Archive for November, 2012

29 Nov

Holy Cow! Two whole days off… Darwin and my old eyes.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 29, 2012 / 0 Comments

While riding south I have been reading Charles Darwin’s “Voyage of the Beagle”. Taken from his actual journals in the early 1800’s it is a fantastic telling of his historic journey to the America’s, both Central and South. It must be remembered that, “Origin of Species” was penned towards the end of his life. This after he had collated and mulled over decades of findings. “The Voyage of the Beagle” was written over four years between the ages of 24 to 28. His writing style is absolutely fantastic. Regardless of the content of the book, it is the way he delivers the words and ideas that fills me with so much joy.
He was a fine illustrator, this being the time before photography, but it is his descriptive skills that set him apart from most mere mortals. On any given day his observations would wonder between insects, plants, animals large and small, local people and customs, atmospheric plays of light and colour. On and on with such clarity.
Another lesser know fact is that he spent very little time onboard the ship. He would be dropped of in Brazil or Argentina and travel by horseback or on foot for many weeks before meeting the Beagle at some predetermined cove. The boat itself was mapping coastlines. A tedious and precise chore. So Darwin would travel overland and provide early descriptions of the very countries I plan to visit. Eventually rounding the tip and on to Galapagos. All this in the early 19th century.

Sadly it is true that he was, even as a young man, an absolutely terrible racist. Some apologists have suggested that it was a function of the time. All English nobles practiced caucasian exceptionalism. Maybe so, but few could describe it with such damning articulate precision.
So, just like passages from any abrahamic text I cherry pick the parts I like and disregard the offensive stuff.
Reading his work has me trying to be more observant of things around me. Unfortunately my eyesight is nowhere as keen anymore so I observe in large brushstrokes.
None the less I noticed these tiny crabs that appear at dusk out of tiny holes in the sand, just at the point where the last of the Pacific waves energy dissipates into sea foam. I understand that they are Pacific ghost crabs. It amazes me the speed that they can advance and retreat just at the water line. The interesting part is how, while strolling the beach lost in thought if I don’t look down at my feet I would have no idea how many thousands are within a small radius of where I’m walking.

Otherwise this second day off ended up being filled with chores.
First, needing more peso’s for the hotel I had to ride 4 km to another town down the coast. Without needing to put the boxes on the bike for the short trip I forgot that the bike was still locked with the chain. In trying to pull away I ended up breaking the plastic chainguard. Since I use oil based chain lube the whole area was thick with black goop. The repair was a filthy job. Now my jeans are covered in oil so I had to do some laundry, then go get more money. I realized I had the time to update my GPS for Mexico… It took 4 hours at an Internet cafe to get Windows to recognize the drivers needed to install a more detailed gps map of Mexico. In the end the owner Hanny was super helpful translating the spanish operating system and finally making it all work.
Once the GPS data was properly upload to my unit I crossed the street and bought him a small bottle of tequila.

Here is a picture of Hanny’s Grandfather (in the centre in full uniform) during the Mexican revolution.
Hanny and me.



28 Nov

As Night Falls.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 28, 2012 / 0 Comments

Zipolite is very quite and calm. I particularly enjoyed the 4 hour power outage that took us into dusk. I was hoping for full darkness but alas it returned with a flickering, then on came the radios and (albeit quiet) ipod playlists etc.

Where water meets land- people will gather. This place is undeniably special, yet I still hunger. I guess that’s good because I have a lot of world yet to see.



28 Nov

The world informs me.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 28, 2012 / 0 Comments

It seems that my Canadian sensibilities are being challenged when it comes to figuring how long it will take I get from one point on the map to the next.
The sense of urgency to press on is constant. It’s an instinct I’m trying to curb.
I have been riding more or less 9 hours a day for three weeks and I think I need a day off. I am going to find the town of Zipolite and rest for a day. Puerto Escondido is ok but I think I prefer fewer gringo’s in my travels.

27 Nov

Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido sunsets.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 27, 2012 / 0 Comments

San Marco to Puerto Escondido. Lot’s of little towns with lots of big tope’s (speed bumps).
A hot 9 hours of riding to catch a surf bum sunset.







27 Nov

Acapulco cluster fuck

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 27, 2012 / 0 Comments
26 Nov

What day is it?

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 26, 2012 / 0 Comments

Stopped for a bite to eat.


25 Nov

Towards the Ocean.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 25, 2012 / 0 Comments

Amazing route through rural south Mexico.
Mountain passes, finally descending to a very hot and humid sea level.



25 Nov

Little towns, bumpy roads

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 25, 2012 / 0 Comments
24 Nov

Nuevo Italia

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 24, 2012 / 0 Comments

The day seemed to know how crappy I felt this morning and as a gift…returned to me stunning travel pleasures. Now, I had been thinking that I was being a bit of a wimp for the last few days hitting the toll roads so much. The further from home I have been traveling the more vulnerable I have been feeling. This has had me be too conservative I think. If I’ve gone out to see the world then go see the world damn it. Not just gas stations connecting large towns.
I decided to travel entirely on secondary roads.
This led me through some of the most beautiful countryside. Crazy mountain switchbacks, small villages with ever changing flora. Incredible gorges. Even more chaotic domestic animal/road behavior.
Just lovely.

Having been at or above 6000 ft (2000 m) for a week and a half- it was amazing to finally start to descend towards sea level. Riding this far south at high altitudes hides the fact that I have entered the sub tropical zones. To descend is to get really hot and sweaty, fast. At my hotel tonight in the town of Nuevo Italia I looked at all my cold weather gear… knowing that I’ll need it again in the Andes but for now it can go to the bottom of the panniers.

Eating under dim fluorescent lights reminds me of India.
Also… First mosquito bite.




24 Nov

Lux Lake

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / November 24, 2012 / 0 Comments

Stumbled on rural roads to a lux lake.
Having a bite.
Southern Mexico is filling with fir trees. Like the west coast of Canada. I can tell I’m getting closer to the Pacific Ocean.