Reports on my cycle trip around the World (by Ernest Markwood)
Sunday, 4 November 2012
JEWEL OF THE EMPIRE
Tomorrow morning Leana, my cycling partner, leaves on a vacation to visit her family in South Africa. She flies off from Mexico city, so we left our bikes and stuff at the Pacific coast in Acapulco and took the bus over the mountains to the centre. She had to leave last week already, but her flight was via the USA and due to the storm her original flights were cancelled. Mexico city is huge (population 20 million), and is also interesting in various ways. At the height of the colonial era, Mexico City was seen as the “Jewel of the Spanish Empire”.
In keeping with this status, the largest cathedral in Latin America (1573) stands in the city centre, facing the expanse of the Plaza De La Constitucion (the 3rd largest city square, after Tienamen Square in Beijing and Red Square in Moscow). Facing the square (commonly known as the Zocalo) on the other sides are more colonial buildings such the the Palacio Nacional. There seems to be a constant hum-drum and commotion around the large attractive historic centre. There are scores of beautiful historic buildings and monuments in the area, also the Palacio De Bellas Artes and the Monumenta A La Revolucion.
However, there is also a modern aspect to Mexico City, and historic architecture is often reflected off modern glass structures.
Whenever possible I like to check out the metro rail systems in large cities, and this city has a modern underground rail (also partly above ground, and sometimes overhead) with about 10 main lines criss-crossing the city. During our time in the city we went all over the show on the metro, travelling on about half of those Metro lines. Quite incredibly, one can travel the whole day on one ticket, changing lines at junction stations, as long as you don't exit a station (then you have to buy another 3 Peso ticket (1 US dollar is 13 Pesos).
When we arrived in Mexico city we booked into a nice "fairly economic" hotel (thanks to Leana), with a room overlooking the happenings on Calle 5 De Mayo. We quickly took cameras and started roaming the streets amongst the festive weekend crowds. Before long one of the street clowns caught sight of Leana, and fooled around with her a bit, much to the amusement of the locals.
When Leana's flight was cancelled we spent the extra time by taking a trip down to the city of Veracruz, on the Carribean coast. Veracruz was the first colonial town established by the Spanish in Mexico. It is a sizeable port, with a fort at the far side of the harbour which history has shown to be quite ineffective. The place also has some nice colonial buildings in the historic part of town, where we stayed.
Along the way our bus took us past the highest peak in Mexico, the vulcan Pico De Orizaba at 5 636m.
So, when Leana leaves I will make my way back to my bike and things in Acapulco, and carry on alone from there. I wish her a happy holiday.
My bike (Old Saartjie) on the first day of this trip, 27 March 2007.
PLEASE HELP TO KEEP OLD SAARTJIE'S WHEELS ROLLING: In order to fund this cycle trip I'd sold everything I had, but that has long gone. Please help if you can! If you want to contribute, then please contact me on my e-mail, and I will give you details. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My Cycle Route
Starting in Cape Town, South Africa, on 27 March 2007 - 144 871 km so far
My name is Ernest Markwood, and I am a South African formerly from Cape Town. I am a Research Psychologist by profession, and operated a Market Research business before embarking on this journey. I sold my posessions and took off by bicycle all the way through Africa from Cape Town. Since then I've proceeded via the Middle-East through Turkey, the Caucusus, Iran, Sub-Continent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal), China, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Australia, South- and Central America, and the USA, crossing Canada from the West to East and then all the way down the East coast of USA, and Jamaica. Currently my mission is to close gaps in order to form a continuous route around the world. I left Cape Town on 27 March 2007. This was not intended to be a race, but rather an experience (and so it is!).
Me (Ernest), on one of my better days
. . . . on this trip I have looked like this . . . .
- - - also like this . . .
. . . . and I've even looked like this!
I have not been cycling on my own for this entire trip. Leana and I left together on 27 March 2007 from Cape Town, South Africa (our former hometown). Since then we have cycled separately at intervals, although in total we have been together much of the time. We split in 2013. For more about her see leananiemand.org.za