continent?
After leaving Mexico City I went to Cuernavaca, which was only 61 km away.  I take a day for sightseeing, Cuernavaca is a large city, around 200,000 people, but it is possible to walk most of the city.  The cities and towns are very dense. 

The next day I brave the free roads once again, the farther I get from Mexico City, the better the traffic.  I am now in mountainous country with spectacular views. 

I miss a turning to bypass Taxco, and end up going through el centro.  Taxco is a place everyone should see.  It is literally built on the side of a mountain, the pre automobile narrow streets are cobblestones and very steep.  I am totally intimidated as I follow a line of VW beetle taxis up. It seems we are going to see god soon, but still we climb.  The KTM handles it better than I do, and we survive a remarkable detour.
 

 

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