Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Into the Isthmus, and so much more.

Off we went to the Isthmus, a greek word meaning "neck". Here it is referred to as the Istmo. The Istmo is the place in Mexico where the land narrows and the space between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean is a mere 150 kilometers. The Istmo is made up of basically two states, Oaxaca and Veracruz, and the Sierra mountains are mere foothills here. Well, mostly.

This drive to our home base for the weekend was an easy 5 hours, mostly downhill. We arrive at the Hotel Oasis in Tehuantepec, a small town with a railroad track that splits the town in two. After checking in, we head out to explore the town on foot, and grab a bite to eat. As we walk through the market stalls that line the railroad tracks along the back of the market, it feels as if we have entered a movie set. Motocarros, mini flatbed taxis, line up for passengers. An old french style mansion sits and waits for someone to be kind to its aging paint and drooping blue window awnings. Vendors sell tomatoes, nopal cactus, sponges, everything, really - all under tarps strung from cords attached every which way, at a height good for a local, meaning we tourists are forced to duck and dodge. We are falling under the spell of the Istmos. Mexican for certain, but maybe a bit more.
After walking the town and sitting for a moment in a square, I suggest we go and explore a nearby cave. After buying water (lessons learned!), we hop a cab and tell him we want to go to La Cueva. He asks if we mean the disco, and we clarify that no, we mean the hole in the side of the hill, please.

After winding our way through a little neighborhood, we arrive where cars go no further. Ralph asks our driver if he will wait for us. Sure, I'll watch you, he responds. I suppose watching a well rounded white woman and two white men of a certain age scale the side of a cliff would be worth watching. I'm surprised he didn't sell tickets. George is now convinced I am trying to kill him, as he pants and sweats and groans his way to the mouth of the cave. We make it, and though the cave is nothing special, the view is outstanding.

The taxi driver silently watches our descent, and after driving us back by way of the dried river bed where a small circus has set up shop, he charges us 60 pesos total for the drive there, the wait, and the return scenic tour.
Welcome to the Land of the Isthmus.

1 comment:

winniedozois said...

Wow that was quite the blog, enjoyed them all very much. Espially the watering hole, then the ruines. Glad you remembered your water. Qite the muscle Ralph, and those bug bites you can have them. Like they say Candians are liked everwhere. That because we are polite, and raised that way by our families. If your are kind and people see that, they will take the timeto enjoy your company, and see how instresting your are in them they also be the same with you. But with you there love, your are a very friendly person, not shy. Ralph your are also a good person. Thanks again for the wonderful pictures, and the instering blog. love you lots Mom. Tell George he will be fit to walk more mountains. Mom. xxxxxxxoooooooo