The day began with the crossing of another major waterway, the Rio Grijalva. Though Frontera´s main square and church sit directly next to the river, unexplicably the downtown has no access to the waterfront. And that´s a shame, because the river is grand and peaceful and would have made a perfect place for cool evening promenades. The Grijalva brought back fond memories of the Dniester, the river of my childhood.
The vegetation is even lusher and more luxurious than yesterday. I can see a lot of water everywhere in the form of marshes and small lakes. At one point most trees abruptly disappear and I find myself riding in the infinite ocean of golden reeds stretching in all directions. That´s when the humidity in the air becomes apparent — I can now see the blue mist covering the horizon. Though the day is increasintly humid and hot, this is not even close to the dreadful steam room that is New York City in June.
Back in 2007 after my NYC to SF bike ride, a black girl in SF told me that I was the darkest white man she had ever seen. A goal of the current tour is to meet or exceed that high standard. And I feel like I´m well on the way there. By the way, check out that trip´s homepage (it too has a detailed blog, lots of photos, and a fully interactive map).
Later in the afternoon, when the sun was no longer so fierce, I took off my shirt. Decided to do that from now on to get some tan on my torso. Had been debating it for a few days. On one hand, the tan lines on my arms from wearing a t-shirt are pretty cool and could be shown off to people. On the other, my torso was staying shamefully white. Finally decided to forgo the arm tan lines, since I will still be able to show off the tan lines on my legs!
Mexicans are friendly and curious. My loaded bike gets a conversation started in a flash. The conversation is always the same: Where are you coming from? From Cancun? Wow! And where to? Alaska?! WOW!! You´re joking, right? Where are you from? Riding alone? Etc… It has been very easy to build rapport with everyone, but especially with the señoras. The señoritas are usually a little more guarded, unless they are in a group.
Finishing the day in a shabby hotel on the main square of the bustling, dusty town of Cardenas. Abundant roadside stalls had framed the last several miles of today´s ride, enticing me with ripe local bananas, plantanes, pineapples, mangos, and papayas…