Saturday, December 13, 2014

Huatulco and our inland trip to Oaxaca

The first stop after catching up on our sleep was to walk into the town of Las Crucecitas. We love this town for the coffee, food and walk ability. It was good to be back and seeing lots of fresh vegetables, good meat markets and cheap street meat (taco stands). The last time thru we missed the opportunity to travel to Oaxaca. We contacted Joel Hoyt, a cruiser who lives here permanently now, to baby sit the furry crew. He was happy to help out and enabled us to book a bus ride and hotel for 4 nights.

The bus was premier class and had an estimated 6 hour run to Oaxaca. There are two roads to this colonial town. The main road (six hours) and the mountain road (8+ Hours). The mountain road is much shorter, but reportedly 100% likely to induce motion sickness and most probably a need to rid oneself of the last meal. I felt good about our decision to take the “good bus”. It was good up until we entered the hills about 90 minutes outside of Huatulco. We encountered standstill traffic and not a lot of information. After about 30 minutes Paul got off the bus to stretch. A Mexican man got off and asked Paul if he wanted to walk with him to see what the problem was. I saw the two of them going off on a mini adventure. They returned to report a student demonstration and road blockade with no chance of passage. The bus was stuck as there was no way for it to turn around on the narrow road with no shoulders. People started bailing off the bus and walking. We joined a group of 3 Mexicans and the five of us plus luggage shared a cab ride back to Huatulco. The taxi was very small; the driver was heavy on the pedal and slow on the brakes. When he did brake hard the wheels locked up and it felt like we were going to be ejected onto the road. While we were holding on for dear life the driver kept telling us he could take us all the way to Oaxaca for $1200 mxp. Can you imagine….8 more hours in an ongoing near death experience? We respectfully declined his offer and requested that he just take us to the bus station so we could get out money back.

The bus company asked us to contact the manager in Oaxaca for a refund. The Mexican group returned to the taxi and headed to Oaxaca without us. We went to the option B bus which takes the mountain road to Oaxaca. We were able to book two seats in the vomit comet over the rear axle and grabbed some Mexican tortas before we departed. I was wishing I had brought large zip lock bags……..but, as luck would have it we both survived without incident.

We stopped for a breather when we were past the jungle and almost out of the mountains. It was really cold and totally beautiful. I’m not sure of the elevation, but probably in the 5-6,000 range. There were lots of pine trees and the bus stop / diner was log cabin style with great vistas. We finally loaded back up and within a few more hours arrived in Oaxaca.

The hotel, which was recommended by Ramona was fantastic. It was colonial construction with lots of exposed rock walls, domed ceilings and beautiful patios and views. It reminded me a lot of Italy as the outlook was of church domes, red tile roof tops and small narrow streets. We had some tapas in the hotel bar and collapsed.

Our time in Oaxaca was spent walking the historical section, doing the museum, touring Monte Alban, the outlying historical/artesian communities and going to Hierve de Aqua. It was a full 4 days. The food was great, coffee plentiful and Monte Alban was a top pick for the both of us. One piece of unfinished business was the bus ticket refund and a bus ticket back to Huatulco. The bus company would not refund the ticket but did offer to sell us a return ticket for half price. We most certainly did not want to take the vomit comet back to Huatulco! We bought our discounted return tickets on the premier bus and got really choice seats right in the front. The ride home was definitely more comfortable.

We are now back in Huatulco and starting to do some brightwork on the aft portion of the toe rail and the starboard rub rail. We do our work first thing in the morning while it is cool. By mid morning we are done and head into town. Paul found a swim club a short walk from the marina. It is private and has a really lovely lap pool with 5 lanes at 25 meters. The coach allows us to use it for a small fee. We have been going a few days a week and the other two days we go to the hotel across the street for pool volleyball. Otherwise our days are spent about town by walking and doing our shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, taking lunch at the taco stands and hanging out.  

Janet enjoying breakfast from the rooftop cafe at the
Hotel Sotano.
The Oaxaca church.
The Oaxaca pedestrian mall.
Hotel Sotano.  It was a great place to stay for only $65 per night.
Our room at the Hotel Sotano.
Part of the museum in Oaxaca.
We popped into this alley to take a few pics.

Touring the Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban was a highlight
of our trip to Oaxaca.
Like the Mayans, these guys were really into pyramids.
We also visited the Arbol de Tule.  They
claim it is the largest tree in the world, but being from California
where the giant Sequoias are, I was quite skeptical.  It is also
known as the tree of life as you can see various animal
figures in the wood if you look really close.
Just up the road was Teotitlan del Valle.  Everyone
in town is trained from their early childhood
to weave rugs the way the Zapotec's did.  This
is the yarn they make from sheep's wool and
color with natural dyes from local plants.
Janet of course had to buy one.  This is the brother of
the weaver who made the rug.  He is finishing it
off under her careful and watchful eye.
Paul looking a bit rugged at Hierve de Aqua.  The minerals
in the water create amazing travertine pools and flows.
Heirve de Aqua.
To not stop at the Mezcaleria would have been some kind of
crime.  They make the mezcal the same way the
Zapotec's did.
The last stop of the day was the Zapotec ruins in Mitla.
Janet was quite taken by the site.
Back in Huatulco, we made a one day trip with
Jan and Ramona from sv Jatimo to
Hagia Sophia, an amazing botanical garden.
The tour started with breakfast made from
the various tropical plants grown in the gardens.
Sharing a moment together at Hagia Sophia.
Half way through the tour we took a little break.  Paul
seems to be enjoying himself.
What would paradise be without its own private swimming
There was a secret cave back behind the waterfall.
Janet got some cooking tips from the cocinera while she
prepared our lunch.

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