Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oaxaca to Mexico City- August 29th

We enjoyed the relaxing, laid back atmosphere of Puerto Escondido so much, and left with heavy hearts. The road to Oaxaca was very windy, with topes, or speed bumps, every few feet...all the way. We opted to take the old road, which had lots of twists and turns. I had somewhat of a hard time on the 6 plus hour ride, as being on the back of the bike for those constant turns, following trucks and inhaling diesel fumes made me pretty carsick. Coming into Oaxaca made it all worthwhile. A beautiful, almost mystical colonial city which has the feel of old Mexico, dominated by the culture and art of the indigenous people, with more than 30 language dialects contained therein. We found a hotel that was $30 per night, looked great but the price should have been a warning. The walls were paper thin, the pillows rock hard, with a small window which looked out into a big tunnel. The family across the hall had the TV blaring until 3am and we had a kamikaze mosquito who had stealth training buzzing around our heads all night. We just could not find that thing to put it out of our misery.
The next day we went in search of another hotel and came upon La Casa de Mis Recuerdos, run by a lovely lady named Nora, who also teaches Oaxacan cooking there. Our 3 night stay there was a dream. We toured the ruins of Monte Alban and Mitla, visited a place called Hiervas al Agua, which looks like a petrified waterfall but is actually calcified water running over limestone, went to see the Thule Tree which is the largest tree in the world, went to a Mezcal tasting, and met a weaver who makes handmade rugs, still using a spinning wheel, a loom, and who uses only dyes made from natural materials like pomegranite, herbs, indigo and a small bug called cochinilla which grows on a cactus plant. We went to his home where he does his work and it was fascinating.
We were debating what to do next...Chris had broken his big Canon camera, the bike needed a service, and we needed to go to a big city for that. The only choice was to double back 4 hours to Mexico City, which made me very happy, as since I had lived there for 2 years working for Amex, I have some great friends and former colleagues that I wanted to see. Chris tried to do an oil change himself in Oaxaca...we found a Honda dealer that agreed to let him use the facility and to dispose of the oil. We took the bike into the market and found a place to buy some oil that was almost right. When Chris went to do the actual change, they only had a small funnel...and a bucket. He was under the bike, and went to drain the oil and the nut from the oil thingy fell into the funnel and blocked the hole, so oil came spewing out all over him. Juan Carlos and the guys at the dealer had a hell of a laugh at this crazy gringo covered in oil. He is still finding it under his watch, behind his glasses...everywhere.
We opted to head to Mexico City, and the ride was not too bad...getting into the city was a little crazy. One of the bikers that we had met in Acapulco, Luis, owns a hotel in Mexico City and invited us to stay there. What a great place! Located in Polanco, near Avenida Mazarik, it is called Casa Vieja and it is truly like a colonial home. We would highly recommend this place, just love it. We have gotten together with some great friends from my Amex days in Mexico City...try Ivoire Restaurant in Polanco, great place. Visited the Zocalo, got the bike serviced at Bavaria BMW near Polanco, Chris got his camera fixed, and I got my rain jacket shipped from Motorcycle Superstore via home. Mexico City is a cosmopolitan, bustling city, full of life with great restaurants and a sophisticated vibe. Tomorrow---on to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas!