A Travellerspoint blog

Tequila in Tequila and a Party in a Mine Shaft

After changing my plans, I changed my plans again... Such is life when you´re travelling solo. Since my amigo reckoned he could get the boat in the water for the beginning of January and there were a few places I really wanted to see in the interior of Mexico, I first decided to head to Guadalajara by bus.

The bus took a bit longer than I expected, so I didn´t get into Guadalajara until about 9 pm. After heading downtown, I got a bit lost and realized that walking down dark, vacant streets in a big Mexican city with all of my bags is probably not a good idea. Luckily, after stopping a few times at hotels to ask where I was, I finally ended up where I wanted to go safe and sound. It was a bit wierd to get back into the staying at hostels thing, but you know you´re staying at a good place when you check in and they give you a shot of Tequila. After heading out for some tacos, I met some guys and ended up getting a bit pissed on Mezcale, a drink that´s like Tequila, just nowhere near as pure.

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The next day, I ended up going to Tequila with the guys I had met the night before. We went on a tour of the Jose Cuervo factory, which, to be honest, was a massive ripoff. Ten bucks for a tour, where all you get is a tiny little margarita at the end. At least we made up for it by stealing a few more from the bar before we left. After that, we went to a little tequila shop for "tequila tasting". Considering the fact that we basically were just drinking their tequila and not paying for it, the staff was pretty nice. We ended up buying a bottle of Don Julio Anejo, a pretty premium bottle of tequila and heading back to Guadalajara. After dinner (and getting lost again on the way back from the bus station), we drank the whole bottle between the three of us and went out clubbing with another guy from America. The place we went to wasn´t that great, but we still had a blast.

Because there was a massive electronic concert near Guadalajara, there were prettty much no beds in town for the Saturday night so I decided to head off to Zacatecas, a mining town about 5 hours from Guadalajara. It would have been cool to go to the festie, but paying 120 bucks to go by myself to an outdoor concert in the middle of winter didn´t seem like a great idea. Plus, how good of a festie could it have been if the headliner is Bjork??? Zacatecas is a historic mining town with a lot of churches, cathedrals (standard Latin American fare), but the main draw is that there is a 1000 m deep mine shaft with a night club in it . Also, because the rock in the area is pink limestone, the whole city is pink, which is a bit strange. After arriving in Zacatecas, I met a few Scandinavian guys and we had a few drinks before heading to the mine shaft. I kind of feel like I´m repeating myself every time I say this, but once again, the party wasn´t that great. It seems like pretty much every time I´ve gone out so far in Mexico, I´ve been a bit disappointed. The layout of the club itself was pretty cool, being in a mine shaft and all, and it was pretty funny to see the waiters all wearing hardhats, but the guy to girl ratio there was about 20 to 1 and there were only rich mexicans who were basically there to sit in their groups and show off. Not my ideal scenario. On the plus side, the drinks were surprisingly cheap and the 3 of us ended up downing a bottle of vodka.

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Apparently in Zacatecas, every Sunday there is no power from the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and the whole city was basically closed (Sunday + Latin Country + small town = nothing open) so I decided to walk around town. It was actually a pretty picturesque town - cobblestone streets that head off in every direction, lots of little walkways, lots of churches, and lots of... pink. However, since my plans changed again and I´m now going to be flying home for Christmas on the 19th, instead of spending a few more days there to see how the city is during the day when places are actually open, I ended up taking a 3 am bus to Guanajuato, which is where I´ll be staying until Thursday or Friday.

Hasta Luego

Posted by chrisnomad 15:40 Comments (0)

Change of Plans...

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The original plan was to paint the boat and have it in the water by the beginning of December to sail down the coast of Mexico and Central America.

It turns out that didn't work.

We managed to get the boat painted and put in the water, but after a night of drinking, we woke up to find the bottom of the boat flooded - turns out there was an engine leak. After spending almost the last week getting everything fixed, it turns out the engine has crapped out. Based on my luck so far, I'm starting to think that Mexico is some kind of magical place where everything ceases to work.

Anyways, after spending the last month doing almost nothing but working on the boat (with a few fun nights out), I have to say I'm pretty sick of both Puerto Vallarta and boats. Puerto Vallarta is basically pure tourist cheese. Insanely expensive massive resorts with crappy little beaches in front of them, a pretty cool boardwalk, and massively overpriced clubs full of aging tourists...definitely not my definition of heaven. Although, granted, my current frame of mind probably isn't helping things.

Because of this, I've decided to head off to southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize and then Central Mexico. If the boat is fixed by then, maybe I'll still do the yacht trip, if not, it's down to the rest of Central America. My first stop... Puerto Escondido, a surfing town just off the bay of Tehuantepec, to get my surfing groove on.

Posted by chrisnomad 08:24 Comments (0)

The Motorhome Diaries (Los diarios del Motorhome)

After spending the past week in a motorhome across the US and northern Mexico, it is nice to finally be situated in a place for a few days. At the end of October, I left my parents and hometown behind again and flew to the US to meet my friend Chris to prepare for the trip. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do that much in Denver aside from drive around and get things ready for the trip, so no interesting stories there. Chris and I left Denver last Saturday and made it as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chris had a few friends there, so we met up with them and crashed at their place. The next day, we headed off to Nogales, Arizona, on the border of Mexico. Most of the trip was fine, but when we stopped at a Shell station in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, the motorhome wouldn't restart.

Luckily, Chris is pretty good with cars, so after fooling around with the car, he got it started and we made it to Nogales, where we crashed in the camper. You wouldn't think Arizona would be cold, but at night in November it's FREEZING! I was so cold I could hardly move, so we decided to make an early start. We crossed the border with no problems (we got the green light), but once we got to the Mexican side of Nogales, blue smoke started to come out of the hood and the brakes on the RV seized up. Here we were, in the middle of a crappy Mexican border city, tired, still frozen from the night before and then the brakes gave out, so I wasn't exactly the happiest person. Luckily, Mexican mechanics are a dime a dozen and pretty Macgyver-like in their abilities to fix up cars, so we were on the road again a few hours later.

We got as far as San Carlos, a small beach town in Northwest Mexico. We pulled into an RV park and camped out there. We were both pretty exhausted from the 3 days of driving and the running around in Denver before that, so we decided to chill out on the beach the next day. The beach was ok - pretty rocky and the beach town was pretty small and not happening, but when we tried to leave the next day, the RV wouldn't start AGAIN. We had to have a mechanic replace the starter, which ended up with us spending another day in San Carlos.

On Thursday, once again we decided to get up early and try to make it to Mazatlan, but unfortunately the brakes seized up AGAIN. It turns out the caliper on the front tires wasn't that great, so we had to spend the morning in Guaymas getting it replaced and repaired. That was a bit of an experience in itself, as we had to take the RV to the mechanic's place in his neighborhood, so it was kind of neat to see how northern mexicans live. We had a drunk Mexican guy trying to feed us tequila at about 10 in the morning! Since we had a long drive ahead of us, we didn't end up drinking any though. We spent the whole day driving to Mazatlan and planned to go out partying that night, but we both ended up crashing out after the long drive, so I didn't get any partying done :(.

Today, after finally having some good luck with the RV, we were able to make it to Sayulita, a small beach / surfing town about a half hour north of Puerto Vallarta. We are going to chill out and (hopefully) party it up for the next few days - and maybe buy a surfboard - before heading to PV to start working on the boat. After the way this week has gone, I'll be looking forward to it!

Posted by chrisnomad 17:33 Comments (0)

One Night in Hong Kong

After partying it up with my mates Sam and Jesse on my last night in Bangkok, I packed up, jumped on a plane, and headed to Hong Kong to meet up with my mate Dan. I have to say, after years of being in places like Brazil, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, I fell in love with Hong Kong immediately. The waterfront of that city at night is quite possibly one of the most beautiful sights in Asia.

I met Dan at the hotel, we dropped off our gear and headed out on the town. Since he lives nearby in Guangzhou, he was able to show me around and we started off at a swank Japanese restaurant getting blasted on sake (I know, it's a bit lame to be going for Japanese in China, but whatever, it was good). After that, we jumped on the metro to Hong Kong island and went partying in the main party area. It was pretty cool, old cobblestone streets, lots of different themed bars and we ended up going to an "ice vodka bar" which is basically just a bar with a room that has the air-con on high and fake plastic ice blocks. After that, the night just got progressively drunker and crazier and ended up with us getting kicked out of a lot of places.

The next day, we went for a walk around Kowloon and took the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island for a bit. Unfortunately, I had to fly out in the afternoon and Dan had to catch a train back to China, but Hong Kong is a place I would definitely go back to.

Posted by chrisnomad 18:17 Comments (0)

Temples, Trippin and Beaches in Cambodia

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Since I only had 9 days and Sam only had 5, we really had to rush Cambodia, but I am so glad I went. When we arrived at the airport, it was pouring down rain and we decided to take a tuk tuk to a guesthouse we read about on wikitravel near the riverside, since we didn't want to stay in one of the guesthouses near the lake while it was raining - neither of us was rating cold showers and loads of mosquitos when the weather was crap already. Apparently, we picked the slowest tuk tuk in the whole of Cambodia as well, as it took us about an hour to get to the riverside and even then, he got lost a few times so the whole ride took us almost 2 hours (by contrast, the motorbike taxi from the riverside that took me to the airport when I left took 20 minutes). When we were looking for a hostel on my printouts, we found a hostel that said it had a bar and some pool tables, so we thought it would be cool. Well, it turned out to be in a "hostess bar"! Since both of us were tired and didn't fancy looking around, we decided to stay the night there. We ended up going out in Phnom Penh partying it up all night, and it was pretty crazy.

After only getting about 2 hours of sleep each, we woke up and took motorbikes to the bus station to jump on a bus to Siem Reap. We were pretty lucky, as the bus was empty so we both got to stretch out, but the loud, insane Cambodian karaoke music that was going on on the bus made it a bit difficult. I remember having a dream that everybody I was talking to was just saying "yep, yep, yep" and it got me so angry that I woke up - to hear a Cambodian song going "yep, yep, yep, yep".

After pulling up in Siem Reap, dazed and confused, we jumped in a tuk tuk and stayed at a place called Golden Village or something like that. Not bad value, and cheap as well. Since both of us were knackered, we just chilled out in the bamboo lounge upstairs drinking beer and then went for a walk around town. At night, we went to "Bar Street", which had a couple nice places, but nothing was groundbreaking.

The next day, we went to Angkor Wat, and wow, was it amazing! We picked the right time of the year to go, since it's the end of the rainy season and everything is green and lush. I really can't describe how amazing the temples were. We went to Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm (what they call the "Small Circuit") and spent all day looking at the temples. We even snuck into the restricted areas of Ta Prohm to take some cool pictures. We were lucky too as the weather was quite nice all day. After a day of temples, we decided that what better way would there be to celebrate than with a "Happy Pizza"! Well, the pizza was pretty happy and so was I for the rest of that night - except for the whole bouts of paranoia.

For the 4th day in a row, Sam and I woke up after only a few hours of sleep to jump on our bus back to Phnom Penh. When we arrived, I decided not to stay at the same guesthouse as before (although Sam was pretty keen) and stayed at another place near the riverside that was cheaper, just as nice and, oh yeah, wasn't full of hookers... We had a few drinks at our hotel, which included a drink called the "Roaring Temple" - involving vodka, red bull, fruit punch, and... VIAGRA! Man, that drink really messes up your head.

We ended up having one last crazy night in Phnom Penh before we decided to go to the firing ranges, the Killing Fields and S-21. I ended up firing the AK-47 - it was really cool at the time, but if I would have went to the other places first, I probably wouldn't have. Put simply, the Killing Fields and S-21 are too of the most horrible things I've ever seen. I can't even imagine the horrors that went on there, and I'm glad that i can't. All of the pictures of the people who knew they were about to die and were treated so savagely and horribly - S-21 is a place that I'm glad that I went to, but I would never go back to again. It was pretty disturbing.

After that, Sam headed back to Bangkok and I jumped on a bus to Sihanoukville, a beach town in the south of Cambodia. On the way down, I met a cool South African guy named Chris and we decided to go to a place called "Monkey Republic". It was a cool place, but it was full, so we stayed a few doors down at a place called "Nick & Craig's". Sihanoukville was amazing. I met some cool people there and we just hung out, lazed around and checked out the beaches, which were amazing as well. Otres Beach kind of reminds me of how Thailand was a long time ago. I stayed there for 4 days, then it was back to Phnom Penh, back to Bangkok, and off to Hong Kong

Posted by chrisnomad 18:03 Comments (0)

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