SAILING MEXICO
transitioned out of Mexico and into Central America, we want to share with you the time we spent in the Bahias Hualtuco area.  We will follow
this entry very soon with a description of our travels in Central America.  You can find corresponding pictures by clicking on the
Photo Album
button above (we are trying a new slide show format, so feedback would be appreciated).  And remember, you can always look at our previous
ramblings by clicking on the archived Journal Entries (above) and the corresponding archived Photo Albums on the
Photo Album page.

We spent a lovely 20 days in Bahias Hualtuco.  Some of our time was spent in the beautiful bays that can be found along this 15 mile stretch of
paradise, and the rest of the time Southern Belle was slipped at Marina Chahue.  While in the marina, we took the time to travel inland to the
exotic city of Oaxaca.  It was not too long ago that the State of Oaxaca was suffering from civil unrest, but now things are once again
tranquillo.  We rode the bus from Hualtuco to the city of Oaxaca which turned out to be a 7 hour ride along a windy mountain road.  The bus was
very modern and comfortable and even showed movies onboard.  When we arrived in Oaxaca we caught a cab to the historic Centro area of town.  
There we searched around until we found a lovely little hotel at a reasonable price only a block away from the Zocalo, which is the big central
plaza in town.  The Zocalo is surrounded by historic buildings, restaurants, a large cathedral and is a constant beehive of activity.  In the
evening it comes alive with local music, street performers, and of course the ever present vendors selling their wares.  We spent 3 days in and
around Oaxaca before travelling by bus back to Hualtuco.  The following are some of the sights and activities we enjoyed:

We toured the city on foot visiting the very ornate Church of Santo Domingo, the Hotel Camino Real which is a restored convent, the
Museum Centro Cultural Santo Domingo which has an awesome display of artifacts from the local archaeological sites of the Zapotecan
Indians, and the Central Market.  At the Central Market the locals sell fried grasshoppers they call Chapolinas.  We could not bring
ourselves to try this taste treat (I also did not see any of the locals eating them either).

We visited the impressive archaeological site of Monte Alban located a short distance outside of Oaxaca.  Monte Alban was a thriving
city for the Zapotecan Indians reaching its maximum size around 600 AD with an estimated population of 30,000 inhabitants.

We rented a car one day and drove to the town of Mitla which also has Zapotecan archaeological sites.  On the way we stopped at the
town of El Tule which boasts the largest living tree on the planet.  According to the guide book this turns out to be false, but it is an
impressively large tree.  We also stopped at the town of Tlacolula to see their local market.  It was huge, taking up most of the town.  
You can buy live turkeys there (although we did not indulge).  In Mitla we found some cool Zapotecan ruins interspersed with the
dwellings of the town.  They even had a couple of burial tombs you could crawl down into.  On the way back to Oaxaca we stopped at a
small archaeological site called Yagul.  Even though it was small it was our favorite because you could go anywhere on the site without
restrictions and you got a better feel for the way the Indians used to live.  Plus it had a great view of the local river valleys.        

Once we returned to Hualtuco we focused on getting the boat ready for our crossing of the dreaded Gulf of Tehuantepec.  Most people don't
know but the T-Pec is considered one of the 4 most dangerous places on the planet to sail a small boat.  With very little warning it can whip up
to 50 knots of wind and 20- to 30-foot seas.  Thankfully we were successful in crossing this area with out any problems.  At the mid-point we
saw up to 35 knots of wind, but we were prepared for it and had no problem.  Now we are in Central America and our next journal entry will tell
you all about it.  Until then enjoy the pictures of Hualtuco and Oaxaca, and as always we wish you all fair winds and following seas!
Monte Alban Archaeological site outside of Oaxaca, Mexico
Bahias Hualtuco
ARCHIVED JOURNAL ENTRY #18