Monday, April 21, 2008

Monte Albán


Dad...I'd love to tell you it's pronounced "Ox-a-ka-ka", but that would be cheeky of me. It's more like "wah-huh-ka".
Feels so good to be back in the world of gallery hopping, espresso sipping and random meetings again.
Got stopped in the street by a group of 5 or 6 18-21yr old girls who wanted to practice their English. So we chatted for a while about travelling, boys, food, boys and how they all have a crush on at least one of their teachers.
From some maternal place inside I felt the urge to protect these sweet chicks. "But no" I cried, "You can't...he's your teacher!"Lots of cheeky giggling followed. I'm hoping to have a crush on my Spanish teacher when I start my classes too. hee hee hee
You can take the girl out if her country, but you can't take the girl... out of the girl...huh???

Somehow got sucked in to having my profile sketched by some guy in a gallery. Said no a few times, but when that didn't seem to work, I sat down and awkwardly tried to look natural and calm. I was so relieved when the 10 minute sketch was completed, I don't know what in the world made me agree to a side profile.

Ran out of water half way through my shower. Have a mowhawk on my leg. Think it's a good look.

Went to the free cinema in town. Thought I'd be able to understand the gist of the storyline if it was only in Spanish, would definitely be able to follow if it was an English movie with subtitles, but think, linguistically, I was aiming a little high when I sat through a 2 hour documentary in muffled Spanish about trade between Costa Rica and the United States. Not so easy to digest, that film.

God I miss Australia Post! Finally decided to offload 5 kg from my 'bag o' shit' so took my load to the P.O. hoping to pack it in a box and send it off. Not so easy...
The post office doesn't stock boxes, so you have to go into all the nearby shops and find one (and hopefully one the right size). Then after I'd found the perfect box and I thought I was ready to rock, I was told I had to wrap the box in manilla coloured paper. Of course! But they don't stock teh paper in the P.O. Of course!! Just as I was about to go off in search of the paper, the nice woman behind the counter slipped me a thin, fragile slip of pink paper and said I oculd use that (oooh, I feel so naughty!).
Paid my $100 (sending by boat is NOT an option in Mexico, only by air - of course, especially seeing as though it's surrounded by so much water) and left Oaxaca feeling light and bouncy...almost (very short lived feeling though, 'bag o' shit' still weighs a hefty 20kg).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Zipolite and a $6 kiss

To another beach, but this time what I had initially imagined a tranquil, relaxing beach to be. No clubs, just beautiful waves, turquoise water and lots of walks and early nights...and sleazy boys!

Not sure what separates this beach from the others, but within my first 3 hours of arriving in Zipolite, I'd had 2 guys try to kiss me and a 3rd take his clothes off for me. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that this was a beach where nudity is commonplace, I'm not sure.

The young taxi driver (after me making up a story for the first time and saying that I had a boyfriend) asked me if I'd like another one for my time here in Zipolite. No thanks. He then offered me the taxi ride for free if I kissed him. Lets see...that's 60 pesos, about $6. I guess that's the most anyone's ever offered me for a kiss before. As temtpting as the offer was (not) I declined, exited, and awaited the next offer.

A perfect place

We decided at the last minute to go on a tour of the local lagoon (Laguna Manialtepec), so when we got to the boat and started to make our way through the centre of the lagoon, surrounded by mangrove forests either side, I knew we'd made the right decision.
This place was amazing, and for the first time that I can remember I was completely immersed in nature and couldn't see a hint of urbanisation within cooee.
We put putted through narrow canals of mangroves, ducking so we could fit through the narrow opening. This was where the first Tarzan was filmed, and being there I could imagine the wildlife coming alive behind the thick screen of lush, vibrant green mangroves. I've never seen such an expansive area of mangroves before, I think they extended for about 15 km. The patterns made by their curving trunks, dipping into the lagoon was beautiful (if only I had a camera...damn last minute decisions).
The birdlife was amazing, and we had arrived in the quiet time, about 6pm in the evening. Apparnetly the morning is like another world. Such huge birds that I've never seen before, and really quirky looking ones too. Crazy! I love them!
We continued to meander through the mangrove canals, and just as the sun seemed to be getting lower and lower we came out to where the lagoon met the sea. We got out and sat on a narrow stretch of sand between the two bodies of water and watched the sunset As corny as it sounds, it was just like watching a bright red ball, melting into the misty mountains off into the distance. This place was paradise.
We sat in the darkness, watching the remaining light fade away, only to be replaced with millions of stars (again, I can't remember the last time I saw so many stars, like a twinkling blanket putting the sky to bed). Then, when it was dark, we got back into our dingy and made our way towards the centre of the lagoon.
Sergio (our guide) stopped the boat, tested the depth of the water (about 1.5m), then stripped off and dove in. He then started waving his hands underwater and you could see a glowing white trail following his hands and he was twinkling. Phosphorescence.
Without needing any further coaxing, half of us joined him and begain to play with the water. It was so beautiful, like having liquid stars dripping from our fingertips.
It's funny though, there was no way in the world that I would have swam in that lagoon if I could have seen around me, imagining crocodiles and crazy, scary things eating me, but in total darkness...out of sight, out of mind. It was lovely. And the water was so warm too, like bath water (a bit of a surprise seeing as though it was about 9pm). Apparently, the most dangerous thing living in the lagoon were mosquitos, so it was with that information too that I was so willing to play.
So we swam and we played and we twinkled, then we started making our way back to land again. Sergio used the torch only from time to time, and for the rest of the journey, we floated back in darkness, just being able to make out the sillouette of the mangrove forests either side of us. Besides the sound of the outback motor (spew, put, put) it was divine...a perfect place, and you coudn't wipe the cheesy grin of happiness off my face if you tried.

Puerto Escondido

I finally made it to a place where I can relax. I ended up spending about 5 days in a deckchair, sipping on margaritas, watching sunsets, going for yet another swim as soon as I dried off from the last, eating seafood in the sand, reading book after book, and participating in a spot of partying (well, more than I probably would have imagined during my "relaxing" week by the beach...but it's holidays...what can a girl do?).

Acapulco...eugh, errr!

I wanted to head directly to the coast from Taxco, and when I found out that the only destination I could get to by bus was Acapulco, I sighed, bought a ticket and resigned myself to the fact that the next day or 2 were going to be an "eye opener" to say the least. I was going to the Spring-Break destination of thousands of gringos! Luckily for me it was the end of their holidays and (apparently) most had already returned to their frat houses. It wasn't empty by any means though, and we decided to embrace all that the town had to offer. This ended up involving spending most of the day in a beachside, having anything we could think of delivered to us in our deckchairs, then going to the closest club to our hotel called "Paradise" where we watched with shock a mini Mexican J-Lo get up on a podium, pull her pants down to reveal pretty much all of her arse (G banger lost in there somewhere too) and start gyrating for the duration of the evening. We then watched some dude get friendly with her, and start rubbing his face in her arse, then watch as she spun around and around. Oh what fun! Nothing like a bit of family friendly entertainment to get you in the mood for a nice beachside holiday...
It wasn't all like an R-rated Disneyland by the sea though, we did manage to watch the cliff divers (La Quebrada Clavadistas) who were pretty spectacular as they dove into a narrow gap between rocks from a height of 35m. Now that's entertainment!


Towards Taxco I headed, with a spring in my step, as this is the land of silver, and every girl who likes silver jewellery's dream! (pretty town too).

As soon as I got off the bus and started following my own directions to the hotel, I got lost and ended up staying somewhere else with a lovely couple who gave me a tour of the town from their rooftop (too easy, no walking involved). I understood about 30% of what the man was saying to me (didn't have the heart to ask him to slow down so kept smiling and saying "si, si"). Kept hearing the word church again and again, so figured there were a lot of churches in this town (which ended up being not too far from the truth).

This town is so sweet. Narrow cobbled-stone streets meandering up steep hills, silver shops filling the town, balconies overlooking VW beetle filled roundabouts, and jewellery, jewellery, jewellery everywhere.

I thought about going crazy, but then after I realised that it wasn't actually that cheap, and then that one can't post anything of value in the mail, and that I didn't actually like alot of what was being sold, it was an easy decision not to buy out the town.
So to the coast I go...


the view from the Regional Museum

the red room (Museo Robert Brady)

Architecture of Cuernavaca

So, with a hint of sadness, I said adios to Mexico City and the great folk I met there, and travelled just a little further south to Cuernavaca.
I was a bit surprised by the so called "relaxing" plaza in town. There were so many birds, swooping and shitting all over the shop, that one could hardly hear themselves think, let alone relax.
But, what I did find in this town was Museo Robert Brady (the old residence of an American artist, and avid purchaser of art). It was so gorgeous, art crammed into every orifice, with every colour from the rainbow featured throughout the house, a different colour choice for every room. Ah...I could so imagine living in a place like this! The art that he'd collected over the years was so inspiring too, from such a diverse selection of artists (Diego Riveira included) and masks from all over the world. Such a shame that my 'bag o' shit' is so damn heavy already, because I'd quite like to start a collection like this myself.
Stopped to buy a juice from a gazebo in the centre (which was apparently designed by the guy who designed the Eiffel Tower) and the 2 women inside the small space were completely surrounded by bees (mmm..sweet, sweet fruit). Risky business!