As we left San Miguel de Allende for Mexico City, Darren took us on a route that went under those blue and white streamers and past Alicia's hotel.
My iPod, on shuffle, played sad songs about doomed romance, and then just to let me know that it knew what it was doing, as soon as we got stopped in traffic it played "Everybody Hurts".
Once out of town we moved at a brisk clip, taking the cuotas (toll roads) and spending maybe USD$50 over the 200 or so miles. We stopped at a gas station where someone offered us tamales out of the back of his car from a giant pot. They turned out to be the best tamales Darren or I had ever eaten, with chicken, green chile, and carrot filling and meaty flavor infused right in to the corn meal. They call it Sinaloa style.
We met Garry 40 miles outside of Mexico City, and he led us in through traffic jams where we didn't just lanesplit but also dodged the hawkers walking among the stopped cars. They dodged out of the way with their fruits and tacos and waters and cell phone chargers just as we sped by, their capitalist determination taking on lethal dimensions. Garry led us up into the hills, higher and higher until we were so turned around that we had no idea where we were, bringing us finally to La Era, which looks like the barrio but seemed friendly enough. Here he introduces us to his wife, Ivonne, and for the next week they are excellent ad welcoming hosts.
The next day we took the bus downtown, it was a bit of a roller-coaster ride, and after some metroing we ended up at the main post office, an enormous and gorgeous Italian-styled building with marble, bronze, and iron everywhere.
We then rode the Touribus, which took us to all the main outdoor sites.
Of course, since most of these sites can be viewed on Wikipedia, I took pictures of rarer stuff.
The next day, we would go to Chaputepec, Mexico City's Central Park, where they have the Castille. Raided by Americans in the Mexican-American War, it was the home of the country's president until it was turned into a museum.
On the bus ride back to Garry's, when we tell the bus driver to let us out he lets out a doubtful, "¿Aqui?" ("Here?"). Yes, the two gringos would like to get out here among all the graffiti and stray dogs, please.
The next day, the water does not work, which is normal. I change my oil and filter and for some reason my bike starts churning out massive amounts of blue smoke. Knowing this to be very bad, I consider curling up into a ball and rocking back and forth, but Darren insists we go for a ride to see if it clears up. Before we even make it out of the hills, it does clear up, and we ride to the archeology museum, which is truly world-class.
You may recognize this as it's of enormous cultural importance and kicked off the notion of bothering with archeology in Mexico when it was first found.
On the way back up into the hills, we take a few wrong turns but we find our way. With our luggage off, the bikes are faster and more agile, and we have fun passing on these narrow roads at these lower, urban speeds. We pass with casual ease, dodging between buses with the engine growling on the uphill accel. Garry says that of all the motorcycle adventurers he's ever hosted, we are among the very few who have dared to ride in Mexico City traffic. I can see how many would be scared or frustrated by it, but I find it exhilarating.
Back at home, I get a Mexican donut, which isn't very sweet, and Darren gets orange juice, to which enormous amounts of sugar have been added. They should stop adding sugar to the OJ and put it into the donuts. This is just a suggestion.
The next day is Friday, wherein we try to find the luchadores (Mexican wrestlers) and discover pulque, a fermented fruit drink described as an aphrodisiac. Spoiler: Darren and I don't end up making out.
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