Today was just a touch brutal, metaphorically speaking. We were up at 4.00 to leave at 5.00 to cover the large distance between Oaxaca City and our next destination, Chiapa Do Corzo in Chiapas State.
50 minutes after leaving, we pulled up at our first stop of the day - El Árbol de Tule. This is the largest tree in the world with a trunk measuring some 14m in diameter. It's not as tall as the Sherman sequoia in the US bit it's huge. At least, I think it was as it was hard to see in the pitch black with only a few street lights to illuminate the spectacle! I think the picture gives some idea of its scale but there you go.
Clambering aboard our bus in the cool dawn air, we set off for our next archaeological site, the Zapotec centre of Mitla. Much like Monte Alban, this was built on a hill and was a place of Royal life and ceremony, including human sacrifice and the offering of human hearts to the gods. However, it was much more compact and intact than the previous site. This was due to it being reinhabited by the Mixtecs and their allegiance with the Spanish. Furthermore, this was the first site where they found tombs, which we duly explored although they were small.
The most remarkable thing about Mitla were the wall frieses that are all original and over 2000 years old. The geometric patterns represent various gods and also the Zapotec belief in the circle of life, death and rebirth.
It took about an hour all told to explore the entirety of the site and so at about 10:00, we boarded the bus and there we stayed, barring comfort breaks, until we reached Chiapa Do Corzo at 20:00!! That's right, 15 hours since we left Oaxaca City!
The journey was pretty tortuous. The bus wound its way up and down mountain roads for the vast majority of the journey with only the last 3 or 4 hours on a straight road known as 'La Ventosa' or the windy one. Chiapas State, due to its positioning in the country, is buffeted by winds and, therefore, the Mexicans have taken advantage of this and built wind farms all along this stretch of the terrain. To be honest, I lost track of time on the coach so we could have been on La Ventosa 30 minutes, 4 hours or 5 years for all I knew! To compound the misery of 15 hours on the bus, I chose to sit on the wrong side meaning that the sun beat down on me for most of the journey. I didn't realise this due to the A.C. on the coach but now i know why I was feeling so ill at ease! I got pretty fed up with listening to music too so there was little relief from the monotony because I'm totally incapable of reading on a bus without projectile vomiting everywhere after about 10 minutes!
As you can imagine, I was tired and emotional by the end of the journey. A limp tuna salad and a beer at the hotel did little to alleviate my ennui, so I will retire to bed hoping for better things tomorrow!Read more