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Mexico

Taxco is a lovely city and we checked in to a small, family-run hotel in the middle of the oldest part. As it was night we had little idea of what the town looked like, so it was especially delightful to wake up realising that the hotel courtyard opened up right into a large covered market selling everything from silver to pottery to fruit to clothes. We spent a couple of days wondering the streets, exploring the market and trying to find ways to purchase some of the amazing pottery and send it home (without luck, unfortunately).

Next stop was Puebla. If you haven't seen Frida, the recent Hollywood film starring Selma Hayek then you must get it out on DVD. The producers decided to film much of it in Puebla for good reason. The city boasts over a 1,000 old colonial buildings, more than 70 churches, dozens of markets, far less pollution than Mexico City and much more. On Sunday we found a wonderful antique market and purchased some old Mexican movie posters, old bank notes but managed to avoid many other temptations mainly because of the high cost of postage here, and our 95 litre packs are already at bursting point with dive gear, cameras, laptop, cold-weather gear, etc. . . .

Mexico Teotihuacan Pyramids ruins World Heritage Site Aztec human sacrifices

From Puebla we went to Teotihuacán, some of the largest pyramids in the world and a major centre of Aztec power and religious activity. We arrived early and hoped to be able to climb the pyramids in time for sunrise. However, our plan was foiled by the ticket man who decided not to turn up to work until 7:30. Infamously, the Aztecs made human sacrifices from these pyramids. I was keen on another sacrifice of the lazy ticket vendor.



From Teotihuacán we went through Mexico City (again negotiating the metro) and down the Oaxaca. The road winds for hours through the most impressive landscape we have seen to date. Deep valleys falling hundreds of metres down to the stony river bed. The cacti at times were over 4 metres tall and were grouped so closely it was almost a forest.

Mexico Oaxaca cathedral church colonial city tourists pre-hispanic artifacts

Oaxaca is firmly on the tourist trail. Crowds of package tourists throng through the city centre, huddled closely together talking loudly in German, French or Dutch. However, it is still a very interesting city and has a superb museum with many beautiful pre-hispanic artifacts. There are several large markets and many villages an hour or less away by bus with 'Indians' selling flowers, local clothing, vegetables, pottery and more.

Tomorrow we have a 12 hour night bus trip down to San Cristobal and into the Yucatan Peninsula. We will be leaving cacti and deserts behind for lush, tropical jungles, Caribbean beaches and hopefully some diving.



The evening before we left Oaxaca we found out via email that the rabies vaccine we had received in New Zealand had been recalled. It had been made in France and they found in testing that some batches still contained live rabies virus. Nice. This meant that we had to get 2 additional booster shots. How effective this would be given the time lapse I don't know, but the less time I have to spend in developing countries public health care systems the better. In any case, as rabies is 100% fatal if it isn't caught in time we were both annoyed and I found yet another reason to dislike the French.