A day in the life

What’s all this Adventure Motorcycling Travel about? Well, going to interesting places, meeting a lot of people and living different day to day experiences like this one.

You are driving in a road in Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca, and you see a person with a big machete standing in a curve asking you to slow down. You see behind him a few guys cutting down a tree, so you pull over, watch the guys work and wait for someone to tell you that you are good to go.

A 20 meters tall tree falls down across the road, then another one, and this time very close to you. By this time, a thought may comes to your head that these guys are not very professionals. Next, the chainsaw is turned off and all the workers seat on the fallen trees. Dozens of people arrives in buses from one side of the road, hop off, walk over the trees and hop on buses on the other side, all in a very natural way, I was the only one with no idea of what was happening. One thing I knew by then, those were not road maintenance workers. What do you do?

The friendly rioters

The friendly rioters

Mexico has very beautiful beaches, colonial towns all over and stunning Mayan ruins. But all those things you can experience by flying there for a few days on your holidays. I’m more interested in other kind of experiences, not the ones you live as a tourist, that’s a shiny façade, you get a better feeling of how’s a country like by living like a local, by eating were they eat or by talking to random people on the street of a small town.

This is an experience that tells me more about Mexico than laying on a beach. It’s one of those problems you find when going across a country that would normally stress a person, but when you are used to having little problems you just relax, few are the problems that can’t be fixed, somehow you’ll get by.

I’ll tell you what I did. I approached one of the “workers”, one without a chainsaw or a machete, and ask him why were they doing that, to what he replies:

“Just because.”

A true agent of chaos. Some other guy tells me that it was a transport strike. They weren’t very friendly, so I didn’t insist with my conversation.

In the previous couple of days I encountered a few other strikes in different towns where people were blocking the road, but letting people walk around to take buses on the other side. In all those situations I ignored them, looked to the other side and went through riding over the side-walk. But that wasn’t an option here, so I didn’t have any other option than to wait and look at the hundreds of people passing by and taking buses, an organised chaos.

I walked to the other side of the blockage and I met Tim, from London and he’s been riding around the world for 12 years, which puts my little adventure into perspective.

While we talk we see a couple of locals trying to lift their 125cc’s bikes over the trees, so we help them. They tell us that these guys were dangerous and that the police won’t come to clear the way. When we finish, they asked us if we needed help with ours. That didn’t cross my mind before, my beast weights 240kgs when unloaded and Tim’s something similar, so it took six guys but we lifted my bike over the two trees. Tim preferred to ride back, but five kilometres after we found another blockage. This time I knew the routine, find six volunteers, explain them from where to lift the bike and we are through. We ride a few miles and stop for lunch and rest, we are back in a “safe zone”.

Tim and the hot dog

Tim and the hot dog

So far my bike has been on a plane, on two ferries, on two small boats to cross rivers with no bridges, on the back of a towing truck (sadly) and now carried by Mexicans. What’s next?

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