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Monday, July 12, 2010

San Cristobal to Oaxaca City

The view back of San Cristobal as we leave

This is another overland blog illustrating the changing scenery as we cross southern Mexico from San Cristobal to Oaxaca City with an overnight stopover in Tehuantepec, a small town on the highway on coastal Oaxaca state which splits the travel time neatly into two successive five and a half hour journeys. I have included a good number of scenes to try to get the feel of the best sites on a long distance travel journey.

The road descends from a very high plateau overlooking the surrounding country for miles

We started out from San Cristobal at a high altitude and after half an hour emerge from the highlands descending with vast sweeping views of the surrounding regions of Mexico, slowly descending into the valley of Tuxtla.

As we descend we can see Tuxtla 40 km before we arrive

We could see Tuxtla in the distance 40 kms and over half an hour before we arrived.

Tuxtla from the highway

Tuxtla was very much a commercial Mexican city with a huge presence of Californian hypermarkets and industrial and shopping centres around the periphery. We simply waited 20 minutes for the next bus connection to Tehuantepec.

Distant views of the sea or a lake as we descend from a second high pass

The road descended further until it came to a hot lowland plain with views out to the left which looked like a bay of the ocean but could have been a coastal lake.

Hotel Oasis in Tehuantepec a small town of some 30,000 people

We stayed the night in hot little Tehuantepec a town with only one cheap hotel, which the guy on the desk tried to insist would be 480 although he had a mid range room for 300 Pesos as the proprietor had said by e-mail, only up four flights of stairs, which Christine had to drag the luggage up ending in near exhaustion.

The hotel had a courtyard consisting of one four storey tree

We had arrived at 8.30. By the time we got down to the little restaurant next door it was 9.30 and we then had to wait till 10.16 for them to serve omelette and French fries. The night was hot and humid so we had to sleep naked with barely half a sheet and we were still sweating.

A panorama from the roof of the Oasis (click to enlarge)

The little fly-ridden Tehuantepec market with women swatting their wares

When Christine went out in the morning to get mile for cafe con leche the woman she asked directions from warned her that she could get robbed, but nothing eventueated.

Five scenes from around the town square

Before we left I took a kstroll around the town square to get a glimpse of life in a small out of the way Mexican town on the road.

The town square

One nice thing about Latin America is the fact that women are happy to breast feed in public without feeling shy or inhibited.

The church on the way out to the bus station on the highway

Street scenes on the outskirts

A one horse cowboy with food to travel long distances

A Tehuantepec bario as we leave
Scenes of the distant high country we will again enter

The next days journey again climbed high passes through rolling highland country which seems to keep Mexico folded up into a creased tortuous landscape wherever you go.

A lake we passed by on the lowlands

Climbing again into more arid country

Back into rolling highlands with distant overviews

The scenery was gradually changing from lush to semi-arid interspersed with San Pedro-like cacti, some of which grew in great tree-like clumps.

View over the plants used to ferment Mezcal

The country continues traverse high passes with stunning distant views

Two views over rural Mexican settlements

The terrain has become more arid and full of tall trichocereus cacti

Eventually after another five and a half hours of travel we descended out of the last high pass into the central valley of Oaxaca and along the straight highway leading from the ruins at Mitla to Oaxaca City itself, passing several of the famous artisan villages along the way.

Coming down towards the central valley of Oaxaca

One of the villages on the outskirts in the distance

Arrival in Oaxaca City

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