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Some scenery along the way to Oaxaca

We had to honk at the cow a few times to get him to cross the road before he became someones hamburger

Very windy through here. We had to cross the Isthmus of Tehuantepec 

Quoted from; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isthmus_of_Tehuantepec

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is an isthmus in Mexico. It represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexicoand the Pacific Ocean, and prior to the opening of the Panama Canal was a major shipping route known simply as theTehuantepec Route. The name is taken from the town of Santo Domingo Tehuantepec in the state of Oaxaca, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl tecuani-tepec ("jaguar hill").

The isthmus includes the part of Mexico lying between the 94th and 96th meridians west longitude, or the southeastern parts of Veracruz and Oaxaca, including small areas of Chiapas and Tabasco. The states of Tabasco and Chiapas are east of the isthmus, with Veracruz and Oaxaca on the west.

The isthmus is 200 km (125 miles) across at its narrowest point from gulf to gulf, or 192 km (120 miles) to the head of Laguna Superior on the Pacific coast. The Sierra Madre breaks down at this point into a broad, plateau-like ridge, whose elevation, at the highest point reached by the Tehuantepec railway at Chivela Pass, is 224 m (735 ft). The northern side of the isthmus is swampyand densely covered with jungle, which has been a greater obstacle to railway construction than the grades in crossing the sierra.

The southern edge of the North American tectonic plate lies across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Geographically, the isthmus divides North America from Central America.

This sign was ripping apart. The winds were at least 60-80km/hr across the highway. Very scary

This truck was blown over and is lying on its side in the ditch. We were going to stop at a Pemex for the night, but we ploughed through and made it to a Military checkpoint about 80 km outside Oaxaca. It was about 5:30 PM and we were losing light. We saw they had a huge parking lot next to their setup and asked if they minded if we stayed the night. No problem. They were extremely helpful and friendly. We left our email address with the Commander of the unit so we could mail him some Canadian change for a souvenir. He wanted to know if we had a Loonie as he collects foreign currency. We did not have any change as what was the point of carrying Canadian money into Mexico. Next year I will bring some Loonies for souvenirs to give away

Oxen pulling cart

Local taxis in one of the towns we passed through

Agave fields

We saw many Mezcal distilleries on the way into Oaxaca city

Quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezcal

Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey or agave plant that is native to Mexico. The word “mezcal” comes from Nahuatl “mexcalmetl,” which means agave or maguey. This plant grows in many parts of Mexico but most mezcal is made in Oaxaca.[1] There is a saying attributed to Oaxaca regarding the drink: "para todo mal, mezcal y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, too.”[2][3]

There were no distilled beverages in Mexico before the Spanish Conquest. The Spaniards were introduced to native fermented drinks such as pulque, also made from the maguey plant. Soon the conquistadors began experimenting with the maguey plant to find a way to make a distillable fermented mash. The result is mezcal.[4] Today, mezcal is still made from the heart of the maguey plant, called the piña, much the same way it was 200 years ago in most places.[2][5] In Mexico, mezcal is generally drunk straight and has a strong smoky flavor that can be difficult to get used to.[5] Though not as popular as tequila, Mexico does export the product, mostly to Japan and the United States, and exports are growing.[6]

Despite the similar name, mezcal does not contain mescaline or other psychedelic substances[7]

 

 

We stopped in Santa Maria del Tule to see 

Arbol de Tule

Quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Árbol_del_Tule

El Árbol del Tule (Spanish for "the Tule Tree") is a tree located in the church grounds in the town center of Santa María del Tule in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, approximately 9 km east of the city of Oaxaca on the road to Mitla. It is a Montezuma Cypress(Taxodium mucronatum), or Ahuehuete (meaning "old man of the water" in Nahuatl). It has the stoutest trunk of any tree in the world.

[edit]Dimensions and age

In 2005, its trunk had a circumference of 36.2 m (119 ft), equating to a diameter of 11.62 m (38.1 ft),[1] a slight increase from a measurement of 11.42 m (37.5 ft) m in 1982.[2] However, the trunk is heavily buttressed, giving a higher diameter reading than the true cross-sectional of the trunk represents; when this is taken into account, the diameter of the 'smoothed out' trunk is 9.38 m (30.8 ft).[1] This is still slightly larger than the next most stout tree known, a Giant Sequoia 8.98 m (29.5 ft) diameter.[3]

The height is difficult to measure due to the very broad crown; the 2005 measurement, made by laser, is 35.4 m (116 ft),[1] shorter than previous measurements of 41–43 m (130–140 ft).[2] According to the signboard by the tree (see gallery, below), it has a total volume of 816.829 m³ and a weight of 636.107 t (701.188 short tons); these figures are however not independently verified, and given the same signboard's claim of a girth of 58 m (190 ft), must be treated with suspicion.

It is so large that it was originally thought to be multiple trees, but DNA tests have proven that it is only one tree.[4] This does not rule out another hypothesis, which states that it comprises multiple trunks from a single individual.[5]

The age is unknown, with estimates ranging between 1,200 and 3,000 years, and even one claim of 6,000 years;[5][6] the best scientific estimate based on growth rates is 1,433-1,600 years.[7] Local Zapotec legend holds that it was planted about 1,400 years ago by Pechocha, a priest of Ehecatl, the Aztec wind god, in broad agreement with the scientific estimate; its location on a sacred site (later taken over by the Roman Catholic Church) would also support this.[5][6]

The tree is occasionally nicknamed the "Tree of Life" from all the images of animals that are reputedly visible in the tree's gnarled trunk. As part of an official project local schoolchildren give tourists a tour of the tree and show all manners of creatures that the trunk features, including jaguars and elephants.[citation needed]

 

Another couple of good links with info & pictures

http://www.vulkaner.no/n/latinam/arboltule.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDelFeU1nbA

 

It is difficult to grasp the concept of how large this tree is unless you are near it. I tried to take a picture with the whole thing in frame, but it was difficult.

On to Oaxaca city

 

We stayed at the Oaxaca Trailer Park

The park was centrally located, only a 40 peso taxi ride away from Centro Historico

We had all services. Cost was 150 pesos per night

Laundry services were about a block away. We got same day service. Price was reasonable

The park is secure at night

The park is only a couple of blocks from a large supermarket and on Tuesdays there is a farmers market on the streets behind the RV park.

GPS Location: 17.07861  N   96.71083  W   5,200ft

 

Quoted from :http://www.ontheroadin.com/interior/oaxacatrailerpark.htm

Located On Highway 190 north of town turn North on Collegio Militar ( when you see the VW dealer). Continue 5-6 blocks and turn right ( you will see signs) then left on Violetta.

 

 

A few good links to all info on the city of Oaxaca

http://oaxaca-travel.com/guide/index.php

http://www.ontheroadin.com/losgalleria/cities/oaxaca1.htm

Quoted from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oaxaca

The Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca (Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca, Spanish pronunciation: [w̯aˈxaka]  ( listen)) is one of the 31 states of Mexico, located in the southern part of the country, west of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (the Isthmus of Tehuantepec includes the southeastern parts of Veracruz and Oaxaca). Oaxaca borders the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla to the northwest, Veracruz to the north, Chiapas to the east, and the Pacific Ocean in the south.

Oaxaca is the historic home of the Zapotec and Mixtec peoples, and contains more speakers of indigenous languages than any other Mexican state.[2] The state is named for its largest city. With an area of 95,364 km² (36,820.2 mi²)[citation needed], Oaxaca is the fifth largest state in the Republic. According to the 2005 census it had a population of 3,506,821 inhabitants.

Notable Oaxacans include President Benito Juárez, born in the Oaxacan village of San Pablo Guelatao, as well as Rufino Tamayo, Porfirio Diaz, José Vasconcelos, Francisco Toledo, María Sabina, J. Alberto Canseco Díaz, Major League Baseball player Vinicio Castilla,Bundesliga player Ricardo Osorio, chemical engineer Marco Rito-Palomares, Anarchist revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magon and many other writers, artists and politicians.

 

The main Cathedral in the Zocalo

Zocalo

Mercado (market)

We bought 4kg of shrimp and 2kg of fish fillets

Chicken anyone??

Dried shrimp

Beef and Pork

A restaurant with pre-made salads and entrees to take home or eat in the market

There was an entire aisle of bbqs like this with all sorts of different meals being prepared on them. I wish I could have bottled the smell. It was wonderful.

Rugs, blankets and clothing

Restaurant where John and I ate lunch and also had dinner with our friend Chris

John holding up a glass of Mezcal and his enjoying his meal (tacos with mole sauce) at a restaurant in the Zocalo

http://www.mezcal-de-oaxaca.com/

I had another type of taco with a cafe con leche

Orchestra playing in the park. They were being taped for a television show

Nun from the cathedral selling sweets and trinkets

Beautiful flowers in the park

Grasshoppers anyone???

http://digitalunion.osu.edu/r2/summer06/montiel-ishino/chapulin/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapulines

Chapulines are grasshoppers of the genus Sphenarium. They are collected only at certain times of year (from their hatching in early May through the late summer/early autumn). After being thoroughly cleaned and washed, they are toasted on a comal (clay cooking surface) with garlic and lemon juice and sal de gusano, lending a sour-spicy-salty taste to the finished product. Some people will toast their chapulines with chiles, but some vendors and cooks feel that chiles are used to cover for stale chapulines and only show up in the poorest quality grasshoppers. Chapulines are available only in certain parts of Mexico, the state and city of Oaxaca being one of the better known regions. There is debate over how long Chapulines have been a food source in Oaxaca. There is one reference to grasshoppers that are eaten in early records of the conquest.[1]. Today, Chapuline are harvested throughout the summer and enjoyed largely in and around Oaxaca City, Oaxaca. They are sold as snacks at local baseball games and are enjoying something of a revival among foodies [2]

The taste is unique, but not especially strange. They may be eaten individually as a botana (snack) or as a filling, eg: tlayuda filled with chapulines.

Chapulines must be cooked prior to consumption. As with other grasshoppers, they may carry nematodes that can infest human hosts.

The word chapulín for grasshopper is specific to Mexico and derives from the Nahuatl language. In Spain and most Spanish speaking countries, the word for grasshopper is saltamontes or saltón.

 

Want to cook them here is a recipe;

http://mexicanfood.about.com/od/authenticfamilyrecipes/r/chapulines.htm

John and I had to stop for an ice-cream after lunch. He had the Mezcal pina colada flavor and I stuck with the ron c raisin

Balloon vendors and people everywhere

John and I decided to check out the Santa Domingo church and cultural center the next day.

Quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santo_Domingo,_Oaxaca

The Church and former monastery of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is the most important of the numerous baroque ecclesiastical buildings inOaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico. The complex of buildings includes a substantial sanctuary and an extensive system of courtyards, cloisters and rooms that formerly constituted the monastery but now house the Cultural Centre of Oaxaca. This museum includes an important collection of pre-Columban artefacts, among them the contents of Tomb 7 from the nearby Zapotec site of Monte Albán. The former monastery garden is now an Ethnobotanical Garden, containing a large collection of plants native to the region.

Interior, Church of Santo Domingo

The entrance to both church and museum is across a wide plaza that acts as a centre for local fiestas and other entertainments. It is located about half a kilometre north of the central squares of the city, the Zócalo and the Alameda, and the connecting street is pedestrianised, so it is a popular place for both tourists and local residents to stroll.

As its name implies, the church and monastery were founded by the Dominican Order. Begun in 1572, they were constructed over a period of 200 years, between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The monastery was active from 1608 to 1857. In the period of the revolutionary wars, the buildings were turned over to military use, and from 1866 to 1902 they served as a barracks. The church was restored to religious use in 1938, but the monastery was made available to the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca. In 1972 it became a regional museum, and in 1993 the decision was taken to undertake a full restoration. This was completed in 1999. It is an exceptional example of conservation architecture. The architect responsible was Juan Urquiaga.

The church has also been fully restored. Its highly decorated interior includes copious use of gold leaf.

 

We thought this sign was good!!!!

Gods speaks to you, but not through a cell phone. TURN IT OFF!!!

 

Time for lunch

Tlayuda Mixta large thin corn tortilla, served with black beans, cabbage, cheese, salsa with oaxacan string cheese, chorizo, tazajo and cecina. Add chicken or beef. John had beef and I had chicken added.

John wanted a picture of the Scotia Bank

Oaxaca at night

I would highly recommend seeing the city of Oaxaca. well worth the trip.

On to Huatulco from here, straight down to sea level. We will be traveling on a very,very,very,very windy road to get there. I will post pictures.

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