Mexico City would not let me go without a fight: yesterday I was punished by the Mexican food gods. After joking that Mexicans put lime and chile on everything, I proceeded to squirt lime in my eye… later that night I blew up some powdered chile into the same eye. My eye became a Mexican dish – a burning, burning Mexican dish.
On my way south toward Puebla the mighty Google Maps left me in the soup. All I wanted to do was see Popocatepetl, which I did, from gorgeous angles, but afterwards Google simply could not find its way towards any major road, let alone a highway. It skirted me along the mountain range, on horrible mountain roads, for hours! Every time it wanted me to take a turn, there was either no road, or a road which put me in the wrong direction and google told me to make a U-turn right away. Even when I got out of the mountains, as the sun was setting, and was in a fairly big pueblo, it still kept putting me on the wrong road to Puebla. In the end I ended up driving, again, for about 40 minutes this time, in the dark. I did not like it the first time in Michoacán, and I certainly did not like it now. The bad roads and speed bumps, the oncoming lights, the animals… just a horrible experience – every moment of it.
Because the shop I went to in Mexico City, to install my new shocks and tires, left a number of small, but significant, details unattended, which put my riding in jeopardy, my first stop in Puebla was at another shop. I met a wonderful mechanic, Carlos, the recommendation of Alex Chacon. From the very first words out of his mouth I could tell he was a real mechanic and a decent human being (a sadly rare combination). Carlos fixed it all up quickly and we spent the rest of the day just talking. And then when it was time for me to go he did not charge me a peso. Yet another instance of kindness which takes me from the depths of doubt and into the strata of gratitude.
I spent the next few days discovering Puebla and some surrounding villages with Ivan and Boris. No, they were not Russian, rather the sons of old time commies who longed for the days of Frida Kahlo and Trotsky hiding out in Mexico. We played chess, appropriately, ate fried grasshoppers, drank sour traditional libations, and walked for endless hours. Puebla, or at least the center, is very lovely – if you like colonial architecture. The fact that the native residents sided with Cortez against the Mexica, not only saved them from murder and destruction, it also put them in the good graces of the Catholics who built more than 70 churches here.
The iron work, the ceramic tiles of the building facades, the intricate plaster work… all very colonial and pretty, but all scream of the Catholic rape of the Americas. I really can’t stand it. They replaced ancient wisdom and a relationship with the earth which is the foundation of balance and harmony, with a dogma of fear, and a healthy dose of persecution, extortion and abuse. I see the people in the churches kneeling and crossing themselves – because it is ingrained in them, because they do not know another way, because the education is shit and will not release them from the bounds of the papacy. But how can they still be so blind, after all these years, how can they not see the egregious fallacies and abuses of the church? How can they give to a church which clothes its priests in silk and puts rich foods on their tables, while the people wear threads and eat the simplest foods? How can they, after the fear of death had been lifted, and knowing how the Catholics destroyed their culture and civilization, continue to “believe” and abide?
A note on the churches themselves: I don’t care how catholic this country is, there is no comparing the cathedrals of Italy, France or Russia to these. Some here even have curlicues and rosettes painted on the ceiling for lack of actual stone or plaster work! It is despicable! Yet another way to rob the people of their donations.
Though my hosts were further examples on how wonderful Mexicans are, Veracruz and the promise of Carnaval would not let me linger. I packed poor Georgia until the new shocks groaned under the weight of camping gear, enough spare parts (including tires) to build a new motorcycle, and my fat taco stuffed ass, and headed for the mountains of Veracruz.