An early morning start gets me headed to Oaxaca. Winding my way out of Cuernavaca I’m blasting my way through little pueblos that are just waking up. Around 9 I stop in one that has a little open market going and grab some blue corn enpenadas (stuffed with potatoes and meat), along with fresh REAL orange juice (which has been hard to find). The ladies running the place are super friendly and cheerful.
Then, I reach the Toll Highway. If I come back to Mexico I need to come up with a better way to go through toll gates. Having the un-velcro my sleaves, so I can un-velcro my gloves, then remove them entirely. Next I have to dig through my zipped pants pocket for money, pay the toll, then repeat the process in reverse to head down the road. All the while holding up traffic…
Blasting down the highway there is a stretch of unbelievably cool mountain switchbacks very high up in the mountains, with huge drop offs to one side (and no guard rails!). I’m loving it!
I finally arrive in Oaxaca, but discover that the gardens I want to view can ONLY be viewed with a guide, and there are no english speaking guides today, and the only tour is at 5pm. No Exceptions, because apparently it’s dangerous to view the gardens without a guide. I’m not sure if they mean dangerous for me, or for the gardens. Reluctantly I decide to head to Santa Maria close by to see the Tule Tree, which has the largest diameter trunk of any tree in the world. Very cool experience for a horticulturist to see this magnificent tree (a Taxodium sp.)
Back at the gardens I take my tour, and never quite understand why the guide is needed. I am able to pick up quite a bit of information, and the guide tonight is also the English speaking guide for tomorrow, so he does answer quite a few of my questions. The garden is a magnificent collection of unusual and unique plants from the region, but arranged aesthetically and highly designed. I wish more botanical gardens would take this approach as many simply line up their specimens with tags, which is not very exciting for non-horticulturists to visit. The allee of cactus is great, but the tour is so late in the day my camera can’t really catch the colours well.
My guide recommended a hotel nearby, and it’s fabulous. Great room, great patio, courtyard parking for the bike, etc..
After checking in I grab a bite around the corner. Oaxaca is known for its Mole sauces, so I definitely try some of that. Underwhelming, TBH, but the sauteed grasshopper tacitos are amazing! Yes, Grasshoppers! Great flavour, and a texture like Taboule salad.