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
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
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
Friday, March 5'th
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 -
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Tuesday, March 9'th
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.