Mundo Pequeño: Part II — The Long Road Home

Earthquake in Oaxaca

We got to the city of Oaxaca after a long day of riding and finished in the dark and rain. We found our hostel and made friends with our roommates before settling down.

As we lay in bed, all of a sudden, we felt a growing vibration. Everyone in the room looked at each other and then, as the sensation grew, we quickly agreed it was an earthquake. The next two minutes were some of the scariest we have had on this trip. The entire world was rattling, like driving fast on a bumpy dirt road. It was so strong that it was hard to stand. It wasn’t just the movement that was scary, but the feeling of being powerless and in the hands of fate. There is not much else you can do in a natural disaster than to try to stay calm and hope for the best.

Riding in the high plains of Mexico
Riding in the high plains of Mexico

When the world stopped moving, we found that, luckily, there was no damage to the building and we were all fine, other than being badly scared. It turned out this was the worst earthquake to hit Mexico in the last century, and there were many deaths and injuries around the country. We had been incredibly lucky because the epicenter had been just off the beach town where we had spent our rest day, just four days earlier. The shockwave had decreased a lot by the time it got to us and the damage was much more extensive closer to the source.

We spent the next three days in Oaxaca and took a rest break to act as tourists for a little while. We toured a pre-Colombian Zapotec temple ruin and crawled into one of its tombs. We learned more about the difference between tequila and mescal and how they are made. We visited the home of a local rug weaver who showed us how all the dyes she used were made from natural materials she had gathered. We also visited the city market and ate spiced grasshoppers from a street vendor. It was a good view into aspects of Mexican culture and history.

When we set out again, we separated for a few days of riding alone. When we spend so much time together, taking time apart is often a needed break for us. It is also a different way to travel and experience a place when you ride on your own.

When we rejoined in Puebla outside of Mexico City, we celebrated Mexico’s Independence Day and then set out again together for our last stretch of riding in Latin America.

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