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Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Pascale's journal - Puebla to Oaxaca

Jan 21

I drove the next day to Tehuacan ( Bruce came down with a throat
infection and Francois too, but milder ). We stayed at Hotel Kaisers
Lautern at $800 pesos a room. Bruce and Francois saw a doctor who came to the room.

Jan 22

It's noon and we're waiting for our laundry to be ready. As they don't
have a dryer at the hotel, we left with wet socks !

We drove to Oaxaca, capital city of Oaxaca state, which is divided in 8
regions with 16 different ethnic groups. We stayed at Mision de Los

Jan 23

A guide came to our hotel and ride with us to see the biggest Tule
tree in Mexico at Santa Maria del Tule, a rug making place and Mitla's
Temple. The Tule tree was 2000 yrs old. It's a type of Cyprus tree. Near the city of Mexico where there are Tule trees people believe that if they bathed in the river where the roots are it will cure them from their diseases.

On the way there, we saw a statue and mural about Benito Juarez who
was president of Mexico from 1855-1872. Mexico is celebrating a
bicentinario because in 1810 Mexico became independent from Spain.

The rug making place was at Guelaguetza, which means HELP in Zapotec.
The children in the school learn Spanish and Zapotec.

At the Tapetes ( rugs ) making place ( Father and Son ), we saw the
process of dying the yarn. First, they use Amole ( root ) to wash the
sheep's wool in the river. When it's dry the card it. Then, they spin
it the old fashion way like Sleeping Beauty to make the thread. It takes 8 hrs to make 1 kilo of yarn.

The colors are made with natural ingredients :

Green : Pomegranate + limestone crushed ( at home baking soda
instead of limestone )
Ocre : Tumeric root ( Kurkuma )
Green gold : Pericon
Beige : Chamomille
Indigo : Amil fermented 2 months and works with oxidation
Orange : Paprika, Henna, achiote, cochinilla, pipil Huizache or
Dark red : Cochinilla ( a worm that lives in Cactus )
Dark Orange : Cochinilla and lime juice

They can get 350 different colors. They have different size looms. The
wider the rug the more pedals the loom has. They make the design first
on paper, then they paint the pattern on a paper template and they thread sometimes with the template under the thread ( made of cotton and wool ) in the loom. We bought a small rug for the boat with a Zapotec design.

We visited Mitla (950-1521 AD ). There was a beautiful stone design
Temple Zapotec dating from 1100 AD. They took many stones from that
Temple to build the church nearby. After that, we visited a small
Mezcal making place. Mezcal is a liquor made from agave cactus similar to tequila. It is about 80 proof. Francois had his first taste of Mezcal without knowing it. He filled his tasting glass under the spigot thinking it was going
to be sweet like the cooked fruit of the agave, but no was he
surprised !!

We bought Mezcal with the worm ( Gusano de Maguey ) in it.

We had dinner at the Asador Vasco on the Zocalo. Every Mexican town or
city has a Zocalo ( main square ). Oaxaca's Zocala : Plaza de Armas ).

Jan 24

I came down with a bug in my stomach, so we cancelled Monte Alban for
today. Instead, we took it easy. After I saw a doctor, we started with
the Basilica de Soledad ( Virgin of Solitude ) Oaxaca's patron saint.
The Virgin statue inside is decorated with 600 diamonds and topped with
a 4lb gold crown. Her vestments are encrusted with pearls. The
concave facade, projecting forward from the building is unique in Mexico religious architecture ( open 7am-2pm and 4-6pm ).

Then, we had lunch on the Zocalo (town square). After lunch,we went to the Cathedral on the Zocalo. The Cathedral was originally erected in 1553, had to be extensively rebuilt in 1730 after a series of earthquakes and fires, which explains its solid walls and asymetrical towers. It has a Baroque facade and a bronze altar which was crafted in Italy. ( open daily 7am- 9pm ). The boys wanted to buy Quetes (rocket fireworks), so we drove through Mercados for a while without any luck.

We finished our church tour with the most magnificent church of Oaxaca and possibly of all of Mexico : Santo Domingo. The majestic Mexican Baroque temple began being built in 1575 and was completed later the same century, being consecrated in 1611. The facade of the temple was started at the beginning of the 17th century in the Renaissance style right at the forefront of the Baroque era. In the uppermost part is the shield of the Dominican Order and the symbols for faith, hope, and charity. The towers were finished in 1660 and are 35m high.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Pascale's journal - Ixtapa to Puebla

Our Land Trip in Central and Southern Mexico

Jan 10, 2010

We left Ixtapa at around 1pm going to Patzcuaro. We got there at dusk.
We stayed at " Hotel Ricon de Josefa ", which was nice, but chilly at
night. Still, we had hot water to shower. The next day,
we moved to another hotel on the main square " Hotel de Los Escudos ".
We stayed in the Suite with KIng size bed on the lower level and 2
matrimonials on the upper loft. It had a cheminee and exquisitely
furnished ( $1000 pesos/night ). The town of Patzcuaro is beautiful
and charming. We visited the Island de Janitzio with the statue of
Lazaro de Cardenas dominating the Island ( Cardenas was
governor of Michoacan from 1928-1932 and President of Mexico from
1934-1940 ). We walked to the top on steep stepped streets adorned by
vendors and restaurants.

Jan 12

The next day, we drove to Morelia, gorgeous town with Colonial
architecture. We stayed in the ' Centro Historico ' at the Hotel
Catedral, an OK hotel modern rooms, but in a nice colonial building.
We took the tour bus of the city. We saw the aqueduct and other colonial buildings and finished by the ' Museum de Dulce ', where we tasted fruit paste.

Jan 13

We drove to Toluca, a very ugly town. We checked a hotel downtownand
it was scary and dirty. We then asked a taxi to take us to a more
decent hotel. After, we located a hotel, the taxi took us back to get
our car and we followed him back to the Hotel Del Rey Inn. Except for the
decor of the restaurant, it was a nice hotel outside of dowtown for
business people.

Jan 14

We were happy the next day to get out of Toluca and drive to
Cuernavaca. We had to go over a moutain on a very curvy road. We
arrived at Cuernavaca at around 5pm. We stayed 3 nights at "Casa
Colonial ", which is in an old colonial private mansion. The first evening, we had dinner at " Gaia " by the Palacio de Cortez. It was expensive, but
delicious and elegant. The day after, we visited the Mayan pyramids of

We found a guide , who was an archeologist on the site It was
magnificent ! For dinner we stayed at Casa Colonial our hotel with
excellent food and service. The next day, we hired a guide at the
Palacio de Cortez ( old residence of Cortez and Fort built by Cortez ). Alfredo, our guide, recommended having lunch at " Indian Bonita ", very good mole. We took the double decker tour bus. Except for the folkloric dance mocking the Moors (spanish with long robe, beard, mask and tall hat ), it was not really worth it.

Again, we dinned at Casa Colonial. I had the beef with a cherry sauce
sublime ! From Alfredo's recommendation, we went to Tepoztlan a few
miles away from Cuernavaca, where there is a pyramid. The streets were
so packed with people that it was hard to get by with our car. We
asked a local what was going on and he said every Sunday it was like
this. The Mercado was going on and visitor walking to the top of the
mountain where the Pyramid is. Some believe if they make a wish at the pyramid, their wish will be granted. We were all so exhausted after climbing the 900m elevation that cheked in at a Posada with a splendid view of
the cliff with the pyramid. Next day, we had lunch at " Los Colorines " on
main street.

Jan 17

We drove for about 2 hrs from Cuernavaca to Puebla with splendid views
of the volcan Popocatepetl 5465m. We stayed near Centro Historico main
square at Hotel Real Santander ( very nice, near resto, shops,

Cathedral ). We had dinner 3 nights in a row at " Mural Poblano " very
close to the hotel walking. It was excellent food and reasonably priced.

We went on the Turibus the next day sightseeing the city. ( very good
tour ). Next day, we drove to Cholula to visit the largest pyramid
ever built in the world. It's not been excavated because of the
Catholic church that has been built on the top in the 1600's. Three pyramids were built one on top of the other. Archeologists have dug tunnels to be able to study the pyramids under the church. There is a replica worth seeing in the little museum that really show the structures well.

We had a guide, who also took us to Tonantzila, where there is a
Mexican Baroque church that was just beautiful. The same afternoon, we
saw Santo Domingo in Puebla, which is European Baroque. The 2 churches
are very amazing to see and worth the visit. Puebla was called before
Ciudade de Los Angeles

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Monte Alban video
01/25/2010, Oaxaca, Oaxaca State, Mexico

This is a short video of our visit to Monte Alban

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Monte Alban
01/24/2010, Oaxaca, Oaxaca State, Mexico

Francois and Antoine admire the ancient city of Monte Alban, near Oaxaca. Monte Alban was built in the 5th century B.C. by the Zapotec indians, flourished for about a thousand years, and was finally abandoned in the 7th century AD, probably because of lack of water.

The early Zapotecs had no writing system at the time but left beautiful stone carvings.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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If it ain't baroque, don't fix it
01/24/2010, Oaxaca, Oaxaca State, Mexico

The incredibly beautiful interior of the 16th century baroque church, Santo Domingo, in Oaxaca City. Construction began in 1572, not long after the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Oaxacan pickup truck & taxi

On the road between Oaxaca and the Pacific coast, a donkey powered pickup truck and the ubiquitous three wheeled Mexican taxi.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/23/2010, Oaxaca, Oaxaca State, Mexico

Chapulines (cha-poo-LEE-ness) are a Oaxaca specialty. Fried grasshoppers. I'm not kidding. Here they are on a restaurant menu.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Zapotec temple at Mitla
01/23/2010, Oaxaca

Pascale and Francois climb the beautiful 7th century Zapotec temple at Mitla, near Oaxaca.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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