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The travelling tales of a free spirit... All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware..

Waves, death and the Zapatistas!

UNITED KINGDOM | Wednesday, 12 November 2008 | Views [670] | Comments [4]

Lies about waves and walking...

Oli and I had a brilliant time in Puerto Escondido. It´s a proper surfer hangout (dude) and lots of fun. We stayed in a little cabana that even had a pool (this is a novelty for a backpacker and very handy when the waves reach the sky). We spent the morning watching amazing surfers on Zicatela beach. I am in awe of them completely and would love to be as good; having only ever surfed twice I think I may have a long way to go.

We explored all beaches in the area and found some where we could swim without being completely wiped out; they were beautiful and I was very happy! After meeting the most enthusiatic man I think I´ve ever met (he´s American say no more) we all took a bus to Mazunte for ´´calmer water´´ supposedly a ´´great spot for swimming´´. On first glance this appeared to be the case but further inspection showed us something different. The waves were huge! We had a great day and I swam in the biggest waves I have ever been near...

Most of the day was spent gazing up towards a magnificant wall of water heading my way...about to come crashing down on top of me and drag me to the ground.

Every time I felt the nerves in my stomach as I dived underneath. I squinted, held my breath and hoped it wouldn´t grab me in its clutches, pick me up and spin me again and again in its forceful splendour. This of course happened a handful of times. These times resulted in me almost eating a grainy meal of sand, pulling myself up to standing again and feeling dazed. Most of the time, however,  I managed to escape this and instead feel exhilarated and happy and that I made it.

Of course something always goes wrong with me and I ended up with a grain of sand stuck in my eye for the next day and a half. This was not fun but when it came out I felt great! After fun by the beaches we decided to move on to Oaxaca.

El dia de los Muertos

On arrival here I was not impressed. The staff at the hostel were really unfriendly, nowhere was open for breakfast, we couldn´t check in until 1pm and after our night-bus (with no sleep due to windy roads and a coughing man behind) all we wanted was food and somewhere to sleep. Hmph. I missed the beach already. After a few days in Oaxaca however, I began to really like it. We met a man at a taco stand who ran a boxing gym and was qualified to train men for the olympics...so I had a boxing lesson here in Mexico. Why not? A scottish guy we met came too and we trained for a couple of hours...we got the hang of the speedball finally and also received a huge shot of Mezcal at the end. This made us feel drunk almost instantly!

It was also in Oaxaca where I had a 2 hour Spanish lesson for free in exchange for helping out with a salsa lesson; sounds like a good deal to me! This place was full of a few random events also including taking a bus to see the world´s largest tree in El Tule. It really was huge.

Denise (from Sutton...small world?!) and I decided to take a local bus to the ruins of Monte Alban instead of the tourist bus, pah! Who needs to pay 4 times as much?? Well the bus went the right way but unfortunately for us it stoppes at the bottom of the hill as opposed to the top. We stepped off the bus to the sound of the laughing bus driver and his friend. Ha bloody ha. It was a bit of a walk to the ruins - all uphill with no shade and with locals telling us it was just around the corner...at every corner... By the time we got there I wasn´t really that bothered but the ruins were very interesting.

I explored the colourful markets of Oaxaca and tasted the delicious chocolate. There was ´chocolate street´which you could smell as you turne dinto it aahh it´s so good! You can watch them making it as you sit sipping hot chocolate and watching the hustle and bustle outside.

A decision was made by all to stay in this town for El dia de Los Muertos: The day of the dead. This is a HUGE celebration in Mexico and we were in one of the best cities to celebrate it. In the day there were parades all the time with everyone dressed up as skeletons or scary creatures. The Mexicans believe that in this couple of days the spirits of the dead are most likely to come back and visit. To encourage this they make a huge shrine/alter with a photo of the deseased in the centre. They surround this with hundreds of bright marigolds and the person´s favourite food and drink. We walked through a display of many alters on the first day. We were with a Mexican guy we knew and he explained everything to us. A random man also gave us food to help us feel a part of the celebrations. Everyone there was so friendly and welcoming.

In the evening we went to some cemetaries where many families sit and pray and celebrate the life of their loved one. There are bright marigolds everywhere and candles to illuminate the entire cemetary. I really like the idea of this. I spoke to one elderly lady who was there for her father. On his grave was a skeleton on a horse and she explained that he loved horse-riding every day and her face lit up as she spoke about him...I found that some tourists there were disrespectful and only there to take photos which was sad. For me it was more about speaking to the people there and enjoying their spirit of celebration. It was a very interesting evening and unlike anything I´ve ever seen.

Bailando!

Our other evenings there were so much fun! We found a salsa club and I danced the night away with guys who are brilliant! (And some who are not). I danced with one for about 7 songs in a row as he was so good...I also learnt cumbia which is pretty easy and fun. On halloween we all dressed up (kind of) and went out to party but a few of us disappeared back to the salsa club :)I had also met an Australian guy in Oaxaca with the most beautiful green eyes I´ve ever seen and he joined in with the salsa...and he was good! We spent the whole of the next day just laying in a hammock together talking and singing (no I´m not a fully fledged hippy yet) but I had to leave him to catch my bus that evening. :(

Visiting Mexican Rebels in Balaclavas... for a chat

I took the bus to San Cristobal de Las Casas or as I like to describe it: ´´The Place Where One Must Sleep With 5 Blankets to Stay Alive´´. It was freeeezing here at night. After the first day I decided to stay for only one more night but then I got an ear infection (there´s always something)so decided that moving on would be a pain. The nice doctor gave me drugs which I´m still taking so fingers crossed.

Whilst here Adiam and I visited Chamula (a local village) with a colourful market and a beautiful church. I´m not really one for exploring churches but inside this one were hundreds of candles and the floor was covered in pine needles. It was really spectacular inside and we watched a few rituals taking place involving chickens being rubbed over the people whilst continuously chanting. I was scared I may witness the death of said chickens but they escaped this fate whilst there. Phew.

A few of us went to another village Zinacantan which was really quiet. We watched the school children playing games and came across a little girl up the road who was so sweet; we gave her some food and she looked like she had won the lottery. The children are so lovely here.

One evening we watched a film about the Zapatistas who took over San Cristobal in 1994 and are a rebel group against the Mexican government. I decided that I agreed with their cause and wanted to meet them. They don´t want to overthrow the government but only want to support the indigenous people and to be left alone by the military. The next day Mitch (the green-eyed Australian) arrived to meet me and I took him and Zoe from the hostel with me on a journey to meet them.

When we stepped off the bus and watched it drive off I won´t lie - I was a little nervous. There was a man in a balaclava, armed and guarding the gate. He seemed to be the only one around and did not look welcoming. I walked up and asked him politely if we could enter. He took our passports and let us in. Phew. We had to explain to a few other masked men why we there there. I thanked god for my Spanish classes. They speak another language there but these men all knew Spanish too. One of the main members then explained in depth about their cause and what they are like as people. He said they still have a military checkpoint there and they just want them to leave. A while ago the military massacred a huge group of the Zapatistas. They raped the women and killed innocent people. This is the other side to the 1994 revolt that no-one hears about. We walked around their village and saw the school and hospital. All of us were so happy we went. The masks make the Zapatistas look frightening but they are very friendly people and only want what is right.

Clubs and Crocodiles

We went to a few clubs in San Cristobal and I got to dance Salsa some more :) A couple of local guys also took me and Zoe to a Reggae club which was lots of fun. One of them was a great dancer so we got on well! In the day we visited the Canyon (El Sumidero) with some German girls we met in the hostel. We saw crocodiles really close to our boat and some monkeys too. The canyon was spectacular. Once again I had to leave the Australian and travel to Palenque...

Comments

1

hi cabbage, still enjoying yourself i see, cant be bad. life much the same here, big john??? remember him, asks how you are, he is coming to our computer course at home on monday. this is week five. he wants to learn how to e-mail?. its been good, learnt a lot really. just been to pick up some rare breed pigs, british lops.and didge has bought herself a dexter calf to run on for breeding and milk, the good-life?? they will still be here when you get back, but the lincoln long-wool sheep will be in the freezer by then, but we will be getting some more so you should see them, a small breeding herd, pity your a veggie, although we have started an allotment, potatoes, beans, marrows, courgettes, toms & cues, will find you something to eat, mums coming up next month hopefully once james is back to look after the dog, oh yes didge is also getting a new german shepherd pup., speak soon, keep safe. love MOG XXXXX

  john watts Nov 14, 2008 10:03 AM

2

Hello poppetface!!! what travelous fun it seems you are having! who is this ginger guy? are you and he...(ha ha!) Here at rosie's house with jenny aswell watching x factor and drinking le vino blanco, thinking of you and missing you muchly!!(abi) xxx

Hello Shlley! Looking gorge and in your element once again, I'm very happy for you x x x keep living the dream and remember, you're not missing a thing! Lot of love Rosie x x

Hey love,
You look amazing. You look like you are having the best time ever! Have you got through your dry patch yet? By the way who is mr Ginger? Fill us in Shel. Would love for you to be here. Love you xxxxxxxx

  abi/rosie/jenny Nov 16, 2008 7:39 AM

3

where are you CP.

  john watts Dec 25, 2008 8:40 AM

4

Hi sorry was in Cuba for 3 weeks with no internet...well they have it but it´s really expensive, really slow...and comes with a queue of a hundred people! Am back in Mexico, have LOTS to write about, have just replied to all emails etc so can add another entry in the next couple of days... xxxx

  shelley Jan 3, 2009 11:26 AM

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