Before I left Oaxaca, I needed to make it memorable:
1. I went to Cuajimoloyas to ride a very long zipline
2. saw an unforgettable rodeo competition in Reyes Etla with my friend Alberto
3. got my first tattoo
My first motorcycle ride was to test its capabilities. Little did I know that the road is not paved and quite long. I went to Cuajimoloya via the pueblo of Benito Juarez, riding up a dusty and veryt curvy road, with plenty of stones and no traffic at all. The views and the loneliness were nice, but I wish I was up there faster. Cuajimoloya is a village on top of the mountain, with hiking trails and camping areas along them. I only had a few hours to spend there so I did what any tourist would: try out the cable zipline crossing above the whole village, wondering if the houses are meant to act as a safety net. And while for some this ride was the thrill of their life, I really tried to enjoy it, or at least the view from up there. The ride takes 60s at full speed (I didn’t break at all), but it doesn’t go too fast.
The way back was a lot more enjoyable as I took the paved road.
We left the hostel at four, when the rodeo was supposed to start. We got there at 5 and we were left waiting for at least two hours before the first bull came into the arena. Meanwhile we made fun of all the people passing in front of us, losing balance due to the uneven ground. That was probably the most entertaining part of the evening. The event took place in a field, where a stage, seats and the arena, were set up. As a gringo that I am, I went there in my flip flops and tshirt, which proved to be a very bad choice as soon as the night came with cold wind and generous rain. Luckyly, the sellers instantly changed their merchandise from food to sheets of plastic to take cover. Nobody left their seats and nobody cared to even bring up the topic of rain. Everyone was dressed up in their Sunday clothes, ready to watch some bull riding. Getting back to the interesting part, the rodeo itself. For a start, the bull doesn’t die at the end, but gets back to its cage. The evening began with the beginners, riding some smaller and docile bulls. One of the bulls simply fainted after 20s. The more interesting part of the show followed after a long performance of the trumpet fanfare and a pair of not-so-funny entertainers. The bulls were huge and teriffying, and one of them kept jumping straight up in the air with the rider, at least 50cm off the ground. The cold prevented us from staying till the end, but even at that time of night we had to walk about 2km to the main road so we can grab a taxi back to the city. It was a nice experience. (Video 1, Video 2, Video 3)
3.Oh, you came here to see my new tattoo? oh well, click here to see it, or keep reading. The new tattoo happened because it was a good deal and I liked how the guy works – seen on a few british tourists who came to the hostel for a night. It’s just the first. ‘Nough said.
The trip took me further in the mountains, to San Jose del Pacifico, a village probably famous for the halucinogeninc mushrooms and the “temezcal” – a healing sauna with massage. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any mushrooms (less abundent rainy season) and the temezcal was a no-go because of the fresh tattoo. The ‘shrooms are illegal here, and they might be afraid of the authorities, but nobody seems to care about that when they light up their joints every evening. . The whole place becomes very quiet and smoky after sunset, and there is no visible activity on the streets. There is plenty of ganja smokers around every corner, lurking in the darkness, hiding their faces and pretending not to be gringos. Some logging trucks pass until midnight, making it hard to sleep if you’re by the main road, but not worse than the talking tourists next door. There are a few friendly houses on the hill, hosting backpackers (Casa Catalina, Hostal Sueno Atrapado, Casa ) but none of them was able to host my motorcycle as well. Therefore I ended up in probably the worst place: Hotel Pacifico – on the right side of the road, with a generous parking place right in front. The bike slept well by some BMWs, but my room was surrounded by loud lovers and weed smokers. Nothing against either one of them, if the rooms were soundproof, or at least smoke-proof.
The best part was definitely the road. Foggy or not, the views from San Jose del Pacifico are really nice. There is a special something about the way the village is built. Not only this village, but all of them along the way – build on the top of the hills, on poles, or half dug in the side of the hill. Houses here seem to just pop up, with no plan and no approval. The winding road made me appreciate how lucky I was not to be stuck in a tourist van or bus. I could stop wherever I wanted to enjoy the scenery, but in the end I just rode. I didn’t even stop at the countless little shops with 10 types of bananas or cold coconuts. I rode until the trees turned yellow, the road became dusty, and the heat became unbearable. Welcome to Pochutla! Bought gas and rode further. The beach of Zipolite was not in my plan, but it was too good not to stop there for a night. It was the right choice. Not many people, not much to do, not very expensive, and here I met my Couchsurfing host from Puerto Escondido – Hecka. However, the weather was hot. Too hot for my ass.