14.12.2012 - 15.12.2012
After a couple pleasant days in Puerto Escondido, we continued our journey through Mexico, into the Isthmus of Thuantepec, where the indigenous people are the Zapotecs. Fun words to say! This is one of Mexico's hottest areas. Temp was 97 degrees when we took a side trip to a beach. It was remote and gorgeous. Big surf and big wind. The wind was so strong that the blowing sand hurt--nature's microdermabrasion. We carried out our plan of making sandwiches, but it was tricky. Had to anchor down the bread, lettuce, etc. to keep them from blowing away.
This was also a day of twisty, strenuous roads. I don't often get motion sickness, but this time I was all shades of green. Even the pups were woozie. Sunny would not eat a peanut offered to her, and we all know that is a rare occurrence. Douglas escaped unscathed, probably because he had the steering wheel to hang onto.
We pulled into Juchitán to spend the night. This is a very crowded village/city (54,000), where we could count the number of gringos on one hand. The usual town square, and many of the streets were lined with stalls selling all sorts of things. Clothes, shoes, cell phones, CDs, food . . . We found a nice, simple motel, and Sunny and Cricket charmed the innkeeper into letting them stay in the room with us.
After wandering through the happy, crowded cacophony for awhile, we stumbled upon a cervezaria with a few friendly locals. The center of attention was the karaoke machine. One of the men had a nice voice, and sang song after song. Yet another great way for us to strengthen our Español skills, with the words on the screen and a native speaker singing them.
While I enjoy most of the cultural differences we are experiencing, I have a tough time with the status of dogs in some of these villages. Maybe Juchitán is where people who are mean to dogs in one life come back, as a dog.
Saturday we set off into the mountains. There was a wind farm outside Juchitán--nice! We were low on cash, and expected to drive by an Oxxo (Mexico's convenience store), which usually have ATMs. For the first time on this trip, there was not an Oxxo to be found. So, we drove into the center of a town. This was a Saturday, and everyone was out celebrating something in the town square. These folks like their music LOUD! Found a bank, and Douglas went to wait in the endless line for the ATM. Mexicans are very patient people. We see them waiting in LONG lines for ATMs often, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. I could find no coffee other than instant (what is this--isn't Mexico known for its great coffee?), but I did make friends with 3 little Mexican girls. One of them wanted to take Sunny and Cricket home with her. It is fun trying to communicate with little folks who are not used to people who don't understand Spanish. They probably just think I'm slow. And then some sort of traveling zoo rolled through town. Trucks pulling cages with monkeys, tigers, lions, bison, zebra . . . PETA would not be happy.
We crossed into the state of Chiapas, where the Zapatista uprisings occurred (another cool word to say), and drove through/around the big city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, home of the marimba museum! Apparently, there are nightly marimba concerts in one of the city's plazas.
From there, we climbed and climbed to San Cristóbal de las Casas, a lovely colonial city at 7000 feet, with narrow cobblestone streets. We are staying in a bungalow for a couple days. Last night, we walked around the streets filled with all sorts of people-indigenous, European backpackers, us . . . My favorite thing so far was the launching of many miniature hot air balloons into the night--absolutely magical! But man, it gets COLD here, especially at night! Had to get the jeans and fleece out again.
Tomorrow we will cross into Guatemala.