Wednesday, march 3'rd

Exit to this huge and chaotic metropole. Taxi to the busterminal TAPO. The driver thought that about 25 mio. people lived in Mexico City, but noone really knew.

From TAPO it's a 6 hours busdrive in ADO GL supercomfy bus to Oaxaca (pronounced wah-HAA-kah). Here about ½ a million people live, so this is not so much chaos.

A kid which looks not much younger than 14 takes my Oaxaca-taxi from the bus-termianl to Hotel Posada Catarina, where I have booked a room.

Then it's out to take a look at this exiting and lovely city, which has a history all the way back from where the spaniards ruled this country. Time for a comida corrida - a 3 course lunch-thing. You choose between 2 soups, 2 pasta-courses and 4-5 meat-courses. To that you get some kind of water with fruit-taste,  Tortillas ad-libitum and a small dessert. All this for the faboulous sum of 35 pesos.

The evening I spend relaxing at the hotel. For that purpose I have bought some of those extremely delicious cookies you can get down here from every baker-shop there is. At the entrance you take a dish and a thingy to pick up the cakes. The you take a walk around - choose your favourites - in this case 3 that looks so delicious - goes to the cashier - and they charge you 5 pesos for the whole thing. Ain't that a bargain.

Thursday, march 4'th

With Autobuses Touristicos to Monte Alban. Monte Alban is another ruin-city with a very exciting past. The place was setteled by the Zapotex-indians up to 200 b.c. In the period between 200 b.c and 300 a.c the area was built using huge stoneblocks.

Monte Alban had it's best time between 300-700 a.c, where about 25.000 people are supposed to have lived here. The ruins you see today, is from this period. Between 700-950 a.c, the area was abondoned and turned into ruins. 

It's a very exiting place to see, and there's a great view of the Valles Centrales - the valley where Oaxaca is placed.

Later another walk around Oaxaca. Among others I visit the lovely Zocalo and the beuatiful churd Iglesia de Santa Domingo. It's about 400 years old and extemely beautiful - especially inside. Outside there is some kind of folklore-dancing going on

View of Monte Alba

Friday, March 5'th

El-Tule tree - Picture is stolen

An all day tour with 13 other people - and then Jorge the driver-guide - some stupid guy talking all the time.

First stop is El Tule to see the worlds widest tree. I just wonder who took the time to measure all the trees in the world, to make sure this is the widest - but nevertheless - it is wide - 58 m all the way around.

Then to Teotitlan del Valle. Famous for it's weavers. They make lovely small rugs. We saw how the did it, and used colours made ouf of natural things. Nice to see - but the actuel purpose of this visit was - as usual - to have the tourist buy the stuff.

Then on to Mitla and more ruins. This was THE place to be in the period right after Monte Alban. And Jorge was talking and talking and talking. He didn't even stop when some of us simply left the group in the middle of his show.

Then on - via small mountain-roads - to  Hierve El Agua. A lovely spot, with cliffs and springs you could take a dip in, if you wanted to.

Finally back to Oaxaca. On the way back we visit a Mezcal-brewery. Mezcal is an alcoholic drink made out of Agave-cactus. Teauila is a kind of Mezcal, just from another area. We also got the chance to taste it. Of course we were supposed to buy as well, but noone really did. Jorge wasn't to happy about that.

Back in Oaxaca at 7 and into my new room. I have changed, because the old one was very noisy - right out into the street. This one is in the back.

Hierva El Agua - picture stolen  from here

Saturday, March 6'th

Oaxaca-day today. You can split Oaxaca-city into two. The northern part - the nice and quiet one - with glitzy "casas", galleries and plenty of tourists.And then the lively southern part, with markets, street-vendors and hazzle and dazzle. My hotel was in the southern part, and it was the noise from the street that made me ask for a new room. So now it's not the street that wakes me up in the morning - but the birds singing in the patio instead - they start singing at 6 - but it's much nicer anyway.

I kind of get to see most of Oaxaca downtown today, including a market with handicrafts. I haggle the best I can do - and buys a rug for 150 pesos. He says it's homemade, but I'm not sure. I bet I've been cheated - but who cares.

From the nice part of Oaxaca - stolen picture

A corner in  Oaxaca - picture is stolen  from here

Later a visit at Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca. Here you find old things from Monte Alban and Mitla - and new things - for instance the desk from a former mayor in the cith. The museum is located in the old convent of the Santa Domingo church

Outside we have got some action today. A wedding has just finished in the church, and the folklore-dancers are still doing their thing. And then it's not exactly good planning, when a heavy-metal band starts playing right in the center of square on the same time.

Dinner at a local place - Rosa Mexicana. Enchilladas Suizo - I have tried this before - but i't seems like I have forgotten have HOT is was with enchilladas in green salsa-sauce. I need "dos cervezas".

Sunday, March 7'th

A little more relaxing today. A few walks around Oaxaca - more "off the beaten track"-walks. I like this kind of touring a city - no where special to go - just take a look around. 

Dinner at a restaurant at the Zocalo. Pizza - you have to keep in training. I don't take the Pizza Oaxacana, which includes a speciality here in Oaxaca - fried grasshoppers!!

The evenings around here is plain wonderfull. The clima is very comfortable and there is live-music plenty of places around town

Oaxaca - outside the tourist-zone - picture stolen from here

Monday, March 8'th

My alarm-clock wakes me up at 6 - same time as the birds begin to sing. Of course there is a reason for this. The reason is the 7.20 train to Cuicatlan. There are not many trains left i Mexico. This is one of the few, and I read about this trip on the Lonely Planet Homepage. The train only runs 3 times a week.

From the mountainvillage of Tlaxila - the train is the only form of transportation here - there are no roads -picture is taken  from here

The trip to Cuicatlan is a 6 hour trip at a very modest pace. I'm the only gringo onboard, så you can't call this trip a tourist-train. The rest of the only wagon on the train is about half full with local travellers.

The first 2 hours are flat. It's harvest-time and that is done by hand in this area. You can see two oxes ploughing the fields, while the farmer walks behind. Or an elderly couple harvesting their field. He's got a scythe, she's got a sickle - and two a donkey with a wagon waits to take in the harvest. This is extremely oldfashioned - much more than I believed. 

After the two hours the ride starts to go up and down into the hills. Lots of cliffs right beside the tracks - and plenty of cactus as the looked in old the good old westerns. And you can see everything when the train is running so slow. The wagon even has an outside rear platform, so you can go out and take everything into sight. Gee - I miss my camera.......

It goes on like this until we reach Cuicatlan at 1.30. The are quite a lot of stops on the way. Some of the places look like in the middle of nowhere - others are pretty busy with the train arriving as the highlight of the day. By the way - the whole trip costs 30 pesos. That's less than the cheapest bus-ticket in my hometown.

In Cuicatlan there is time for a comida corrida. The usual bargain - 35 pesos for 3 dishes, 2 sodas and a huge stack of tortillas. And you have to take is as an experience that a mule walking down the hill almost puts his whole face into the restaurant to say hello.

Bus back to Oaxaca a couple of hours later. Back in the city at 6 pm. The busride is less spectaculat, but takes half the time. And the train is not returning until tomorrow - and I really don't wanna wait for that. 

From the station in Cuicatlan - picture is from here

Tuesday, March 9'th

Chili for sale at the local market - picture is stolen

Oaxaca-day once again. Just walking around enjoying this great place. A little shopping. Mezcal for instance - and you can't go into a Mezcal-shop without having to taste. But do make sure you don't swallow the worm in the bottom of the bottle. The fried grasshoppers in big sacks at the market - no way - just the smell - that's awful. No need for tasting here.

Also a museum-visit. The Benito Juarea museum, where he grew up. Benito was minister of Justice and spokesman for the poor back in the 1800-hundred. There's also time for a few more churches. In the Carmen-Alto Church a very old man, is crawling on his knees all the way from the entrence to the alter.Some people around here take their religion very seriously.

To Puebla