Dispatch from Chiapas Motorcycle Ride Day 12

“Today’s good mood is sponsored by tacos and tequila.”

We have four birthdays to celebrate and Palenque, Chiapas, and our evening hotel La Aldea seems like the logical place to do so. I am now so good that from the comforts of my restaurant seat, while sipping on a blended margarita and dipping a chip onto freshly made guacamole. I was able to; book five mariachis; a partridge in a pear tree for Tyedye; order up a tres leches cake with all the trimmings. Scratch that skip the partridge. They probably won’t find one in time anyway. Order up a tres leches cake with all the names in Spanish.

We spend tonight in the town of Palenque. Palenque is a town in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas known as the gateway to the ancient Mayan ruins. It was once a ceremonial center for the Mayans.

How to throw a Mexican birthday party for future gpskevin Yodas.

I have a 500 peso bet riding on that they won’t get the Spanish names on the cake. First there’s Fireman Tracy in the upper fifties; then there’s Mariachi Bryan who is probably mid fifties; then there’s Joey the Lord who is timeless and finally Tyedye Keith who is the wisest man in the group. Happy birthday gentlemen. You are all loved and admired for your contributions over the years to helping all of the past, present and future GPSkevin riders.

Step 1: Wish the rider a Feliz Cumpleanos” It literally means, “Happy Completed Years”. It’s a way of showing great respect for those who have reached maturity in age and experience.

Step 2: Hire some mariachis. A band of five will set you back a US 100. A small price to pay for memories that you will not soon forget.

Step 3: In our case we plan on using Dale’s motorcycle as a real live piñata. Hell it’s already pretty beat up anyway so why not add a few more dings to it.

Step 4: Let Them Eat Mexican Cake

And what would a birthday party be without cake? Mexican birthday cakes are similar to back home except here we ordered tres leches cake with everyone’s name on it.

It’s not just anyone that can do what we do day in and day out and after day after day. Why the toughest thing I encountered this morning was finding something clean to wear. Back home I have magic drawers. They are always full. Wifi and cell coverage is something else we take for granted along with fresh drinking water. Every hotel we encounter uses a solar dryer. Something akin to two posts with a line between them. No laundry service unless we take it to town.

Today as I ride through an indigenous village I see a kid about seven walking down the road and carrying a live turkey; I say to no one, that’s something you don’t see everyday. And then there’s pigs staked out in front yards like dogs. Don’t see that everyday either. Then it just goes on and on from there; a litter of puppies by the road; a road killed dog; lots of loose chickens; children walking to school; children not going to school; everyone and everything using the main road. Too much to take in. A vulcanizing tire place and a store with not much in it. And then more of those dreaded topes.

And then on day twelve the spirits finally said let there be rain. First it came up on us slowly. A few drops at a time. For a while there I thought we would outrun it but, then all hell opened up by the way of a total downpour. Joey picked the perfect spot to stop to don rain gear. The trees touched each other from across the road giving us; shelter from the rain; shelter from the storm.

In the Bob Dylan song; “In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes”. This one line reminded me of the Guatemalan refugees we now saw walking on the road. A group of five men and a woman. All probably in the prime of their lives. Now I’d like to see a thru hiker back home trying to endure what they are now going through. Endless migrants scattered for about a mile. They wore street clothes, tennis shoes and carried a cheap looking, yet ultralight cloth backpack. How do they survive. Do they eat dogs along the way, asked Bob, another firefighter.

Should I have bought some road karma I thought. Stop and give them some pesos? Too late. Just like that they were miles behind me.

The sky was beginning to open up and not one of the migrants stopped to put on rain gear. I felt bad for everyone in the group. But what could I do. I have lots and lots of extra dirty clothes but, no one carries extra rain gear. Where do they sleep? We slept in two separate eco lodges and our bodies are still covered in mosquito bites. Finally I came to the conclusion that this is their adventure and we have ours.

I’ll also share a little story about our tire guy who saved Dale’s ride when his front tubeless wheel cracked. His son, probably an illegal immigrant is working in Alabama. Him sending his father money is the sole reason he was able to open up a tire repair business. And by business I use the word loosely as there’s three tools, not even a sign to advertise or an outlet to plug in the compressor.

Everywhere we go we encounter nothing happy people. No one has begged from us. No one has stolen anything and even the police wave as we pass by.

We’re still in the state of Chiapas home to over 30,000 Tzotzil, and their strong indigenous identity is very visible. Eleven indigenous languages apart from Spanish is spoken in the third largest city we stayed in in San Cristobal.

Time for the party! Pictures posted later as ill be too full of margaritas to post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.