Dead fish or trash? - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

November 15, 2018

Dead fish or trash?

Ejido Monterrey to desert camp

We met the owner of the Hotel Celeste as we packed up our bikes. An older gentleman shuffling about with a zimmer frame, he didn’t immediately appear to be the man in charge, but the friendly Leon could speak English and we fell into a nice chat. He told us he’d been born in this little town but had gone to Mexico City to study and had then made his living in banking, travelling all over Mexico in the process. Now retired, he owned this place, which he let his son run, as well as a house in Tijuana and another in California. He’d done alright for himself, the little boy from the small town.

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Leon taught us how to say we were going to San Felipe (“Vamonos San Felipe”) and, we thought, that we were going there quickly (“Hasta pronto”) although this second phrase seemed superfluous. Later on we found out that "hasta pronto" actually means "see you soon". We did eventually manage to take the hint that it was time for us to leave and get going from the Hotel Celeste, heading west with something like purpose. Once again we followed dirt roads alongside canals, past fields of cotton and crops and it was marvelous cycling. It was so relaxed and easy that we decided to liven things up by engaging in a round of The Spotting Things Game. For those of you that haven’t been initiated, this game involves us both writing down ten random things that might be spotable, putting them in a hat, then selecting ten each at random. We then have to spot these ten things during the course of the day. On this occasion examples of things that we had to spot included a green tractor, a hammock, and a heron in flight. It is a fun game to bring a little competition to any cycle tour.

Great canalside cycling!
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Dea's list of ten things plus the swap item (in this case a cat). The first to spot the swap item can exchange one thing on their list for one thing on their opponents.
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More great canalside cycling!
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We stopped in a little village for a break and sat in the shade of a tree and watched the life of the village. There was very lively music coming from a school that the kids got to listen to during playtime but otherwise the village was pretty peaceful. We remarked on how nice it was the way that cycle touring allows you to find such simple random, and real, places.
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I also remarked on how nice it was that they reused their old tyres.
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One thing we didn't put on our Spotting Things list was butterflies, which was a shame, because we spotted these ones.
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Bill ShaneyfeltTo Steve Miller/GrampiesMight be a cloudless sulphur.
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7 months ago

Playing The Spotting Things Game is also a good way to make sure you pay attention to your surroundings, and as we rode along looking very carefully at everything I happened to spot what looked like a big fish in the canal that we were cycling beside. These are really just irrigation canals and it seemed unlikely that there would be a fish in them.
“Maybe it’s actually just some trash,” I said, noting the similarities this particular fish shared with a plastic bottle/tin can as it sat there motionless. I tried throwing rocks at it, but it didn’t flinch. It was either a dead fish, or it was trash that looked like a dead fish.
“You could put it on the blog,” Dea said. “You could do one of your polls.”
“But we won’t know the answer.”
“You can just let the readers decide the answer.”
Alright, fine folks. Here’s one of my polls. If you’ve really got nothing better to do, click here and vote. Dead fish or trash? You decide.

Bonus points will be awarded to Bill Shaneyfelt for the species of fish.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesThis is clearly a carp.
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7 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Steve Miller/GrampiesI agree with Grampie...

My, what big scales you have! :-)
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7 months ago
Marian RosenbergI had a dead Chinese carp at one of my hotels in Gansu. When I told them it was dead, they said that they knew this but that the other fish and the turtle would probably eat it and that it was okay.
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6 months ago

Around lunchtime we reached a small town, Michoacan de Ocampo, with me pulling ahead 7-6 in The Spotting Things Game after spying a taco restaurant. Unfortunately we couldn’t eat at the taco restaurant because they only had meat to go in the tacos, but fear not, there was a pizza place across the street. There was a moment of debate about whether or not we could justify eating pizza for lunch two days in a row, but it was a debate that took place while we were pushing our bikes over to the pizza place and walking in the door, and there really was never any doubting the actual outcome. This time Dea took responsibility for placing the order, pronouncing “vegeteriano” very carefully and correctly, before I attempted to make sure by repeating it even more slowly and not quite as correctly, but we were happy to see the man write ‘2xveg’ down on his order sheet. We then took a seat with another fellow who was waiting for his order. We said hola, and then this man started talking to us non-stop in Spanish for a long time, seemingly unaware that we had very little idea what he was on about. We interrupted him when we could to say where we were from and that we didn’t understand much, but this did little to discourage him, perhaps because my "Vamonos San Felipe" had been so convincing he was sure I could speak Spanish. Perhaps it was for the best that his takeaway order was ready before ours and we were left in peace to enjoy our pizzas. We also decided against taking any photos today to show you how to eat pizza, because that was something that I think we already covered sufficiently thoroughly yesterday, but I can tell you it tasted delicious and we were happy with our lunch choice.

Who knew Mexican food could be this delicious?
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Topping up our water bottles at a water dispenser outside of a shop. Five litres cost us three pesos ($0.15 US)
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Plenty of animals to spot in the Mexican countryside, but sadly for Dea, no reptiles.
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Well, what are friends for?
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A random little shrine/church thing out in the middle of nowhere. It was locked.
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After another ten kilometres of nice farmland canal cycling we reached Highway 5, and sadly that was the end of our nice farmland canal cycling. From this point on we would be going south out into the desert and there was only one road. Luckily the 5 was a wide road, at least here, with a good shoulder, and with the wind at our backs we quickly chalked up another 30 kilometres before calling it a night and wild camping out in the desert scrub. And, I hear you cry, who won The Spotting Things Game? Well, I did, by a score of 9-8. A successful day all round then, and an especially well done to me for getting through an entire blog post without any disgusting photos of people eating things. Sorry about the dead fish thing.

Vamonos San Felipe!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesHow are you managing water, what with camping in the desert?

Are you buying bottled water in 2L containers? We found on our Yucatan trip that we were generating distressing numbers of empty bottles. We vowed to bring a filter next time.
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7 months ago
Chris PountneyTo Steve Miller/GrampiesHey, so far we have found water dispenser machines where we can top up with purified water (I've added a photo to the journal now to show that happening). But I remember from my previous visits to Mexico that people in Mexico buy water from shops in big sturdy 20 litre bottles which are reused, and it's possible to go to a small shop and just buy this water, essentially empty out the water into your smaller bottles and leave the big sturdy bottle with the shop. That way you just pay for the water, which is cheap. 20 litres is obviously a lot but even if you only take half the water it still works out cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying lots of 2 litre bottles. So we're planning to do that. Bit late for you now I guess, but you'll know for next time!
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7 months ago

Today's ride: 69 km (43 miles)
Total: 133 km (83 miles)

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