Sunday 1 May 2022

Oaxaca State... Its pretty nice here

Sorry, its been a few weeks since my last post.

We are still in the Mexican State of Oaxaca.  Coming from such a small country like the UK it's hard to get your head around the size of countries like Mexico. For example, Oaxaca , which is one of 32 states, is 4 times bigger than Wales and the same size as Portugal. 

So far we have only been in 2 states, Veracruz and Oaxaca. We are coming to the conclusion that getting around the remaining 30 States might take a few years. 

Our last Blog post ended at the Pacific coast town of Zipolite, which was an eye opening experience.  Heading slightly north we found ourselves at the very small coastal village of Ventanilla. The community here rely on tourists who come to see their sea turtle hatcheries and Crocodile infested Mangroves.

Every night Patrols comb the beaches looking for either the huge Pacific Green Turtles or the smaller Dolfino Turtle. 

I was lucky enough to join one of the patrols. Their aim is to protect the turtles themselves from being killed for their meat and shells and to also collect the eggs and hatch them out in a much safer, well protected, sanctuary.  Turtle meat and eggs are a well desired delicacy in the restaurants of Mexico.

After a few hours of patrolling, we came across a huge, 150 kg,   Pacific green turtle and stayed with her until near daybreak whilst she hauled herself up the beach, dug a huge hole in the sand, and layed about 70 eggs and buried them before returning to the ocean. We then retrieved the eggs and delivered them safely to the hatchery. It was a real privilege to witness.

We were only able to use a red light to see the event as white light can disturb the Turtles and cause them distress.

Just a few hundred meters inland from the coast was the large freshwater Mangrove lagoon. This wetland was home to a huge number of birds and reptiles including large crocodiles. Ironically the tour guide with only one arm insisted it was safe to go there.

The busy town of Puerto Escondido wasn't really our thing. It was a Mecca for young hippy types trying to find themselves and surfers. It did, however, give us a great opportunity to meet up for lunch with some well known Adventure Motorcyclists, Spencer Conway, Cathy Nel and Elpeth Beard. All of whom have completed amazing journeys, circumnavigating the globe. Spencer was telling us about his incredible ongoing plans to get his motorcycle through the mountains and jungles of the Darien Gap. 

Laguna Manialtepec is a 15 km long brackish water that kisses the Pacific Ocean, mixing seawater and freshwater during occasional high tides . This is also home to fantastic birdlife including Ospreys, Black Hawks and more Crocodiles.  It is, however, more famous for its Bioluminescence which is caused by a specific Algae that exists in the water.  A night time boat ride and a swim in the pitch black was a slightly scary experience but it was fun to see your movements illuminated.  Swimming in the dark in the middle of a Crocodile infested lake, and lighting yourself up now sounds a bit stupid   We didn't get any pictures of this so I stole this image from the web.

The Crocodile proof inflatable Kayak came out and we spent a few great days enjoying this lake. 

The Pacific was a great place to spend some time. Although Brilliant for surfing the sea was often a little too rough for swimming. One place that offered calmer seas was San Agustin. Here we met up again with our old friends Sigrids Sigrid and Peter.

The sea here was much calmer and relaxing.

Whilst here Pat took the opportunity to take part in a full weekend online seminar for overland travel called the Armchair Adventure Festival. It was great fun and highly recommended.  

Like most people these days I spend a few hours a week browsing interesting media on Youtube. For a couple of years I have been an admirer of a French Duo who play the Cellos, aptly called 2 Cellos 
Whilst staying on the beach we spent some time chatting to a really nice French guy. It wasn't until after he had left that I realised that he was in fact 50% of this very successful act.

Whilst at the coast we realised that our shower tray, Which I made 10 years ago, was feeling a little spongy. An exploratory look ended in it being removed as it was suffering from rot. 

I decided to have a new one manufactured in Stainless Steel. This meant back to the bigger city of Oaxaca to find a fabricator. After a day of buzzing around the city on my scooter, I eventually found a guy whose work looked good. He was tasked with  the job . However, I have since learned that when a Mexican business says " Yeah 2 weeks no problema " this is in fact a very conservative estimation . So 4 weeks later our shower arrived. Luckily he had done a great job and it fitted carefully.

Life in a Big Overland Camper keeps you busy. There is always a list of jobs to do. I actually have three lists. " Jobs I need to do, "  " Jobs I should do but probably won't ever get round to doing  " and " Jobs have no intention of ever doing. 

Whilst waiting for the shower we set about the jobs list and by the time it arrived I had actually got halfway through the "Jobs I have no intention of ever doing list " so our waiting time wasn't completely wasted.
We even caught up on some long overdue medical checkups and dental work.

We also took time out to celebrate  Pat's 60th Birthday. lots of Food drinking and cake with our great friends Peter and Sigrid. 

Back in 2019 we left our truck in Peru and returned to the UK for a few months, because you need a Holiday from your holiday.  During this time we flew Portugal and hired a camper van for 2 weeks, because you need a holiday from your Holiday from your holiday.
During this trip, we met a couple from Liechtenstein called Denise and Alex.  Forward fast 4 years and they only turned up on the site we were on. What a small world.

We spent some great days with these guys including a day out to some local attractios . 

Not far from Oaxaca city is the tourist site of Hierve El Agua or Petrified waterfalls. An interesting geological feature with far too many steps to make it suitable for humans. 

After this we visited a Traditional family Mezcal distillery .
Mescal is a very popular, locally produced spirit that is created from the hearts of Agave plants that you see growing everywhere. 
The process included cutting all the leaves of 7 year old plants. Cooking them for several days in a big fire pit. Crushing the baked hearts to extract the juice and pulp then distilling the residue to make 85% pure clear Mezcal.
The beauty about Mezcal is that it appears to be able to be mixed with just about anything . Pat liked the rasberry variety. Our friends enjoyed a special brew that might of had a bit of Marijuana in it. You can even get it blended with Viagra. Apparently, this is very useful if you get really drunk. 
It stops you rolling out of bed .

After all the samples and a slow sobering up lunch break, handmade we visited the small town of Teotitlan which is famous for making handmade rugs using only natural dies and materials. 

Nights on Site were always fun with lots of games with the 4 Amigos.   Denise, Alex, Cate and Kurt.