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Oaxaca  -  21/12/03 - 23/12/03

We had a long ride to Oaxaca as the road was pretty slow to start and then we missed the highway at Peubla (my fault!) and ended up going through lots of small towns - the dreaded topes. Luckily a new road shown as under construction on the map was open and we made up some time in the afternoon. It was a toll road so we had to stop several times. People were selling all sorts of things at the toll booths. Fruit, drinks, toys etc and at one there was a guy with an arm full of puppies!!... We were very tempted once again.

Monte Alban

The Zapotec site of Monte Alban is on a hill overlooking Oaxaca. You can understand exactly why they built there; the view over the valley is incredible. It's such a beautiful and peaceful place.

We certainly found ourselves back in the tourist area of Mexico. American voices for the first time in ages!

The town of Oaxaca is a beautiful colonial town, a heaven for shopping and the home of hot chocolate. There was a candle lit procession of giant figures, a bit like It's A Knockout but without the obstacles!

We wondered through the streets to the main square where we found police with riot shields. It felt really odd as the town was so relaxed. It seems the police were too and were just lurking around, not sure why they had their shields with them. Just wanted to look tough.



At the south of the market we found the street that houses the hot chocolate shops and the Posada Chocolate. Imagine a chocolate hotel! They have a little cafe that serves the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted. They sell the chocolate in bars to be crushed and used in drinks and sauces. It is very dark and bitter and flavored with almonds, cinnamon, cloves, coffee etc.


I wanted to buy some to send home but it is so heavy it would have cost a fortune to post. I will return, not by bike!!

We left the next day by way of several tire shops. We were pointed to a repair shop where a guy had hundreds of tires piled up outside and all sorts of strange looking equipment. R took the bike up on the pavement and the tire man approached it with a pair of pliers. I didn't want to look, and certainly didn't want to hear anything...

Out it came and no hissing!!! It was actually a splinter of stone but very sharp. Water was poured over the tire and no bubbles, hooray, all was well. We checked the pressure and very happily gave the man a big tip and left.

Our days ride to Tuxtla was not much fun. The road out of Oaxaca was very busy and being dug up. It then became very twisty and steep. We reached the coast and had about 80ks of flat straight road ahead of us. In the middle was the town of La Ventosa. Named for the wind!


Oaxaca market

The wind sweeps down the mountains and out to the sea across a flat plain. The road runs across the plain with nothing to protect it. Lorries are quite often blown over and two of our cycling Canadian friends were blown off the road in to a ditch when they crossed it!

I had been dreading it for weeks and it was really hard work. R really had to fight to keep us from being moved around by the wind. It was better when we could go fast but there were a lot of slow moving Lorries to get past.

We finally got to Tuxtla after dark and found a hotel with a warm room.

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