I hope youse had a good day because wese had a great one until we got to our destination. It was to be a short ride today so we were not in a huge hurry to get organised and on our way. Kiwi checked out the receptionist. Seemed ok but she got a huge fright when she first saw Kiwi. I'm not sure what she thought he was.
A slight hiccup while we looked for a tv remote that needed to be returned and we were off down Mex 190 along a narrow windy mountain pass and then through numerous pueblos with the most vicious speed humps. Or "Reductores de velocidad"! Phew! Sponsored, one suspects by marketers of brakes, suspensions and shock absorbers.
We stopped for a milky coffee and a pee at a roadside cafe and then turned onto the toll road that took us pretty quickly the last 80 kms to Oaxaca. We gassed up on the outskirts of town and considered our options. We hadn't been able to correlate any of the hotels listed on Lonely Planet with those suggested by Karen or Liz so we decided to just go to the centre of town and see what we could find.
It was hard work. First a critical intersection wasn't where it should have been and then we got stuck in a grid of narrow cobblestones streets which led off to a traffic jam. It turned out that this was the back end of a pedestrian square but neither Karen nor Liz know that so we were stuck.
Diana went scouting and eventually found a hotel that worked for us and we backtracked a little and booked into the Hotel Francia. The girls were parked on the street but we were told we could bring them in to the inner courtyard later. Here they are:
We unpacked and showered and then I went for a walk up to the square that had blocked us off. I'm not sure what was going on but as I stood there watching a huge group of Mexican men - of working class I thought - suddenly stood up and formed a group around some people speaking in front of huge banners.
I was intrigued that they were mostly carrying sticks but seemed in an amiable frame of mind. I'm not sure what it was about, my Spanish isn't good enough, but the banners seemed to be about political repression or prisoners.
The police were maintaining a muted presence around the corner.
Once again this is a city with amazing ancient buildings. We are not used to this in NZ where a building built in the 1800s is pretty ancient. Mostly they are churches or government buildings.
The square was filled about 50:50 with hustlers and hustlees. People selling the big colourful bunches of balloons but more here selling indigenous goods. Clothing mostly but also wooden items, hammocks and jewellery. And food of course. I stopped for a beer and worked on perfecting my stare into middle distance. It sounds mean I know but there was a constant stream of people working their way beside me to sell stuff or to ask me to donate to worthy causes.
At one street cafe they even had a guard with a Minto bar to ensure the guests ate in peace. The contrast was striking. Not literally!
Later the police band came out to accompany some local dignatories reception.
A town too with many indigenous people, especially notable are the woman carrying loads on their heads.
Then it began to rain so I came home to write my blog. I'll go out again later. Perhaps.
Well I went out later and it's still raining. Mr Mexican Driver is interesting when it's fine. Now it's wet he is beside himself! A cacophony of horn tooting accompanied by occasional shouting and a few bangs. Whoops.
We have been told that it is not safe to leave the girls outside at night and that 11pm we are to bring them in. 11pm sounds a little late for me so we'll see!
Today's run: 187kms
Tip overs: 3