Pascale's journal - Oaxaca to Acapulco & back to Ixtapa
04 February 2010
Today, we visited San Bartolo Coyotepec. This town has pre-Hispanic roots. It is principally known for the handmade black pottery which owes its color to the unusual technique used to heat and polish the pieces. The most common figures are rounded pitchers, pots, animals and lamps though you can find just about anything you can imagine. We bought 2 vases beautifully carved.
Then, we drove to Zaachila. We walked around the Central Mercado, where we found beautifully presented vegetables and fruits. The vendors were mostly women, who looked Indians probably descending from the Zapotecs. They were really gracious.
We had lunch at "La Capilla" in Zaachila on our way to Monte Alban. It's known to be the biggest restaurant in Oaxaca State (worth the visit ). On the menu, they had brain tacos and grasshoppers with guacamole... We opted for tacos de Pollo (chicken tacos ). I'm French, but I won't eat the grasshoppers ( Chapulines ).
We finished with Monte Alban. Only 15% of the site has been uncovered, and 50% of the uncovered part has been rebuilt. We bought a little statue of the Rain God of the Zapotecs ( Cocijo ).
Monte Alban situated on a mountain ( 400m-1315ft ) above the Oaxaca Valley. It was once the holy city of more than 30,000 Zapotecs.
People have lived in the Oaxaca Valley since about 2000 BC. Between 800-500 BC, there was an influx of new people, now called the Zapotecs. Around 500 BC, these people began the stupendous exercise of leveling the top of a mountain, where they would build Monte Alban.
They were influenced by the Olmec and Mayan. At its zenith in 300 AD, Monte Alban borrowed architectural ideas from Teotihuacan and dominated the cultural, religious, and economic life of the region.
Monte Alban declined in later years and by 800 AD was largely abandoned. Around the 13th century, it was adopted by the Mixtecs who added little architecturally, but left magnificent gold laden tombs for their royalty. The most famous of these is Tomb 7, because of its fabulous treasure. Unfortunately, we can no longer go in the tombs, because of vandalism. Open daily 8am - 5pm
We rested a bit at our hotel, ordered dinner for the boys in their room and went to " Los Chavales " an Argentinian restaurant Bar and Grill. We both had the Filete Lomo ( Filet Mignon ), accompanied with Spinach in creamy sauce. It was coming with 6 different sauces for the filet. It was delicious ! We also shared the salad " Capresse "- tomatoes, olive oil, mozzarella and basil ( albaca in spanish ). This restaurant is located on Netzahualcoyoth 300, open daily.
We left the " Mision de Los Angeles " Hotel in Oaxaca en route to Acapulco.
We stopped for lunch at Santa Maria Asuncion Tlaxiaco on the down the coast ( around 2pm ). We ordered an omelette with queso fondido ( for 1 person ), but it a was huge serving for 2. They brought a Flan for dessert. We were stuffed !
After Bruce drove for more than 7 hours on a mountain road with a lot
of topes ( speed bumps ), pot holes and a few trucks to pass, we
stopped for the night at the Hotel Costa Chica in Santa Maria Zapotepec ($300 pesos/night ) very clean with AC, King size bed. We had tacos for dinner and a Cerveza for $10 USD total ). Then we crashed in our bed.
We left Santa Maria Zapotepec around 11am. Bruce drove the all way. We stopped for lunch just before Santo Marcos. We arrived in Acapulco around 6pm. Just before entering the tunnel, we stopped at "Hotel and Travel " stand for information about hotel. They took us to " Las Torres Gemelas " at $600 pesos for suite with living room, kitchenette and 2 bedrooms upstairs ( 2 double and a king size ). The all building was dilapidated 60's era. The hot water pressure was less than a dribble (we're on the 30th, top floor). We swam at the pool before dinner. The restaurant of the hotel is buffet only and very expensive for what it is. However, the boys were happy to eat at a table there ( no room service ). Bruce and I had dinner at " La Mansion " which was an excellent and elegant restaurant a few blocks away. I had the tenderloin with sherry sauce with creamy spinach. They cut the piece of meat at our table and cook it at our table. As they brought out the raw steak and started slicing it, I was afraid for a little while that they would serve it to me raw. So, I asked : ' Este es cocino ? ',
they laughed and reassured me by bringing the cooktop by our our table. Meanwhile, I grabbed what I thought was a French pickle.... silly me it was a Jalapeno Pepper..... I gagged and coughed for a while regretting
not to have had my glasses on ! We had a good a laugh !
We woke up to the view of Acapulco Bay. The hotel didn't look any better by daylight...! We left the hotel at around 11am after breakfast. We're meeting the mechanic who is working on our engine here in Acapulco at Club de Yates. The Caleta neighborhood is much better than the Malecon and Centro. It's more tranquil with not too many highrises. The Club de Yates is part of the Caleta.
On the road to Zihuat-Ixtapa, we stopped for lunch at Alvarez, 168 km
to go. After lunch, I drove for about 2hrs. When we stopped for gas,
Bruce took over. We followed the coast viewing some beautiful beaches.
We got to Zihuatanejo at around 7pm. We stopped at Centro Commercial Mexicana to get food for dinner. We arrived at our final destination, our dear 'Calou", at 7:30ish. Everything on board was OK. I cooked Arrachera ( Beef ) with green onions, orange, Bell pepper, cumin, chipotle sauce, chinese spice, tarragon and salt.
We toasted to our wonderful trip and the boys thanked their Papa for the great time they had. The highlight for them was all the pyramids we visited and we saw many of them ! Beautiful people, ornate churches and a mixture of different cultures made our land voyage a memorable and educational one. Thank you dearly to our captain forever !