San Pablo Villa de Mitla - The eleventh step ... Mexico City to Cancun via Guatemala & Belize - CycleBlaze

September 21, 2021

San Pablo Villa de Mitla

September 21, 2021

We had a enormous breakfast thrown in at our digs.  Scrambled egg with ham, toast, fruit, tortillas and re-fried beans with a couple of cups of coffee to wash it down.  Just the stuff to sustain us through the day with no need for a second breakfast along the way.

Most hotel rooms never seem to have enough electrical outlets but last night's had thirteen ! Spot the naughty infant.
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Scott AndersonI’m sure that’s a very effective deterrent.
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4 weeks ago

We left Teotitlan about ten, taking the better road back to Route 190.  We had another short day today, just thirty kilometers or so but we had things to do along the way.  First of all, a quick detour into Tlacolula to draw some cash - I am always scared of running out of cash particularly in areas where we suspect credit cards won't be accepted.  Then we spent a couple of hours at the remains of the Zapotec city at Yagul, just outside Tlacolula.  After that it was a short ride on to Mitla.  We will need to spend two nights here because the archeological site is closed today.  This also means we can avoid for one more day the tough climbs that we will have to deal with to get to the Pacific coast over the next few days.

Climbing out of Teotitlan on the better road.
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It seems that although Oaxaca is a big Mezcal tourist area, the business end start here to the south-east of the city.  Lots of fields of agave and many small and large Mezcal producers.

Agave plantations for the Mezcal business.
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Mescal country - lot's of small distilleries as well as a few large ones. Also a brewery along the way. I'm not sure a ready supply of alcohol is good for some of the folk we have seen over the past two days.
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The ruins at Yagul were at the top of a steep climb.  As I approached the climb my brain told me to walk it to preserve my body for the hills that lie between us and the coast but unfortunately testosterone took over.  I'm going to hurt myself at some point.

The major attraction at Yagul was the ball court (the second largest in the Americas) and the six patio palace.

Leigh fantasizing in the ball court.
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Was this used to grind maize ?
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I managed to get a bit of birding done at Yagul.  In fact, it seemed the birdiest place we have been to so far in Mexico.

Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis)
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Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)
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Scott AndersonNice shot. One of my favorite birds in the southwest. We see these up around Tucson also.
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4 weeks ago
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
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A guide at Yagul told us to be on the lookout for petroglyphs  outside the gate to the archeological area.  This was the only one we could find, some distance away on a small cliff face.

Petroglyphs just outside Yagul
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Our digs in Mitla, the Hotel San Judas, turned out to be right at the highest point in the town, almost as tough as getting up to Yagul.  We have a large room with space for me to do a bit of work on the bicycles outside its door.  My front brakes had been very noisy so I have replaced the Shimano inserts with third party ones (I can't remember the brand but they seem much better) and a quick re-waxing of the chains.

I also hitched up the multi-fuel stove for the first time on this trip.  The white gas I bought here in Mexico smells quite different from the benzine I have used back in South Africa.  But then I guess white gas is a very broad term.

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We wandered down to look for supper later and once again struggled to find anything open but near the centro we stumbled upon a small pizza and burger place so we skipped Mexican food for tonight and settled on hamburguesas and papas al la fransesa.  Quite different from food with the same name as we have had in South America before and closer to what one would expect burger and fries to be in the rest of the world.  The owner spoke surprisngly good English, having lived in the USA for some time.  So far the only workable English we have heard has been from visitors from the USA who are of Mexican origin.

September 22, 2021

Mitla's main attraction is its archeological park.  That's why were came here.  There is no point in trying to compare one Mesoamerican historical sight with another because it seems that each has something special to offer.  In the case of Mitla it is a few remaining murals, some lovely fretwork and some impressive pillars.  What is sobering is the fact that much of it was destroyed by the Spanish in the mid sixteenth century to build a church in their attempts to ompose Spanish religion and culture on the Zapotecs.

The church stands on what is presumed to be the most sacred site of the Zapotec temples at Mitla, that of the Lord and Lady of the Underworld, in an attempt to keep the Devil locked out.
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Heartbreaking !
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The church is rather simple and a poor replacement for what must have been a wonderful sight six hundred years ago.
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While at the archeological site I managed to squeeze in a bird of birding. 

A number of Rock Wrens (Salpinctes obsoletus) were climbing up the sides of the walls. Brought back memories of Nuthatches crawling over the Roman and Greek ruins in Turkey.
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Stumped on this one. Closest match apart from the bright yellow might be Vermillion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) - might it be xanthotic ? Bill, can you help ?
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Today's ride: 31 km (19 miles)
Total: 469 km (291 miles)

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