Rejuvination in Vegas, Detour to Mexico.
Our trip itinerary did not include Mexico city just yet. Our trip itinerary didn’t really include Mexico city at all. Actually, we don’t even have a trip itinerary. Regardless: we’re in Mexico city, and we didn’t get here on our motorbikes.
Before we got here, I had found Vegas to be a much needed vacation from our vacation. Since the time Jayne’s brain and the bikes had recovered enough to continue on southwards from Alaska, we’ve been in somewhat of a rush. Rushing to Calgary on my limping bike, rushing to burning man in our limping truck, then back onto my limping bike to rush on down to Las Vegas. Even if I don’t count the kilometers spent in the blowout master Truck: that’s 5200km(3200miles) of rushing. Rushing on a bike that occasionally misfires and shakes so much it feels like I’m the first 29 year old ever to get shaken baby syndrome. I’ve been whining and moping like a baby too. Since Calgary, even shedding tears at times with a combination of anger, sadness and frustration. On top of other frustrations, I can’t fix a bike that isn’t broken. The intermittent problem hasn’t ‘broken’ long enough to diagnose. And with the rushing I didn’t have time to “fix” one thing at time to make sure I fixed it right. At times I wish the bike would just die already so I could get on with things. But the wheels kept turning one way or another, and we rolled into sin city. I hoped Vegas would be a turning point, at least to get over some anger and frustrations, then later deal with the bike. A turning point it has been.
Looking past Las Vegas Jayne and I didn’t have any more commitments. On the way we had to get to Calgary in time to get to Burning man in time to get back to Calgary in time to get to Vegas in time to reunite the “Dream team”. And a fun reunion it was. But after we arrived in Vegas there was nothing planned.
We don’t HAVE to go anywhere now, and I like it. Spending hours at a time in the pool. Eating copious amounts of good food. Drinking dollar margaritas and free bevy’s in the casinos. Winning at Craps. I needed this little break from our vacation. And I like it. A lot.
I also like Mexican food, beer and tequila.
So when Ed invited us to join him on a short hop to Mexico city, we naturally replied “Si!”. Our first night here right off the plane consisted of, well,Â Mexican food, beer and tequila. A lot of Mexican food, about 20 beer and a full bottle of Tequila. Ariba!
Today’s hungover tour of the Shriners hospital was quite enjoyable. Jayne and I towered over the head of nursing as she took us around, but she was delightful and didn’t even ask us to reach for things on high shelves. The hospital serves over 40 000 children a year, all free of charge. The children come from all over, and are also provided free transport. The hospital is 7 years old, and still looks brand new. It specializes in orthopedics; they even have a department where they make all their prosthetics and supports in house. We saw many smiling kids in our walk-through, many sporting multiple casts and those in-house made braces. The staff do really great work here, and the Shriners make it all possible.
The Shriners also fell the hospital staff do great work, thus today was staff appreciation day. The thank you party was part of the reason for Ed’s (and our) trip. From my time nursing, I’m fully aware that food is the best thank you for hospital staff. The Shriners obviously know this too. Not only do they provide food for their staff DAILY (St. Paul’s: take note), the staff thank you party had amazing traditional Mexican food made fresh right in front of us. Quesadillas, Guacamole, salsa, chicken, rice… We wobbled away.
After a Siesta on the car ride downtown, we toured some of Mexico city’s great architecture. Much of it is slanted from a combination of earthquakes, and the fact that Mexico city is built on an old lake bed. The murals inside are quite beautiful, and we heard all about their origins from our tour guide/driver/amigo Oscar. He took us all over downtown, and ended up at some ruins.
Some of the old Mayan pyramids were destroyed and their stones used to build some of the “new” structures standing today.
From there we walked past demonstrations downtown, apparently a daily occurrence, and smiled at the riot police who casually hung out all over the place.
Barring the pollution, Mexico city is not the dirty, grungy place it is sometimes made out to be in the news. The streets are clean, the people friendly, and chock fully of incredible history. It’s just like any other big city really. Even same street performers who want tips for pictures, though with a Mexican flavour. The traffic though, is absolutely nuts.
To the people who warned us against riding our bikes here: we fully intend to heed that warning. This will be our only visit to Mexico city this trip, purely due to the traffic. Two lane highways run four cars wide. Traffic lights are mere suggestions, as are directions from traffic police! Speed limits are flaunted so much the government has resorted to installing speed bumps everywhere. Unlike the traffic lights and stop signs, the speed bumps are not suggestions.Â They are massive and vicious at anything more than a crawl. they have to be. Mexico city is a busy place.
Tomorrow we’re touring the pyramids that escaped the Spanish demolition squads,Â then likely eating our weight in food again. I’ll think back fondly on this part of our journey at some point, when eating oatmeal huddled around our camp stove. It’s a bit crazy to think I’m here at the moment, but I’m very happy that Mexico city has so suddenly found itself added to our “itinerary”. Thanks Ed! This is amazing.
More photos to come.