México: Tehuantepec to San Cristobal de las Casas

It doesn’t feel as if there’s much to tell about 350km of road-riding. We’re back up high again, and it’s blissfully cool, verging on cold at night, with warm but not hot days. San Cristobal will probably be our last entry in Mexico before we venture into Guatemala. “Progress” at last, after being in Mexico since mid-November.

A landscape filled with towering wind-mills should make any cycle tourist quake on their pedals - noone builds them in this number unless there's a lot of reliable wind out there. In our case, these were, of course accompanied by a brisk head-wind!

We’ve both been doing a lot of iPod listening to while away the road-miles, and have discovered the usefulness of podcasts. So we’ve been listening to lots of different things from the 2010 Reith Lectures to A History of the World in 100 Objects and various other bits and pieces. These fill up the time, and are free, which is an improvement on audiobooks which definitely aren’t!

Sarah was 120km ahead of me with this one - the numbers are much more impressive in kilometres than miles :-)

The route continued on the flat Istmo de Tehuantepec past an enormous wind farm to a welcome climb away from the coast at San Pedro Tapanatepec. Sarah hit 10 000km nearly 2 days ahead of me as she got ahead of the game with some solo trips in Silver City; but we’re both feeling as if we’ve cycled a significant distance now.

The Cañon del Sumidero cuts across the mountains north of Tuxtla, and even has some fresh water crocs to make us think of our kayaking trips in northern Australia.

We had a morning of glorious tourism on a lancha (river boat) doing a 3 hour round trip up into the Cañon del Sumidero from Chiapa de Corzo. This gorge with limestone walls a thousand metres high at points carves its way through the mountains north of Tuxtla Gutierrez, and has a hydroelectric dam at the northern end. Knowing that we then needed to get to San Cristobal that afternoon in order to catch Ned and Charlotte who we’d met in Oaxaca, we have to admit we cheated a bit on the 70km climb. After 14km of steady chugging, Sarah managed to thumb down a passing truck, and we enjoyed a breezy 50km standing in the back :-)

A small bit of semi-intentional cheating... Sarah enjoying an effortless breeze on the way up to San Cristobal.
Once in San Cristobal, and having caught up with Ned and Charlotte, we all got down to the important business of haircuts. Charlotte shows, despite having no experience in the field, that she's a natural. Hopefully it won't impair Ned's hill-climbing strength...

Now we’re planning our idiosyncratic progress into Guatemala, via a loop to take in the Mayan ruins at Palenque, so the next update will be from somewhere in Guatemala. We ended up staying 3 days rather than pushing straight on, so Sarah got the chance to mooch around with the camera – much fun :-)

Beetles are everywhere in southern México, and we'd almost missed getting a photo before leaving the country.
San Cristobal is a bustling colonial town with lots of European tourists and some amazing indigenous crafts. All in riotous colour :-)
The bright colours in the market are dazzling, but there's only so much you can carry on a bicycle, especially after we've just found some Australians heading home to take some of our unwanted excess weight with them :-)

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