Kicking Back in Oaxaca
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
163Trip End May 10, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hostal Don Antonio
Eight Days in Oaxaca: December 6 to December 14
Oaxaca is almost 500 kilometers south of Mexico City. It has been a major milestone for us as we go deeper into Mexico. And now we finally made it! We visited Oaxaca in 2004 and did not have a plan re-visit the big attractions again. But, it is our last big city in Mexico to see on our journey south. We decided to chill here for awhile because it is such a nice place.
- Chillin' at Café los Cuiles
- Visiting the small village of Zaachila on Market Day
- Meeting up with Jason again
- Staying in a hostel that is popular with Japanese backpackers.
- and, last but not least, Michelle's 2nd quarterly cancer screening, (She passed again!)
On the south side is the Palacio de Gobierno (State Government Palace.) Inside the stairway is a mural by Arturo Garcia Bustos depicting the history of Oaxaca and its culture. The Cathedral on the north side has beautiful baroque carvings . It is a great place to wile away the time in a shady spot, people watching, reading or buying souvenirs from the many vendors with sprawled out wares: jewelry, colorful pottery, scarfs, woolen hats, straw hats, embroidered clothes, hand woven carpets and always the ladies with the gigantic bunches of colorful balloons.
We received an email from Jason saying that he is in Oaxaca and we'll get together tomorrow. We didn't pin down a time...too much planning!! We met Tsuru, a Japanese guy who had stayed in the dorm for several weeks, which he mostly had to himself. He has been traveling for 2 years. He's a juggler/street performer and makes a little money here and there to support his trip. He was off to Mexico City the next day
The sky doesn't have a cloud in it and by 11 am it is quite warm. Before then, it actually feels chilly. Our day outing to Zaachila for the Thursday market was fun. We like to visit markets to see everyday life of the indigenous inhabitants. Zaachilla is a town of 12000 people located 15km south of Oaxaca. We started the day making an appointment with the OBGYN for Michelle's three month check up. Then we caught a local bus (5 pesos each) from the 2nd class station which took forever because they stopped for every soul on the road who wanted a ride. As we arrived in Zaachila, the buses PA system was playing a US rap song that droned on with a chorus ',,, licky licky licky, dicky dicky, dicky, licky licky licky pussy pussy...' We were a bit wide eyed and bemused, but of course nobody on the bus had any idea what was said in the English language rap that went on way too long. I guess the lyrics in Dylan's iconic rap predecessor 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' were a bit racy when it came out too.....
In Oaxaca, on the way back from the bus station, we stopped at the mountain bike and hiking tour company: "Pedro Martinez" for some information on cycling to the coast. Pedro couldn't have been more helpful. He let us take pictures of a much more detailed map of Oaxaca state and basically told us about the road conditions on Hw 131 and suggested we ride till Sola de Vega. That's where the real serious mountains start and gnarly narrow steep windy roads and the people drive like maniacs. (They don't call it suicide road for nothing) Then we should catch a bus 100 km to Juquila on Hy 176. From there, a strenuous climb to highest point before enjoying a thrilling downhill to Rio Grande on the coast. Plenty of cycling while skipping most of the tortuous sections sounded like a plan for us.
Michelle's appointment with a Blue Cross approved Doctor was at 5:30 pm on Friday at a clinic not far from our hostel. While waiting to be seen, she went to the bathroom. Michelle was blown away that it had NO toilet-seat. Not that she cannot manage to squat or hover, but in clinic we expected, in addition to a spotless rest-room, to see a toilet seat. But clean it was. She saw Dr Garcia, an OBGYN, who had his daughter present, also a Dr., there to translate. He did not want to examine Michelle, saying that reviewing an ultrasound is a more thorough cancer screen. He made the appointment for the ultrasound, right then and there, at a clinic about 10 minutes away by taxi. Dr Garcia's daughter helped us get a taxi. The office where we went for the ultrasound was a lot swankier. It has bathrooms with toilet seats! Doctor Gonzalez did the ultrasound himself and gave a play by play narrative of the results. A lot better than in the States where a technician usually does the ultrasound and he or she is as tight-lipped about the results as if it is a state secret. In any case, Michelle got a clean bill of health, great news!
We began a new habit of spending the mornings at Café los Cuiles, a small gringo oriented cafe near Plazueta Lavastilia where the painter set up their easels. We enjoyed good Oaxacan coffee and solid breakfasts in a nice atmosphere with good music and free wifi. We would chat with the other customers and hear their travel adventures and plans. But mostly we would blog, email, skype and plan our next moves. We would be lucky to get out of there by one or two. A young local girl, only 8 or 9 years old, came into selling gum and candy. She was a cutie so we bought a chocolate bar. She was too shy to let us take her picture. A day or two later, she was there again. Dave said he would buy a bar if she would let him take a picture. She said okay but she wanted the money first.