Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sydney Adieu, Mexico

After doing my last blog entry in one huge chunk I haven't learned my lesson at all. I stayed one more week in Sydney and apart from surfing, the Tea gardens and the Cock and Bull not much else happened. The Paddys day parade was good craic and especially post parade in Hyde Park. Having said that I'm not sure whether there were many Paddys in the organising committee as the bar was diabolical. Paddys day wasn't great I have to say. The surf that day was highly enjoyable though. I stayed in Caroline's friend's, Breda Murnanes place. She gets an honourable mention if she's reading this.

After a week in Sydney I was off to Mexico for it's culture but I was to be cultured out by all the information. It was a very good tour none the less. We started off in Mexico city. I arrived the night before my Mam and spent the first night in a hostel/ hotel. It was good value at $20 for a double room and your own shower. This was the roughing part of it as I would be staying in hotels for the rest of the trip. We stayed in the hilton for the 3 nights we were in Mexico city. We saw lots although at times my mother was climbing the himalayas going in and out of metro stations. Taxis and walking on level ground was soon decided to be the mode of transport. There´s loads to see in Mexico city including Palacio Bellas Des Artes (Museum of modern art), Catedral Metropolitana, Plaza de Republica and Plaza Major (Major Aztec Site). The people of the city were very friendly I thought although the major hotels, the Sheraton in particular do their best to rip you off.

The second day on the tour we headed to Teotihuacan outside Mexico city. This is a former Toltec site. This would be my highlight of the archaelogical sites but maybe this is partially because this was at the start of the tour before I got Archaelogicaled out. We did the tour with caravan tours and although the guide was very knowledgeable sometimes a break from talking for a kip would have done me the world of good. The tour was made up of 44 people with the bulk of these being Americans although some had Mexican and Columbian backgrounds. If I had been told this before the tour I probably would have had a hernia but they surprised me with how sound they were and knowledgeable. By the way I'm not licking arse here as it'll be a miracle if any of them find this blog but I'm just saying it broke the stereotype I had of them. Back to Teotihuacan I climbed the Pyramide de Sol and de Luna here. These were nice climbs and weren't too difficult.

The next day we had a long day of driving to Veracruz. Veracruz hadn't much of note but it was a real party town with lots going on down on the beach and there was plenty of activity on the main square. We only spent a night here but it would have been great to have spent longer here.

The following day we were off to Palenque. By the way I'm struggling with names here so I have the Lonely Planet out constantly trying to find the names of the different places I was. We stopped in a lovely town Pueblo on the way. This is a UNESCO site but it is getting rundown due to lack of funding. They don't charge to get here like other UNESCO sites which I think is a pity. The government of Mexico is totally corrupt and the wealth of the country is controlled by 13 families. Also Mexico has natural resources of oil but the wealth from this doesn't filter down to the lower classes. Mexico signed the NAFTA treat with the US and Canada but it gets no benefit from this as the American multinationals come in as well as the cheap agricultural produce which kills the Mexican farmer. The Mexican government doesn't seem to show any leadership at all. We also visited Olmec heads in Villahermosa en route.

Palenque was lovely but it was also very similar to Teotihuacan. These sites start to get tedious after seeing a couple of them but well worth a look all the same. We had that afternoon off to laze in the pool or whatever and this was heaven after all the early starts and all the driving.

Two nights in Palenque and it was onwards to Merida via the ruins in Uxmal. Maybe with the passing of time I'll appreciate all I saw but not after only finishing the tour today. Merida was another nice colonial town and we visited Chichen Itza from here. The tallest pyramid here was really impressive as the photos hopefully will testify.

Today we came to Cancun on the shores of the Caribbean. The colour of the sea here is amazing, a nice turquoise colour. There's 24 km of hotels to ruin that though. I worry about people from the US that come down here as it's just another version of America. I'm here for 2 days until Monday so hopefully I'll get some snorkelling in. Then I'm heading for Lima and I'll head north of here to Huanchaco for a week of surfing before Caroline arrives back on the 14th of April.

Pictures from Mexico as well as footage of the supersaint here:
Mostly Mexico

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