Since our flash in the pan weekend of dancing, El Rollo, and archeology, Alex and I have accomplished absolutely nothing in the last forty-eight hours. Monday we woke up around 11:00am and promptly opened our computers and turned on the TV. After a weekend of running, it was necessary to lie around, facebook, and consume for an entire afternoon and evening. I never even left the property; Alex actually did make it out once for about ten minutes when he went to pick up some tortillas at the Oxxo. We watched NBA Playoffs with Spanish broadcasters during the evening and then whatever English programming we could find until bedtime. Sometimes, you just need a day to recharge.
Our place here is a sweat lodge. It is a typical Mexican box building with cement walls, no screens, and no air conditioning. The mosquitos come out at dusk, so from about 6:00pm on we have to lock the place up if we don’t want to look like chicken pox victims in the morning. As if it’s not already hot enough in the room from the evening sun, we also have to cook dinner over an open flame stovetop for about an hour. Add two sweaty guys and an underachieving ceiling fan and the results are some very sleepless nights. The only way for me to pass the night is to take a cold shower, throw a wet bandana around my forehead, and lay spread eagle in my underwear with no covers waiting for morning to come.
Tuesday morning Alex and I finally found motivation; we decided to run into Mexico City to replace his broken Pelican case. Mexico City, which sits at 7,350 feet, is Mexico’s capital. The city is also known as Mexico, Distrito Federal (Federal District), or D.F. for short. We set off late in the morning on the free road which winds up into the same mountain range we crossed from Toluca in a different direction.
Given our drop into D.F., I figure we climbed up to at least 8,000 feetpassing over the mountains. The road was again great for motorcycling although at times a little exposed. I kept trying to look out over the entirety of Mexico City on the way in, but there was a two foot cement guard wall and then sheer cliff with no shoulder right beside me… I kept my eyes on the road. I wasn’t missing much anyway, the smog in Mexico City is among the worst in the world and you can’t see any detail peering into it.
Alex had studied Google Maps relentlessly before we left and he was fairly certain he could find the address of the local Pelican dealer. Sure enough, within a half hour of arriving in the city limits we were on the right street looking for a business called ‘Submersibles y Acesorios’. To our dismay,though, it did not exist. After six weeks of dealing with these typical dysfunctional Mexican streets, somehow it never occurred to us that we could have been given inaccurate information on finding the lone Pelican dealer in the biggest city in the world (Mexico City is the world’s single largest city by area).
We continued down our target street for a few more miles hoping we would find some clues but eventually we looped around and ended up where we started. We went to give it a second try, this time asking more questions.
While we waited in gridlock crossing an overpass, a Mexican dual-sport rider pulled up next to us and started chatting with Alex. Moments later, he decided to lead us to a nearby motorcycle shop that could help us out. As soon as the traffic let up, he took off with us following.
First move, an illegal U-turn inside a construction zone. Then, back across the freeway to the one-way highway we had just come from. Next, zip up the highway in the wrong direction using a combination of the shoulder and the sidewalk. It’s not how I like to ride, but when in Mexico, do as the Mexicans do. Riding up the shoulder against the traffic, I was absolutely terrified coming within inches of scraping the jammed cars with my panniers. What a relief when I got on the sidewalk and started dodging pedestrians!
We got to the motorcycle shop and… it turned out to be no help. Determined, our new friend started explaining a different store about ten miles away that assuredly sold Pelican cases. He gave us fuzzy directions, shook our hands, and we took off, this time moving with the traffic. Twenty minutes later we were on the correct street looking for a new store called ‘Pelea’. Our friend had said that Pelea would be next to Six Flags. You can imagine, there are a lot of stores next to a Mexican Six Flags. We found the theme park but never the Pelican dealer.
At one point I saw a Pelea truck driving down the road. I weaved some traffic, caught up, and asked the passenger where the store was at a stoplight; he just pointed forward and the truck pulled away. Al and I followed the truck for a bit but eventually we gave up. We were dehydrated, exhausted, and pushing our luck with the Mexico City traffic. On top of that, the elevation was getting to me; I had a headache and weak all over, not myself. It took us a half hour to get back on the free road to Cuernavaca where we flew home trying to beat the impending rain. I got some drops on my visor, but the downpour never came.
After an hour of my carb barely survive the elevation, we finally dropped into Cuernavaca around 6:30pm and rehydrated. We eventually ate some leftovers, watched a terrible Samuel L. Jackson movie, and then went to Los Arcos again for a couple drinks. It was a good day, albeit unproductive. Somewhere along the way in D.F. we stopped at a motorcycle shop and picked up a fresh rear tube… so we did get something done. Now Alex and I both have one in perfect condition and one peppered with patches.
I also got some Starbucks in the big city; the aroma and taste sent me straight back to Seattle. As if I didn’t already feel at home, the Mexican guard at the Mexican Starbucks used to work in Lynnwood, WA. Go figure. And since the world isn’t small enough already, I just learned some very cool news concerning this weekend. My college Spanish professor, Luis, is flying into Cuernavaca this Friday like he does every year for the exchange program. To think I met Luis here four years ago and now we are reuniting as I finally put my Spanish minor to use on this incredible adventure.
Until then, the plan is simple: keep shopping and making repairs.