Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Caught an early morning Interjet flight from Hermosillo to Oaxaca via Mexico City.  It seemed like there was almost twice as much leg room on these planes.  Free top shelf booze was also notable.  A big step up from US flights.  Planes had video cameras attached to bottom of plane to show live take off and landing. Exciting.

90 degrees when we "touched down" in Oaxaca (not quite the right expression for our very hard landing.)  Our return to Las Mariposas hotel was warm and comfortable.  It is our fourth year staying at this wonderful place and the hugs, smiles and 'bienvenidos' from guests and staff made us feel immediately at home.

Late afternoon dinner of fish with mezcal and Margaritas topped off a full and satisfying day.

I'm now writing this on Wednesday, February 3, while sitting in the patio outside our room.  In the middle of the patio there is a tall, stone wall that has water continually dripping down its side.  It's covered with mosses, ferns and other plants and attracts all sorts of birds and other animals.

 I sit here each morning drinking coffee and casually trying to identify the birds. Birds seen include Nashville, Virginia and Yellow-rumped warblers as well as many difficult to identify hummingbirds.  Very peaceful place.

Not so peaceful was the very large political march that was going on in the street outside the hotel while I was luxuriating with the birds.  Several thousand people filed by chanting and carrying flags. The most common flag was the red, hammer and sickle flag of the Communist Party.  I saw a similar march downtown yesterday.  No one I talked to seemed to know what the march was about.
Radical left wing politics appears to be alive, if not well, in southern Mexico.  This is a picture of the tail end of the march.

Another sign of political vitality is the quality of the writing and cartoons in the local and national newspapers.  The in-depth information and analysis seems significantly more sophisticated than in the US.  Here's a cartoon that ran in yesterday's "Reforma."

Here  a video of some Oaxaca street scenes that I put together with photos from last year's trip. The video's main focus is the street art one finds all over the city.The music in this video is Gracias A La Vida written by Violeta Parra and sung by Mercedes Sosa.  

 I'm not sure how often I'm going to be writing during the coming weeks.  I find myself entering "vacation mode" - becoming very relaxed and rather indifferent about accomplishing anything.  I think that's a good thing. 

Thanks for reading.

Tucson to Hermosillo

Easy, smooth trip in a Tufesa bus from Tucson to Hermosillo.  At the border, driver was very helpful pointing us in right direction to get our "permiso"  (tourist visa) from Mexican immigration. ($22/389 pesos each).  City of Nogales, Mexico viewed from the bus was very uninviting.  Bus had comfortable seats and the bathrooms.  Drop down airplane type TVs blaring "Money Ball" with dubbed Spanish competing with driver's iphone Norteno music made the five hour trip sonically challenging.  Earplugs would have been great. (This picure was taken while on I-19 south of Tucson where the road still had shoulders.)

Road (Route 15) south from Nogales is four lane freeway type road.  Main difference with US appeared to be long stretches where there were very steep drop offs instead of shoulders.  So steep that any car  (or bus) going off the road would definitely tip over. This situation would get especially exciting when our bus was passing tractor trailers.

Taxi to hotel and then to a  almost full carne asada restaurant with ten piece mariachi band no one seemed to be listening to and older man drunk came to table and was putting his arm on me, very uncomfortable.  When we left man followed us to the parking lot where he continued to talk and stand too close as we waited for cab.  He ended up giving taxi driver 100 pesos to pay for our ride.  I told taxi driver about our experience with this man and he said, "Mexico."

Hotel was located directly next to the on ramp of Rte. 15, the main north/south highway. Very noisy as tractor trailers climbed the ramp throughout the night.

Despite the drunk guy and the noise on the bus and in the hotel room it felt wonderful to be back in Mexico.