I Moved To Oaxaca

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Goodbye Oaxaca Roadtrip: Day 7 Pte Escondido - Putla

I've got a painfully slow connection here, so I'll just put the bare bones for today and save the filling in for today and the last two days for a better line.

Puerto Escondido is very ... resorty. Not to the degree of Cancun or Acapulco; more like a Kona. Anyway, after almost a week of back country Oaxaca it was a bit of a shock. Our hotel room was, uh, basic and considering the area (we were down near the beach and pedestrian walkway) pretty cheap at $250 for a two-bed room with tv and hot water. But still over our preferred price range. So was dinner, at just over $200 for the two of us; quite a shock, but it was really, really tasty: we split a seafood-stuffed fish fillet, a mixed-green salad, and shrimp tacos -- which turned out to be shrimp-filled chimichangas. I normally don't like chimichangas, but these were exceptionally good, with a yummy, chunky guacamole to go on top. Some beers and a pitcher of naranjada, mmm. But the internet cafe was $20 an hour! Outrageous!

But I said I'd wait on P.E. Back to today. I'm very, very happy to report that Hwy 200, which runs along the Oaxacan coast and up in to Guerrero, is very well maintained, thanks to all the cash it brings to the state. You know, tourists driving down from Acapulco. Because Acapulco has a jet airport, and is connected to Mexico City via a cuota, so it's easy for the rich tourists to drive all the way down to Huatulco if they want. Not a pothole in sight.

And when we turned off onto Hwy 125 north, our roadway luck held. It was nothing like Hwy 131, The Ugly Highway. Oh, well yeah, in a couple of parts there were some car-eating bights in the roadway, and two complete washouts that had been built up again with loose fill and gravel, but mostly it was solid if twisty driving. Thank fucking Hermes.

Now, the only stop we had planned was a quick detour into San Pedro Tututepec to see what our guidebook said were some carved stones scattered around the plaza in front of the presidencia. A lot like our stop in Santos Reyes Nopala the day before, on our descent out of Juquila -- drive in, snap some photos, drive out. Only, surprise! Tututepec built itself a community museum. Well!

We parked in some deep shade and set Vivani up with some sopa de Whiskas and water, then went in. Nice new building with nice new (and informative, for a change) signs describing the local pre-hispanic artifacts: lots of big carved stones in the shapes of jaguars, feathered serpents, and caimans; stunning, gorgeous polychrome bowls with jaguar and eagle-head feet; lots of little clay figurines; some codice reproductions painted as murals on the walls. I was snapping away like crazy, despite the No Tomar Foto sign on the wall untill I got busted by the custodian. Fortunately, I got most of the pieces photographed, though unfortunately no the collection of pottery molds and paper preparation tools.

We had the custodian explain to us some of the exhibits, especially the town-founding story, and the story behind the codice-reproduction murals. She was extremely patient with us, and it turned out to be a very, very cool visit.

(They also had extremely cool t-shirts that looked like they were for sale, but she wasn't parting with them. Too bad!)

So back in the car we hopped, and sped on our way. We ended up staying at the museum for two hours, so we were a little worried that we might have blown our driving plans for the day, but we got to Putla by 5pm. Our guidebook describes two hotels in town: the nice one, and the okay one. They're around the corner from each other, so we took a look at the okay one -- it had burned down! The hulk of the building was still standing, blackened timbers and all, and the Hotel No. 2 was in a run-down building next to it. We took a pass and went to the nice one. Yeah, it is nice, too -- and back in our price range: $180 with parking, cable tv, and hot water, though I gave up waiting for it to get hot and just showered anyway. And a balcony, though we can't use it because it's not cat-proof. But Vivani digs the tile floor, as she can scoot and slide around on it with her hat.

We then went looking for chow, as between breakfast and checking in to the hotel we'd only had one small car snack. We found one of the restaurants recommended in the book just as we were about to double back to the taco stand, and took a seat. Mmm, comedor familiar: Greg had the chicken breast enchilada, I had the meatballs. He got beans and some queso fresco with his, I got sopa de arroz with mixed vegetables with mine. We both got pickled carrots and jalapeƱos, a big stack of tortillas, and a pitcher of guava agua fresca (and a second pitcher when we drained the first). Oh! and a plate of sliced apples with honey for dessert. Greg's full, and I am absolutely stuffed, so much so that I'm taking a pass on a post-drive beer back in the hotel room.

How much was dinner? $54 pesos for the both of us.

I'm so glad I'm back in real Oaxaca.


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