Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

April 3rd, 2003.-- Mexico: Day 1,414 = 49 countries with over 88,475 miles

Credit to

Fiesta in Oaxaca

-- Story by Erin --

Monday, March 31st:  We tore ourselves away from the beach and made for Oaxaca, about 250 kms north and east. We crossed some very high and cold pine covered-mountains at 2,700 meters and had to stop to put on our heavy fleece jackets. Our lunch stop was in a little village about 40 kms from Oaxaca, at a taco stand in front of the local church. We looked at what some of the locals were having and ordered that. One of the old farmers came over to us and offered to show us (and hopefully sell to us) his homemade moonshine----mezcal. Mezcal originates from this region and is like a smoother form of tequila. Sometimes they blend it with dried fruit or hang a raw chicken in the distilling vats, and add a worm into the bottle. Chris could hardly say no to the old guy so we ended up with a small bottle of the stuff. But I’m a bit suspicious of it because it has little floating bits of unidentified stuff in it.

While we were eating lunch we were also entertaining the local school children translating Spanish words into English for them. One little boy kept saying "Good morning!" over and over again, despite our attempts to correct him (it was 1pm).

By the time we arrived in Oaxaca (260km and 108 speed bumps) it was about 2pm and hot again. It took until 4:30pm to locate a decent hostal. Oaxaca is not the best for cheap accommodation as it is such a touristy place. After getting it all sorted, we ended up with a room with 4 beds (Chris and Simi joined us as well) and no bathroom for $15 per couple. But it was close to the center of the action and they let us park our bikes for free at a house several blocks away.

Tuesday, April 1st: Erin’s Birthday! 7:00am I get my first birthday call from the states from my parents. They are thrilled that this will be the last birthday on the road and we can celebrate properly next year. At 8am comes the call from Chris’ parents too which was really nice. Next comes a big breakfast of fried eggs, real bacon, fresh orange juice and a cappuccino coffee set out on the roof-deck table. My gifts include a red rose from Chris and Simi, a Newsweek magazine from Chris, and of course birthday cards in Spanish. Who could ask for more?!?

We spend the day wandering around the old colonial part of town, watching the locals, poking through craft shops, admiring the churches and taking lots of pictures. In the late afternoon we all enjoy a huge chocolate birthday cake, complete with my name on it spelled correctly. We were so stuffed with cake that no one felt like going out for a big dinner so we settled for hot dogs and hamburgers on the Zocolo, listening to the mariachi bands.

Wednesday, April 2nd: Chris and Simi leave for the border. This might be the last time we see them as they are headed directly for the border now to meet a friend in San Francisco by the 10th. Chris and I relax, catch up on emails and see a movie during the day. In the evening we meet the friendly group of motorcyclists from the local BMW motorcycle club. They fill us in on many of the local things to see, including the wonderfully restored Santo Domingo church and the Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán nearby.

Thursday, April 3: We get up early and visit the ruins of Monte Albán before the day gets too hot. The site is very exposed at the top of a hill, with almost no trees for shade. Since this is the dry season everything is brown. I’m concerned that the flat colors and heat will make me regret spending the money to see the sight. We are surprised however when we arrive and notice the different architecture and how the brown and white colors of the ruins contrast nicely with the absolute blue sky. Even the temperature is moderate with cool breezes.

The Zapotec culture was very different from the Mayas, although the both existed around the same time. You can see the differences especially in their art and sculptures, and their use of circular columns as room supports. But they did share many similarities, especially in their temples dedicated to observing the stars, sun and moon to determine the planting and harvest.

After about 2 hours we returned to town and visited the church of Santo Domingo. This church dates from 1608 and is considered the finest example of baroque architecture in Mexico. Inside it has been painstakingly restored with a huge gold altar some 30 meters high. In fact there is so much gold leaf here it is overwhelming. We watched a young man delicately applying gold leaf to a column. When you observe how long it takes to apply you really appreciate how much time and effort went into the restoration of the rest of the church.

Decided to experiment with the famous local cuisine for lunch-----mole (richly colored sauces made from exotic ingredients).  The central market has a huge indoor section dedicated solely to cooking local meals.  We went for the big daddy of all mole's, mole negro.  It is a rich and heavy black sauce containing 17 different ingredients including cocoa beans and sesame seeds.  While experimenting and deciding whether we liked our meal, old women wandered past offering us another local specialty---chapulines (tiny grasshoppers.)  These little creatures come in three sizes and are fried, turning them a bright red.  Yummm!


April 1st -- Happy #38 to Erin!


We had a party, and lots of locals came

Checking out the weavings -- so pretty, but no room on the bikes!


Around the Zocolo -- the central plaza


Street vendor offering a wide range of basket weavings


Tourists aren't buying their wood carvings, so these woman take a break


The ruins at Monte Albán


Some of the artifacts they found


Grave recreation in the museum


  Previous Chapter | Next Chapter


TOP | About Us | Costs | FAQ | Journal Entries | Links | Motorcycles | Photo Gallery | Supporters | Guestbook | HOME

  Sure, send us an email E-mail Us

There are probably dozens of errors on this website (if not more).   
If you notice/have any problems, please send us an email: Webmaster

The goal is not the destination, it's the experiences along the way.