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Day Four: Papantla, Mexico – Veracruz, Mexico

Submitted by on Thursday, 19 February 2009No Comment

Day Four
Papantla, Mexico – Veracruz, Mexico
140 miles

We awoke in Hotel Tajin right on the main square. Had “gorditas” for breakfast, made a couple of phone calls and we were ready to hit the road.
We parked about a block away in a secured spot the night before. While we were there getting ready I asked for directions on how to get out of town. The old man told me how to get out and I should go and see the ruins. “What ruins?” El Tajin.
At the same time a young lady was pulling out the garage and chatted with the old man for a second. She happened to be a guide who used to work for the hotel, but she was off.
She looked friendly enough and within minutes she was leading us off towards the archeological site. It couldn’t get any better because it meant not getting lost on the way out of the city.
El Tajin was great as our first stop in the “Ruta Maya”. I saw the flyers of Papantla which I‘ve seen only in National Geographic TV specials.
We arrived and parked in the shade. I guess the vendors followed because all the street cars were surrounding the bikes and a dog was sleeping right in front of them. I asked out loud: “How much for the bikes?” Cheap! One replied.
The vendors were curious about us and kept asking questions. Where are you going one asked? Honduras.  He pointed out to a group where a heavy guy was standing. He wants to know if you can take him. “Can’t fit him. Esta muy gordito.” Everybody started laughing and pointing fingers to each other to see who I was talking about.
It was great to meet such a friendly crowd but the road to Veracruz was calling. After four hours of potholes, crazy drivers and “topes” we were there.
The traffic was crazy as we managed to arrive at rush hour. A guy in a small cruiser passed by my friend and stood next to me with blasting tunes coming through the motorbike speakers. He checked me up and down and sort of smiled.
Where are you going he asked? “Hotel Mexico” and I gave him the street address. He tried to tell me but I failed to understand him and couldn’t follow. I pulled over at an intersection. He saw me from across the street and quickly rode back   to give me better directions. I found the place the second time. Thanks for the ‘motorcycle brotherhood’ worldwide.
I showered after taking my motorcycle gear off. I felt like I weighed two hundred pounds less.
The hotel was right in the “Zocalo” which is the old part of town with a big square as many colonial cities. It had a great atmosphere. There were street performers playing including Latin jazz and around the building a band playing salsa. One word: Block Party!

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