So I think I am quickly falling madly in love. With travelling, of course. It’s a really exhilirating feeling to not know who you’re going to meet that day or what you’re going to end up doing. When you’re having a pretty normal, or even bad day, something is bound to happen to turn your day around. Which has definitely happened over the last week…
Last time I left off with me and Laura sitting in a hotel courtyard keeping ourselves busy until our overnight bus… 11 pm eventually came and we settled down in our comfy, 12 hour bus for a bit of sleep. However, it wasn’t meant to be. As we were travelling from the most Southern point of Mexico we had to pass through lots of border checks (despite already being past the border). First a man walked on the bus just looking at everyone, but not doing anything, until he saw the two gringas at the back of the bus and quickly asked for our passports. Then at about 12.30am and 2.30am we had to get off the bus, find our backpacks and put them through backage scanners. We were tired… but for some reason, most likely our lack of sleep, we found the whole experience hilarious and took bets on when we would next stop. Oh, and to top it off the guy in front of me leaned his chair back as far as he could so I was practically smelling his hair, and then proceeded to crack his fingers in my face. Lovely.
Eventually we made our way to the hostel which was great with a pool, lots of hammocks and a bar. The only downside was it wasn’t the cleanest of hostels; particularly the flea ridden dog that lived there. Puerto Escondido was unbearably hot, and mixed with our exhaustion, we decided it was best just to chill in the hammocks for the day. We did venture our later on to find a place to get some proper mexican food… but as we quickly discovered, in downtown Puerto, you can go clothes shopping or get a haircut at 8 o’clock at night, you just can’t find anything to eat. Grr.
The next day we decided, after not having been to a beach since my birthday, it was definitely time to hit the sand and sea again. After getting slightly lost, we eventually found ourselves at a gorgeous beach you could only reach by walking down 170 steps. It was an amazing beach… the only problem was the heat. As my friends and family know, I love a hot beach holiday, but it was just ridiculous and we ended up spending most of the day hiding in the shade. Despite our avoidance of being directly under the sun, Laura took a funny turn and ran to the toilets to cool off a bit. Little did I know, she never made it to the toilets and laid down in the shade outside of them. Of course, a few Mexican men were quick to crowd around her and help out… even bringing her a glass of water and putting her feet up on a chair (apparently it helps oxygen get to your brain??). We waited long enough for the sun to go down a bit and then (very slowly) made our way back to the hostel… which led us to go out with some other travellers to a local bar for salsa night.
We bravely ventured back to the beach again… although this time we made sure we were more sensible. For Laura, this was sitting in the shade… for me, it was floating around in the sea for the majority of the day. Apparently this is a great place to meet guys! One of them was determined in trying to get me to take a surf lesson with him (something I have never done before) and I was very tempted… but for now, I think I might leave it until another time.
That evening was… well it was an interesting one. I was in serious need of a cash machine before we went to eat so we had a taxi take us to the main beach where all of the restaurants are… but there were no banks. So we aimlessly wandered around trying to find a way for me to get money when we found a gas station. We hurried in hoping to find something useful, but nothing… although there did happen to be a couple of military guys in there so I figured I would ask them where the nearest ATM was. After some difficultly translating what I needed, the military guys decided that no, there was no ATM nearby. But they could show us where there were some… so I shouted over to Laura, ‘let’s go!’, and somehow, before we knew it were were climbing into the front of this huge military guns. Careful not to kick the guns lying on the floor of course. So somehow we ended up in a truck with about 15 military guys in the back and in the front a (very cute) guy driving, me, Laura and then the guy in charge. Now, this might sound quite convinient to get a free ride with some nice, friendly military guys… but actually we were pretty stupid to even consider getting in their truck. We know the military aren’t usually to be trusted in Honduras, and so would never ask them for help, but apparently now we are on ‘holiday’ we are throwing caution to the wind more oftern! Once we set off, in typical Mexican fashion, the first question military man asked us was if we had boyfriends, did we want them and if not, were we lesbians? All the while, he was stroking Laura’s arm and smelling her hair. Me and the guy driving found this hilarious at the time, but looking back it’s actually pretty disturbing! Anyway, in the end they dropped us at HSBC (yes, there is HSBC! Although they charge a bomb to take money out) and waved us off… to celebrate the fact we were still alive, we decided to go for a meal at a nice, relatively cheap restaurant. We were high on adreniline for quite a while after… When we finally made it back to the hostel, we played a big game of ring of fire with a mix of aussies, south africans, swiss and german travellers. All good fun!
We were up at 6.30 this morning to get picked up for our dolphin and turtle tour… everyone we had met at the town reassured us that there was no way we were going to see dolphins at the time of year so we weren’t feeling too optimistic, but we thought it would be fun anyway. The guy in charge of the tour was actually one of the man that had helped Laura on the beach, he was a lovely guy but seemed to be convinced Laura was some deleicate flower and proceeded to look after her the entire boat ride, much to my amusement 🙂 every 5 minutes I would hear, “Laura, careful”, Laura, sit here”, “Laura, go swimming”, “Laura, Laura, Laura”; he was a sweetie though! And in the end we saw lots of dolphins… dozens of them. Swimming next to the boat, under the boat, in front of the boat and doing flips… it was amazing!! We even got in at one point to hear them singing underwater. And as we were heading home, we interrupted some turtles having fun time. Which is apparently very rare to see in the wild… so a trip worth every Peso!!
When we got back to the hostel a couple of aussies and our friend Stacy, from London, were in the pool so we quickly joined them and all enjoyed some beers in the pool. It started raining though and instead of sensibly getting out and drying off, we stayed in the pool and carried on drinking while talking about travelling, partying and politics. At one point one fo the aussies, who seemed a bit of a player, asked us what our volunteering was in Honduras. Laura told him he wouldn’t like what her project was (a feminist organiation) but for some reason, he guessed she worked with vegetarians…?? Apparently, they are something to be offended about?! For some reason, while in the pool I wasn’t feeling the effects of my 4 beers… but as soon as I got out, in true me fashion, I was drunk. Seriously drunk, as anyone who has seen me on a night out will be able to mention. I ended up having to go to bed at 6pm. Oops.
Luckily the next day, possibly as I’d had such a stupidly early night, I wasn’t hungover and me and Laura went to get a collectivo bus to our next destination… Oaxaca. There are two ways from Puerto to Oaxaca – either a $40, 12 hour bus around the mountains or a $10, 6 hour spin through the mountains. We had heard a lot of bad things about the bus through the mountains and people being sick etc… but actually it was fine! The driver was a bit of a boy racer… but I saw a huge monkey sitting in a tree at one point, so I was happy 🙂
We happened to be in Oaxaca the same weekend as a big festival which was great as there was lots of things going on, and pretty costumes, and performances in the street. So that evening we happily wandered around getting our bearings. We got a bit confused going home and a lovely guy walked us to our hostel, those lovely Mexicans!!
Our first morning in Oaxaca was, unfortunately, not a good one. Because of the festival, the town thought it was a great idea to started celebrating at 6am with fireworks!! Not great… and Laura was ill from her pasta the night before 😦 As I’m a bit of a talker, especially when I’m bored, Laura sent me out to explore while she got some more rest. It was great, Oaxaca is beautiful, with so many colonial buildings and little squares. There was a gorgeous church around every corner too. And I quickly found a lovely little cafe to read a book in… where I also had the biggest, most delicious piece of chocolate cake.
The rest of the day was spent keeping Laura company in the hostel and then playing card games with a very lovely, and very drunk, couple from Sheffield. Eventually we retired to bed and our 8 bed dorm room was suddenly full… at some point in the night, one of the german guys in there, either awake or asleep, I’m not sure, shouted ‘motherfucker!’ which was quite entertaining at 3 in the morning.
This morning started out a little better when me and a girl from the hostel wandered across to the little market opposite the hostel and found some delicious, freshly made orange juice, mmm! Me and Laura then retraced my steps from the day before so I could show her the cute cafe and the blinged up church I had found the day before. We also found an English bookshop, hooray!! On our way back to the hostel we were approached by a guy from the US who spent literally 15 minutes telling us this story about how his fiance was arriving the next day…but he had lost his bank card…and his hotel was going to kick him out…but he had 8 bags with him… it was a very long story, with lots of bits that didn’t make sense and he ended in asking us for money, of course. We tried to say no as nicely as possible… we still have no idea if he was genuine or not.
We went out again later on and found a nice restaurant next to the Zocalo, the main square, where we had some drinks and enjoyed some people watching. We were pestered constantly to buy souvineirs (I did give in to some very cute bookmarks for my new books) but it was lovely sitting back and watching all the locals and tourists. We have also concluded that maybe Laura and I spend too much time together… some salad looking food went past us on a tray and at the exact same time, we said “nah, too healthy”. At least we’re on the same wavelength… over some things at least. On our way home, we were happily strolling along when we heard a noise like a cat being kicked. And sure enough, in front of us there was a man kicking a black bin bag that was making noises like a cat in a lot of pain. We both had heart attacks for a second… until we realised there was a group of tourists standing around him looking delighted. It was a trick thing… hmm.
Overall, I really really enjoyed Oaxaca… there was no beach, but it is a really beautiful please. Walking through the main town, you could have been in Rome, Barcelona or any other pretty European town. You could walk everywhere and it was all just so pretty… the culture was so good too: the women wore traditional dress and everything you could buy was so colourful. It was actually somewhere I could see myself living one day…
Today… we are in Mexico City!!! Woohoooo at last; we have both been very excited to get here and we have so much to see. As usual, we’re being geeks and are very excited about a genocide museum (while the other travellers plan their trip to a tequilla museum) and pyramids and canals… for now though, it’s time for me to enjoy some Mexican beer and chill out. Saludos!!!
Ps. We have just discovered a vending machine in the hostel that includes all of the following:
- soft drinks
- mini tequila bottle
- a padlock
- and an adaptor
…you would definitely be having an interesting night if you managed to use all of them in one!!