Trip Start Dec 15, 2006
Trip End Feb 07, 2007

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Sunday, January 28, 2007

The trip to Oaxaca was my second overnight bus in a row having taking one the night before from Merida to Palenque. In planning it didn't seem too bad. But some dodgy lunch in Palenque changed all of that. About midnight I started suffering the consequences, and all I can say is I am thankful I chose the buses that have the on-board lav. I must apologise to the guy sitting in the seats in front of me. But I'm sure he'll think twice next time before laying with his legs across the aisle, blocking anyone, possibly mid spew, from rushing to the front door in an emergency (and possibly copping some himself).

If those episodes of illness weren't annoying enough, the actual trip wasn't idyllic either. It seems the majority of speed bumps on the roads in Mexico are contained on the trip from Palenque to Oaxaca. I guess the toll road hasn't been completed yet because for a majority of the route we were on semi-finished sealed roads as we hurtled through small towns and villages slowing only for the numerous speed bumps.

Upon arrival at Oaxaca I was pleased to find that the hostel I had booked was in fact not a hostel rather a house with some rooms they rented out to backpackers. This allowed me to get some long needed rest upon arrival.

Oaxaca was a rather heated place over the last 6 months. It saw a few protests during which people died. It started in July/August when striking teachers demanding pay rises  received less than warm treatment from the governor of the state, ordering in police to hand out beat-downs. Things got nasty from the outcome of these actions by the police (100 hospitalised). Over August to November there were more confrontations, one of which turned out to be fatal for a few people. The town was pretty bad, but after early December it was pretty safe again with things dieing down.

The nearby Mont Alban was home to a few tribes of Aztecs over the years, and was one o the reasons the Spaniards decided to settle Oaxaca after their conquest. Just like Merida it is full of old Spanish style buildings and massive Catholic churches. The region is pretty cool to see from above. The town is set in the meeting of 3 major valleys from the North, East and West. Mont Alban, a few hundred meters vertically above the town provides some great views. The ruins of Mont Alban itself are pretty cool too. Several buildings date from 100B.C and like the other ruins around the place, is remarkably well preserved. It was settled from about 200B.C to around 900 when the site, like other ancient settlements, was abandoned. Later on the Mixtecs used the site as a burial ground and built a few cool tombs, but nothing major.
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