14 May 2011

Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Location: San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

I passed a few days in Oaxaca, cooking a mountain of delicious food, making milkshakes, climbing some nearby peaks, checking out graffiti, and visiting an organic farm.  Ready to be in Chiapas, I turned on the fire and rode hard for several days. Judas Priest, Motorhead, and Ozzy kept me blasting down the road at full tilt.  I stopped in Chiapa de Corzo to check out a cool canyon, then slogged up and over one more 2000m climb to San Cris.

I am working on some statistics, but for now, it is picture time.  I have many, many more pictures of the amazing graffiti of Oaxaca.  If you would like one in high quality, please send me an email.

the VW Bochos of Oaxaca come with 2-tone candy flake, lambo doors, alloy wheels, neons, huge stereos, and of course a bike rack

mountain of double top-tube bikes at a top secret location in Oaxaca

Santaram's tattoo and Tamara's Bocho.

all day shade under the aqueducto

Santaram and I did a ridge traverse of Benito Juarez National Park and found this beautiful oak (Encino).  I had to climb it.

Maguey, the plant pulque comes from.  mash up the heart, add water, and allow it to ferment INSIDE the plant.

Interesting tree and Santaram.

massive maguey

other cool plants as we approached the beginnings of a cloud forest


we reached summit number 4 late in the day.

and began out descent at sundown

but camped above the city of Oaxaca

lovely roads through the pine forests high above Oaxaca

You could see the house from up there.  Only 3 hours walk away.

No parking, tires popped for free...

Respect to the Cyclist!

Cool light and view of Oaxaca from Tamara's house.

parts of the park were high enough to remind me of Appalachia

You can see the ridge we traversed from Tamara's house.

yes, more bad airbrush tailgate art.

Ariel took me to see the best graffiti (except for maybe in Queens), that I have ever seen.

Oaxaca graffiti

Graffiti Familia ''without end''

one artist used such vivid colors, but i really liked his little flies

i loved these little flies, that appeared on many of the works.

skill crane


Acid Coffee

the facial expressions here are excellent.

corn on the cob!

this luchador has some well done eyes.

traditional style mixed with modern media.  and more ''stoned flies''

i love her hair.

lost gringos.  obvi.

heaps of Vespas in Oaxaca...

I visited the world's oldest tree, supposedly.  El Tule...

more than 50 meters in circumference. I am on the left, with my bike, for scale.

bike and tree

the branches grew back together in some places, making the tree very strong.

Mezcal distillery and some more fun place names.

The light the day I left Oaxaca was amazing!

bike and corn

Tierra del Sol, a cool organic farm, allows cyclists to camp.

The natural lap pool was very refreshing.  Tatanka portrait.

I really liked the reflections of the clouds

ok this is the last one...

I helped Pablo tow his quatrimoto back to the farm from a delinquent mechanic's taller

the Tierra del Sol logo.  I like how one hand had an ''accident''

there are some cool bamboo-framed structures on the farm.

this one looks like a hat

the central buildings of the farm...

I liked the stairs to the outhouse AKA humanure factory

here was my campsite

Pablo, me, Eli, and Ale of viajerosustentable.com

Eli gives cycletouring some serious thought, but when her favorite pants get torn by the chainring, she reconsiders.

To Tlacolula!

Lovely dirt roads lead away from the farm.

I like the Mezcal distill on top of the town sign.  I know a few places in Carolina that could use this...

back into curvaceousness...

finally descending down towards the pacific coast and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

hurry sundown...

bible verses lined the road, but this one gave me a double take.  now you know my birthday.


old school basketball court.

hot.  dry.  downhill.

at a dance exhibition, I spotted this Puma/''100% Ferrari Owner''.  I am 100% certain he does not own a Ferrari.

The folks from Veracruz performed a traditional dance, where the men shuffle their feet, and the women swirl all around.
The cubans were another story.  They oozed sexuality all over the stage and had some awesome moves.

Cuban Dance Group has some acrobatics from trog dor on Vimeo.

sometimes you just need a ''complete breakfast''

Coatzacoalcos of course.

I spotted this ridiculous moto taxi mutant outside the Pemex.  The ''Istmo'' is crawling with mutant taxis.

Onwards to Tapanatepec and Tuxtla Guetierrez

A shout out to Victoria...

At a roadside cafe, this kind lady taught me how to make nature's cool-aid-- agua de jamaica.  boil hibiscus petals, then dissolve several cups of cane sugar.  strain out the petals, chill, and serve.

Desviacion.  Detour.

Dawn patrol on the great Panamerican Highway.

Finally, I rounded a bend and the windmills indicated a slight tailwind.  Yesssss.

another mototaxi mutant.

in mexico, where one succeeds with a business model, everyone else follows.

large wetlands on the isthmus.

I had the ''air conditioning'' on full blast.  I was drinking 8 L of water every day.

Finally I began the climbing to get back to the highlands.

What a change from up north.  Here, the gradual climbs allow me to cruise in 4th gear.

The last state in Mexico!!!!!!!!!!

Chiapas greeted me with some great scenery.

A nice lake for camping, with enough breeze to keep the mosquitos away.

rebel mural.

bicycle taxi!

This, Sarah Palin, is a bridge to nowhere.

Every room has a Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia Pet.

Back in Veracruz, the plethora of dismembered baby dolls on the side of the road disturbed me.  I found another good stretch near Tuxtla.

Epic crosswalk in Tuxtla Gutierrez

Tuxtla mural.

Pink Pontiac Limo


This Pontiac was parked in front of a very swank hotel.  I SHOULD have stayed there.  Instead, I rode on and arrived in Chiapa de Corzo at 11 pm and slept near the docks on the river.  While I slept, my shoes were stolen.  Yes, the shoes I sewed by hand from leather, kevlar, and indutrial strength thread. Obviously, I was in a rage as I had come to love my shoes.    I had awakened when they left with my shoes, but did not notice them missing until about 6am.  I went in search of the two local drunks I had seen passing in the night.  One calls himself Norberto, which is Spanish for Norbert (joke sourced from my brother), but not many people seemed to know him by anything other than El Diabl(it)o. The other is known as El Camello.  Both vehemently insisted the other had my shoes.  Despite offering a 500 pesos reward, no questions asked, I was unable to recover my shoes and remain unsure of the true identity of the thief, although both were wearing nice shoes than the ones I lost at the time (hmmmm).  I am considering returning for some vigilante ''justice'', as riding a 50 km uphill in flipflops on studded pedals was not particularly pleasant. So, had I stayed in the hotel, I would have more money, comfy cycling shoes, and have broken up a pungent 2-week showerless stretch.  Dammit.  If I lose Tatanka, my heart will surely sink.  Time to step up personal security a notch or two, eh?

I visited Chiapa de Corzo and played the real tourist for a day to see the CaƱon del Sumidero.

which has Crocodiles, apparently.

The highest wall is 1000m.  That is where the natives jumped to their deaths to avoid Spanish enslavery.

OMG this is awesome.

I chickened out of the diving platform that was at about the 30m mark over the river.  I can't imagine the desperation that allows you to jump from 1000m.

Of course, no natural wonder in Mexico is without La Virgen de Guadalupe.

Our boat driver exacted a mandatory tip of 10 pesos a head halfway through the tour.  If it's mandatory, why isn't it included in the ticket price?  Ahhhh, Mexico...

Tour guide sounds like Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite from trog dor on Vimeo.

Christmas tree of mineral and moss crust.

After a brutal uphill slog of 50km in my flip-flops, the last 10km into San Cristobal de las Casas was glorious.

I like how they put grill marks on the SIDE of the patty.  It's called the Mexican Slow Flip.  You should try it.  It seals in the flavor.

new steel toed boots and a view from the roof of El Hostalito in San Cristobal de las Casas.


Anonymous said...

Ohhhh I am so sorry about the shoes...that is SAD, especially since I know how long you labored over them. I also enjoyed your lake/cloud photos.

Dan said...

Well look at how small you are against the tree, and uh, Verne Troyer like, and uh...shut up, Burney.

One of the great two-sided lessons of traveling in there: it's worth finding a way to do things frugally on the road, except when it's really not. Just don't walk over bridges in Guatemala at twilight instead of biking or taking a cab and you'll be alright.

millerp@3dsystems.com said...

The trip looks awesome, I think you may want to write a book on this someday. Keep the pictures coming Stay Safe

Paul Miller

Matt said...

thanks all. i´ll leave the words up to somebody else and perhaps just stick to a picture book :)

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