A Travellerspoint blog

Los Angeles

City of wierdos

sunny 32 °C
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I got a lift door to door from San Diego to LA by one of the USA Hostel staff who was driving up there which was pretty convenient! The evening I arrived I went on a walking tour from the Hostel which took us up into the Hollywood hills and is apparently where all the celebs go to walk their dogs in the park there. Got chatting to James from NZ and Rae-Anne from Canada during the walk and along with Amos from OZ we went to an all American diner for dinner then went back to the hostel to drink several quality $1 beers called Milwaukee Best also known as Milwaukee Beast.

The hostel is situated right between Holywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard which was pretty convenient for the walk of stars etc. To be honest though unless you’ve got a car LA is pretty boring as it takes hours to get anywhere as it’s so spread out. So I didn’t get to see much. A few of us went off to the tar pits one day to see the fossil excavations and existing tar pits. Luckily the company made up for the lack of things to do and we spent many evenings drinking beer and playing cards, all good fun.

I’m kind of pleased to leave LA in the end as esspecially as the next stop is New Zealand.

Posted by ride165 15:38 Archived in USA Comments (0)

San Diego

Leaving Mexico

sunny 34 °C
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So I left Mexico City at 5am to catch a flight to Tijuana where I would cross the border back into the USA. Once at the airport I was told the flight would be delayed for 2hrs due to fog as I was flying bonko airlines they didn't have the technology to take off in foggy conditions, turns out it was actually only delayed for 30mins. I managed to get some shut eye on the flight and woke up about 30 mins before landing. Got some great views of the coast of Mexico as we approached Tijuana. As we started to descend we entered what I thought were clouds however I soon realised it wasn't clouds when the pilot started doing strange manoeuvres, I began to get worried. I glued my self to the window looking for signs of the ground when all of a sudden the runway appeared no more than 20 meters below us, it was a arse twitching few minutes as the plane landed and came to a stop.

Crossing the border took about 2hrs as I waited in line with all the other people waiting to be processed by the idiot border guards only to find that I had to go back and wait in another queue to get the visa card, there is little information provided at the border to help you figure this out though! Some of them are most definitely on a power trip.

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That evening in San Diego hostel I met up with a guy from OZ who looks just like sideshow bob, he was in the same room as me and he bought a 6 pack which he shared with me. We went to chill in the party room where we got chatting to Ciara and Grainne a couple of Irish lesbians who for a change weren't scary butch girls. Ciara got the night started by downing a beer bong.

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The next day I hired a bike for $10 and cycled 9 miles to Mission Beach where I had lunch and chilled out for a while then cycled home. On the way back I stopped at a chocolate place and had the best milkshake ever, it was Mint & Dark Chocolate flavour made with real chocolate blended with mint ice cream, great! That evening I had a great meal of spag bol for $5 cooked by one of the hostel staff. I followed that up with a few beers and then bed as I had to be up at 3am to go to Joshua Tree National Park.

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Next day was a long one involving a 4hr drive to Joshua Tree, luckily I managed to catch some Z's in the car on the way there. It was worth the drive though as the scenery was amazing, we hiked 4 miles through the desert to see some Lost Palms which were great. Later on we went bouldering which was pretty cool too. Talking about it doesn't do it justice though, you have to see the place. It was super hot and lots of water is required!

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The following day I travelled to LA

Posted by ride165 15:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Copper Canyon

It's a long one..........

sunny 30 °C
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Arriving in Chihuahua late we (Myself & Tara) checked into the worst looking hotel I've ever stayed in but it was 1 night and it had clean sheets which is what matters. We head off at 6am to catch the bus to Creel which is just in canyon country. It's a 6hr bus ride and it's hot, we arrive to a sea of hawkers trying to get us to stay at Hostel Margarita, instantly making me not want to stay there. All I hear is Margarita! Margarita! and them speaking to me in Spanish, knowing full well they don't understand English I tell them I don't want a Pizza. We eventually find the lonely planet choice of accommodation but not before being followed across town by several hawkers.

Another early start sees us getting the 'bus' to Batopilas, the bus turns out to be a 4x4 I craftily wait until last to get in and end up with the passenger seat. I'd read in the LP that the journey is a bit 'scary' as it involves a descent into a canyon on a dirt road, hence the 4x4, so I was pleased to get a birds eye view. The journey was really cool and provided lots of great views and sights such as goats, cows and donkeys in the middle of the road. The journey takes another 6 hours mainly due to the terrain rather than the distance.

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Once in Batopilas we set about trying to source a guide to take us through the canyons to the next village of Urique. We find an old Mexican dude who looks like he's about to drop dead and begin negotiating a price, he says he'll come and find us at our hotel once he's confirmed he can get some mules for the trek. Later he appears and we also convince one of the girls, Michelle, from the bus to come along too which splits the price 3 ways. The guide, Librado, tells us it'll take 3 days/2 nights.

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Yet another early start as we are up at 6am to get sorted with our gear and get it loaded onto the mules. We set off by 7am and hit the road on our long journey, almost immediately we begin to climb out of the canyon in which Batopilas resides, already I'm sweating like a turkey at christmas and the sun hasn't hit us yet! By early afternoon the sun is blazing and it's bloody hot! We've climbed over 1500m since starting and we are all feeling it, lunch is a welcome respite. Once again we set off fortunately we are out of the sun and in the pine tree forest but the terrain is still tough, this trail right from the start has been anything but easy. The ground is covered with gravel and rocks in various sizes with bushes and plants growing onto the trail as well. That said though the views along the way were spectacular and we reach our camping spot by 3pm which provides a magnificent view down into a canyon. We are all knackered and looking forward to a long rest. Later I go with Librado to get water while the girls collect firewood. After a hearty meal of flavoured rice, beans and avocado we pick our sleeping spots by the fire as the light fades. As I lay in my sleeping bag staring upwards the darkness brought an amazing star lit sky and I see a shooting star as I drift off to sleep.

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Up early again! We begin a gruelling 2 hour descent into the next canyon, half way down I can feel my knees aching and my legs are still tired from yesterday. Once at the bottom I raid my first aid kit for ibuprofen to numb the pain, we've also reach a stream and I take the opportunity to dunk my head under the cool running water, ahhh it felt so good. We top up our water bottles and crack on wondering what pain we are in for next. By 12pm my stomach is grumbling and I'm looking forward to lunch when we stop and Librado announces that we are done for the day as we've been making such good time, I'd never heard such good news!! As the next leg involved crossing a river via a footbridge it meant that the mules could not come and hence neither could our guide so we were left to do the last leg on our own carrying our packs. We were supposed to camp for the evening but instead we cooked up some lunch had a snooze and at 3pm headed out on what were were told was a 7km hike along a dirt track/road.

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Once we'd crossed the river we hit the track and found a truck parked up with the owner just arriving, perfect we thought, we can get a lift. However the guy wanted $30 take us to Urique which we thought was a rip off for 7km, he started telling us it was a 2hr drive which contradicted the 7km. We decided to have a crack at walking it rather than give this dude $30. After about 30mins of walking the guys comes past in his truck and stops offering to take us to his village for $10 saying it's only 10mins away from Urique so we agree and hop in. Once there we find whilst getting change to pay him that it's 1 hr to Urique so we tell him he can only have $5 for lying to us and set off walking again. We pass a family having a picnic and swimming in the river and they confirm that it's 1hr to Urique. About 10 mins later that same family come along in their truck with all 9 kids in the back, we flag them down and ask for a lift to Urique, sure they say and we hop in the back with everyone else. All the kids are singing and playing around and the bloke and woman also in the back are chatting to Tara in Spanish. The driver passes back a bottle of Tequila which is offered round to us, well it'd be rude to say no so we all down several gulps of what turns out to be bloody good tequila!! After a rather bumpy ride we arrive finally in Urique and our journey is over, we check into the nearest hotel and take a well deserved shower!

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The next day we take the bus from Urique to Bahuichivo where we catch the Copper Canyon train back to Creel.

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Posted by ride165 17:35 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Acapulco

Going loco....

sunny 40 °C
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I was invited to a weekend away with the new friends I'd made during my stay in Mexico City so how could I refuse a long weekend at a private villa in Acapulco!?

I travelled down by car with Catherine, Ricardo and Tara from Mexico City having flown in from Tuxtla the day before. It was a long journey thank god for the iTrip which was purchased by Ricardo on the way out of Mexico City. Even with the Air Con in the car you could feel it getting hotter the closer we got. We were the first to arrive at 9pm on the friday and it was still baking hot so once we'd picked the best sleeping spots we quickly cooled off in the pool. By midnight everyone had arrived with 16 of us in total including a DJ brought along which got the party started.

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The next day was spent relaxing in the 40c heat, there was a little shaded pool at the end of the garden as well as the main pool which was great as it was really cold water. That evening we ate at a local fish restaurant where you can choose the fish you are going to eat, it was really nice food. The rest of the evening was spent listening to more chilled out tunes courtesy of the DJ.

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Sunday morning provided us with a great breakfast cooked by the housekeeper and the day was spent again by the pool, it's a hard life but somebody has to do it! Later on in the afternoon we headed off back to Mexico City stopping on the way in the Center of Acapulco which incidently is a right s**thole!

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Posted by ride165 15:34 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

San Cristobal

Canyons, ruins & waterfalls

semi-overcast 18 °C
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I arrived here at 8am after a 12hr overnight bus ride from Oaxaca which I surprisingly managed to get a fair amount of sleep on despite the numerous speed bumps we went over, I thought England was bad for them but here it's just crazy, doesn't stop them driving like nutters though! I explored San Cristobal and booked a cycle tour recommended to me by a Dutch guy I met at breakfast in the hostel. The hostel is really nice and would make a cool home, it has a big court yard with hammocks a place to have fires and a lime tree perfect for your Cerveza!

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The following day I was up at 8am to go for my bike ride, there was supposed to be two other guys on the ride but they didn't turn up so it was just me and the guide, perfect as that meant we could go at my pace. We headed off into the hills surrounding San Cristobal and all of a sudden I felt like I was back in Cambodia. After a tough climb we got right into the countryside where the true locals live, I was not allowed to take my camera as the locals do not like to have their photo taken as they believe it takes away a part of your soul. My guide told me that they've been kown to hold you hostage for money if you take pictures of them! The trails were pretty good with some nice technical sections and some fast sweeping downhill. After the tour once back at the bike place I sampled some local Tzotzil moonshine known as 'pox' and after two shot glasses of that I was ready for a nap!

On Monday I visted Cañon de Sumidero with Suzy, who was at Oaxaca also, its cliffs are 900 meters above sea level and overlook the Grijalva River, which runs across the states of Chiapas and Tabasco and flows into the Gulf of Mexico, the canyon is a result of a geological fault and not created by the river. The trip involved a boat trip down the river through the canyon. The water is pretty dirty though so no swiming, plus there are crocs in the water! The rain also washes lots and lots of rubbish from the villages and towns down the river where it collects in the canyon, they have teams of boats full of people collecting the rubbish and tree debris from the river but it looks to me like they are fighting a loosing battle, it's a real shame and makes you realise the importance of recycling.

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The following day I took a trip to Palenque with Geoff which despite being a long day was well worth it as we went via Agua Azul and Misol Ha waterfalls which we didn't anticipate. At Misol Ha you can go behind the falls and climb up through the water which is pretty cool. The runis were the hightlight of the trip and were an extremely impressive sight.

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Posted by ride165 15:57 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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