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    Day 1.115 – A Guy Called Marco Antonio

    Palma Sola -> Papantla
    Distance (km) : 140
    Time on bike : 7h 18m
    Brutto time: 10.00 – 19.00
    Avg : 19.2 km/h
    Max.speed: 50.9
    Total (km) : 45.781
    Altitude: 200 m
    Difficulty: 3½ of 5

    Nature's symmetry...

    Last night I saw a commercial on local TV about “la gripe porcina” – that you need to remember to wash your hands and seek medical help in case of flu symptoms. I wash my hands and keep myself updated about the whole thing on a daily basis, but otherwise I do what I’ve always done. Could very quickly become tired of the mass hysteria.

    Just pick your Mexican favourite!

    Today I see the first Mexicans with surgical masks. Also the guys at gas stations, assistants and other service people have begun to wear masks around. As long as I can get my cold Coke Zero – when did I actually become dependent on cold drinks? – people can wear all the masks they want.

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame 🙂

    It is flat, tropical cycling the first 90% of today. There are palm trees (the coconut and banana variants), maize fields, quiet donkeys, completely flat (and just as quiet) dog pressed well down into the asphalt.

    Cocos locos...


    The last mile up to Papantla (45,000 inhabitants) is in a slightly hilly terrain – it is still very fertile and beautiful in the sunset light.

    Orange tree plantations.

    A man with a monster telescope lens of a camera suddenly stands in the roadside next to his car and have me (sweating, struggling upwards) in focus. I pass him, ignore him. He gets back in the car, overtakes me, and does the same trick again one km up the road. He says nothing, but he starts to irritate me. “Un peso, un peso,” I say with an extended arm when I pass him. I get no alms but may end up in some local paper tomorrow …

    Smooth and swift...

    In Papantla, I head for the central square, the zócalo and soon find Pulido Hotel, where a young guy shows me a room for 180 pesos (15 USD). I ask if he has a more economic room or whether he can give me the room for 150 pesos, but I can see that the guy is young and probably has no authority to go down in price.

    Papantla mural...

    The Laughter:
    So I quietly accept the price of 180 pesos. Then the guy gets all mysterious behind the door inside the room in a way I find strange. The guy’s not done with me, and he is now pulling a white rabbit out of the hat that no one (least of all myself) had expected. If I can be called Marco Antonio, I can have room for 150 pesos! I am tired, but do not miss seeing the fun of the situation. If I can be Marco Antonio …

    It is a clause I absolutely have no problem with, and I don’t ask how things are related and who this Marco Antonio is.

    Papantla street life...


    The city of Papantla is really cool and – again – very Mexican and totally devoid of tourists this evening. The plaza, cathedral, my super hot evening tacos on the local market (the chefs laughed at me when the sweat broke out my forehead because of the chili), a quiet moment at the cast iron pavillion in the middle of the zócalo – it all adds up making this an entirely enjoyable night.

    Papantla zocalo/main square...


    Good night from Papantla,

    Marco Antonio

    On this day..


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