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Peregrinations Mexico and Central America on Motorcycle: Open road, open heart, open mind.

Weeks 9 and 10: R&R in Guadalajara

MEXICO | Saturday, 21 May 2011 | Views [1126] | Comments [3]

Part of the monument for famous Jaliscences (citizens of the state of Jalisco).

Part of the monument for famous Jaliscences (citizens of the state of Jalisco).

When I last wrote, I was newly arrived in Sayulita after both Chalie and I had back-to-back crashes the preceding days. After a couple of days in Sayulita, the pain in my shoulder had intensified. That is to say, the broad, aching pain eased and was replaced with a sharp, acute pain that left me gasping for breath when I put on a t-shirt. I decided to leave Sayulita and head for Guadalajara, where if I was going to be laying low for awhile, at least I could get some stuff taken care of in the city.

The drive to Guadalajara had its pros and cons. On the plus side, it was the first time in two months I'd driven entirely on my own, and it felt lovely. For his R&R, Charlie had decided to stay behind in Sayulita with our new friend Patrick and the nice folks at the hotel. Driving by myself was a novel thing, and after only a few miles, I realized what the difference was: I wasn't anxious at all. For the past seven weeks, I'd been riding with more compentent riders on bigger, faster bikes, and I was always racing to either catch up or keep up. Even when I was miles behind, I was always concerned with where they were, if they were annoyed about waiting for me, if I'd accidently passed them...etc. Riding by myself was a new sort of freedom. I stopped when I wanted, I took pictures of things that made me laugh, and I ate the food and water that I already had with me. I was in heaven. Of course, a different sort of anxiety reared its head, the one that deals with flat tires and broken clutch cables and crashes in the middle of nowhere...but those anxieties were fleeting, not like the perma-worry I'd had before.

So that was the upside. The downside was that my shoulder hurt. A lot. By the time I was two-thirds of the way to Guadalajara, I was cringing at the mere thought of speedbumps. I pulled into a town and looked for somewhere I could buy ice. Cerveza fria? That'll work!

The owner kindly gave me a bag of ice for free, and his friend behind the counter emerged soon after with a leather bag labled "medicinas homeopaticas". He was a local doctor. Whodathunk. He sifted through it and pulled out two bottles, one labed "dolor" (pain) and the other "peyote". Yep, peyote. Then he changed his mind and said the "dolor" was better if I was driving. No shit.

A couple hours later, I was settled into Guadalajara, in bed with ice on my shoulder, unable to lift my left arm. Amd it looked like this in flourescent light:

And so I got to pay a visit to the local hospital! But at least I didn't need this room:

It was quick and efficient, but not exactly thorough. For instance, the doctor precribed my meds without asking first about allergies, other meds I might be on, or health problems I might have. Oh well. I walked out of the hospital two hours later with x-rays, a sling and pain meds, having paid $135 for the whole shebang. (Actually, having paid nothing, thanks to my medical insurance!) I was instructed to lay low and keep the sling on for ten days, and to stop riding my motorcycle, for pete's sake! Haha.

Guadalajara was okay. I got a lot of stuff done (new prescription sunglasses for $150, new upholtery for the seat for $16, and hammered out a dimple in my pannier so it would fit on the bike again. Did some sightseeing after I could walk around without setting my recovery back. After all, my shoulder was still far from normal: 

The people at the hostel were lovely, but quite busy with taking classes to teach English as a second language. Finally, a week into my stay, another solo traveler showed up and I finally had someone to go out with! John and I toured the sights, ate out, went and grabbed drinks, visited a graveyard and had deep discussions about life and death, and made some local friends, one of whom introduced us to the best fish tacos in Mexico (in my opinion, which after spending two months eating them, should count for something!)

On our weirdest night, John wrote a song in English for a Mexican bartender who looked like Velma from Scooby Doo, and I drank a shot of Mezquital with the backup dancer for Ricky Martin.

After Johm left, I suggested to some of TEFLers that we go to Lucha Libre that night. It. Was. Incredible. I knew it was going to fun and funny, but I didn't know it would be that fun, and that funny! The wrestlers were not just wrestlers, they were comedians and acrobats! I swear, more than half the fighting occured outside the ring, like the ropes were guidelines and props, nothing more.

Luchadores often ended up in the laps of the people in the front row. And the crowd was equally entertaining. I learned a lot of Mexican cuss words that night, and was even chanting along by the end. It was amazing, and we walked home exhilerated from all the action and yelling.

So Guadalajara wasn't a total bust, but it was definitely the final four days that saved it from being just that. By the time I left, I was eager to hit the road. My shoulder wasn't completely healed, but I had weaned myself off the sling over the course of four days, and was confident I could take short, easy days in the saddle. I still couldn't lift a glass of water or reach up adjust my glasses with my left hand, and taking off my shirt was easily the worst part of my day, but I done with the city life. It was time for the mountains. And that is where the next story will pick up.

Until next time,




Wow. You are so hardcore. Seriously. But not gratuitously so, which is awesome and my favorite part. I'm learning a lot from you.

  Eric May 24, 2011 1:48 AM


Ouch and ouch. All I know to say is, "kick its ass, seabass!"

Miss you!

  Bobbie May 25, 2011 3:41 PM


it's going to be a long drive, but i think i'll have to go see that doctor... :)

  Esus Jun 22, 2011 8:13 AM

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