I Moved To Oaxaca

Friday, November 05, 2004

Goodbye Oaxaca Roadtrip: Day 3
Tehuantepec - Zipolite

Yes, we're back in Zipolite one last time. We just ate a fish dinner, sans shoes (and for Greg, sans shirt).

We started off the day by hiring a motocarro to take us to the cueva above town. Motocarros, three-wheeled motorcycles with little flatbeds on the back for people and cargo, are the way everybody gets around in Tehuantepec. And the cueva is a large cave with a shrine inside, high up the side of a hill overlooking the town. The story goes that tunnels inside the cave lead all the way to Guiengola, so since we'd seen the ruins we figured we should see the cave, too.

So after another early breakfast off we went. It was quite a huff up the dirt track to the cave, but once we were up there we had a great view of the city and the coastal plain, all the way down to the Pacific. The shrine inside seemed to be dedicated to JC, and had lit candles and fresh flowers, but not much to really see, so after a short visit we walked down the hill and through part of Tehuantepec we hadn't yet explored. Because while there are taxis and motocarros in the part of town nearest the plaza, there aren't any in the area near the cave. So we walked, past the church, through the neighborhood, down to the river which cuts the town in two, and to the city dump. Yes, a fine way to end one's tour of Tehuantepec, scuttling past feral dogs and rooting pig families and herds of goats searching through a town's burning garbage, down to the river only to find the footpath washed out. So we improvised a route back up to the metal bridge and across and back to the hotel. Whee.

The cooling breeze stopped pretty much once we left Tehuantepec, and the usual brutal sunshine took over. So not only was Vivani bummed to be back in the car, but she quickly got hot, too, so we turned on the AC for her. Our only stop en route to Zipolite was the little town of San Pablo Huamelula. Now, shortly after G and I came to Oax-town, we saw an exhibit at Santo Domingo on magical spots on the coast. Huamelula was one of the towns featured. And back then, we pronounced it "who-ah-muh-lula" instead of "oa-meh-lula." So we were stoked to finally visit Huamelula, even though our guidebook said there really wasn't anything there except for a candy-colored church.

And the church certainly was candy-colored, pink and red and green, and after we took some pictures we drove back through town -- and saw a Museo Communitario in the plaza! So we stopped, but since there was no shaded parking, we carted Vivani along with us into the presidencia to ask about the museum. The kids playing soccer in the plaza went nuts to see the cat, but the adults contained whatever they felt about it while we sat and waited for the guy with the key to show up.

It wasn't much of a museum, only about a 20-by-20-foot room, mostly filled with library books and dance costumes, but the curator did play a cassette tape for us of their festival music while G looked through an English-language book and asked the curator questions about their fiestas.

After that it was a quiet, twisty stretch of highway until we got to Zipolite and plunked our stuff and the cat in a room. I thought she'd be happy to be out of the car, but the roar of the Pacific freaked her out. After a quick dip in the water we went back up to the room with a bag of beers to sit and watch the surf and say,

Sure beats having a job, don't it.


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