Days 162-167: A lot more R&R

Ok, it’s time to roll. I don’t really have words to express how awesome Kareem, Arlette, Adrianna and Mario have been to me. Suffice to say that I feel like I have a new family here in Mexico. It’s hard to say goodbyes, but the bell tolls and the horns toot and I have to get back on the road.

Tomorrow, might be the day that I head out again. It’s been awesome time and my Spanish lessons with Eduardo have been pretty useful too. Overall, Ciudad Valles, though a very rarely visited spot for tourists and even more so for cyclists, is a bit of memory I would cherish.

Thank you all, life is fantastic when I meet so many really lovely people.

Days 160-161: A bike ride is always fun

Since I had decided to hang about a bit, I was itching to go on a ride to keep the legs in shape. I looked about and Mario also recommended a bit of an archeological dig nearby, well about 55 km away. It was a flat ride and I don’t have to carry my bags, so I figured it would be a good way to flex my legs.

The pups here are growing fast and I enjoy playing with them in the morning. Today was no exception and I woke the bunch up and started on my way.

The road out was dusty in the morning, but at least it was wide till I got out of town. Then it turned pretty terrible. No shoulders, well It was broken gravel with a 2 inch drop which was worse than no shoulders. The drivers expected me to be on the gravel and didn’t give me an inch to ride. The trucks were terrible and the buses were worse.A few times I had to bail out by bunny hopping on to the side just to avoid being runover. I think I must have flipped off more times today than the entire trip. Ah well, bike touring has its dirty moments.

I reached the turnoff at Tamuin around 11:30, and figured I might eat lunch on my way out. A tiny mistake, One should eat at every given opportunity, it would turn out that I’d return home pretty hungry.

Anyhow, the target was to get to the place called Tamtoc, but along the way, there was another smaller site and I decided to check it out. A nice feller, a guide perhaps, walked me thro the site and Told me a bit of history of that spot. I was pretty impressed by how much I could understand him, though I was picking only keywords, the language classes has helped me to filter out the grammatical fillers and I was following a lot of the story he told me.

The road to Tamtoc after that was a bit bad and was a bit of effort to get to on the bike. Broken tarmac without suspension is a bit of a bummer all the time. At this site, there were a couple of old guys waiting for their guide and I joined them to walk around, Turns out Steve was here a few days back and once again, I could follow most of the stories the feller was telling me. Sweet.

The weather was gorgeous and the 2+ hours of walking about made me real hungry. Too bad there was nothing to eat around here. I had to get back 20+K to the town for a grub.

On my way back, I stopped for some biscuits and soda and that stuffed me up. Once I got on to the highway, the traffic was once again a bitch and I was tempted to hitch a ride back. I even tried to get a ride, but after 15 mins of standing around I figured I might as well brave the traffic when there was still some light. Eventually made it home by 6ish and Adrianna had made some stunning Nopales stir fry and a fantastic Tortilla soup. Dang, if Mama Mexico keeps feeding me like this, I might never leave this place :-p

Days 155-159: A whole lot of relaxing

The last few days have been generally about doing a bit of Spanish homework, eating a lot of food, Heading out for an occasional bike ride / picnic and a whole lot of relaxing.

Steve after a few false starts, eventually found the will to leave home and headed out in bright blue skies and fantastic weather. It was fun hanging out with him and its one of the rare instances where I have bet a cyclist, more than once, hung out for nearly 2 weeks, but never toured together… Maybe the next time we meet, that would be corrected :-) Here’s wishing you the best Steve, Ride safe and may you have tailwinds!

As for me I am my Spanish is improving, but at a really slow pace. My mind has a hard time with languages, but I try to put in the hours and effort and hopefully it gets better as time goes on. You know I am going to be the annoying one who is going to compare everything to cycling at some point. So I start now. Learning a new language is like starting a tour, the first 2-3 weeks are hard and after that you settle into a rhythm, not perfect, but you get by. Some days would be harder than others, yada, yada. So I am in the 3 week of training, so may be after this, it would be reasonably easy for me to make simple chit chat, understand people more and tell some small stories. My targets are realistic, I don’t want to be a public speaker here.

That thing aside, I did a bike ride back up to Micos the other day. It’s been nice and sunny and it was nice to get on the bike and do a good distance. Kareem and Arlette took me up to Minas Viejas which was a really pretty falls. I am planning a couple of day rides in the coming days. I guess this bit of vacation is going to be over this week and I will be back on the road soonish.

Day 154: Revisiting Xilitla

Today Steve & Arlette planned to do a day trip to Xilitla and they asked me if I wanted to join. I had passed thro there on my way into Ciudad Valles and wasn’t sure of going there again. But I figured it might be a good way to spend the day out and may be go to the gardens again when it is less crowded.

One of Arlette’s friend Jackie was also joining us and we met her at the bus station. The tickets for the 2 hour ride was about 100 pesos, a bit on the expensive side I reckon. In Asia, I might pay a lot less. Midway thro the ride, a couple of guys got on the bus and started singing and playing the guitar. Obviously hoping someone would pay some pesos for their effort. It was interesting none the less and made the ride a bit interesting.

I spent the time on the bus listening to some Spanish lessons and honing my ears for fresh and often used words and phrases. The process of learning a language is a bit tedious I think.

We hit the Castillo of Edward James and this time, there was practically no one there and I enjoyed strolling the space much. I could stop and look for details to photograph and it was definitely more interesting than the first time around.

We had a bit of grub in town and headed back on another bus to Ciudad Valles. This one had a soft suspension and was rolling around much more than I would have liked and was happy to get off.

Back home, Adrianna had made some awesome flautas! Great to come home to some freshly made food, I think I am living in a little bit of paradise here!

Day 153: On How to Cook Papaya Curry

Take a plump raw Papaya, if its starting to ripen, just add more chillies :-p Some Onions, tomatoes, garlic, freshly ground coriander powder (bash it in a mortar and pestle, brings the flavours out better)… Do you really want me to go on about this? I am a bit over my head with the cooking, heh. But the Papaya curry turned out real nice. Was a bit sweet with the papayas and the extra chilli just hit a strong aftertaste with heat. And everyone loved it. I can’t believe I am actually cooking things that look alright and taste pretty nice too.

This morning I went to sleep eventually at 9ish and woke up at noon. I was a bit hungry and had sme cereal fro b’fast. I spied the papaya in the corner and figured why not I try another bit of cooking today. I looked up youtube and a friendly aunty was teaching me how to make a quick curry. So I picked up from there, improvised and got fancy on the spices and whipped up this dish.

In the evening, I had to run for my Spanish Lessons and when I returned, Mario had done some barbecued pork ribs and was thoughtful and roasted some poblano peppers with cheese for me. It was awesome and the dinner was a nice fusion of Mexican, Indian and Roast.

A pretty quiet day, but a well deserved rest indeed.