Conifer-Hunting in Mexico
We get up as early as is feasible to head out. Getting the car out of the hotel garage is a challenge because about 20 other cars have to be moved to extract ours. Nonetheless it is a Sunday and at 0800 there is very little traffic; we are quickly out of town on the long drive to Oaxaca. We follow the free road to about 20 kilometers shy of Huatulco and then pick up the toll road which costs 200 pesos to Oaxaca but is fast and easy and very beautiful, traversing spectacular canyons on high slender bridges, and winding through superb cactus and succulent country. I took many photos in this reach.
After about 100 kilometers, we come out of the canyons and the road then winds mostly across plateau country. Through here we pick up the day's only new conifer, Juniperus flaccida var. poblana. Eventually we reach Oaxaca city.
Oaxaca is a pretty big city, about 250,000 souls, and after a couple of tries we settle in to a very comfortable place, the Hotel Posada del Centro, only a few blocks from the heart of town. In what remains of the day we drive out to Santa Maria del Tule and spend a couple of hours there admiring the Arból del Tule, the world's largest Taxodium mucronatum (Montezuma baldcypress), which Bob sketches in detail and we photograph in detail. Bonnie and I also wander about town and check out five other big baldcypresses in the area.
In the evening, we go to Oaxaca's Zocalo and hang out at a sidewalk cafe from about 1800 to 2200, watching the world go by and drinking and eating fabulous Oaxacan food. Musicians wander by, countless natives try to sell us folk art, and in a spare moment we tour the Cathedral. Sunday night in Oaxaca town is festive, warm, and happy. The only peculiarity is the abundance of northerners. In Amecameca and Puebla we seemed to be alone in a sea of Mexicans, but in the restaurants and tourist attractions of Oaxaca, northerners are the distinct majority.
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Last Modified 2010-12-18