Stepping gingerly round the shores of the lake leaking out of the shower room, we packed our gear, loaded the panniers and headed off to Teotihuacan – apparently one of the must-see “attractions” if you´re near Mexico City. After the hideous nightmare of Mexico City the previous day, we´d almost decided to not bother with it and head straight for Veracruz – which, in hindsight, would have been a major mistake! The site is signposted from a fair distance away – the fact that there are any signposts at all is a miracle – and fairly easy to find (that is, we didn´t end up in Mexico City or Delhi by accident). The pyramids are visible a mile or so before you get to the site proper, access to which cost us 13USD for both of us plus parking… Teotihuacan is utterly incredible. Based around a central avenue – “Avenue de los Muertos”, or “Avenue of the Dead” – sounds more impressive in Spanish, I must say – two pyramids tower over the remains of temples and buildings that line the main street. Beating aside the hawkers offering us obsidian knives (“ideal for the mother-in-law” said the salesman, miming a slit throat – classic) we sweated our way to the base of the Pyramid of the Moon which stands at the far (and I mean FAR) end of the main avenue. Climbing steep steps at 7500ft altitude would challenge even the most hardened aerobics nut, although the view from the top was awesome. Somewhat obviously, it´s hard to imagine what the place would have looked like in 400BC when it was a thriving city, although the fact that it would have been fantastically impressive goes without saying. It´s hard to tell where the “real” Teotihuacan ends and the restored version begins – a lot of work has been done on stonework and pointing on some of the ruins and stairs – which we found quite frustrating. What is easy to imagine is the feeling of power that the kings, or temple priests, or whoever was standing on the main temple platform must have had as they looked out over the thousands of people crammed into the square below, awaiting the imminent sacrifice on the central altar…pretty primitive and frightening to say the least. The geometry of the city is, for want of a better word, spooky. How the architects of the time lined up the massive constructions into a road 4km long and dead (pun intended) straight is anyone´s guess…and all the stairs are level, despite being built on a hill…and the pyramids and the square in front of the Pyramid of the Moon are square too, despite being about 500ft across… Divine guidance or a good protractor, I reckon… Obligatory tourist snaps taken – yes, the one looking down the central avenue from the dark side of the Moon – and some pretty arty ones (though I do say so myself), we clambered down the pyramid, back into our bike gear and about 100 miles down the road to Veracruz, across some of the most desolate bits of Mexico we´ve yet seen. This part was a 60mph thrash against a heavy side-wind – more like a gale, really – across ten miles of utterly flat marshland bounded on all sides by ominous grey mountains. Lorries thundered past in the opposite direction – we were both genuinely glad to be alive on the other side. We bailed for the nearest motel just outside Perote – 20USD got us a room and some serious fly-squashing action – the room was swarming with the damn things. Asphyxiation by means of removing bike boots and socks didn´t work, so a notebook and a packet of postcards were pressed into action – an hour later, and the walls and ceiling resembled Garibaldi biscuits. Next stop – Veracruz. The next day, 100 miles and two hours saw us in the sweltering heat of Veracruz – a short day for a change. For the last few days we´ve been running at a minimum of 5000ft altitude, meaning much cooler temperatures and vastly decreased performance of the bikes due to the thin air. From the motel, we dropped from 7500ft to sea-level…all our air-tight containers have amusing dents in them from the pressure change. More concerning was the temperature…we´d woken up at about 15C…it was now twenty degrees hotter! After booking into the hotel, we headed for food and the beach, which looked really nice – sea lapping at the shore, Mexican families (no sombreros) in the sea and eating at the cafes – how deceiving appearances can be. The sand turned out to be mud, populated by wasps and hawkers (no, I don´t want a t-shirt…no, I don´t want chewing gum…no, I don´t want my hair plaited…no, I don´t want a wooden yacht) and cafes turned out to be the Mexican equivalent of a Nigerian email scam – lunch was about 40USD – FORTY BL**DY DOLLARS! – but came with free stomach problems, which kicked in later that evening as we watched Scarface with Spanish subtitles in between loo trips…lovely.