Sunday, 26 February 2012

On The Road South

After a good night's rest in Rosarito,  and a little prodding from a special friend,  I decided to try and get into a Spanish school for a few days.   I had talked about it back home, and now it was time to put my money where my mouth was.  I'm finding that the path of least resistance, is the one most commonly travelled, and maybe it's not always the most interesting and enlightening one?  Hmmm.

Anyway, I hit the road, stopping here and there along the coast, to take peeks and glimpses of the ocean.  I went into one little tourist area, which was quite deserted and found access to the beach.

I can't believe now beautiful the beach is!  Everyone says the water is freezing, but it can't be nearly as bad as home.

A path down to the beach. Very tempting, but the bike it so heavy with all the luggage and I'm alone, so I decide not too. Too bad I hit a unexpected soft piece of sod and dumped my bike turning around. I managed to snap the buckles on my overpriced tank bag : ) Day two on the bike and my tank bag won't stay on without a bungee cord. hahaha.   If it wasn't so funny; I'd be pissed off. Next time I'm not gonna be in such hurry and take a pic.

After a small cry over the tank bag, I decided I better treat myself to a good lunch to help forget.  I rode 5 minutes up the road and ducked into a breezy little place on the ocean.  Just as I was parking the federales pulled in, and from my experience cops like to eat, so this had to be a good place.

Sopa de frijoles negros or Black bean soup. I think it's pretty 
common here, and man is it ever good!

You are supposed to be able to get "The Best" lobster in Rosartio, which I just left, so I decided maybe the stuffed shrimp would be good since it has some lobster in it.  It was amazing.  If I keep this up; I might have to start a dining blog.

Look at the huge chunks of lobster.  Not bad for a $15 lunch and I feel like a "Stuffed Shrimp" myself after I'm done.

After a military check point and toll booth I roll into Ensenada.  I can't believe it, but this little town is buzzing with activity.  I don't find out until later, but this is the last day of "Carnival".  I hit a cafe with Internet and try calling and emailing the Spanish school, but I didn't get anyone on the phone or get any emails back yet.  I was kinda hoping I could get right in a home stay as well.  Looks like I'm gonna have to start looking for a cheap place to stay after the extravagant stay last night and lunch today. I get a hotel right downtown for $320 pesos and I can park right in front of my door. 

My chain is looking mangy, so I try to throw the bike on the center stand, but to my surprise this is no easy feat.  I manage to get the tiger on the centre stand once, but I'm at an incline and the bike is resting on the back tire.  I take it off and try to put it on again.  No dice.  I can't get it back on the center-stand until I take one of the panniers off.  Really???

Anyway,  the bed is hard as a rock and the WIFI doesn't work, so I can't find out if the school has replied back to me.  Guess you get what you pay for.

Everything in the room is actually pretty clean; it's just not that comfortable and the noise from Carnival is constant all night long.  Part of me thinks...."just go out and see what's going on, maybe have some fun." But I've got a bigger plan in my head and I don't want to be tired for it.   I think I'd be more comfortable camping.

In the morning I lube the chain and pack up the Tiger.  Since I can't check my email, I decide to go to the school address in my Lonely Planet guide, and it doesn't take me long to find the very nice looking school, but it's vacant.  The old guy that lives next door, doesn't speak English, but I understand when he says, "No mas", which means "no more".  Discouraged, I head to a cafe to drown my sorrows in coffee and figure out a plan.  To my surprise, I have not one, but two emails, from the school.  After some fun trying to call with Skype, Janice helps me and calls one of the #'s, and they have a place for to me to go.  

Within minutes I have the address programmed into my GPS and head out.  In about 10 minutes I start wondering if my GPS is taking me on a wild goose chase.  It leads me up into the back roads which seem quite ridiculous.  Either this is a set-up, or the GPS is wrong.  I try the GPS again, and it takes me in the opposite direction.  Gotta love technology.

When all the dogs in the neighborhood start to chase me; I decide someone is barking up the wrong tree.

These roads are fantastic!

After a short ride, I turn down the street and see one of the teachers waving me down.  His name is Dey, and he tells me to pull my bike in through the gate and to the back of the house.

The gate and long driveway between the houses here.

I have to take the panniers off to get the bike into the walled yard, but it's safe in here and I go a step further by covering it up.

There are 3 housed here, each one owned by one of three sisters and there is a small building with a classroom at the back.  There are three students here right now, but we are all at different levels, so we each get our own teacher.

This is Claudia, the lady of the house, where I am staying.  I am not here more than 15 minutes and she is cooking for me!  I haven't had a bad meal yet : )

I decide I'm gonna stay here for a week and brush up on my Spanish.  The next day I meet my teacher and start class at 8:30, after a nice breakfast of Hueves and Fijoles.  Turns out I have not one, but two teachers! Yolanda in the morning and Edith in the afternoon.  Both are really friendly and great teachers.  One of the students here, a 75 year old sailor, is also getting his boat hull painted here in Ensenada. He tells me it's expensive to take classes on the weekend and I'm better off taking a break and commencing on Monday.  So after my first two days; I welcome the weekend and the rest that comes with it.

This is Edith in the class room trying to teach a chimp to read & write Spanish.   Let me tell you, this lady is awesome.   Great teacher with mucha patience.

Well, there's more to write, but I'm gonna save it for next time!  Thanx all for checking in and hope to hear from you all real soon.

-Clay D.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Back to Tijuana & Back to Rosarito

Hello again guys.  A guy can get really far behind in this blogging if he isn't really careful.  So, even though I've a had a lonnnggg day, here we are.  Sunday the 19th Scotty rolled into Tijuana with my beauty and it sounds like things went off without a Hitch.  After Scotty washed up, we headed out with my new friends a fed Scotty some dinner.  Most of the evening was spent transferring my gear back into the bike and Scotty getting ready for his trip back the next day.  Alejandrina & Cesar had told us that it would be wise not to get to the border too early, since it would be chalker full of people returning to the US from the weekend.  In the morning, after looking at some flights that didn't seem to add up to shit, we headed off, queer as a two-dollar bill, 2-up, to the border.

Scotty posing with the Tiger in the morning for the turnover.

When we got to the border, it was just like we were told, and wall to wall cars and caravans.  We rode up close and Scotty dismounted with just shy of a combat roll, after a quick goodbye.  Thanx buddy!  After that; turning around and staying in Mexico turned out to be a little fun.  The Mexican's had to open up a side gate to let me turn around and then two soldiers proceeded to rip the bike apart.  They asked if I had any weapons and I said I had a hunting knife for camping.  The soldier said "you can't have this", then he threw in back in my pannier?  Then he said,  "you have any drugs"?  And of course I had to answer truthfully, that I had prescription drugs, and of course I have 4 types of pills in one bottle, not so well marked.  They looked at them and after explaining what they were for, I was told  I could put them away.  When they saw one other item in the tail box, it offered a bit of comic relief and I think they went a little easier on me after that.  More info will be disclosed on that item later and you'll have to keep following the blog to find out what it is. Maybe the fact that I was a retired military guy, and they would likely be retired military guys one day, helped also.  Anyway,  they were just doing there jobs, and it wasn't so bad.  After being set free, I finally headed out riding the Tiger, and feeling sooooo free! I headed back down to Rosarito.

I have to say, riding in Mexico is awesome.  To me, the drivers are great.  Aggressive yes, but also polite.  Way better than the moronic, slow-ass, unpredictable drivers we have back on the island.  So far; so good here.  After finally riding the Tiger here, and my face starting to hurt from the shit eating grin I had on inside my still tight brand new Arai; I decided to make a very important stop.

It seems like there is a lot of these Tacos Manual stands and I think I remember reading about them in the Lonely Planet guide.  Time to give it a try.

They didn't have chicken,  so I decided to have one beef and one pork, and wow.....these babies were good.

I had to go back up and get two more to make-up for the breakfast I missed.

Seeing as how I hadn't really slept in hotels until the night before, I decided to treat myself a little and stay at the Rosarito Beach Hotel which is a landmark in town.

The beach is beautiful, but mostly deserted now as it's early in the season.  The sunset was magnificent.

Life is good in Rosarito.

Lucky for me dinner was included with the hotel and I decided to get the Mexican plate, which had a bit of everything.  Of course I didn't remember to get the pic until I had already had a couple bites.  Rice, taco, stuffed pepper, and beans.  It was fantastic. 

Overall I'd say this was a pretty nice place for about $70US.  It's a wee bit dated and past it's glory, but it still had a charm and the staff were very friendly.  A little bit extra extravagant when on such a long trip, but what the hell.

The long pier is a beautiful walk out.

 Nice outdoor pool, but it looked cold today. No dice.

Long white sand beach with just a lone surfer and a couple horses.

You guys better get used to this shirt, because I only have 3 and you're gonna see it a lot!

Well, that's it for tonight folks....more updates soon.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Febuary 17th - 19th

Friday in México City was a  little less busy.  I slept in a little and then goodbye to my host Tonio, who was off to Appuculco.  I hope you had a great weekend Tonio!  Later on I went down to the market about 2 blocks away.  A huge contrast to what you find back at home!  The colors and displays are fantastic.  It must take these folks hours to stack up and arrange their food and products so nicely.

The Piñatas were very colorfull too and some of them were giant.  

A vendor even had a stand for string, yarn, and cord of all types.  Seemed kind of different to see items like this displayed and sold at a market, but hey...this is Méxcio! 

I decided to just go down the street to the cafe and have something to eat.  The "rollo" or roll with meat, cheese and pumkin was different and quite tasty. 

My dinner was also served with a drink called Horchata, which is water, milk, cimmamon and rice mixed together. It was good, but since I didn't have a clue what I was drinking it was a little freaky. Next time I'm gonna enjoy it a lot more.

Taking the bus here was an experience.  The bus stations were in the middle of Insurgentes Calle, which is a main artery running north to south.  When I first entered I was a little confused why the policemen told me to keep moving further onto the platform and then I realised that the the men and women boarded the bus separately.  I was a little puzzled by this until how I saw how people have to push to get onto these extremely crowded buses.   It was quite scary when one guy's leg slipping in between the platform and the bus, but he managed to get himself out before the bus tried to close the doors.  Of course after struggling to get onto a bus for 20 minutes; i got on the wrong one and ended up having to come back to the same station and catching another one.  

It was kind of hard to capture how tight we were packed into the bus, but believe me when I say it was totally full.  

After travelled 5 kms in one hour, I didn't save any time from walking , but still felt a sense of accomplishment.

I showed up to a couch surfing meet and greet that a lovely lady named Diana organised.  Thanks so much for your efforts to organise such a fun event and to make sure I got home safe too.  I never stay out till 3am, but it was such a great time, I had to make an exception.  This is a pic of some of us guys that were out that night.   Next time I'll get a nice pic of the good looking ladies too.

Yamaha looks like the bike of choice for the cops in México City.

I was kinda sad to leave México City knowing I had only experienced a minuscule fraction of what it offers, but part of me was excited to move on and meet Scotty with my bike in Tijuana.  I  had a delicious breakfast with one of my new couch surfing friends, locked up Tonio's place and took a taxi  to the airport.

I had arranged to couch surf in Rosartio which is just outside of Tijuana, but started having second thoughts that maybe I should get a place close to the border if there was any issues with the bike and to make Scotty's arrival easy.  Before I could change my plans, I was unexpectedly greeted at the airport by Alejandrina and her boyfriend my couch surfing hosts, who whisked me away and have been spoiled me ever since.   That night I got to meet her awesome mom, brother and a bunch of his friends, who have a band that plays some RUSH covers and was jamming in the basement and entertained us all.  I can't say enough about these wonderful people.  But, I'm going to tell you a lot more about them soon.  I'm just too exhausted at 1:54am to do it right now.

Alejandrina looking at her Ipad.

Alejandrina's boyfriend and a very kind host; Cesar.  Thank-you Cesar!

A very cozy home.

Cuauhtemoc. Last emperor of the Aztecs.

Very cool statue of Cuauhtémoc. I was commenting how his attire reminds me of the ancient romans.

After some site seeing we decided to take a much needed ice cream break.


My banana split had coffee, chocolate and "mamey" icecream.  They told me mamey is a fruit here.  It was different and tasted pretty good.

Alejandrina's mom.  What a wonderful lady she is!

This was one of the meals they prepared while I stayed. It's tradional Méxicano Sopa with 2 kinds of cheese, sour cream, avocado and chips.  It was delicious and it looks beautiful too.

 Their back yard is huge and nicely landscaped.

The house decorations are very classic.  I love this rams head lamp!