Tiffani's Yamaha FZ-07 Tour: Scorching Weather and Overpriced Hostels

Chapter 3, Part10.

Week 8 1/2 or something in our Mexico report: Still alive. More or less. I just learned that MotoGP does play in Mexico, albeit two days late and only on ESPN; I just got to take my first shower that didn't make me feel more dirty than when I started; my hair smells like coconut; the ride today was epic; and this room has both air conditioning and WiFi. So I'm stellar right now.

That said, this probably won't be one of my more positive write-ups, but try to bear with me. It's hot enough to turn my FZ-07 into Yamaha's first frying pan (so versatile, this bike!) and the humidity is so thick I feel like I need a machete just to bush whack through the air. Prices along the coast are surprisingly high and Mexico is a bit of a struggle right now.

After a mental reset in Bahia de Papanoa, we finished the ride to Acapulco. While we heard it was among the most dangerous cities in the world, this was made palpably clear by the huge droves of fully armed military and Federales at every gate, gas station, shopping center and street corner. I actually felt quite safe as we pulled into our cheap little resort that included Federales, a massive gate, machine guns and a very specific guest list. It was so excessive, I found myself checking if Acapulco was technically under martial law. Google confirmed it was just the government response to an excess of murder and kidnappings though, so no worries…

Tiffani Mexico
The mechanic at Sun City Cycles was a super-cool guy who had let us get some tires shipped to him. He was crafty, humble, spoke English, Spanish, German and French, and he had a Canada shirt to top it all off. Not what you expect to find in the backstreets of Acapulco, eh!Photo: Tiffani Burkett

We spent our first day riding over to Sun City Cycle, a little shop in a not-so-great area where we got our tires mounted with some pretty impressive Mexican ingenuity to get the job done. We then went to an authorized Yamaha dealer the next day to get my fork seal replaced so my bike now handles well and brakes hard again!

I like the mechanics in Mexico. They all seem very hard working and clever, nothing like the punk kids we saw so many times at dealerships in the states that would half-ass every job. In both cases, they were extremely surprised to see foreign tourists on bikes in Acapulco. While the city was once a favorite of American movie stars and musicians, apparently the worsening reputation of the city has all but completely scared everyone away.

Tiffani Mexico
The Yamaha mechanics had my fork pulled and my new seal and fluid swapped in no time. Double points for being incredibly reasonably priced. I guess I should thank some of the poor quality and high-priced work I’ve been offered in the States, because I may not have learned to wrench on things myself if I had this to fall back on, haha!Photo: Tiffani Burkett

By staying in the safety of the resort, guarded day and night by heavily armed guards, we had a pretty nice time in Acapulco. That’s not to say the problems here are exaggerated, of course. But as a traveler, it's easy to be shielded from the reality of a city's problems when you don't have to live in it every day. I feel a lot of travelers and tourists sometimes gloss over the bad things that legitimately happen in this country, since they are comfortable enough and can stay in nice enough places to not have to be subject to it. That's something that bothers me more and more since I've gotten down here.

I’ve met so many expats who, with their American income, are rich in the third world and talk about the country like it’s a perfect paradise. But when locals tell us stories of extortion and average neighborhoods being turned to warzones, and they tell me camping is a fool’s errand, just asking to be robbed at gunpoint, and that the whole country basically has a cartel-imposed curfew, it reminds me of how truly spoiled and jaded we can be in the States. Don’t get me wrong—there are a lot of great things about Mexico and its people and its culture. But sometimes I’m just tired of the sugar coating.

Tiffani Mexico
Getting some work done from my office in Acapulco (a tragic side-effect of cheap hotels where the rooms didn’t have WiFi). Struggle is real?Photo: Tiffani Burkett

Feeling recharged, we finally left Acapulco and got back on the road south. We spent a day in the small town of Cuajinicuilapa (I'm pretty sure the name came from a cat walking across the keyboard and hitting random letters), then down to Puerto Escondido. While watching waves crash down to form cascading barrels one after the other down the coastline, I found Puerto Escondido so excessively touristy and the heat so unreal that I could barely stand being there for more than a couple days. Like everything in beach cities, our hostel was overpriced, despite offering no relief from the heat. It also boasted scorpions and an array of other bugs that saw fit to eat me alive. We went to dinner at a restaurant and the owner opted to add drinks to our tab that we didn't order or drink, in order to swindle us out of money in an “our word against his” fashion. I was so irritated and uncomfortable that I left with crushed spirits and hating the whole country.

Tiffani Mexico
Conversely, this is what Tiff looks like when she’s tired, hot, sweaty, sticky, and thug as hell.Photo: Tiffani Burkett

We continued down the road to Huatulco National Park, and after a few miles in, one of the countless stray dogs in the country ran out right in front of me. I locked up my brakes in an effort to not add killing a puppy to my list of grievances, and could feel the bike starting to skid beneath me. Fortunately, I held steady and regained control, just barely missing the pup (thanks, racetrack skills!). Once we got there, however, it turned out the Easter holiday had all the hotel prices inflated to three times their usual price. I begrudgingly sucked up the rate hike, just wanting the day to be over. With all the vegetation dead, presumably also due to heat, it wasn't even pretty enough to make up for all this stress. The only saving grace was the exotic and colorful birds that speckled the city within the park.

Tiffani Mexico
The view from the room in Puerto Escondido was fairly spectacular and the beach was really special with its giant, crashing, barrel-forming waves. I just wish the rest of the experience could have matched the scenery.Photo: Tiffani Burkett

That said, today we made it to Salina Cruz where we got a reasonably priced hotel that had a shower with actual hot and cold water and no bugs that I could see. So I'm finally not miserable and comically sticky. Despite the lack of greenery, the road in swept and twisted in such a way that I found myself having so much fun I forgot about all of the nonsense, and I legitimately feel pretty good. We were going to try to take the whole coast down, but this heat is crushing my soul, so we'll be heading inland from here.

Tiffani Mexico
Home-made tortillas! Stopping in the small restaurants in the villages by the side of the road, you get some of the best and most affordable food.Photo: Tiffani Burkett

Sorry this hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. But I hear this town called San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas is nice, and being at 7,000 feet with rain in the forecast has me looking forward to the future. There’s always going to be good and bad in travelling, and you can’t truly appreciate the good without some of the bad. Despite the hiccups, I’m still feeling hopeful! Next stop, the mountains!

Tiffani Mexico
Heat, humidity, bugs and tourist rip-offs all along the southern coast. Plus a few bright spots…Photo: Tiffani Burkett