Friday, March 27, 2009

3/26/09 Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido 187 miles, 5.5 Hours

Sitting in an open air cabana on the beach about to eat some breakfast in Puerto Escondido. Arrived yesterday after a fun 5 hour ride through the mountains from Oaxaca city down to the Pacific coast. Two days ago I took that all day tour to the ruins at Mitla which also included seeing El Tule (the worlds largest tree supposedly), visiting a village where they make rugs in the ancient Zapotec style and touring a mezcal distillery. There were unlimited free samplings but I had to pass and felt like a scrub. I had been a little sick earlier in the day and knew that as soon as that mezcal hit my stomach there would be a problem. The highlight of the tour was a visit to the Hierve de Agua, which is a series of petrified waterfalls and spring fed pools. Swimming felt great in the mineral-rich waters under the blazing sun of the Oaxacan desert. The road was through yet another treacherous dirt road high up in the mountains which would have been very difficult to handle on the bike. I also met Jim and Dave, two Brits who are traveling around the world and Mika, an Australian girl nearing the end of her own trip. Ended up hanging out with them in the city for the rest of the day, having some beer and food in various locations in the city. We decided to meet up at the Santo Domingo museum the next day, or at the town square at 4:00 if we missed each other there. The next day I woke up early and walked the bike over to an auto wash. The guys there did an ok job, but it was only 3 bucks. Then a boot shine for a buck. Headed over to the Honda dealership and of course they had no brake pads for my gringo bike. I was assured I could get about 5000 kms out of my current set though, so Ill ignore the squeaking and tell myself Ill be good for a while. Over to the Cultural Center and it really is beautiful. In a restored convent attached to the church, artifacts and the history of Oaxaca are described in great detail and with priceless objects. Although the descriptions were in Spanish and I went through the museum faster than most because of this, I still got a lot out of it. Met up as planned with Jim, Dave and Mika, had drinks and coffee in various places around the city and said our goodbyes as I was headed out in the morning, Dave and Jim to Mexico City, and Mika flying to London in a few days to start a new job. Head out the next morning and now here I am in Puerto Escondido. Although it’s become very touristy, I can definitely chill on the beach for a day or two. A couple on the tour to Mitla, Gaetan from Belgium and Michaela from Italy recommend the Cabanos Buena Onda which I find after getting stuck in sand missed turns (Puerto Escondido is having some major roadwork construction happening and a lot of roads/paths are hard to see), etc. I ride into the city for a bite to eat and walk around the beach area (lots of tourist-oriented places) and ride back to the room and fall asleep. Wake up in the middle of the night bitten all over by mosquitos having not secured my bug net properly. A mistake I won’t make again, for sure. Today I’ll take a shuttle into town with Gaetan and Michaela and enjoy a less populated and calmer part of the beach. Tomorrow off to the beach at Mazunte a couple of hours away and then to San Cristobal de las Casas. That will be my last stop before crossing the border to Guatemala in a few days hopefully, although time tends to stretch out into multiple days since Ive been on the road.

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