After our week in Play del Carmen, we had a planned trip to Las Vegas to attend the DEFCON conference. I have been attending the conference every year since 1996, and this would make an even twenty years (a milestone that was a little scary). I wanted to see people that I only get to meet up with once a year, and experience Vegas after a three month stint in Mexico. But we still had to do something with the truck while we were in Las Vegas. Continue reading Las Vegas Culture Shock and Our Drive Out of Mexico
We drove from Palenque to Playa del Carmen, passing within a couple miles of Chetumal, Belize. We discussed crossing the border if for no other reason to add to our passport stamp collection, but in the end we decided to continue northward up to Playa del Carmen.
After our week of eating and drinking in Oaxaca, we wanted to head to the Riveria Maya on Mexico’s east coast and chill out at the beach. On the way, we decided to make a stop at the pre-Columbian archaeological site Palenque in Chiapas.
Oaxaca has been on the top of my places to visit list for a long time. While in Guanajuato, we learned that the second biggest festival in Oaxaca was going to be taking place towards the end of July. So we arranged our schedule to arrive just before the start of the Guelaguetza.
Several people suggested that we visit the pre-Columbian city of Teotihuacan, which is about an hour outside of Mexico City. So we decided to add that to our itinerary and stop there for a night on our way to Oaxaca.
Mexico City is huge, really huge. The entire urban area of Mexico City, or D.F. for short, has a population of just over 21 million people making it the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world and the largest city in the Western Hemisphere.
Driving into the city was dramatically different than all the other driving we had done so far. Luckily Matt is comfortable with city-driving. I had the fun task of navigating. Mexico City has an incredible amount of congestion and air pollution. In an attempt to alleviate this, in 1989, the city government instituted a system called “Hoy No Circula” or no-drive days. Who can drive on what days depends on the license plate number. We had a vehicle from outside of Mexico, so our no-drive day was Thursday. Of course, we didn’t know this until we had already arranged our schedule and booked our hotel. Since we were not residents of the city with out of state plates, we were able to secure a permit to put in our window that would give us permission to drive any day of the week for up to two weeks. We found the website and got some help with the translation. It was not too difficult to fill out. They then sent us the form in an email and we posted the permits in the rear driver’s side window. On our way out of town on a Thursday, we were stopped by a police officer. He saw the permit and then wished us a pleasant journey and got back into his car.
San Miguel de Allende was our next stop after Guanajuato (minus the stop for ice cream on the way). It was originally a destination that we had planned on spending a long time at, but shortened after finding Guanajuato. After spending four days here, I think we made the right decision.
There is a small town between Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende that is famous for two things. First, and arguably most importantly, it is where Father Miguel Hidalgo called for a revolution against the Spanish during a church sermon in 1810. The town was then called Dolores, but was renamed in honor of Father Hidalgo, to Dolores Hidalgo, who became one of the heroes of the Mexican revolution.
Secondly, the town is known for ice cream. They have very good ice cream of all flavors, including some “exotic” flavors, such as shrimp and octopus, mole, avocado, and elote (corn).
Ever have one of those experiences where you learn about a place and then when you tell people that you are going there, they say “oh yea, it’s great, we loved our visit”? Then you you feel like the last ones in the world to know. That was Guanajauto for us.
We were flipping through a guide book, plotting out our route to Mexico City when we came across a few photos of Guanajuato. The original plan was to drive from Tequila to San Miguel de Allende, but after we read a bit about Guanajauto, we decided to stop for a week. It was a gamble that paid off.
Saturday the 27th of June, 2015
Due to lack of availability at Cofradia (See previous post), we moved into the main city of Tequila to wander around for a day and see what it offered. We didn’t know what to expect but were worried that it would be full of tour buses with people on drunken tequila tours. We were happy to find a pretty little town with a lively town square.
We left Cofradia in the late morning, moved our luggage to a the new hotel, conveniently located right downtown a couple blocks from the town square. As usual, we got a late start, so by the time we checked in to our hotel, it was time for lunch.