Tuesday was a total “chill out” day. I didn’t have to work, I was set in terms of being able to access my clients via skype and internet so Andrea and I decided to head up to Monte Alban, a Zapotec ruin (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) about 10km outside of Oaxaca. We walked about 2 miles to find the place that sold the bus tickets (35 pesos=$3.50 US/ 30 minutes). The ride up was beautiful and gave us a chance to see the area around Oaxaca. But the best part was the little boy who sat in front of me (pictured above). He seemed really curious. His mom/guardian looked dead tired and she was indeed asleep within moments of the bus pulling off. This little guy’s face was just so solemn and joyless that it broke my heart. A few of us were taking pictures out of the windows and I took a chance and snapped his photo. I immediately showed it to him and the smile that broke out on kid’s face when he saw his picture would have melted the sun. It was one of those moments that made every mile I’ve traveled, every dime I’ve spent, and every corn tortilla I’ve eaten worth it.
The entrance fee to Monte Alban was another 35 pesos and you had to dodge the locals selling tours. One guy wanted to charge Andrea andÂ me 100 pesos ($10US)Â each! $20 for a tour of an archaelogical ruin? I don’t think so. If he had said $5 I might have gone for it, but I felt like this was one of those times you get reemed on prices because you are American or European. Plus, it was just some rocks, what kind of tour do I need? (kidding.kind of.). The Zapotecs lived in this once large city from about 500 AD until about 750 AD. They had to have been about 4 feet tall because all of the doorways were so low. BUT the steps on the pyramids were steep as hell! This is how most people climbed down, including me (no shame in my game). Andrea told me the story of a friend of a friend who was traveling earlier in the year and visiting another ruin with steeper/higher pyramids. Dude FELL and broke both legs and an arm! Que Horror! Anyway, we spent 2 hours getting friedÂ while scrambling up and down pyramids for great panoramic views of Oaxaca. I also liked the carved rocks.Â How the hell Jorge spent 8 hours here on Monday I couldn’t even begin to imagine. I have to admit this was a bit of a workout too. We had to take a break at the top of one pyramid. I had to keep reminding myself that Oaxaca is almost at Lake Tahoe level altitude-wise,Â and we were several more hundred feet upÂ snapping pics andÂ trying to imagine a 1500 year old city filled with 25,000 peopleÂ of anÂ average height of 4.5Â feet.
We finally got off the mountain around 3pm and were starving. We walked the 2 miles back to the hostel and calculated that we’d walked about 6-7 miles in 85 degree heat and we deserved a nap and a beer.Â I feltÂ the way this dog looked!Â This traveling stuff is hard yall!