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I was warned not to go to Oaxaca because of the political situation there. A popular movement, started by a group of lecturers 3 months ago, took over government buildings and barricaded the town center.  Their demands for resignation of the governor and better treatment of indigenous population remain unanswered.  Despite the threat of using force by the federal government, small numbers of tourists arrive in the city.
The central plaza, although barricaded, was still accessible.  I saw many ordinary people sitting in shade, waiting for a peaceful solution from the government.  Beautiful, colorful colonial buildings sprayed with anti government slogans.  For most people, however, life went on.  Narrow streets were filled with cars, lively market was filled with people trying to sell and buy.

On a hill overlooking Oaxaca are located the ruins of Monte Alban.  They are the ancient capital of the Zapotec Culture and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  The city of Monte Alban extended far beyond the Main Plaza I visited, constructed 400m up a steep mountain.  It consists of the Palace (North Platform) and the Temple (South Platform).  Apart from those the Main Plaza has 14 other structures.  
Monte Alban reached it´s maximum size around AD600, with population of up to 30,000 people.  Shortly after that date Main Plaza was abandoned.

Zipolite - paradise where I almost died

When boarding a night bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, I heard 2 girls speaking Polish.  We quickly became acquainted didn´t shut up until late at night.  The bus followed unpaved road, constantly shaking and turning.  In the morning we had to change and while waiting for the next bus, we decided not to go to commercial Pto Escondido.  Instead, we went to the little village of Zipolite.  
It turned out to be a stunning place.  Long, sandy beach with green, rocky hills on both sides.  Warm water and huge waves,  little wooden huts called cabana to stay in and palm trees lining the beach.  It was still low season so all this beauty was shared between no more than 100 tourists.

We rented a palm leaf covered cabana with hammocks right on the beach, 10m from the Pacific , for just $7.  Swimming in the Ocean and just relaxing in our hammocks, that´s all we did that day.  In the evening, drinking Crema de Mezcal and watching a beautiful sunset.  At night, still drinking and sitting in the Ocean lit by the full Moon.
It was too good to last.  The girls had to go back the next day and I stayed another night.  I turned to running and fighting waves, 2-3m high sometimes.  They rise up pushed by some mysterious force until finally breaking with great ferocity.  It made me simply scared, but not enough to stay away.  I had to dive underwater to escape many tons of water falling on my head.

In the morning I went for a run and than in the water to cool down a little.  A few waves, only1-1.5m high broke in front of me.  Suddenly I realized I couldn´t touch the ground.  I started swimming back but, to my surprise, it was still deep.  I was very tired after running and I was loosing strength quickly.  Then I tried swimming along the shore to escape the current pulling me in the wrong direction, but I knew I had no chance.  My legs refused to work and I realized I was going to drown.  I started shouting but it made me even more tired.  A couple heard me and looked in my direction, but they carried on walking.  Waves were breaking over my head and it was clear I had to pay for my mistake.  I wasn´t scared of death, but of what I had to go through before it arrives.  My instinct made me stay afloat using what strength I had left.  Otherwise I was ready to disappear forever, only to avoid the agony of not being able to breath.

And than I saw someone swimming towards me with a boggy board.  I got hold of it, and heard: "can´t you swim?  It will cost you 400 pesos!"  It was the cabana owner´s son.  I let him pull me out of danger unable to even speak.  Once out of water, I just fell down completely exhausted.  It took me the whole day to recover.
During my last journey, when climbing Tocllaraju, the mountains taught me a lesson.   This time, in Mexico, it was the Ocean´s turn.    photos