The end of the road south, now heading north.

Trip Start Jan 01, 2006
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Trip End Apr 30, 2006


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Saturday, March 18, 2006

From Oaxaca - 'cause we had no time to write while in Puerto Escondido - way too much happening there !

Monday after our Wallmart shopping in the afternoon we went looking for the campground in Diamante near the Acapulco airport so we could get an early stat on the full days drive to Puerto Escondio. Diamante RV park was filled with big rigs mostly from Quebec who have been there since early November and are well installed. Our neighbour is from Embrun and we had a nice chat with them that evening.
Tuesday morning bright and early we get off to Puerto Escondido on what is supposed to be a long days drive due to the many topes. The road is good but as we were told it's a veritable obstacle course. Besides the approximately 275 topes there are villages with markets and the main road, the Mex 200, turns into a Mercado. Then there are the loose livestock, goats, donkeys, cows, pigs and chickens roaming across the road at every turn. We get a great view of the now dry wintertime scenery. Everywhere there is a watercourse the vegetation brightens up but otherwise is a dull brown except for the many coloured flowers poking from the brown branches in anticipation of the rainy season to come.
We stop in a large market town and find we can get hooked on the Internet while looking for some pastries for a treat. We learn that our daughter April has had a huge crises in her paradise of Santa Cruz. Someone broke into her car overnight in her apartment parking lot. They smashed the drivers door window, got in and took everything but the steering wheel, her check from work which she inadvertently left there, the radio/CD player and speakers which she just had installed, her two cameras, a Cannon 35 mm and a disposable, skateboard, all the manuals for the car, the air freshener and a bunch of other miscellaneous trinkets. Life in paradise is not so good today !
Further on down the road we stop to help some young surfer folks in a bay window bus with California plates. They are huddled around the rear of the bus with the engine hatch open in the usual manner of Bus distress. Turns out they were just checking things, are from Santa Cruz, on their way to Puerto Escondido where they have a piece of land near the lighthouse. We get an invite to visit and off we go again. Then later on we encounter a young couple hitching, we stop to pick them up. They're heading to Puerto, he from Mexico City, her from Germany, we never do get their names. Soon after we hear an uncomfortable noise from the rear of our Westy. A stop to investigate and we find the right rear exhaust header pipe has cracked at the head flange. We decide to continue on and fix the problem in Puerto.
Eventually we get to Puerto late afternoon, let our passengers out, find Playa Zicatella were our friends we're here to visit are. We call and they are there and explain the convoluted route to their rented Casa. We get to their walled compound and find a lush environment with a pool overlooking Playa Zicatella and within minutes we are all in swimming and cooling off from the HOT, HUMID afternoon's drive. Gord and Joanne have been coming here for many years and last year bought some property where they are currently engaged in constructing their own Casa. After some drinks and conversation we're taken on a visit of the construction site and a view of the sunset from their hill top view of the bay. Another gorgeous Pacific Ocean sunset ! Other friends from Ottawa meet us as they are building their Casa just down the hill from Gord and Joanne's. We get the grand tour of their place and are amazed !
Wednesday, we mostly just flake out and relax until eventually I work up enough enthusiasm to go look at the cracked header pipe. It will requires removing the rear exhaust pipe so I set about that task. Afterwards we all go out for diner at a beach front restaurant and it's good to be with friends and get the inside scoop on Puerto Escondido. We had dropped off the cracked header pipe at Carlos', Gord's "personal" Mex welder and we're told it'd be ready manyana. Well, manayana we all went off on errands many of which were related to Gord & Joanne's Casa construction and eventually wound up at Carlos' around noon. The welding had not been done so we wait for him to do it which includes hooking his electric welder to the incoming electric lines, BEFORE the meter, with bare end hook connections ! The welding gets done and we head back for lunch. Afterwards, I check the pipe and go about cleaning up the welding and discover two holes so a short walk down the hill to Carlos' for more "expert" welding. This time he gets it right and back up the hill and eventually I get the pipe back in place and the Westy back in running order. Clean up and diner time's here with another Pacific sunset.
Saturday Rita and I leave Gord and Joanne's, head for the Mercado and shopping then down to Playa Zicatella to find a beach front Cabanna for a few days on our own. We find a nice place at Las Olas run by a Dutch woman who is the local dog and cat woman taking in all the strays. Some 19 cats and 10 or so dogs roam about all which she looks after quite well. The accommodations are rustic but great with hot water shower, cooking stove and fridge, we're set. We spend the next three days lounging around, walking the beach and exploring the shops along the beach. During the day the heat is so intense it's hard to stay on the beach for more than a half hour without jumping in the ocean. The main part of Playa Zicatella is not too good for swimming as the waves are intense, 20 to 30 feet. Surfers heaven and they are here ! At the far end closer to town the Playa is more calm and a short walk there provides better swimming. In the evening just before sunset the beach becomes crowded with spectators watching the surfers. Spectacular to watch is an understatement. Surf boards shooting in the sky and surfers getting pummelled by the huge waves. But, every now and then one good surfer catches a good ride inside the gigantic wave curl and it is awesome to watch his good five minute ride to glory. All this to a setting sun over the Pacific with no admission charge except the price to get here !
Monday we have had enough of Puerto Escondido and we get off down the road south again. Driving the twisted roads to Salina Cruz where we take the Mex 190 toward Oaxaca. We end up at Tehuantepec for the night at the Hotel Cali and very fancy five star place with $70 USD a night rooms but offer camping spots for RVs out back for $30 USD. Not the classiest accommodations but surely the most expensive we've come across. Three tour buses arrive while we're there, one with German tourists, one with French tourists and one with we never did find out.
Tuesday morning we get off up the road to Oaxaca. The road winds it's way up the mountain to a max of 1500 meters and there are spectacular vistas. curvas pelligrossas, topes, and lots of huge slow trucks to make the drive interesting. Passing is a feat of daredevilism as there are hardly any straight spots so the only chances are at the topes where the trucks have a hard go of it so one can zip by them there if there's no oncoming traffic or in the curves where they slow to keep from tipping but the view in front is limited ! Anyway, we have not seen one single accident thus far so we all have been fortunate. But still there are the many roadside memorials to those who did not fare so well keeping us ever vigilant of our driving.
Along the way we see ever increasing amounts of Agave plantations as we are now passing through the prime region of Tequila and Mezcal fabrication. Mostly local artisan places with one or two industrial outfits. The Agave plant seems to grow everywhere and anywhere, steep hillsides, covered with rocks and Agave plants are commonplace. Closer to Oaxaca we enter Matatlan the world capital of Mezcal. We have to stop and do some tasting and purchases. After a few shots of all sorts of Mezcal and the entire life story of the plants and production we get back on the road to Oaxaca.
We get into Oaxaca early afternoon, find the Oaxaca Trailer Park from the good directions in our Church guide book to camping in Mexico, make arrangements then go off to the Gigante near by for provisions. We set up camp and relax for the evening finding we have a free WiFi connection here. Thursday we will do some laundry chores, meet our friend Bill and explore Oaxaca.
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