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2004-08-31 - 3:09 p.m.

Oaxaca - Road Trip

So after two days in Oaxaca without a conversation, I was feeling a little lonely. And maybe a little desperate. Either way, I just wanted to have a conversation. But my timing was off. I had thought I was doing everything right - I was staying in a hostel, in a dorm room, with common areas (a television room, a patio, and a rooftop). These are all essential elements for How to Meet People While Budget Traveling (tm). Yet my timing must have been off. I was up and out before my roommates ever woke up. When I was sitting in the patio, it was empty. Ditto with the television room, and the rooftop. I knew they were there - I walked past them in the hallways, and heard them showering. But I just couldn't seem to converse with them. So on the second night, on my way out to the art opening at the Modern Art Museum, I popped up to the roof to check out the sunset. And there they were - people, congregating. Friendly ones, too. Before I knew it, I had plans. With people. Finally.

The plan was to rent a car, with David (25-year old Texan) and Tobi (23-year old German) for 24 hours, to check out the surrounding towns in the Valle de Oaxaca, which I agreed to after talking to David for about five minutes. They seemed like nice guys, and I was too lonely and desperate to have my usual misgivings. Turned out I didn't need to have any misgivings - they actually were nice guys, and we had a great time. They were both fun and easy to travel with, something I fully appreciated by that point. So the following day, we got up early (actually, a small earthquake woke us up), rented the car, and hit the road.

Tobi at the car rental agency:

Our first stop: the big tree in Tule.

Then we learned how to make mezcal, from a place on the side of the road. All natural, no preservatives, no chemicals - organic mezcal.

The agave plant, from whence mezcal is made:

A cactus privacy fence:

The highlight of the daytrip, reaching Hierve de Aqua - petrified waterfalls and mineral pools - in time for a swim and sunset, when we thought our narrow mountain road wasn't actually taking us anywhere.

The ride back to Oaxaca, an even scarier, more narrow mountain road:

Tobi and the sunset reflected in the car window:

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