Oaxaca's Pacific Coast by the Numbers

by Sarah Menkedick Mar 18, 2010

Photos: author

THIS PAST WEEKEND I took an epic road trip from Oaxaca City to a remote bay near Huatulco for the wedding of two of my best friends. I was their (unofficial) minister; Jorge was their photographer. They invited approximately fifty friends and family members down to a small beach with an open-air restaurant, a rustic bar, and a number of dreamy cabañas scattered around the hillsides.

Three kilometers of unpaved, bumpy, winding, vertiginous road led to the cabañas, the restaurant, and the glassy jade bay giving out onto the Pacific. After tottering in in an enormous, wobbly passenger van, all of us sucking up sharp breaths of air, we didn’t leave for four days. There were Bloody Mary’s, there was phosphorescent plankton, there were quiet mornings with nothing but faint pinks, greens, and oranges, there were bird songs and waves and millions of stars.

Photos: author

I had to think about sea urchins in order not to cry as my friends gave their vows and I pronounced them husband and wife.

Like all road trips, this one came complete with about 8,952 unexpected mini-adventures. Here is a glimpse at Oaxaca’s Pacific Coast by the numbers.

Bottles Of Wine Transported In Ginormous Van: 40

Bottles Of Alcohol Transported In Ginormous Van: 20

Number Of Strange Bathroom Noises Heard During The Night At Pochutla’s “Best” Hotel: 30+

Topless Old Men In Boxers Observing Morning Traffic From Rooftops In Pochutla: 1

Number of Geckos Observed In Hammock Outside Room: 10

Number of Scorpions Inside Room: 1

Bottles Of Scorpion Mezcal Consumed: 1

Fish Tortas Eaten: 4

Number of Family Members Crying During Wedding Ceremony: 3

Number of Teary Post-Vow Wedding Kisses: 3

Beers Consumed In Highly Emotional State: 4

Siestas Taken Inside Mosquito Nets: 3

Bottles Of Wine And Alcohol Loaded Into Van For Return Trip: 0

Smelly Hitchhikers From Albuquerque Picked Up En Route: 1

Miles Traveled With Smelly Hitchhiker: 20

Pesos Required To Fill Gas Tank: 700

Alternative Tiny Mountain Roads Taken To Avoid Protest Roadblocks: 2

Number Of Bulldozers Clearing Narrow Unpaved Curves On Tiny Mountain Roads While Cars Wait To Pass: 1

Times Looked Down Out Driver’s Side Window To See Massive Drop Off Cliff: 5

Number of Military Checkpoints Encountered : 2

Searches Performed : 0

Number Of Soldiers Playing Dice As Our Van Cruised By Unnoticed: 7

Roadblocks Encountered On The One Road To Oaxaca: 3

Number of Cars Driving Aimlessly Through Desert In Hopes of Finding Alternative Routes: 7

Cacti Hit While Maneuvering Van Through Roadless Desert To Avoid Roadblocks: 20+

Cows Narrowly Avoided While Maneuvering Van Through Roadless Desert To Avoid Roadblocks: 3

Topes (speed bumps) Unsuspectingly Slammed Driving Through Tiny Pueblos To Avoid Roadblocks: 5

Random Turns Made Into Blocked Streets In Bumper-To-Bumper Traffic In Oaxaca: 3

Cars Hit While Backing Up In Ginormous Van In Tiny Oaxacan Streets: 0

Charge To Rental Van For Cactus-Tope-Hitting-Offroading-Mountain Adventures, in Pesos: 0

Minutes After Arriving Home That Two Dogs Passed Out In Imperturbable Slumber: 1

Total Hours Driven On National Strike Day: 12

Total Hours Drive Normally Takes: 6

Negra Modelos Consumed In Exhausted Stupor: 4

Minutes It Took To Miss Thrill Of The Road: 5

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