Cycling from Oaxaca City to Juchitàn
Bike touring through Oaxaca and a reverse gravity theory…
Oaxaca city was awesome. It’s a lot like Santa Fe, with clear blue skies, tons of art galleries, and great food. I stayed in my first official hostel of this adventure. On our last night, we slept in a 10 bed dorm. One of the guests may have been dying. He had a coughing fit for about 2 hours during the night, one other guy was snoring (i think that was Mike, but he’s denying it), one talked in his sleep, and a car alarm went off for hours. I started laughing until I cried a little bit. Needless to say, I didn’t get too much rest.
Then, off to Mitla to see Zapotec ruins. Passed about 100 ‘mezcalarias’ along the way.
The next day, we had our biggest ride to date… 49 miles and 2,731 feet of climbing. It’s getting a little easier, but I’ve developed a new Theory of Gravity. “Whatever goes down, must go up again.” I’ve definitely learned to temper the excitement one would usually experience with a great downhill, of which we’ve had quite a few.
After an equally, if not more strenuous second day of riding, we found ourselves in a little town, where we were invited to camp on the porch of a community gathering place of sorts. Unfortunately, especially for Mike, it did not come with a baño of any sort (I’ve been deemed the one with the iron stomach. Let’s hope it stays that way.) The next morning, we had an early breakfast, and I made a new friend, whose appetite for chips and tortillas rivaled my own.
As a birthday treat, and a necessity for a very ailing Miguel, we hired a lift to a weird little town, called Jalapa de Marques, enroute to the Tehuatepec isthmus. The locals seemed a little less friendly than in other times, but maybe they were just saving their energy for the 3:30 a.m. parade that went by our window.
Yesterday, brought us to Juchitan de something or other. We found a great hotel. It’s got all of the creature comforts, like ac (it’s already way hot here), flat screen TV, a shower that is enclosed, so you can’t poop and shower at the same time, and a firm, yet not rock hard mattress with very clean sheets.
This town, and area of Oaxaca, are known for its almost matriarchal society. The town is also known for its Muxes, or gay men. Most of them are transvestites, and families consider it a sort of blessing to have one, because they assist in the more domestic duties of the household, and they stay at home and care for their aging parents. They also run most beauty salons, fabric stores, decorating businesses, and they are the local party planners as well as women’s fashion consultants. Imagine that! Maybe I can adopt 1 to bring home with us. Apparently, parents know a baby is a Muxes based upon whether or not it was delivered face up or face down. I’m just guessing that the Muxes are born face down. I know, I’m just as tasteless when typing as I am when speaking.