I Moved To Oaxaca

Monday, August 30, 2004

I'm surprised to hear myself say this, but I'm glad there's a teacher development session at school tomorrow, because after two road trips in two days, I'm a little tired.

Yeah, with a free day ahead of me I decided to scrutinize my map and go somewhere solo (G had class in the morning). I decided to look for the mystery ruins listed on only one of my three maps, and not mentioned in any of my books: Danguilac, apparently next to the pueblicito of San Juan del Rio. (It's in the top middle third of the map on the left-hand edge.) I know it doesn't look like much, but that's ten miles of dirt road. So take a look at Soledad Agua Blanca, or San Juan Lechixtla, in the middle of the map and on very tiny roads, and imagine what it must be like to get there. Not possible by car, I'm sure!

So in yesterday's blog of my Sunday Drive, where we ended up in Yucunama and it was like a ghost town it was so quiet, that was only three miles or so up a graded gravel and dirt road. San Juan del Rio, like I said, is ten miles up and has no big town anywhere close on the paved road. Except for the stray satellite dish peeking out every so often behind a plank or cane house, it was like going back in time. Especially when I got to San Juan and ... once when I was visiting my friend Dale at his house in Elgin, Ill., he took me out for a ride on his Harley, and in the course of driving around we ended up in the middle of some little town's 4th of July parade, waving at the people lining Main St. Pulling into San Juan was kind of like that, in that everyone stared at the site of a strange car (very, very few cars in evidence), driven by a red-headed guera. Oh, people were really friendly, returning every smile and wave with an equally enthusiastic one of their own. But they were plainly shocked to see me. And nobody was speaking Spanish except when talking to me -- they were all speaking (I think) Zapotec.

I ended up giving a couple of campesinos a ride into town, then chatting with the municipal secretary and his amigos at the presidencia. The ruins are just outside of town, and now I have the town phone number to arrange for a guide when I return. And they were very curious about my tattoos, too.

And I will go back! G has GOT to see this.


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