Saturday October 3, 2015, 171 miles (275 km) – Total so far: 11,835 miles (19,047 km)
Four days 171 miles We are on our way across Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico. Our goal is to explore the ancient Mayan city of Palenque that flourished in the 7th century. After our night in Selina Cruz we cycled to Juchitan where we began our climb through the mountain valleys. This area of Mexico is very windy as evidenced by the hundreds of wind turbines we rode by. The wind screams through the mountains from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. These wind turbines capture and harness this energy in a vast valley that runs to the Pacific. The climbing is quite easy but several times we decided to walk our bikes as the wind was pushing us all over and sometimes in the driving lane. Our second night of this crossing was spent in the small town of Matias Romero.
Money here continues to puzzle me as most businesses want small change when purchasing stuff. Mexican currency comes in the denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, and then 500 peso bills. I’m sure there are larger but we have never seen it. Dollar wise these are from $1.20, $3.00, $6.00, $12.00, and $30.00. When we go into a store or restaurant the proprietor wants as close as the item costs. We found this the same case last year in Morocco, Iran, and several Asian countries. The problem is that ATMs here in Mexico only dispense 500 peso notes. So if we buy a few drinks they really get upset because they don’t have the change either. Banks are only in larger cities and then trying to get inside for change is a whole different story since there is always a huge line. Because of this people carry plastic bags full of small coins. I have started to do this too. If the business does not have change they run around and try to find it. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to purchase something. I get most of my change from hotels and always give them a 500 peso note. They do scoff if the charge is only 200 pesos but I stand my ground. In other words the banking here is quite confusing. We have wanted to get change for our 500 peso notes in a bank but I won’t stand in the line that looks like it can take hours. The bottom line is that most businesses and people do not have the smaller currency because they cannot get it.
We cycled into our 10th Mexican state of Veracruz yesterday. On a previous post I had counted incorrectly. The states that we have thus far cycled into are:
Baja California Norte Baja California Sur Sinaloa Nayarit Jalisco Colima Michoacan Guerrero Oaxaca Veracruz
We were also in Mexico City which is state designated DF (District Federal). There are 33 states in Mexico.
We will reach the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow.