©2019 by Jelle.

Going inland over the mountains

2/7/2018

In the last days in Sinaloa, I visited a couple of nice places, amongst others a camping on a deserted beach, located at a seaturtle conservation centre. For me it was a new experience to walk on a deserted beach, as the beaches in the Netherlands are always pretty busy. The seaside resort of Mazatlán also surprised me. In my opinion, the city is much more modern and beautiful than Culiacán. In Mazatlán, someone linked me to the chairman of the bike group in the next village, who desperately wanted to know when I was arriving there. At first, I didn’t understand why, but it became clear on my way to Escuinapa. About 20/30 kilometers before arriving there, a huge group of about 50 cyclists waited for me on the side of the road. We rode together to the village of Escuinapa, accompanied by a police car with wailing sirens. When we arrived, they interviewed me and everyone wanted to take a picture with my like I’m some kind of legend. I had no idea what was going one. The next day, I was in the newspaper for the third time. Awesome experience!

 

On the beach

 

 

Part of the group of cyclists who awaited me

 

My first experience in the next state of Mexico, Nayarit, was not very positive. I think that I ate some rotten food, because I became pretty ill overnight. I was stupid enough to start cycling in the morning, about 100 kilometers to the next city. I couldn’t eat or drink anything (I tried…), so that makes it pretty difficult to fulfill that distance in the heat. My energy level decreased to zero after 20 kilometers, I started vomiting again at the side of the road and I had another flat tire. I’ve had better days. But it could be worse, because the people from the next city were willing to pick me up. I felt really bad, especially because they had to help me out by picking me up. They said I shouldn’t worry about it and were happy to help. I recovered within two days with some rest, medication and a lot of hydration. In the meantime, we watched the second game of Mexico, another win! The village has a statue of Jesus, similar to the one in Brazil. That’s worth taking a picture with!

 

The statue of Jesus in Santiago de Ixtuintla

 

The next morning, I faced an immense dilemma: I could cycle alone to Tepic, or I could join a day ride along the beach with a bunch of local cycling groups before taking the car to Tepic. A pretty good einzelgänger test. I chose the last option. I’m sure that I will come across multiple sections that are inevitably lonely. The surroundings along the coast were indredibly beautiful, it looked like the jungle already, while the tropical South still has to start. We also cycled through a crocodile area with a crocodile viewpoint. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any crocodiles. After the ride, everyone wanted to take a picture with me. I’m starting to get used to it…. Afterwards, they dropped me off at Alex’s house, where I could pitch up my tent in his yard, between the trees/plants with avocados, bananas and coconuts. Alex is an experienced cyclists in Mexico, as he cycled through the country a couple of years ago. With the map on the table, he gave me some useful tips and he gave me his book that he made after his trip.

 

An even bigger group os cyclists in San Blas

 

Tepic is with over 500.000 residents the capital of the state of Nayarit, and I wanted to explore the city. After a quick visit to some museums and a church, I bought a coffee and crèpe in a random bar. The owner of the bar came to me and we started talking about my trip because he noticed (unsurprisingly) that I wasn’t from here. He told me that he had a brother that also traveled on the bicycle. Coincidentally, his brother, Carlos, entered the bar at that moment. He invited me to stay another night in the city to stay at his place. I doubted for a second. I notice that I’m kind of addicted to the exercise of cycling. I feel bad after not doing it for multiple days, and I already lost some time when I was sick. Then I realized that I have all the time of the world, it’s not a race and I can work for 50 years once I return, if I return. The cafe was located in a huge historical building in the middle of Tepic. The building turned out to be in the possession of the big family of Carlos. All the shops in the building are owned by brothers/sisters/nephews of Carlos. Carlos owns a shop for dresses. The sleeping place was located at the top of the building. When I walked back to my tent, I noticed a loaded bicycle in front of another coffee place. The first one since Los Angeles, about 2 months ago! I entered the shop and started talking to David, from France. He’s cycling from Vancouver to Costa Rica. However, were taking different routes, so we’re not going to cycle together. He told me he was staying at the house of Alex. It turned out to be the same guy! Apparently the place to go as a bicycle tourist. We ate together and the next morning, we watched the game of France against Denmark, which was extremely boring.

 

David de France

 

Before leaving Tepic the next morning, we watched the last match of Mexic against Sweden. Despite the poor game and the 0-3 loss, it was a big party because Mexico reached the next round after Germany surprisingly lost again. The Mexicans shouted ‘KO-RE-A! KO-RE-A!’. Carlos joined me to cycle to the next city, 85 kilometers ahead, before taking the bus back to Tepic. That was at least the plan, because he ended up going to the airport of Guadalajara, 120 kilometers further in the wrong direction. Shit happens! The flat coastal area is changing to a mountenous environment now that I’m cycling inland towards the East. Because I’m over a kilometer above sea level, the weathers is finally starting to get bearable. However, I’m still soaking wet within 10 minutes when I’m climbing. In the two days that it took me to reach Guadalajara, I had some rain. The first rain in over two months. I have to say, it was pretty refreshing. I expect that I will hate the rain within a couple of months, since the rain season is about to start. Perfect planning! Tequila was on the road towards Guadalajara, so I decided to spend the night there. Before reaching the village, there are these famous Agave tequilana plants all over the place, which they use to make Tequila.

 

Tequila fields

 

Tequila is a so-called magical village. A marketing trick to attract tourist. As a consequence of this label, the government invested in the renovation of the city. The center of the village indeed looks much better than the other villages that I’ve seen. Tourist shops all over the place, recruiters trying to sell you tickets for Tequila-tours and people approach me in English. To their surprise, I happily talk back in Spanish. The marketing trick works, because there are a lot of tourists. I was wondering how many of these tourists would be here if the village had a different name. You haven’t been to Tequila if you don’t try some tequila, because you’d think that they have the very best tequila here. To me, it’s all garbage. Way too strong.

 

I spent a couple of days in Guadalajara and learned about the city’s rich history. The museums are, to me, a bit disappointing for a city this size. You’d expect that they would make them bilingual for the tourists, but everything is purely Spanish, which is sometimes difficult to understand when they’re talking about specific historic events. The historical buildings are beautiful, and it looks like there is a church in every street. I’m still amazed by the richly decorated churches, surrounded by many neighborhoods that are rather poor. I’ve seen a couple of great football matches, and I experienced the national elections. In aanloop naar… the elections there has been a lot of violence. In fact, it’s the most violent one in the Mexican history, but I don’t see any of all that and the election day was luckily peaceful.

 

 

A polling station in Guadalajara

 

 

 

 

 

 

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