I need to preface this post. What is currently happening in Paris makes me sad. The photos that follow are from a different world and mark a contrast that I want to acknowledge and for which–especially on days like these–I am deeply grateful.
On November 8, we–team Uyarak and Harry/Daniel–left Queretaro and stopped for a stroll in Bernal… where Daniel couldn’t resist and bought a snow white sheepskin.
We stopped in Teohuacan to visit the Sun and Moon Pyramids. Getting there proved more difficult than anticipated. Martin and Fraenzi had let me take the lead on the toll highway but I failed to realize that their Land Rover Defender‘s maximum speed is lower than la bestia‘s. For half an hour, they tried to overtake me to somehow signal that we had to exit; to no avail. When I spotted them leaving the highway as I had already passed the exit, my heart sank… What followed included a thirty-minute traffic deadlock in Mexico City’s periphery and some extra tolls to get back on the right route. We eventually reunited on a local campground in Teohuacan and “celebrated” with bland salami pizza (though I admit I was tempted for a second).
The Moon Pyramid (seen here from atop the Pyramid of the Sun) was “discovered” much later. A fourth level was accidentally added during its reconstruction based on the assumption that all pyramids from that age had four levels — when in fact this one originally only had three. More generally, we were surprised by the liberal use of concrete to restore these monuments as the line between historic preservation and “theme parking” remains fine.
Back “home,” Fraenzi once again excelled in Uyarak‘s makeshift kitchen.
Although it took the cars quite some time, we managed to reach the highest point currently accessible to vehicles and had lunch at 3,682m. We had initially planned to stay for the night, but the parking lot wasn’t particularly inviting, and so we changed our minds and continued toward Puebla.
We spent the night in el Centro Vacacional Metepec IMSS, a humongous recreational facility near Atlixco. The manicured grounds host seven hotels as well as a large water park. As so often, we were the only visitors — and I could not help but assume that the facility had resulted from someone in the construction business teaming up with someone possessing significant leverage over public funds. The absence of people (other than a few administrators and cleaning staff) rendered the place both surreal and oddly upsetting.
Unfortunately the menu I ordered in nearby Atlixco didn’t offer much in terms of consolation: inedible camaron (shrimp) broth and a delicious ceviche taco followed by unpeeled shrimp drowned to death in thick mole, and finished off with a slice of semi-dry cake in vanilla sauce. Oh well, at least the Pacifico beer kept its promise.
One hundred kilometers north of Oaxaca (street scene above) we parted ways. Fraenzi and Martin spent the night on a campground for overlanders which, according to our information, did not allow dogs; Harry and I checked into a posada near Oaxaca’s downtown zocalo (central square).