The mango season is just starting in Chiapas and with that in mind we decided to head for the coast: sun, sea and sand-Jill is delighted!! I can't remember if we had mentioned our change of plans but just in case we haven't I will tell you what we are doing. South America is not going to happen this trip. We have to be back in England by the middle of June because my son Malin is getting married to Eunice and somehow I think we should be there for that. It has taken us nearly 8 months to get this far and getting over the Darian Gap will be expensive, for at best only a short while in South America. So what was going to be an adventure of all the Americas, has now change to just North and Central. Also we are whizzing down to Guatamala fairly quickly. We both feel that our lack of the Spanish language is stopping us really engaging in what we are going through here in Mexico and we have a sense that we are missing so much, since we can't ask anything but very simple questions, and we can't understand information on plaques at the side of monuments, churches, museums etc., we are visiting. Of course we can make observations about what we are seeing and how we feel about it, and we have done that here on the Blog, but we just can't satisfy our curiosity without a better understanding of Spanish. So we have decided to head for Guatemala and enrol in a Spanish school where we live with a family for a couple of weeks and have 4-5 hours one-to-one lessons with a teacher five days a week. Before we left the UK Jill mentioned that she wanted to spend some time in a Spanish school in Mexico, but having spoken to other travellers, it seems Guatamala is the best place to go as it is cheap and we have been recommended a couple of schools.
Having become fluent in that 2 weeks! we will then head up to the Yucatan before re-entering Guatemala and heading down to Panama, where we will turn around, head back into Mexico, seeing the bits we missed on the way south, and then make our way back towards the USA , as it will be easier to get Nancy back to England from the USA/Canada. So we have just under 5 months and 5 more countries to explore. Keep watching this space.
So as I was saying we decided to head for the coast while making progress towards Guatemala, and to that end left Oaxaca on the 20/1/2011 heading just south of east along the Mx 190. But before we really got started Jill wanted to visit Teotitlán del Valle, the village that we went to watch carpets being woven, to buy a bag. Bag in hand and at half the price that we were quoted while on the tourist bus, we headed down the 190 which was another 10 out of 10 road, with good black stuff, lots of sweeping bends and magnificent views of the mountains, without much traffic. As we drew nearer the coast the land flattened out and at Santo Domingo Tehuantepec we were greeted by a rather austere Seňora. We stopped at Juchitan De Zaragoza to buy some oil for Nancy, as it was time for a service being 5000 miles since leaving San Francisco and talked to the local Basic Honda dealer, who thought any bike over 125cc was massive. Taking the road to Union Hidalgo we passed the local rubbish dump which didn't seem to have any way of containing the rubbish and it was being blown everywhere. Along side the road was the general dump for earth and building waste and further on was the rubbish that people couldn't be bothered to take to the dump. One of the things that is difficult to understand about Mexico is the rubbish. It is nearly everywhere. On the beach, dumped by the side of the road just outside towns, thrown over into valleys through the mountains etc., but in total contrast the centre of towns and cities are swept and the pavements are washed down, making them very clean places and a pleasure to walk around. If this is not seen as a problem now, which it doesn’t seem to be, it soon will be, and I have no idea how they are going to educate people into being responsible for their waste, as education isn't very high on the agenda here. Passing a very large wind farm at La Venta we re-joined the Mx 200 and just as the road was getting interesting and the sun was getting lower we stopped at the Hotel Palma Real in Nitepec, and a very nice place it was too. Setting off early the next morning and wishing for cereal and cold milk for breakfast we stopped at a place that served cereal and cold milk, a very unusual thing in the middle of nowhere and we indulged ourselves grandly. Having eaten our fill we set off and entered the state of Chiapas before turning off the Mx 200 at Tonala towards Puento Arista and our Cabȃna at José's, a block from the roaring Ocean, and beautiful sun rises along the 32 Km beach.