Mexico City provides a short reprieve from the road. We wander the city, eating cups full of fruit and vegetables. It’s bigger than it looks on the map and my legs get a lot exercise.
There’s a bike path south, out of the city that follows the railroad. We ask about it, and again and again are told it’s dangerous. A nice bike shop helps us plan an alternate route south. We weave in and out of traffic. Stopping and going, slowly finding our way out. Raw sewage runs across the road and I fail to avoid it. I wish for soap and a place to wash my hands. Tyndall has some gastrointestinal distress. One could say it was a bit of a shitty situation.
Donkeys hauling wood reappear. Nopale farms cover the hillsides. The air is thin and smokey. The city is slowly releasing it’s grasp. Mexico’s two highest peaks loom above the smog. We’re riding towards the Paseo del Cortes, a road that sneaks between the two giants.
I look up and see what looks like an ash cloud spewing from Popcatepetl. A few minutes later, another one. I stop and look around. No one else seems concerned. We keep riding.
The road winds up through pine forests. At the top, we take in the view before enjoying the dirt road descent down the other side.
Farms reappear for a short time. Then, cars and people everywhere on the outskirts of Puebla.
Elaborate churches dot the cityscape. In Cholula we try pulque. A drunk lawyer is adamant that we can’t follow our desired route to Oaxaca. He insists there are narcotrafficers there.
We find our own way from Puebla, taking a bus for a bit to try and leave the people and smog behind. We succeed, sort of. I’m craving silence and wide open vistas free of human evidence. Women with children, men riding bicycles. Everyone is looking for their space in the world.
Every night fireworks are let off. Loud blasts fill the air. I’m not sure if this is a usual occurance, or if there’s something special going on this week. The roosters in the country seem pleasant in comparison.
We point our wheels toward Oaxaca, curious about southern Mexico.