Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Guadalajara to San Miguel de Allende

I wrote before that leaving behind a place that you love, or feel at home, or both… is not easy. Saying goodbye to Karina and Dany was such a moment. It wasn't the leaving Guadalajara that made me feel uneasy, it was saying goodbye to two dear friends, knowing very well we might never see them again… Riding away from Guadalajara also made me wonder why we have the urge to go to Argentina at all? Quite frankly I don't have the urge at all anymore. Not at the moment anyway. There is so much to see and experience in Mexico alone…

As I rode away and saw Karina getting smaller and smaller in my mirror, I also realised that I saw a period of my life disappear. A period that I had enjoyed very much and also felt like it hadn't finished yet. We weren't leaving because we had seen it and wanted to move on. We left because we had been overstaying already… Suddenly Guadalajara felt just like a big ugly city with congested traffic and horrible roads. It isn't. It's a great city! It was me not wanting to leave and therefore changing the image of the place in my grey cells to make it easier to leave. It didn't work. I still love this place more than any other city I have been to.

Only hours before we had enjoyed a lovely breakfast together with Karina and Dany in the unique Santa Coyote restaurant. The most fitting and appropriate way to say goodbye to Guadalajara I could possibly imagine. Even Garfield, the cat that no-one can handle at Dany's vet clinic, seemed aware I was leaving forever and rolled and cuddled like I had never seen him do before, like he wanted to come along with us… 
And now we were on this long asphalt lint stretching out to the horizon going further and further away from it all, wondering why.

The bikes ran fine. Three weeks standing still hadn't done them any harm and riding the bike was a great feeling, the reason why though wasn't. As we took the toll road, the trip was uneventful. We saw people carried in the back of pickup trucks and trucks crawling up the hill. The intercoms worked great too and kept us out of trouble. Up until we received the helmet comms, it had been pretty much a solitary ride. Now we are able to warn each other for mad people that overtake mindlessly, cattle on the road, topes etc. But the helmet comms also make the riding much more sociable. We can now talk to each other! We get funny looks sometimes from car drivers when we're standing still for a traffic light and seemingly talk to no-one. We could in theory even make phone calls with the system if we had a blue-tooth phone, which we don't!

The trip to Guanajuato was the same as two days before, well… almost. On a motorcycle you experience everything so much more and stronger. It's sometimes hard to explain why I like riding a motorcycle so much, why we put up with sore bums, being wet and cold on miserable days and sweating like crazy on hot summers days. I find it hard to explain it to myself sometimes too :-) For me it's the intensity of everything that makes it such a great feeling. I'm not in a box but in a landscape, no roof over my head to block the view but unobstructed 360° panoramas.

Past Guanajuato the landscape becomes more interesting. The road is winding, cattle and dogs roam the roads, which is a good way to keep you awake :-) Arriving in San Miguel de Allende made us feel well and truly in Mexico again. Don't get me wrong toll-roads are handy for going somewhere quickly, but cobblestone roads are so much more fun on a bike! We weaved through a maze of narrow streets until Mike suddenly said over the helmet comm 'well… this is supposed to be the RV Park…' We were all three looking at a big wooden door in a 2,5 mtr high stone wall. Karina learned us the Mexican way: 'ask a local' We did, twice, but they had no idea where the RV park was supposed to be. We then took Karina's second advice and rode around in squares… but didn't find any RV park. We rode back to the big door, stopped the bikes and decided to have a look in the camping guide Dave gave us, which showed we were at the right spot. Suddenly the door opens, a man steps out and said 'are you Mike?' Mike had made the booking, we were at the right place… and even the locals don't know it's an RV park :-)

Setting up the tents again, for the first time in 4 weeks, was strange. Mike delved straight into Facebook and e-mail to let the world known we had arrived safely… I was amazed at where we found ourselves. American on the left, Canadian opposite and for the rest… nothing but Germans! A big monster truck stood opposite to us, you know one of those things you see in the Dakar race. I never saw the point of them as a camper and this one looked like it had been here for a while. Grass growing under it is a good give-away. It has been here for 5 years… the owners live in it permanently! A small box on top of a huge truck as a home?

That evening we tried a local restaurant… being spoiled rotten in Guadalajara didn't help in finding a good restaurant! We narrowed it down to two. On the other side of the road was a little restaurant full of people, on this side of the road it was virtually empty. On the other side it was full of loud gringos, on this side one Mexican couple had dinner. Hmmm. Normally the busy place has the best food. The owner of the 'empty but Mexican restaurant' stepped out with an English menu and turned out to be a very nice guy so we thought what the heck, let's try it. We ordered Mulcajette which was very different from the version we had in Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara but… really good! So good in fact that we decided on the spot to come back tomorrow again!

Back on the campground I adapted a couple of connectors with the invaluable gas powered soldering iron I took with me and then decided to have an early night… the first one in 3 weeks :-)