After getting creeped out in the Museo de las Momias, we went back to the hotel, hopped online and nabbed some insurance. Waaaaaay easier. Then we dropped back into the depths of Guanajuato’s undercity to find El Burro and split town. We jumped in and punched it through the tunnel of love out into daylight again and hit the road to Teotihuaca.
We were originally going to visit our friend Jessica’s sister Marlene in Mexico City, but decided we needed to make up time after getting locked into La Paz for so long thanks to hurricane Odile. So we opted to skip on Mexico City altogether. We also assumed that driving in Mexico City would be crazy shitshow.
Using our agile trip development skills, we planned a route outside of the city. We were gonna hit the ring road around it but it was nearing 5pm and we figured that might mean a ton of traffic. Looking at the map it seemed simple enough to connect a few highways together, bypass Mexico City and it’s ring road altogether, and, using the cities density and el burro’s massive inertia, we should be able to swing around in a gravitational slingshot kind of maneuver, blast past the whole mess and emerge on a direct trajectory towards some Aztec pyramids. Instead what happened can only be described as a Class 5 ShitFuck of Shit.
Here’s the thing. Driving in Mexico a lot of the time can be a frustrating mess of nonsensical bullshit. You can only access some highways from certain directions. So you’re forced to go into a little town, at rush hour in our case, just so you can loop around the main roundabout in the very center of town, and then try to find the poorly marked highway you think you’re supposed to be on. Except that highway is the same number as the main highway you just came off, which is the same number as a few others in the area. Some are free. Some are tolls. We got on an ‘on ramp’ (ya, there aren’t actually on ramps. You pull up to the highway, stop, and wait for an opening. Which is dumb. And dangerous.) and it took us straight to a toll. Paid the toll. Wrong highway. Took the next exit, got on another highway of the same name. Paid a toll. Also the wrong one. So we basically paid 10 bucks to do a U-turn. We killed about 2 hours doing shit like that and in the rush hour traffic of the towns on the outskirts of Mexico City.
Somehow we did manage to get on a road that was away from the Mexico City Clusterfuck, and less importantly, in the general direction of the pyramids. Now we’re racing the sun. We amazingly make two successful turn-offs and see a sign indicating the pyramids are 14 kilometers away. (Why does everything turn into a race?)
With a few kilometers to go, the road turns into what seems to be an attempt at cobblestone, but is more comparable to driving on the acne-ravaged face of a 14-year old greaseball. We’re forced to slow down massively – and of course there are topes here as well – but it was all in vain. Even though we beat the sun at it’s own game, the gates that lead into the pyramid complex are closed. We keep heading into the next town, San Martin de Teotehuacan, to look for a place to sleep and food.
San Martin may be a tiny town but it’s only slightly less chaotic than the Royal Rumble of the Mexico City suburbs we smashed our way through. No streetlights, no street signs, pedestrians strolling nonchalantly into traffic, dead-end streets not labeled, and by this time the sun’s pretty much history. We loop around a few times until Murphy sees a sign that says “Hotel” and we follow it to the outskirts of town. I see a sign indicating both a hotel and camping up a small road near the outskirts, so we investigate.
Within three or four minutes we’re on a dirt road in a corn field, and both of us had the same thought: Is this a trap? Nice sign with hotels, camping, facebook and twitter icons. What better way to lure uppity, unsuspecting travelers off onto a dirt road out of town surrounded by corn fields. Another minute or two after that thought and El-BP’s front end is in mud. We would have been totally fucked if we weren’t driving such an awesome off-road vehicle. We end up back in town with no sign of a hotel or camping.
We ask for directions, and a very helpful couple of women send us back to where we saw the hotel sign. We missed it because it was right on the corner and not really lit-up. They have rooms. We throw our shit inside and go out in hunt of rations and liquid entertainment, despite the warnings from our innkeep that town is muy tranquil.
Great mural of Princess Guerrera above the staircase of the hotel
He wasn’t exaggerating. The town was pretty dead aside from a one-street market that was mostly selling clothes and bootleg MP3 CDs. A small restaurant with a dude grilling meat out front drew us in with the promise of tacos though, so we ordered two Tecates and a plate of tacos each.
The waitress spoke too quickly to be comprehensible, so I don’t know whether we signed on for something I just couldn’t understand or whether she was playing “Mess with Gringo”, but when the tacos arrived before the beer we knew something was up. The beers were mixed with a large dollop of hot sauce and the plastic cups rimmed with some kind of chewy spicy substance. It was absolutely fucking disgusting, we could only get about a quarter way through each.
James is not happy with this…
The tacos weren’t much better. I’ve knowingly eaten dog meat in Korea on numerous occasions, and the texture and flavour of the filler in these tacos was suspiciously similar to some of the more low-end canine cuts I’ve sampled. To top it off, the bill was exorbitant. Fuck this market.
We hit the sack. Rest up so tomorrow we can hit the pyramids early and then make our way to Oaxaca