Oaxaca

Trip Start Nov 08, 2007
1
17
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Trip End Jan 03, 2008


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Where I stayed

Flag of Mexico  ,
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In Oaxaca City we stayed in an outstanding hotel (Posada Don Matias) near what I'm going to call the "Market District" of town.  There are two fairly large buildings full of booths with food, knick knacks, meat, produce, flowers, etc, and during the day it's difficult to walk around the crowded streets and isles.  We were also close to the Zocalo (a term that refers to the central plaza in Mexican cities), which has a beautiful plaza and very impressive Spanish Colonial church.  All of the flower beds in the plaza were full of (and I mean PACKED) poinsetta plants for christmas.  Surrounding the plaza are relatively expensive restaurants and cafes.

So, what did we do....  We went to see the ruins of Monte-Alban, which were a short bus ride from town.  These are much more impressive than the ones that we saw in Zacatecas - unfortunately (like many other things on this trip) pictures just don't do it justice.  One of the things that I liked best about Monte-Alban is the sheer open space.  The main ruins are situated around a VERY large and VERY flat grass plaza of sorts - and this grass was putting green quality.  We spent a few hours exploring the ruins, including what could only be described as pre-mesoamerican toilets.  Yes folks, your humble narrator and his beloved wife had to use these archaic baņos, and Becky's was the one that still had some of a previous occupants, umm, I guess the word "remains" would be fitting here?  The other one looks a wee bit like the "Pit of Sarlac" (any Star Wars fans out there?).

El Tule is a town with a big tree in it.  A really big tree.  Up until recently it was considered the largest biomass on the planet (I think a fungus now claims that accolade), and not only that, the tree's not too much smaller "son" is located just 30 yards away.  Once again, we took pictures and hope that they will do it justice.  After being there for a little while, I started looking at the different knots in the tree and seeing what shapes I could find (kinda like you do with clouds).  The most impressive ones I saw were a lion's head and a goblin/ogre/monster of some sort (possibly being punched in the side of the head by a disembodied fist).  It was very nice to walk around El Tule because of its openness, especially after being in the market area of Oaxaca for long periods of time.

Once again, we met up with Jorg, or German travelling companion.  We had dinner with him a few nights in Oaxaca, and one night ended (well after Becky went home) with a very inebriated Chad and a suprisingly not-so-inebriated Jorg placing empty shot glasses (once occupied with mezcal and tequilla), cigarettes, ashtrays, and squeezed limes all over the table in different formations and then trying to decide whether we liked the resulting scenes from an architechtural point-of-view.  It was actually quite a lot of fun (i think).  One of us would place everything on the table except for 1 object.  Then the other would place the last object and wait for the other to approve or dissaprove.  I staggered home later on, however Jorg met a few Mexicans outside the bar and hopped in the back of their pickup truck and was whisked off for a night of drinking, partying, and guitar playing by the fire outside the city somewhere.

On our last day in Oaxaca we actaully went to go see a movie.  We had already checked out of our hotel, our bus didnīt leave until late that night, and we didn't really want to wander athrough Oaxaca with our backpacks (we would have had to pay about a dollar an hour for each of us, and we had like 8 to 10 hours until our bus left).  We decided that chilling out and watching a movie might be fun.  We took a bus to "Plaza del Valle" and got off at the cinema.  We saw Room 1408 (John Cusack), mainly because it was the only movie in English showing at the time we were there.  We paid something like $3.50 US per ticket, AND they had a little baggage storage area that we could use for free - excellent.

Finally, it was time to take the bus to Pochutla, where we were heading to paradise on the southern coast of Mexico in a tiny town called Mazunte.  I think our bus driver was insane, and he rocketed us down the winding road for 8 hours of unrelenting curves.  I wasn't feeling too good at the start of the ride (bad tacos), and I held it together for about 7 hours and 55 minutes.  Yes, that's right: just as we were pulling in to Pochutla, I was vomiting in the bus toilet.  Lame...
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