Category: JOURNALS OF TRAVEL

Truthful quotes from my journals Accounts from my handwritten diaries en route.

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CENOTES THE ROUTE TO THE UNDERWORLD.

OR , DON’T BE SHY, JUST JUMP IN TO MAGIC ICY POOLS

Fabulous water and entrance to the underworld under the lip of the pond are the caves

FROM LAST YEAR, A LESSON IN SHAKING OFF THE BLUES

Although I lost my mojo for a few days, I gave myself a sharp talking to. I was beginning to get depressed. I think it was after being chased by the troupe of dogs in this neighbourhood which has now made me walk the long way round to my local shop. Add to that a lot of drunks and crack heads suddenly started to congregate around my street. This meant I couldn’t really go out after six unless I asked Charlie for a lift. I hate being beholden to people so this was getting me down. However all is well again with a few tweaks, I’m nothing if not adaptable.

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MONTE ALBAN AND ITS MOUNTAIN PARADISE.

Alert: This is last years offering which I’m adding to. I’ve rejoined the British Museum so I’m back in the members’ room to write and edit photos. So happy to be back in my second home which is more condusive to work-like endeavours. They also have an eclectic library so I’ve just managed to cross reference information on the Zapotec, Mixtec and Mayan with some art photos which are lovely because old and I don’t recognise them so probably they are hidden away in some basement these days. Enjoy

British Museum members room

JULY 2021 OAXACA MEXICO.

OR, A MOUNTAINTOP ZAPOTEC CITY LINKED CLOSELY TO Teotihuacán and mitla

It’s huge, it’s Zapotec and it’s completely different to what I expected. I hadn’t researched at all so it was a huge learning curve from my usual Mayan sites.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF THE ZAPOTEC AND MIXTEC.

In parallel with the rise of Teotihuacan, Zapotec civilisation encompassed much of the southern highlands. In the course of the first millennium BC, early chiefdoms of the Oaxaca Valley coalesced into a militaristic Zapotec state centred on the commanding hill-top capital Monte Albán. Zapotec scribes invented one of the four independent Mesoamerican writing systems (the others being Maya, Mixtec and Aztec) and refined their own variant of the 260-day ritual calendar which was in widespread use throughout Mesoamerica.

From about AD 1200, Mixtec peoples began to assume control of key Zapotec sites through conquest and political alliances. Knowledge of metallurgy, which had been introduced a few centuries earlier from South and Central America, was employed in the production of copper and gold objects to reflect rank and status. During the fifteenth century AD, the Mixtec resisted the Aztec imperial advance, but the consummate stoneworking and metalworking skills of many Mixtec artisans were redeployed to serve the Aztec kings.

The Zapotecs were a sedentary culture living in villages and towns, in houses constructed with stone and mortar. They recorded the principal events in their history by means of hieroglyphics, and in warfare they made use of cotton armour. The well-known ruins of Mitla have been attributed to them.

(I will write another post about the fabulous jade and gold discoveries, that are housed in Oaxaca Palace Museum. This is closed at the moment but I’ll be able to dig up some photos from before. I really need to write a bit more about the amazing Zapotecs)

Castrated man?

CLOSED PLACES AND CHANGED PLANS

I had got up ready to go to the archaeological museum but it has been closed. No signs on the door except the opening hours, and through the peephole a man informed me that they didn’t know when they’d open again to which I replied rather hotly I must confess well put a sign on the door then and change the bloody Google details. He said that’s a good idea I’ll put a sign on the door as if he’d just thought of it. Yes, some people have travelled thousands of miles to see these artefacts I whined. His beady eyes perused me as if I was mad. And sort it out on Google and your site this is the second time I’ve come here. He was making me cross and I felt as if he might just let me in if I kept banging on about it.

Top Tip: With the distraction of what was open or not, and jumping on buses every five minutes as places decided to close some, or all of their historical sites and museums, or basically anything of any interest whatsoever, I learned some bitter lessons. When in times of crisis don’t trust any info gleaned by Google et al. You need to speak to proper locals or call tour guides of the area that you are planning to go to. Nobody bothered to change their details online while I was there so I was disappointed many times. So due diligence is essential, don’t just assume they will tell you any changes especially in casual places like Mexico. Make the calls before you get on that bus, or drag over to the other side of town for that special gallery because they will close when they feel like it!

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BROKEN RIBS NOW, JUST IN TIME FOR XMAS!

OR, TO ADD TO MY RAPIDLY GROWING INJURIES LIST.

Yes, yes I know it’s a bit extreme to have another accident so as not to write some more tricky bits to my book and blog, but I swear it’s because I am clumsy and accident-prone. I can now add breaking my ribs a week ago to dislocating my knee previously. If I had been practising what I preach in SOLO TRAVELLERS AND FITNESS then this might not have happened. No doubt there are some errors in this as I’m still on the painkillers!

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I would have missed this too if I had given up. It is now permanently closed to the public. I soaked my foot in the mineral-rich water of Hierve el Agua Mexico