Mexico 61, 24th July 2004

I rather reluctantly left the lake heading in the direction of Guadalajara passing through lava fields by the extinct Ceboruco volcano.



I decided not to climb the 15 km cobblestone road to the summit even though there were promises of steam vents on the way. Whilst not a cloudy day, the top of the mountain was covered in cloud, there would have been a limited view. I didn't enthuse about 30 km of cobblestone road either. At Ixtlan there is another ruin. This one is interesting because there is a round stone temple. The site dates from around 400 AD but the temple is probably later than 1000 AD.


This was my 50th visit to a ruin. Here's the list.

Yagul
Mittla
Palenque
Edzna
Uxmal
Kabah
Sayil
Labna
Dzibilchaltun
Izamal
Ekbalam
Chechen Itza
Coba
Tulum
Tiny temple on Punta Allen road
Muyil
Limones
Oxtankah
Lamay
Dzibanche
Kinichna
Kohunlich
Chacan Bacan (by binoculars only!)
Hormiguero
Xpuhil
Becan
Chicanna
Calakmul
Balamku
Palenque (2nd time)
Bonampak
Yaxchilan
Chincultic
Tenam Puente
Tonina
Dainzu
Monte Alban
Zaachila
San Martin Huamelulpan
Cholula
Yohualichan
Teotihuacan
Templo Maya
Calixtlahuaca
San Felipe los Alzati
Ihuatzio
Tzintzuntzan
Patzcuaro
Tingambato
Ixtian del Rio

As I already mentioned, the later ones are generally less impressive than the Mayan ruins. With this in mind, and having reached my half century, I think I'll give Mexican ruins a miss from now on. Actually, there are few if any on my proposed onward route.

I parked in Tequila for the night, and had a very pleasant evening wandering around the town and the squares and the shops and the church. Tequila is one of the 14 towns marked as "Magic towns". There are several distilleries for - you guessed - tequila in the town and I took a tour. The bole, the centre part of the blue agave plant is harvested after 8 hears, smashed up and squashed, the resulting liquid is fermented with yeast then distilled. Sometimes flavouring are added. Sometimes tequila is matured for 3 years, sometimes it can be drunk immediately. There are different varieties. All taste pretty good. I was intrigued with two things. First, 100 year tequila is not 100 years old. It's just a name. That could be confusing! Second, the opulence of the organisation was in stark contrast to the streets and houses and people outside. The warehouse, with several 1000's of barrels of maturing tequila were in a beautiful glass fronted warehouse with tiles and stone columns at the entrance. The offices and meeting rooms were luxurious. The staff were superbly dressed in designer uniforms. There was a mural by a famous painter at the entrance. There was a hacienda, beautiful, with trimmed lawns and manicured gardens.

The factory was a model of modernity. The single filling line for example was running at 200 bottles per minute. That's quick. It's also a lot of tequila. The factory works 3 days a week, 12 hours per day.

After the tequila I got stuck in a fierce traffic jam by Guadalajara. There was even a lot of traffic on the ring road.

I'm going to give Guadalajara a miss. I headed for a camp site by Lake Chapala but it's closed so I parked on a side street. I've got the van booked in at an auto electricians in the morning, the cruise control has given up on me, there are a few other minor electrical jobs to do also, and I've parked my washing in a laundry, to collect tomorrow. I'm also thinking about looking for an upholsterer, my driving seat has started coming apart, it needs some sewing.

Best regards

David Barker

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