[Part 2] An incredible insight into our Mexican Zapotecan Village Trek tour in its early stages of discovery.
After Maria made us a final meal of omelette and bread with a pear to finish it was time to say goodbye. We met up with Walter again and headed off for Benito Juarez, a village named after a prominent Zapotec president of Mexico, one of few from this era to have left office without a stain on his reputation. Waletr pointed out evidence of a burrowing animal he referred to as a “tusa” which is about a foot long, eats potatoes and has a long tail. On return my online translator said “it clips”… not too useful!
We passed a host of other plant life and the scenery was superb – radiantly verdant. One advantage of walking during the end of the rainy season is the stunning colours of the foliage. Every day on this hike we have seen some rain though not enough to prevent us from walking and usually it has been only for an hour or two, and then it clears up again. Some of the cactuses (or rather agaves) were quite phenomenally big. As we scrambled up t a mountainside some of them measured up to about 12 foot wide (about 4 metres). Eagles soared overhead and small blue birds flitted between the trees as dragonflies hovered here and there.
We arrived into Benito Juarez and after dropping off our bags in our lodge we headed to the comedor for lunch. Here we met the friendly Emilia and hew son Daniel who was curious but shy and would poke his head around the corner till we spotted him, then squeal and return to the safety of the obscurity. Emilia made us a delicious soup made from something similar to yams and a chicken in a rich dark sauce (a kind of mole for those who know Mexican food).
After lunch we had a self-guided walk to another Mirador. This was not a long walk but the sun was coming out and we took things very slowly, enjoying the calm, the fresh air and the lovely vistas. We walked slowly and gently uphill for about an hour before we arrived at the Mirador where a surprise awaited. Not only was the view superb, they had also built a massive viewing platform (not for the feint-hearted), and a suspension bridge that disappeared mysteriously in the mist. There was also wires for a “tirolesa” (where you traverse ravines in strapped onto a cable; the English translation came out variously as zip-line, flying fox, zip wire, aerial runway, Tyrolean crossing and even Death Slide!). Sadly there was no one there to operate it, and we later heard that because of the heavy rains it was not operational at the moment. Shame!
We wandered back down to Benito Juarez, another tiny village with a restaurant (almost exclusively for tourists), two small shops, and, as in every village in the Sierra Norte, a basketball court. After a shower and getting someone to start our fire we went back to the comedor for chicken soup and quesadillas. Then we played some cards before zonking out again.