28.03.2011 - 31.03.2011 25 °C
From Puerto Escondido, we left for Oaxaca State. It is a pleasant town, with a very well preserved Zócalo (downtown) and an impressive cathedral. Being from Europe Colonial cities are perhaps not as impressive to us as for Americans, but it was nice enough to hang out in for a few days. We were also craving to go to the cinema; last time we’ve been to a cinema was in Bolivia. We saw a great movie; I can’t recall the name but it was a true story about two boxers and brothers… We also tried the so famous Mescal, Mexican tequila. Drinking mescal requires a sort of preparation, first the salty chilly specie, then tequila sip, followed by lemon and finished by some orange slices to sweeten it up.
We also decided to go trekking for a few days. It was all a bit poorly planned, so we ended up in a village that you couldn´t really trek from. After that we had to take some sort of local transport, hike for a while, though we got lucky and got a ride with some guy. In the end we came to one of the villages part of the Pueblo Mancomunados. Basically these are villages that cooperate in some sort of eco/adventure tourism thing, where you can bike or hike between the villages.
Even though it was a bit late we decided to rent bikes and cycle a route. We asked how long it would take and calculated that we would make it back before dark. When we got to the first village we asked in their tourist office again and was again reassured that we would make it back in time, it was just a climb up for an hour and then 20 min downhill. After walking with the bikes up for 1 ½ hour it started to get dark. We kept walking uphill for another 1 hour in the dark until we met a car in the middle of the forest. They told us that in 30 min we would be back in the village. We must have carried on for another hour uphill and by now we were completely exhausted and having trouble not to panic. Laura was pretty scared going downhill in the dark so we mainly walked down. We were suppose to gotten back around 19, but in the end we came back at 22.30pm. It was a bit strange that the tourist office had not send out any help or search squad. Anyways when we got back they were waiting for us, worried that something had happened to us. Luckily we managed to get some warm food and drink from them. Its difficult to describe this ordeal, but imagine being lost in a forest in the pitch dark for 4 hours, after a while your mind starts playing tricks on you and you have to work hard not to freak out completely.
The next day we decided to walk to one of the other villages a 4 hour trek following a canon. It was really an amazing trek, the landscape was amazing, especially some weird trees that we saw along the way. I don’t know how quick the tourist office staff walks or bikes, but again, this was definitely not a 4 hour trek. Actually the signs that they had were wrong as well. It was pretty hard as we all the time thought that we were almost there until we asked a lady that we met, who told us that it was still 30 min uphill. We arrived to the village after 6 hours and walking on to the next village was definitely not possible.
After asking around we finally managed to get a ride with a bakery van delivering bread and other goodies to these remote villages. The only problem was that I had to go in the back of the van in complete darkness and with a risk of running out of air. Actually in the end there was a small hole in the van so that I could breath. It was funny, once the door opened so that he could hand over some bread to some guy working in a shop, the guy got a chock seeing a gringo sitting inside in the dark. The driver just went “Oh yeah we´re just driving around with a gringo among our bread”.
After that we managed to get a ride with a empty schoolbus from on of the larger villages down to the main highway. The guy driving basically just took us so that he could talk to us. He even drove slow so that he could tell as much as possible, sometimes he just stoped in the middle of the road to explain something with more enthusiastic with both his hands. One crazy thing was that he told us that he had sneaked over the US boarder for a bit just for fun, I mean not really because he had to, but just to see what it was like. It had definitely been an adventure, not all positive, but it was pretty interesting how we managed to get back as we planned in the end.