We’re in Zipolite Oaxaca, Mexico
Dawn…it’s colored peach again.
We meet our neighbor from the next room next door. He has offered us a tour of what he describes as a particularly special place, to him. He guarantees that we will thank him profusely, once we make our visit.
There is a quiet dirt road leading out to the main highway. A few hundred feet and we are entering one of the camionetas (May have spelling incorrect) at the depot. It is a group of blue trucks that have a Calistoga wagon look about them. One is leaving; our timing is perfect.
We squeeze into the bed of this converted pickup truck after climbing over the closed tailgate. On each side, there is a row of bench seating. Their wooden planks are not associated with the normal contours of our butts. The pickup bed is slippery and the road, which is filled with curves, is taken as fast as the truck will carry its load down a hill. It is not so quick going up the steep jungle slopes.
The roadside scenery is charming, coastal forest, tropical farming, fruit and simple homes. We pass the tortoise museum and St. Augustine’s mile long beach, getting dropped off at a corner in the town of Azunte.
A cobble stone charade takes us to our tour’s benefactor’s favored bakery. We stand in a line here in Azunte, for quiche Lorraine and veggie cheese tortas heated in a waffle iron. A step at the curb becomes our dining room, with other patrons. Everybody has an accent, or a foreign language. Azunte is a tourist town, hip and young.
After our breakfast, we stroll down the street making a steep climb up a side street, which leads us to a cemetery of above ground monuments. We read the head stones as we pass, Teresa, Margarita, and other common names. Our host mentions reports of the coming the corona virus. Things change, life and death.
After looking through a fence at a lap pool, and a stone fortress keep, signs tell us that we are at the “Reservo Eco Arqueologica Punta Cometa.”
It is a preserve for the natural flora and fauna. A hillside path takes us through a dry jungle. It is the dry season. There are openings here and there to a vista of the coast of Oaxaca.
I unwrap my kilt from my waist, but keep it folded at hand.
“Giante” termite lodgings hang from trees. Thick vein-like trails link them from the earth below.
They travel along to underside of the branches, where moister will collect and condensation will keep it moist.
Moringa grows here, hardly natural, but still the therapeutic and nutritional benefits are desirable. Monstrous thick needles follow the stalks of trees.
It is an unusual collection of flora.
This is fascinating, until we emerge into the low growing hillsides and we are stunned by a remarkable view of the beaches up the coast to the west.
There are just a few small figures down on the vast beach, one with three dark triangles. This isn’t the freedom of the nude beach that we have spent the last week on. We will get undressed, but only in stealth. We even discover a sign on our way out of the preserve declaring “no nudista.” Obviously, there are more free ranging people here, emboldened by our nude tolerant beach. There will be few up here, however.
The wind is stronger than usual. It is a welcomed chill all over as the beaches stretch out before us, with turquoise blue surf rolling, breaking into the sand. I bring the brim of my hat down to better secure it from a gust of wind.
The path winds along the hillside, the climbing of the trail is over for now. Looking out at the blue ocean below, whitecaps show a choppy day on the seas. As we climb down a rocky point for a vista, we see whale watching boats. Small fishing boats with canopies and powerful engines are in search. There is a fleet of half a dozen. We may find ourselves looking down from a birds eye view at whales.
DF identifies a spout near one of the boats. This is exciting. The boats bear down on the hapless behemoths as another spout pores high from a being as large as the vessels in pursuit.
Below us, two boats come closer to shore. They are close enough that I can make out the features of the passengers. They may see we nudes up here above them on the cliffs. They have chased a whale into just a short distance from shore.
As I look down from my perch on the cliffside, I can see that the animal isn’t as wide as the boat, but just the part above water that I see is certainly as long. Its massive dorsal fin tells me that it is probably an orca. It is surprisingly close and wild looking. I am in awe.
The rest of the group is still out further. I see a rectangular fin rise from the water, a humpback. I question my eyesight. Could it be that both magnificent types of mammal are in the same waters on this day?
We attempt to capture what we can in photos. It is illusive. We see them briefly and then later, they rise up further away, where the zoomed in camera is not pointed.
As the chase passes, we climb back onto the trail.
We round the point, watching the waves crashing below us into the jagged rock formations. Foam mixes with wondrous blue, as spray shoots thirty feet high.
We inspect the strange vegetation that makes up the hillsides. We are blessed, but with only a smattering of shade.
The trail leads to a cove with its beach soaked in black iron filings. Our cohort calls it a mini-desert. Our feet trudge through the soft sands, then the more stiff pristine sands left by the tides.
The trail leads on at the other end of the sands, up a smooth rock surface. Climbing another hill of rocks on the other side, vistas appear again.
There are a few people in the distance, small silhouettes, but no immediate need to cover our bodies and block the sensually alive winds wrapping around and through every bodily curve as a warm force.
This peaks at a magnificent view to the east. The ancient ones used this point for astrological observations. It is sacred territory. It feels that way. The Pacific Ocean stretches out as a silvered expanse, as it is lit by the sun.
I can see the Roca Blanca island many miles away, near what is to be our home for seven more days.
The beaches of Azunte and St. Augustine are stretching out below. The ocean appears calmer there. The western beaches are still in view from this point and we look out for more whales as one of the harassing boats heads to the tourist’s beach.
Surf continues to pound, as the high winds nearly blow us away. I pull off my hat, so as to not lose it to the sea. DF and our friend climb down to a tidal pool that he knows, as I stay above.
There, tiny fish nibble on them like prey. They swim, as waves occasionally crash through the rocks, refilling the pool.
More explorers arrive and join them.
We make our way through the hills and their strange dry jungle, until we complete our loop.
There is more dense jungle, parched by the seasonal drought.
Odd prickly pear cactus are growing parallel to the ground.
An occasional burst of color is produced by a tree.
We turn right along the trail that leads to the commercial beach. There has been a castle keep built and 10 bucks a day laborers are still building, cutting the stone in an intricate maze of patterns for a rock wall.
There is no cement, no grout, just perfect fit. Someone has a lot of money to spend on a wall with no finite budget.
We come out of the preserve at a commercial center a block down from the pastry shop. We walk into an open air bistro-like place for a yogurt, fruit and mucilage brunch. We are surrounded by young people in odd dress and hair. Many greeting each other, as they play backgammon and chess. Soft hip hop music blares, as people shout at each other to hear and communicate. I find that I’m not relating to it. It is like a bar atmosphere, where everyone is jacked up on caffeine. There is no spiritual sense to it, which jars me after my morning’s experience.
DF goes for a quick dip in the ocean. She wants to swim. The surf of Zipolite is often too rough for peaceful swimming. This beach is calmer. She has a tan thru swimsuit under her dress, but I’m left out with only a kilt and a shirt. Our friend has business and takes off, as I wait for her.
Although it is apparently okay for both sexes to go without a top, I begin to lose my patience to get back to my nude territory and strip my kilt. Wearing clothing has become just so wrong. My patience is tried further by the injustice, while poor DF has to sneak back into the water and pull sand out of the crotch of her bottoms.
We stand on the corner, waiting for the next camionete to pass and get us back for a 20 pesos fee. Water trucks and the commerce of tourism pass by. The thin road is crowded, the stores well stocked with tourist garb and gear. Eventually, the next camionete arrives, just as uncomfortable as the first.
Arriving, we take a walk through town, and then, practically run to get out of our clothing on the beach.
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