On our way to Mexico, we stopped through Chicago's airport, which smelled like burnt cheese, advertised plastics, and had a tunnel that I dubbed "journey through the chakras".
Our first night in Mexico city was a blur. We stayed at a place of Chris Cummer's recommendation in a seedy part of Zona Rosa, that seemed to be part brothel, but we didn't mind. The rooms were clean and the "workers" hanging in the lobby were quite nice. There was, however, a picture of the pope on the bed. Which, considering the hotel, we got a real kick out of.
We checked in a and took off for dinner in another part of Zona Rosa. We hopped on a bus (at this point, I began to be really glad for my high school Spanish) that took us to the intersection near our Fodor's-recommended restaurant (delicious food, filled with gringos. guidebooks are weird). On the way there, we saw a demonstration of naked campesinos. Kiff respectfully did not film the desnuda mujeres, but he did capture the guys in their underwear.
The next day we took a long bus trip to Oaxaca city. The scenery was scrubby desert with tall cactus plants, but it was interesting all the same.
Oaxaca city is a lovely, if congested city with fabulous old colonial buildings and tons of national tourists. Our hotel, posada central, was pretty, simple and clean
We headed down to these markets that were labryinths of goods and clothes and food. We settled for the busiest food counters and busied ourselves with mole, the many varieties of which are a staple of traditional Oaxacan cuisine. A very polite young girl next to me suppressed her laugh at my brutal attempts to understand the menu.
The next day was busy. That morning we went to Monte Alban, an ancient Zapotec city, about 30 mins outside of Oaxaca city (a scary winding ride up).
Then we caught a local bus to Tlacolula's Sunday market, that was a series of winding alleys sellilng everything from papayas to clothing to baskets.
The church there was incredibly ornate baroque period Cathedral with gold leaf paint and the Spanish-style gory saviour (who in this case looks a bit cross that we woke Him).
The next day we we spent noodling around the city, visiting the galleries, hanging out in the charming square, and preparing ourselves for the next day's journey to the beach. And after 6 hours of gut-wrenching twisty roads at daunting elevations, we were thrilled to arrive, finally, at the coast.
Ibi's recommedation in Mazunte had been spot on, and the hike up to our hotel, Villa de las tortuguitas, was well worth it for the lovely couple, Zain and Aurora, and the breathtaking view of the water.
We sunned ourselves, did a boat trip to nearby beaches, watched the kids boogie boarding for hours as we drank cerveza, snorkelled, boogie boarded ourselves, ate simple meals, and kiff's eyes turned a gorgeous colour:
Our last morning, our hosts took us to see the sun rise at Punta Cometa. I have not willingly seen the sunrise for ages:
The next day in Mexico city, we stayed in a very strange budget hotel called Azores, which had a design scheme from 1987, with elevator music that insinuated itself into your room. But we sat in an old cantina that evening and drank beer served to us by a wall-eyed waitress. The next day we saw the Diego Rivera Murals in the national palace, just off the central square. The shock of returning from the beach to the toxic air of Mex city was worth it to see those murals.